Bella Dodd: From Communist to Catholic

Bella Dodd: From Communist to Catholic
Eleonore Villarrubia

How was it that a little Catholic girl – born in Italy – became one of the most powerful figures of the American Communist Party at the height of its power during the late 1930’s and 1940’s? The story of Maria Assunta Isabella Visono’s journey from a poor southern Italian village to the intrigues of Soviet Communist penetration of America is fascinating and frightening. It should be better known than it is.

Maria Assunta’s mother, Teresa, lived in Potenza on a farm that had been in her family for generations. She was a young widow and mother of nine children when she met Rocco, from Lugano, who fell in love with her. Rocco wanted to marry and move to America, but Teresa loved her farm and was reluctant to leave the land. Eventually she agreed to allow Rocco to take her older children with him to New York, establish a home, and she would follow soon with the younger ones. This she did, and Teresa and Rocco were married in the church of Saint Lucy in East Harlem in 1904. Problems with the caretakers of her farm took her back to Italy; it was only on the voyage there that Teresa realized that she was soon to be a mother for the tenth time.

From Italy to America

Because her business in Potenza took longer than expected, her new little daughter was born on Italian soil. Under these unusual circumstances, little Maria Assunta Isabella entered the world. Teresa returned to New York soon after, leaving the baby in the care of foster parents, Taddeo and “Mamarella,” simple country folk who loved her as their own. Teresa had planned to return for her daughter within a year, but, because economic depression in America made it difficult to raise money for the journey, that time stretched into more than five years. Little Maria Assunta was almost six years old when she met her father and sister and brothers for the first time; she spoke no English and missed her foster parents terribly. It was her sister Caterina, Americanized to “Katie,” who dubbed the child “Bella” because she disliked her first names. Thus began the slow process of the Americanization (hand-in-hand with the de-Catholicization) of the little girl.

From the beginning Bella loved school; she had a quick mind and soon was proficient enough in her new language that she became a class leader. She gradually lost the memory of her shepherd foster father and her loving “mamarella” and soaked up her new surroundings. She loved the excitement of the big city. Her mother, on the other hand, longed to get out of the noisy, dirty city and the cramped apartment. At Teresa’s urging, they found a large house surrounded by many acres in Westchester County where she cared for the two aged maiden sisters who owned the place. When the sisters died, the family moved into the house. Teresa at last had her farm; Rocco owned a successful grocery business, and the family was happy.

The Visonos considered themselves Catholic, but the two nearby Catholic churches of Westchester were attended by Irish and German Catholics. They didn’t seem to fit in with their “Italianness.” So, gradually, as they became less Italian, they also became less Catholic. Bella was not schooled in her faith, but she always knew that there was something missing in her life. As she grew, her mind sought out spiritual fulfillment in the local ladies’ circle of the Episcopal Church community, attending book studies and Bible readings there, singing hymns, but always refusing to attend services because she was a Catholic. She was an avid reader, and reveled in the local public libraries.

Tragedy Strikes

Just as Bella was preparing to enter high school in 1916, she had a horrible accident, which scarred her forever and delayed her much-anticipated entry into high school. She was returning home on the trolley and signaled the motorman to stop. As she stepped off the vehicle, she was flung into the street and her left foot became caught under the wheel of the trolley. Her father arrived, carried her to the doctor’s office and she was promptly brought to the local hospital where her mangled foot was removed. Sadly, Bella spent an agonizing year in the hospital undergoing five surgeries, all of them botched and slow to heal. Finally, her mother brought her home to recuperate. While her wounds slowly healed, Bella read everything her mother brought her from the local library. In that awful year, she lost her beloved sister Katie to the world-wide influenza epidemic. It was truly a sad time for the Visono family.

The Formative Years

The following year found Bella well enough to enroll in the local public high school. Although her body was handicapped, her will was undaunted. On crutches, she walked the ten blocks to her school and forced herself to participate in school activities. The addition of an appliance, though awkward, allowed her to discard the crutches and even participate in hikes as a member of the Naturalists’ Club. She excelled in academics, particularly English and the sciences, and won many awards, her most cherished was being selected at graduation the most popular girl in the class. She had already developed an interest in politics, and it was in high school, with its mix of students of all religions, ethnic backgrounds and races that Bella was first exposed to a new take on social issues when she read the Socialist newspaper, The Call, brought to school by a classmate from the East Bronx.

With the scholarship money that she won, Bella chose to attend Hunter College for Women in New York City. At that time, Hunter was beginning to undergo a change from a genteel ladies’ finishing school to a teacher preparation college. Influenced by her favorite teacher, one Miss Sarah Parks, a free-spirited young woman who had the audacity to ride to school on a bicycle, Bella got caught up in this new attitude of freedom. Hatless, her long hair flying in the wind, Sarah scandalized the older, staid faculty members and delighted the girls. She was a “new woman” – a freethinker, who spurred the students to look into the social problems of the day and to think for themselves.

Since Bella had never had a real grounding in moral teachings, she drifted from group to group, finally settling in with a group of girls who were highly intellectual and concerned with social problems. She became best friends with Ruth Goldstein, whose home was Old Testament Orthodox Jewish. Ruth, however, was more interested in the problems of the “proletariat.” Together, they became a part of an amorphous group who fell for the new thinking. Here are her own words: “…we developed a sort of intellectual proletariat of our own. We discussed revolution, sex, philosophy, religion, unguided by any standard of right and wrong. We talked of a future ‘unity of forces of the mind’ a ‘new tradition,’ a ‘new world,’ which we were going to help build out of the present selfish one.” The young intellectuals drifted into agnosticism, many into atheism.

It is interesting to note that at many stages throughout her life, Bella did flirt with traditional spirituality. She loved Mrs. Goldstein’s observance of the Jewish High Holy Days for the beauty of the Old Testament readings and the touching singing and ceremonies; and during her year in the Catholic hospital she had longed to discuss Catholic dogma with a priest or sister but she never did. By her second year at Hunter, Bella was a committed believer – in science, evolution and intellectual achievement. Spiritual beliefs were not provable by science, therefore not worthy of consideration. Hers was a group of eager young people ready to transform the world; yet they had no true values of their own, no moral compass with which to guide them. They were ripe to accept Marxist theory.

The Future Arrives

In June of 1924, Bella graduated from Hunter with honors. She had given little thought to her future, but knew that she wanted to function with as little handicap as possible. To that end she visited Saint Francis Hospital in New York City to inquire after their finest surgeon. She then called upon Dr. Edgerton who promised to undo the damage that the botched surgeries had done and fit her with a proper prosthesis. Bella had no money, but the doctor believed her promise to pay him over time, and the deed was done. Reflecting back upon the time spent in the Catholic hospital, she regretted that no sister or nurse approached her about the Faith. “Perhaps I might have responded,” she wrote.

True to Dr. Edgerton’s promise, Bella was walking well within six weeks after the surgery. Soon she was teaching history in a local high school. It was in teaching that she found her calling. After one semester in the high school, Bella was offered a position at Hunter College in the political science department. She accepted and began her college teaching career in February of 1926. More and more young women were entering higher education at this time; as a result, classes were large and schedules full. Many of the teachers were “freethinkers” who passed on their philosophies to their students. Bella also began graduate studies at Columbia University, one of the hotbeds of liberal thinking. This step only made her more critical of the role that her country played in international politics.

In later years, after she left the Communist Party, Bella concluded that “Communists usurp the position of the left, but when one examines them in light of what they really stand for, one sees them as the rankest kind of reactionaries and Communism as the most reactionary backward leap in the long history of social movements. It is one which seems to obliterate in one revolutionary wave two thousand years of man’s progress.”

In 1927, Bella received her Master’s degree from Columbia. She then enrolled in New York University Law School while she continued teaching at Hunter. When her former undergraduate idol and colleague Sarah Parks committed suicide in 1928, Bella was thrown into an emotional tailspin. She did not yet realize that she herself was on the same, albeit slower, path to self-destruction, always seeking a moral core, finding it only in steeping herself in futile attempts to serve the masses and right the wrongs she saw in society. A trip to Europe with friends showed her the terrible unrest and fear gripping Italy as a result of fascism. The same fear was palpable in Austria and Germany although they were not yet in the clutches of fascist governments. She was shocked at the blatant immorality and open decadence she saw in Germany. Perhaps it is telling that she made a special side trip to Dresden to view the Sistine Madonna, her happiest time in that country. It was also on this European trip that she met her future husband, John Dodd.

Economic Depression, Lawyering and Marriage

When the Great Depression hit in 1929, Bella’s family was not affected immediately. She was able to leave her post at Hunter College to take a law clerk position with a prestigious firm in New York City in preparation for the bar exams. In 1930, her close associate John Dodd, ten years her senior, asked her to marry him. He, too, was a freethinker, but very different from Bella. He was a Southerner, from Georgia, and an engineer. In any case, they shared a great love for their country, and Dodd helped her overcome certain problems in her political outlook. It was through his eyes that she saw how the liberal Northern press presented a “twisted picture” of his part of these United States, which had great reservoirs of strength, based not on material wealth but upon the integrity of its people. They married in a civil ceremony in the county clerk’s office in New York City.

By 1932, both John Dodd and Bella’s family had felt the furious impact of the Depression. Because of this she returned to her post at Hunter College. It was at this time, when she could see that teachers were expected to work for very little pay and no benefits, that she became active in organizing the college faculty to seek fairness for teachers in the political sphere. Thus was born the Hunter College Instructors Association, the first grass roots teachers association in the country and the precursor of the later, more politically powerful teachers unions.

The Thunderbolt

In 1933, the government of the United States officially recognized the Soviet Union. This was the impetus for the many young Communists on campuses to “come out of the woodwork” and speak and act openly. \At Hunter, the respectability that recognition brought completely changed the complexion of student activity and organization on campus. Overnight such groups as the Friends of the Soviet Union, the Young Communist League, and the League of Industrial Democracy arose. It was obvious to Bella that these organizations were not springing up spontaneously, that some greater force was behind them.

Because she was the brains behind the original Instructors Association, Bella found herself being courted by Communist Party functionaries who appreciated her organizational ability, knowledge and intelligence. Of course, she only became aware of their Communist affiliation later. By the time she realized this, she was already entrapped in their web. Like all lower level Party members and sympathizers, Bella became valuable because it was deemed that she could serve the cause. In the bigger picture, the “masses” were ripe for entrapment because of the hard economic times. In preparing a country for the Revolution, the Communist Party tries to enlist the masses, especially those who are unattached and disaffected.

Bella did not become a Communist overnight. Her primary goals were to help the teachers achieve proper salary and benefits and to help the “little people” – the forgotten man of the city who lived on the verge of destitution. She was not interested in the “dictatorship of the proletariat,” nor was she aware that they were all expendable chess pieces in the huge and dangerous game being orchestrated by Moscow.

Because of her expertise in organizing the unions, Bella was chosen Legislative Representative of the American Federation of Labor to the New York Legislature. This move made her all the more valuable to the Party. She became known in Albany and Washington as a force to be reckoned with. From there she moved up the ranks lobbying not only for the teachers, but for seamen, the unemployed, any group deemed “downtrodden.” The Communist Party became more and more powerful in the New York teachers unions as well as in the American Federation of Labor itself.

The Spanish Civil War

Intellectuals of America during the tragic Civil War in Spain were in full support of the so-called Loyalists, who were in reality socialists and Communists. Because the Party had taken the stance as the main enemy of fascism, this emotional appeal attracted many Americans to the cause of the leftists in Spain. The Communists used this emotion in rallying anti-Catholic feeling in this country, calling those who supported the Church and the nationalists in Spain reactionaries, fascists, against freedom and indifferent to the poor. Anticlericalism was rampant. This was a common Communist tactic, particularly with the Catholic Irish, Polish and Italians – to drive a wedge between the people and their priests.

The truth of the matter here is that Communist Russia wanted the United States to come into line with its own foreign policy regarding Spain. To this effect, the International Brigade was set up with the intention of sending foreign soldiers to fight for the Loyalist (Communist) side. Many thousands of dollars were raised in the midst of depression for arms and materiel for the American Lincoln Brigade and to send supply ships to help the “Spanish poor.” Most of these ships were diverted to Russia. Bella herself was active in recruiting her fellow teachers to join the Lincoln Brigade, many of whom did not return from that horrible war. Even in our own time, the Lincoln Brigade is eulogized. Many Americans still do not realize that the victory of the nationalists in the Spanish Civil war was a victory of the Spanish people over the Soviet Union’s plans to communize that nation.

Complete Dedication to the Party

Because she began to spend so much time working for the Unions between 1936 and 1938, Bella devoted less and less time to her teaching duties at Hunter. Not a meeting of a learned society or an educational group happened without members of the Party present and ready to present the Marxist ideology. The object was to get Communists in key positions in the major teachers unions all over the country. Bella was at the forefront of this activity. As a consequence of her Party activity, she decided to resign her teaching position. She gave no thought to her future security; her reason for living was the work of the Party. She took a huge cut in pay and settled for a salary of sixty dollars a week, which she accepted during the eight years she worked for the Party. This constant whirlwind of activity put a terrible strain on her marriage.

During this time her father had a stroke. Amazingly, her husband, who had always been very hostile to Catholicism, had called a priest and arranged for him to have the sacraments before he died. Bella held the funeral at a Catholic Church and the burial was in a Catholic cemetery. Shortly after that, John told Bella that he would seek a divorce. Bella and her mother took a small apartment in New York City where she could be close to her Party activity.

At this time — in 1939 and early 1940s — Communists were infiltrating all unions in the United States. The American Party higher-ups were taking orders directly from Stalin and the bosses in Moscow. With war in Europe on the horizon, the Communists did all they could to criticize Hitler and fascism in Germany. However, when the Soviet-Nazi pact was signed in 1939, it took the American Reds by surprise and caused a rift in the Party. The Party was now officially anti-war. Many Jewish members became alarmed and frightened by this alliance and quit their membership. There was much infighting between various factions of leftists, which, consequently, weakened the Party’s appeal. Then abruptly, on orders from Moscow, they were again pro-war and told to lobby for America’s entry into the war against Hitler. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, American Communists rejoiced because they knew that now the United States had to enter the war on the side of the Soviets. This signaled to them that the Soviet Union would have at its disposal the armed might of America.

Bella was deeply committed to Communism by this time, although, ironically, she had not yet become officially a member of the Party. She and her labor committee even met with Eleanor Roosevelt to enlist her help in securing the release of some union leaders who had been convicted of industrial sabotage. Mrs. Roosevelt was sympathetic to the Communist’s appeal, saying that she believed that Communists should be permitted to be members of unions, but not leaders. In her autobiography, written in 1954, Bella expressed the hope that Mrs. Roosevelt had eventually learned that there could be no meeting with the Communists half way – that “co-existence is not possible.”

A Lonely Life

When her mother, Teresa Visono, died in her arms in 1941, Bella was left completely alone in the world. She took a tiny apartment near the Hudson River in New York and immersed herself even more in the work of the Party, the only family that she had now. Because her organizational ability was so astute, Bella was put in charge of sending groups of young Communists into minority neighborhoods in New York – Black, Puerto Rican, poor Irish, poor Jews and other recent immigrants – to rev up the discontent of the disaffected and to enlist their support for Communist and left-wing candidates for local, state and national elections. The extent of Communist influence at the local level in the city was astounding, with many elective posts filled by Marxists or their sympathizers.

Even at the state level, Communists had great influence, Bella included, because of her work with the teachers unions. At the national level, they canvassed neighborhoods to get out the vote for FDR.

There was new thinking on the national level now. Roosevelt had pledged mutual co-existence and continued postwar Soviet-American unity. If that pledge were kept, then America could be developed into a full-fledged socialist nation without a militant class struggle. In other words, Communist control of America would be done peacefully from within – not a shot need be fired.

When Bella was finally told that it was time for her to publicly declare her Communist affiliation, it was 1944, and it was done with great fanfare at the Party convention. She immediately became the head of the Garibaldi Branch of the Party on 116th Street in East Harlem, an Italian neighborhood that contained a smattering of Puerto Ricans, West Indians, and other minorities. She loved being close to the little people and, in her naïve and still idealistic way, she still believed that Communism was a way to help them out of their poverty.

Confusing Changes

Earl Browder, the most powerful Communist in the American Party, had always worked for unity among diverse national groups within the Party – on instructions from Moscow, of course. Now, a reversal came about – on instructions from Moscow, not to Browder, but to a newly favored group – that Browder’s thinking was wrong. National differences were to be favored. Browder was expendable and ousted; a new group was taking over. Suddenly, Browder’s former friends turned on him and spoke ill of his direction of the Party. Bella began to realize that everyone at some point could be shunned by the Party and dumped in disgrace without even being told what was happening or why. In Bella’s words: “Close friends of many years’ standing became deadly enemies overnight.”

It took Bella quite a while to realize and then accept that the turnaround in attitude of the new Party higher-ups was not merely a local phenomenon, but was dictated by Moscow. Conditioning had been so thorough that for her “the last illusion to die was the illusion about the Soviet Union.” Communists worldwide considered Russia the great workers’ paradise. In 1946, the National Board of the Party expelled Earl Browder in disgrace. Several other high profile members, friends of Bella’s were also expelled for the slightest criticism or deviation from policy – a policy which shifted in the wind.

Bella could detect a stealth campaign being conducted against her, since she was outspoken against the mistreatment of Browder and others who had been loyal. Several times she was accused of “white chauvinism,” apparently a terrible crime by Party standards. Of all things, this was one “crime” of which she was not guilty; she was the only Party official who lived and worked in Harlem with poor people of all races! When she tried to quit the Party, she was told “No one gets out of the Party. You die or you are thrown out.” By the end of 1947, Bella knew that her former colleagues were out to destroy her; she had seen it happen to others. Her office was under constant surveillance; her every move was watched. All the while she saw more clearly how the Party used people – rich and poor, black and white – only for what they could get out of them. Several of her acquaintances committed suicide. Bella had her doubts that those deaths were actually self-inflicted. Others she knew were murdered.

Twice she was called before boards for questioning. Finally, on June 17, 1949, she was formally expelled on the grounds that she was “anti-Negro, anti-Puerto Rican, anti-Semitic, and anti-labor.” Both the New York Times and the Communist Daily Worker carried the story of her expulsion. Bella was desolate, not because of her expulsion, but because all of her friends dared not approach her. As she expected, former friends and associates began to harass her. Her law practice was almost destroyed. She spent an awful year during which her only comfort was to read the New Testament, which she had never ceased to do in the long years she was a Communist. She thought of leaving New York and starting over some place where she was not known. But she was a stubborn woman, a born fighter, and something in her core told her she had to fight it out there.

Indictment of Communism

In 1950, Bella was called before the Tydings Committee of the United States Senate to testify as to whether or not she knew Owen Lattimore, who had been accused by Senator Joseph McCarthy of being a Soviet agent within the American government. She had not known Lattimore and as far as she knew, he was not a member of the American Communist Party. She stated those facts; however, as she thought about the duplicity of the Party and how it had deceived her and thousands of others, she found herself revealing those facts as well. It was the first time that she had spoken out publicly against the Party. She began to see how the Russians had used the Spanish Civil War as a preview of the Red Revolution to come in western countries; she thought of the Koreans killing each other in the name of Communism and the Americans dying in the cause; she saw how the godless Communists used well-meaning Americans against their own country.

Seeing the Truth Again

There are no co-incidences with God. On a cool crisp day in the fall of 1950, an immigration appeal case took Bella to Washington, D.C. As she walked along Pennsylvania Avenue toward the House Office Building at the Capitol, she ran into an old friend from the East Bronx neighborhood of her childhood. Christopher McGrath was now a congressional representative of the Twenty-seventh District. He invited her to his office to talk of old times. He could see that she was clearly distressed and frightened and asked her if she wanted FBI protection. When she refused, he said he would pray for her safety. Then he asked, “Bella, would you like to see a priest?” He had caught her off guard, but she fervently answered, “Yes, I would.” On the spot, the Congressman’s secretary made calls and secured an appointment with Monsignor Fulton Sheen of Catholic University.

Bella saw Monsignor Sheen for the first time at his home that evening in suburban Washington. As Christopher drove her there, she thought of the many lies and canards she had let go by – even told herself – against her Church when she worked for the Communists. She was genuinely fearful of meeting the monsignor. She need not have worried, for the good priest listened as she sobbed to him, “They say that I am against the Negro,” the accusation that hurt her most. He took her into his private chapel and they knelt before a statue of Our Lady. Bella felt the battle within cease and peace took its place. He then gave her a Rosary and told her to see him on his visit to New York in the winter. Now she realized that the Communist promise of the “brotherhood of man” was impossible without the Fatherhood of God.

Return to the Church

As Christmas approached, she again felt a horrible loneliness. Poor friends, whom Bella had provided lodging in her own home years before, invited her to their coldwater walkup in Harlem for a Christmas Eve dinner. They had a simple meal and afterward read from the Psalms. When Bella boarded the bus to return to her apartment, she was so immersed in her thoughts that she passed her stop and rode many blocks farther. She got off at Thirty-Fourth Street, although she had no recollection of it. She walked and walked to the West Side until she found herself in a church, the Church of Saint Francis of Assisi. Midnight Christmas High Mass was in progress. Here she found the true brotherhood of man. So moved was she by the beautiful Mass and the devotion of the people, that she again walked the streets of New Manhattan for hours, thinking and praying, before she returned to her apartment. She felt that she had been guided by the Star of Christmas that night.

Seemingly by chance, she met Mary Riley, a former teacher whom Bella knew and who now worked at the Board of Education. Mary was a committed and active Catholic who knew what Bella had been through. They spoke of the Faith, and Mary sent her a packet of books about Catholic programs, which were actively helping the disadvantaged. One of these books was Father James Keller’s You Can Change the World. He had written, “There can be no social regeneration without personal regeneration.” She was introduced to Father Keller and began to work at the headquarters of the group he had founded, The Christophers. How these Catholics impressed Bella with their simple devotion to their work of helping others and their deep commitment to their Catholic Faith!

Bella began to attend daily Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. She read Saint Augustine, Saint Thomas Aquinas, and other classics of Catholic writers and thinkers. She purchased and studied prayer books and other books on the Faith. Then she began to receive regular instructions from Bishop Sheen himself. “I saw how history and fact and logic were inherent in the foundations of the Christian faith,” she states in her autobiography, School of Darkness.

As Easter of 1952 approached, the Bishop said that she was ready to be received into the Church. Since no baptismal record could be located in the little Italian town of her birth, Bishop Sheen conditionally baptized her in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. She then confessed and received Our Lord from Bishop Sheen’s hands the next morning at Mass. “It was as if I had been ill for a long time and had awakened refreshed after the fever had gone,” she wrote.

The Ordeal Ahead

The year 1953 saw Bella called up by a Congressional committee investigating the infiltration of Communists in the high places of the United States government. Her newfound faith strengthened her to face this ordeal with courage and determination. She swore before the Senate Internal Security subcommittee that there were a number of Communists in legislative offices in Congress and in a number of groups advising the President of the United States. She also testified to the Communist takeover of labor unions in the country and of her personal experience securing posts for members of the Party in the unions.

Perhaps most frightening of all was her testimony that during her time in the Party, “more than eleven hundred men had been put into the priesthood to destroy the Church from within,” the idea here being that these men would be ordained to the priesthood and progress to positions of influence and authority as monsignors and even bishops. She stated that “right now they are in the highest places in the Church” where they were working to weaken the Church’s effectiveness against Communism. These changes, she declared, would be so drastic that “you will not recognize the Catholic Church.” A few years later, in a conversation with a new Catholic friend, Alice von Hildebrand, Bella told her that there are four cardinals within the Vatican “who are working for the Communists.” This was twelve years before Vatican II. The reader can draw his own conclusions.

Shortly after her conversion, Bella had great hope for the youth of America. She saw goodness and a giving, missionary spirit in the young Catholics she worked with. Bella died in 1964 at the age of sixty.

Bella Dodd did much harm to her country and her Church. It is a great blessing that she repented of those sins. We can pray that she has paid her reparation and is now with the saints in Heaven. If she is not yet, our prayers may help her to arrive Home soon.

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The Novus Ordo:The Reasons Why We Resist

The Novus Ordo:The Reasons Why We Resist
Benedict Carter

After my return to the Church in 2005 (I was living and working in Moscow at the time), I attended the Novus Ordo regularly. I was edified by the friendship shown to me by the parish priest and by what I could see of the lives of my fellow regular Mass-goers and despite my misgivings about certain elements of the Mass at which I assisted, I was able to quash the memories of my parents’ struggles as two of the early English Traditionalists and the grief and pain they suffered every day of their lives at the Revolution which toppled everything they held dear.

My view was “Well, it must be Sacramentally valid, the people are good-hearted, the priest is an excellent man, try not to worry”. But as time went on, a new thought came to me. “Hang on, Sacramental validity is the very least a Catholic Mass should be. Why are you measuring it with a minimalist expectation?” And so I bought all the books my father had once read and devoured and quoted to us as small children, and I began to think about it for myself. Michael Davies’ great trilogy on the Mass was crucial. So was a first reading of Archbishop Lefebvre’s “Open Letter to Confused Catholics”. There were many other books, but these were key.

After leaving Russia in 2009, I lived in Portugal just 30 miles from Fatima. I began to attend the SSPX Chapel there and continued to read. In the end I came to the conclusion that the Novus Ordo is inherently dangerous to the Catholic Faith. In the hands of a free-thinker, a weak priest or an out-and-out heterodox priest it is a lethal weapon against the Catholic religion.

The Mass, as the centre of our Holy Faith, should:

· reinforce the entire Catholic Faith in every aspect – the way we worship contains within itself all that we believe;

· raise up the individual soul to the majesty and glory of God;

· present to the individual soul the starkness and finality of the moral choices we have to make as Catholics in order to inherit Eternal Life;

· encourage us to strive for personal holiness.

Further, it should keep us in safe continuity with the two thousand years of organic (and in reality, minuscule) development of the Church’s main western liturgy, so that we can be Catholics hearing the same words and seeing the same gestures as a Catholic in Italy in the 4th century, as a Portuguese Catholic in the 9th century, as a Swedish Catholic in the 14th century, as an Englishman hearing a recusant Mass in the 17th century; as any Catholic at all until 1968. Communion in worship is communion in belief, not only with one’s fellow Catholics throughout the world, but with all Catholics throughout the centuries back to the time of Christ Himself.

The Novus Ordo does not fulfill any of these functions of worship. When a former SSPX Bishop says that it represents a new religion, he speaks as a bishop and not as the holder of unusual historical opinions. His view should be thought about most carefully by any serious Catholic. It is a terrible charge to lay on the Novus Ordo and I believe that it is correct.

That there has been a gigantic rupture, a Revolution in the Church these past forty years cannot be denied. Those who do deny it are either stupid, have a vested interest in it or (even worse) are quite happy that it occurred, whatever the damage done; or have been formed by it and don’t know anything else.

I was born in 1963 so came to self-consciousness with the changes already made. I was therefore extremely lucky to be the child of parents whose whole lives and characters were formed by and steeped in the Catholic Faith of their parents, people of the First World War generation. So prayers were said before and after every meal, our home was full of religious pictures, statues, music, books and conversation, going to Mass was an event (a serious event) and the whole world of Catholicism was in our home constantly.

The Revolution has caused conflict within families, civil war in the Church, and apostasy on a scale not seen since the 16th century and before that, in the time of Arius, and has lost countless souls. I am sure of this latter point: the changes have cost many, many souls. If millions voted with their feet and left the Church, went years without receiving the Sacraments or never again received the Sacraments before their deaths, how could they avoid falling into mortal sin? And if they died in that condition … ? The Revolution has been in truth a great harvesting of souls by the devil. This surely is the worst charge that those who gave us the Revolution will face at their particular judgement.

At the heart of the Revolution is the Novus Ordo, quite understandable, as the Mass is the centre and summit of the Catholic Faith. And what is the Revolution’s essential nature, seen most vividly in the Novus Ordo? I believe with all my heart that its core was the victory within the Church – still current and swiftly moving towards its natural conclusion at next month’s Synod Against the Family, an attack on the Divine Law itself – of the great errors of anthropological naturalism and materialism, and the parent of both of these – effective atheism.

To my mind the Revolution is the way in which those at the top of the Church dealt with a religion and with a Church in whose claims they no longer believed.

This loss of faith at the top in the existence of God and in the invisible world (which for any authentic Catholic should be the world that has most pull on his mentality, thoughts, conduct, and whole life) was of course the essential element noted by the early Traditionalists and was what caused them such disquiet and later outright grief. Those early Traditionalists were merely authentic Catholics who refused to be made into Protestants. They were right then as Traditionalist Catholics are right now.

The Revolution was also the fruit of a significant number of people who were seeking ways of robbing the Mass of its Catholic nature in order to appeal to German, English and other Protestants, to whom they perhaps felt closer than they did to their fellow Catholics. These were the neo-Modernists who had kept a low profile since the time of Pope St. Pius X but who were still very much around. Their world-view was shaped by the seeming triumph of “historicity”, by the (coming, they thought) triumph of Marxism and its “truths”, and by the onward march of science and technology. The Council experts, or periti, were to a large extent people like this, many of them full of the so-called ‘New Theology’ of Congar, von Balthazar, Schillebeeckx and others. It has to be said that the then Father Ratzinger was one of them, dressed in his business suit.

For all of these men, a new Mass was needed for the Modern Man formed by all these historical processes, a New Mass giving Man greater “dignity” (meaning “involvement” – ‘Eucharistic Ministers’, civilians tramping about the Sanctuary, the destruction of the priesthood). A Mass for the (Marxist Collective) “community” where the individual soul was no longer called to say in his heart “I believe” but, along with the Collective, say “We believe”. The mind-set produced by this emphasis is one of “community”: thus the Mass was now primarily a “meal”. In fact, it is the Collective at prayer (and quickly became the Collective worshipping itself).It is not a meal for me in any sense: I prefer Shepherd’s Pie.

And the Novus Ordo, by eliminating specifically Catholic doctrine about a propitiatory Sacrifice, would appease all those Lutherans and Anglicans to whom we had been so nasty for so long, eh?

And for this New Mass, with its centre of gravity not Christ above the individual soul (a vertical relationship) but the Collective (a horizontal relationship), there was needed a new physical orientation: priest and people would face each other; the Tabernacle to which I knelt and prayed as a small boy thrust out of sight into some alcove chapel. All barriers (such as altar rails) that “denied” the Collective its rightful dignity were removed so that the Sanctuary became the whole Church (and in the process rendered the entire space profane instead of holy); new churches were built to like ancient Greek theaters where the Collective could gather around itself rather than the vertical dimension in which all the churches of our forefathers were constructed. They were built in a line from the faithful to the priest and deacons to God in His Tabernacle. Not so the new churches, which had to serve the community rather than God.

Culturally, the Novus Ordo has been a catastrophe of world historical proportions. That the Catholic Church, repository of the greatest fruits of human endeavor in history, should have effectively turned its back on her cultural greatness is like the Irish monks of the 5th to 9th centuries saying, “What the hell, copying all this Greek and Roman knowledge, art, poetry, prose and greatness is boring, let’s chuck all of these parchments and codices into the Atlantic and get down to the pub”.

The Novus Ordo has many nefarious bedfellows, including an iconoclasm (of an order not seen since the Iconoclastic Heresy of the Eastern Church or the so-called “Reformation”); it is culturally utterly impoverished, and all of us are as a result greatly impoverished. Really, a catastrophe in all ways – religious, theological, architecturally, musically. It is nothing less than the mutilation of history by men who had more in common with the ‘Year Zero’ of Pol Pot than with all the Fathers and Saints and Popes of the past.

The Novus Ordo:

· Is a Mass specifically created (the first time this has been done in history) to meet an imagined sociological need of a supposed “Modern Man”. As the creation of a committee, it cannot possibly have any organic link with the venerable rite of at least 1,500 years it replaced;

· was, without question, designed to effectively protestantise the Catholic Church (the motivations for which range from naivety to outright demonic hostility to the Church;

· has led to Christ’s self-sacrifice for us sinners being thrust out from the centre to the periphery – both literally and figuratively;

· is proud, oh so proud – trumpeting in its nature a “dignity” of Mankind that we sinners do not deserve;

· is a cultural non-entity; a disaster;

· banishes the soul’s private communion with God and through noise and distraction makes such communion well-nigh impossible;

· cries out on every side its sheer infantility;

· is the deliberate collectivization of the Church’s worship in Marxist form;

· is effeminate and consequently I believe attracts the homosexual clergy to an effeminate Church.

I have found it so difficult to attend that in the end I have decided not to do so anymore. I think that if I do, I would lose my faith or have a faith so hollowed out by the Man-centred naturalism it represents that my conscience would be gravely offended rather than just my senses. I will not subject my soul any longer to the Spectacle of Inanities that is the Novus Ordo.

Whether is it the laity traipsing about the Sanctuary as if they were in their own living room, whether it is the inanity of the feel-good sermons preached by the “Presider”, whether it is the invention of non-existent “lay liturgical ministries”, everything is designed to offend. At a recent English language Mass in Ethiopia (I walked out after twenty minutes) the Mass had someone described on the Mass Sheet as “The Commentator”! Quite what his role was I couldn’t fathom, nor did I stay to find out. What I do know is that as an altar boy in the late 1960s the Sanctuary for me was holy ground, not to be defiled by the profane. It was a great honor for me to be on the Sanctuary at all. Imagine my grief when many years later in Portugal I came across one church in a small coastal town where the old parish priest refused to allow altar servers to wear any liturgical dress at all or even to have Holy Water in the Church.

The Novus Ordo was deliberately designed to destroy the Faith of our fathers. We have to bring the Old Mass back if we ever want the Church to triumph in this world. You can’t abuse it – indeed, it is impossible to assist at the Old Mass and not be a Catholic.

One might ask oneself whether one could be reconciled to the New Mass if the useless priests were replaced by better men? Well, for some time I thought I was reconciled to it. But even when I did so, I wasn’t reconciled in my heart. The bottom-line problem with the Novus Ordo is that it is fundamentally un-Catholic. It is only because the sad figure of Pope Paul VI couldn’t stomach what Bugnini really wanted to do that we have a valid Mass now at all.And even so he had to be shamed into some kind of stand by the “Ottaviani Intervention” of Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci. A bad priest can turn the New Mass into straight-forward sacrilege (clown Masses etc.) whilst a good priest has one arm permanently tied behind his back by it, which is why I believe that it cannot be reformed.By its very nature it does not reflect Catholic teaching on the liturgy.

And in what does the difference fundamentally lie? In a wholly different Christology. The Old Mass places me where the Faith says I should be, on my knees before God, knowing that only through repentance, penance and the mercy of God can I be saved. The New Mass puts me in the centre, in the place of God Himself, or at the very least, alongside Him. It assumes that my deification has already been achieved.But the whole thrust of the Church these last decades is one of presumption about our Salvation, no?

So here are a few quotations, to which could easily be added many others, including the damning words of Benedict XVI, Mgr. Gamber, Padre Pio.

Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, main author of the New Mass, L’Osservatore Romano, March 19, 1965: “We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren that is for the Protestants.”(i.e., we must stop being Catholics and change our religion!).

and again, in 1974:  “ … the reform of the liturgy has been a major conquest of the Catholic Church”.(These words of Bugnini should be pondered on in silence.) Now would follow “The adaptation or ‘incarnation’ of the Roman form of the liturgy into the usages and mentality of each individual Church.”

Father Kenneth Baker, SJ, editorial February 1979 “Homiletic and Pastoral Review”: “We have been overwhelmed with changes in the Church at all levels, but it is the liturgical revolution which touches all of us intimately and immediately.”

Professor Peter L. Berger, a Lutheran sociologist: If a thoroughly malicious sociologist, bent on injuring the Catholic community as much as possible had been an adviser to the Church, he could hardly have done a better job.”

Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand: “Truly, if one of the devils in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters had been entrusted with the ruin of the liturgy he could not have done it better.”

Cardinal Heenan of Westminster, autobiography “A Crown of Thorns”:“Subsequent changes were more radical than those intended by Pope John and the bishops who passed the decree on the Liturgy. His sermon at the end of the first session shows that Pope John did not suspect what was being planned by the liturgical experts.”

Cardinal Heenan warned the Council Fathers of the manner in which the periti could draft texts capable “of both an orthodox and modernistic interpretation.” He told them that he feared the periti, and dreaded the possibility of their obtaining the power to interpret the Council to the world. On 26 June 1966 The Tablet reported the creation of five commissions to interpret and implement the Council’s decrees. The members of these commissions were, the report stated, chosen “for the most part from the ranks the Council periti”.

Father Joseph Gelineau SJ, Council peritus, enthusiastic proponent of the post-conciliar revolution, wrote in “Demain la liturgie”: “To tell the truth it is a different liturgy of the Mass. This needs to be said without ambiguity: the Roman Rite as we knew it no longer exists. It has been destroyed.”

I am truly sorry to draw the conclusion that, in calling the Novus Ordo and the Old Mass “two versions of the same Rite”, Benedict XVI was engaged in a naive hopefulness at the least. His “reform of the reform” was doomed from its inception: you just can’t call a Trabant a Jaguar and expect people to buy it when it doesn’t look like a jaguar nor does it drive like one. In comparison with the Old Mass, the Novus Ordo is a child’s scribble alongside a Caravaggio. They are different and mutually antagonistic things. The one is Catholic to the last syllable. The other is a cuckoo planted deliberately in the Catholic Church, to the latter’s very grave injury. Catholics must avoid it at all costs.

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How The Liturgy Fell Apart: The Enigma Of Archbishop Bugnini

How The Liturgy Fell Apart: The Enigma Of Archbishop Bugnini
Michael Davies

Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, who died in Rome on 3 July 1982, was described in an obituary in The Times as “one of the most unusual figures in the Vatican’s diplomatic service.” It would be more than euphemistic to describe the Archbishop’s career as simply “unusual”. There can be no doubt at all that the entire ethos of Catholicism within the Roman Rite has been changed profoundly by the liturgical revolution which has followed the Second Vatican Council.

As Father Kenneth Baker SJ remarked in his editorial in the February 1979 issue of the Homiletic and Pastoral Review: “We have been overwhelmed with changes in the Church at all levels, but it is the liturgical revolution which touches all of us intimately and immediately.”

Commentators from every shade of theological opinion have argued that we have undergone a revolution rather than a reform since the Council. Professor Peter L. Berger, a Lutheran sociologist, insists that no other term will do, adding: “If a thoroughly malicious sociologist, bent on injuring the Catholic community as much as possible had been an adviser to the Church, he could hardly have done a better job.”

Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand expressed himself in even more forthright terms: “Truly, if one of the devils in C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters had been entrusted with the ruin of the liturgy he could not have done it better.”

Major Conquest

Archbishop Bugnini was the most influential figure in the implementation of this liturgical revolution, which he described in 1974 as “a major conquest of the Catholic Church.”

The Archbishop was born in Civitella de Lego, Italy, in 1912. He was ordained into the Congregation for the Missions (Vincentians) in 1936, did parish work for ten years, in 1947 he became active in the field of specialized liturgical studies, was appointed Secretary to Pope Pius Xll’s Commission for Liturgical Reform in 1948, a Consultor to the Sacred Congregation of Rites in 1956; and in 1957 he was appointed Professor of Sacred Liturgy in the Lateran University.

In 1960 Father Bugnini was placed in a position which enabled him to exert a decisive influence on the future of the Catholic Liturgy: he was appointed Secretary to the Preparatory Commission for the Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council. He was the moving spirit behind the drafting of the preparatory schema, the draft document which was to be placed before the Council Fathers for discussion. It was referred to as the “Bugnini schema” by his admirers, and was accepted by a plenary session of the Liturgical Preparatory Commission in a vote taken on 13 January 1962.

The Liturgy Constitution for which the Council Fathers eventually voted was substantially identical to the draft schema which Father Bugnini had steered successfully through the Preparatory Commission in the face of considerable misgivings on the part of Cardinal Gaetano Cicognani, President of the Commission.

The First Exile

Within a few weeks of Father Bugnini’s triumph his supporters were stunned when he was summarily dismissed from his chair at the Lateran University and from the secretaryship of the Liturgical Preparatory Commission. In his posthumous La Riforma Liturgica, Archbishop Bugnini blames Cardinal Arcadio Larraona for this action, which, he claims, was unjust and based on unsubstantiated allegations. “The first exile of P. Bugnini” he commented, (p.41).

The dismissal of a figure as influential as Father Bugnini could not have taken place without the approval of Pope John XXIII, and, although the reasons have never been disclosed, they must have been of a very serious nature. Father Bugnini was the only secretary of a preparatory commission who was not confirmed as secretary of the conciliar commission. Cardinals Lercaro and Bea intervened with the Pope on his behalf, without success.

The Liturgy Constitution, based loosely on the Bugnini schema, contained much generalized and, in places ambiguous terminology. Those who had the power to interpret it were certain to have considerable scope for reading their own ideas into the conciliar text. Cardinal Heenan of Westminster mentioned in his autobiography A Crown of Thorns that the Council Fathers were given the opportunity of discussing only general principles:

“Subsequent changes were more radical than those intended by Pope John and the bishops who passed the decree on the Liturgy. His sermon at the end of the first session shows that Pope John did not suspect what was being planned by the liturgical experts.” The Cardinal could hardly have been more explicit.

The experts (periti) who had drafted the text intended to use the ambiguous terminology they had inserted in a manner that the Pope and the Bishops did not even suspect. The English Cardinal warned the Council Fathers of the manner in which the periti could draft texts capable “of both an orthodox and modernistic interpretation.” He told them that he feared the periti, and dreaded the possibility of their obtaining the power to interpret the Council to the world. “God forbid that this should happen!” he exclaimed, but happen it did.

On 26 June 1966 The Tablet reported the creation of five commissions to interpret and implement the Council’s decrees. The members of these commissions were, the report stated, chosen “for the most part from the ranks the Council periti”.

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy was the first document passed by the Council Fathers (4 December 1963), and the commission to implement it (the Consilium) had been established in 1964.

Triumphant Return

In a gesture which it is very hard to understand, Pope Paul Vl appointed to the key post of Secretary the very man his predecessor had dismissed from the same position on the Preparatory Commission, Father Annibale Bugnini. Father Bugnini was now in a unique and powerful position to interpret the Liturgy Constitution in precisely the manner he had intended when he masterminded its drafting.

In theory, the Consilium was no more than an advisory body, and the reforms it devised had to be approved by the appropriate Roman Congregation. In his Apostolic Constitution, Sacrum Rituum Congregatio (8 May 1969), Pope Paul Vl ended the existence of the Consilium as a separate body and incorporated it into the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship. Father Bugnini was appointed Secretary to the Congregation, and became more powerful than ever. He was now in the most influential position possible to consolidate and extend the revolution behind which he had been the moving spirit and principle of continuity. Nominal heads of the Consilium and congregations came and went, Cardinals Lercaro, Gut, Tabera, Knox, but Father Bugnini always remained. His services were rewarded by his consecration as an Archbishop in 1972.

Second Exile

In 1974 he felt able to make his celebrated boast that the reform of the liturgy had been a “major conquest of the Catholic Church”. He also announced in the same year that his reform was about to enter into its final stage: “The adaptation or ‘incarnation’ of the Roman form of the liturgy into the, usages and mentality of each individual Church.” In India this “incarnation” has reached the extent of making the Mass in some centers appear more reminiscent of Hindu rites than the Christian Sacrifice.

Then, in July 1975, at the very moment when his power had reached its zenith, Archbishop Bugnini was summarily dismissed from his post to the dismay of liberal Catholics throughout the world. Not only was he dismissed but his entire Congregation was dissolved and merged with the Congregation for the Sacraments.

Desmond O’Grady expressed the outrage felt by liberals when he wrote in the 30 August 1972 issue of The Tablet: “Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, who as Secretary of the abolished Congregation for Divine Worship, was the key figure in the Church’s liturgical reform, is not a member of the new congregation. Nor, despite his lengthy experience, was he consulted in the planning of it. He heard of its creation while on holiday in Fiuggi … the abrupt way in which this was done does not augur well for the Bugnini line of encouragement for reform in collaboration with local hierarchies … Mgr Bugnini conceived the next ten years’ work as concerned principally with the incorporation of local usages into the liturgy … He represented the continuity of the post-conciliar liturgical reform.”

The 15 January 1976 issue of L’Osservatore Romano announced that Archbishop Bugnini had been appointed Apostolic Pro Nuncio in Iran. This was his second and final exile.

Conspirator Or Victim?

Rumors soon began to circulate that the Archbishop had been exiled to Iran because the Pope had been given evidence proving him to be a Freemason. This accusation was made public in April 1976 by Tito Casini, one of Italy’s leading Catholic writers. The accusation was repeated in other journals, and gained credence as the months passed and the Vatican did not intervene to deny the allegations. (Of course, whether or not Archbishop Bugnini was a Freemason, in a sense, is a side issue compared with the central issue – the nature and purpose of his liturgical innovations.)

As I wished to comment on the allegation in my book Pope John’s Council, I made a very careful investigation of the facts, and I published them in that book and in far greater detail in Chapter XXIV of its sequel, Pope Paul’s New Mass, where all the necessary documentation to substantiate this article is available. This prompted a somewhat violent attack upon me by the Archbishop in a letter published in the May issue of the Homiletic and Pastoral Review, in which he claimed that I was a calumniator, and that I had colleagues who were “calumniators by profession”.

I found this attack rather surprising as I alleged no more in Pope John’s Council than Archbishop Bugnini subsequently admitted in La Riforma Liturgica. I have never claimed to have proof that Archbishop Bugnini was a Freemason. What I have claimed is that Pope Paul Vl dismissed him because he believed him to be a Freemason – the distinction is an important one. It is possible that the evidence was not genuine and that the Pope was deceived.

Dossier

The sequence of events was as follows. A Roman priest of the very highest reputation came into possession of what he considered to be evidence proving Mgr Bugnini to be a Mason. He had this information placed in the hands of Pope Paul Vl by a cardinal, with a warning that if action were not taken at once he would be bound in conscience to make the matter public. The dismissal and exile of the Archbishop followed.

In La Riforma Liturgica, Mgr Bugnini states that he has never known for certain what induced the Pope to take such a drastic and unexpected decision, even after “having understandably knocked at a good many doors at all levels in the distressing situation that prevailed” (p. 100). He did discover that “a very high-ranking cardinal, who was not at all enthusiastic about the liturgical reform, disclosed the existence of a ‘dossier’, which he himself had seen (or placed) on the Pope’s desk, bringing evidence to support the affiliation of Mgr Bugnini to Freemasonry (p.101). This is precisely what I stated in my book, and I have not gone beyond these facts. I will thus repeat that Pope Paul Vl dismissed Archbishop Bugnini because he believed him to be a Mason.

Rumor

The question which then arises is whether the Archbishop was a conspirator or the victim of a conspiracy. He was adamant that it was the latter: “The disclosure was made in great secrecy, but it was known that the rumor was already circulating in the Curia. It was an absurdity, a pernicious slander. This time, in order to attack the purity of the liturgical reform, they tried morally to tarnish the purity of the secretary of the reform” (p.101-102).

Archbishop Bugnini wrote a letter to the Pope on 22 October 1975 denying any involvement with Freemasonry, or any knowledge of its nature or its aims. The Pope did not reply. This is of some significance in view of their close and frequent collaboration from 1964. The great personal esteem that the Pope had felt for the Archbishop is proved by his decision to appoint him as Secretary to the Consilium, and later to the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, despite the action taken against him during the previous pontificate.

Evidence

It is also very significant that the Vatican has never given any reason for the dismissal of Archbishop Bugnini, despite the sensation it caused, and it has never denied the allegations of Masonic affiliation. If no such affiliation had been involved in Mgr Bugnini’s dismissal, it would have been outrageous on the part of the Vatican to allow the charge to be made in public without saying so much as a word to exonerate the Archbishop.

I was able to establish contact with the priest who had arranged for the “Bugnini dossier” to be placed into the hands of Pope Paul Vl, and I urged him to make the evidence public. He replied: “I regret that I am unable to comply with your request. The secret which must surround the denunciation (in consequence of which Mgr Bugnini had to go!) is top secret and such it has to remain. For many reasons. The single fact that the above mentioned Monsignore was immediately dismissed from his post is sufficient. This means that the arguments were more than convincing.”

I very much regret that the question of Mgr Bugnini’s possible Masonic affiliation was ever raised as it tends to distract attention from the liturgical revolution which he masterminded. The important question is not whether Mgr Bugnini was a Mason but whether the manner in which Mass is celebrated in most parishes today truly raises the minds and hearts of the faithful up to almighty God more effectively than did the pre-conciliar celebrations. The traditional Mass of the Roman Rite is, as Father Faber expressed it, “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven.” The very idea that men of the second half of the twentieth century could replace it with something better, is, as Dietrich von Hildebrand has remarked, ludicrous.

Liturgy Destroyed

The liturgical heritage of the Roman Rite may well be the most precious treasure of our entire Western civilization, something to be cherished and preserved for future generations. The Liturgy Constitution of the Second Vatican Council stated that: “In faithful obedience to tradition, the sacred Council declares that Holy Mother Church holds all lawfully recognized rites to be of equal right and dignity, that she wishes to preserve them in future and foster them in every way.”

How has this command of the Council been obeyed? The answer can be obtained from Father Joseph Gelineau SJ, a Council peritus, and an enthusiastic proponent of the postconciliar revolution. In his book Demain la liturgie, he stated with commendable honesty, concerning the Mass as most Catholics know it today: “To tell the truth it is a different liturgy of the Mass. This needs to be said without ambiguity: the Roman Rite as we knew it no longer exists. It has been destroyed.” Even Archbishop Bugnini would have found it difficult to explain how something can be preserved and fostered by destroying it.

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The Infiltration of Modernism In The Church

The Infiltration of Modernism In The Church

The following conference was given by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre at Montreal, Canada in 1982. It demonstrates by personal experience the tragic corruption of modernism right from the time of Pope Pius XI. The Archbishop describes the extraordinary influence of Monsignor Annibale Bugnini in the framing of the New Mass and how his unprecedented daring brought about the “approval” of this protestantized liturgy. We present it to our readers to allow them to share a more personal viewpoint of the Archbishop’s battle for the Church and for the Faith.

Brief History  

I’m happy to remark that every where in the world, everywhere in the Catholic world, courageous people are uniting together around priests who are faithful to the Catholic faith and to the Catholic Church, so as to maintain Tradition, which is the bulwark of our Faith. If there is a movement as general as this it is because the situation in the Church is truly serious.

If Catholics and good priests, some of whom have served in parishes for thirty years to the great satisfaction of their parishioners, have been able to beat the insult of being treated as disobedient rebels and dissidents, it could have only have been so as to maintain the Catholic Faith. They do it knowingly, following the spirit of the martyrs.

Whether one is persecuted by one’s own brethren or by the enemies of the Church, it is still to suffer martyrdom, provided it be for the maintaining of the Faith. These priests and faithful are witnesses of the Catholic Faith. They prefer to be considered rebels and dissidents rather than lose their Faith.

Throughout the entire world we are in the presence of a tragic and unheard of situation, which seems never to have happened before in the history of the Church. We must at least try to explain this extraordinary phenomenon. How has it come to pass that good faithful and priests are obliged to fight to maintain the Catholic faith in a Catholic world, which is in the process of totally breaking up?

It was Pope Paul VI himself who spoke of self-destruction within the Church. What does this term self-destruction mean, if it is not that the Church is destroying herself by herself, and hence by her own members. This is already what Pope St. Pius X said in his first encyclical when he wrote: “Henceforth the enemy of the church is no longer outside the church, he is now within.” And the Pope did not hesitate to designate those places where he was to be found: “The enemy is found in the seminaries.” Consequently, the holy Pope St. Pius X already denounced the presence of the enemies of the Church in the seminaries at the beginning of the century.

Obviously the seminarians of the time, who where imbued with modernism, sillonism and progressivism, later became priests. Some of them even became Bishops and among them were even some Cardinals. One could quote the names of those who were seminarians at the beginning of the century and who are now dead but whose spirit was clearly modernist and progressivist.

Thus already Pope St. Pius X denounced this division in the Church, which was to be the beginning of a very real rupture within the Church and within the clergy.

I am no longer young. During my whole life as a seminarian, as a priest and as a Bishop I have seen this division. I saw it already at the French seminary at Rome where by the grace of God I was able to study. I must admit that I was not very keen to do my studies in Rome. I would personally have preferred to study with the seminarians of my diocese in the Lille Seminary and to become an assistant vicar, and finally a parish priest in a small country parish.

I longed simply to maintain the Faith in a parish. I saw myself somewhat as the spiritual father of a population to which I was sent to teach the Catholic Faith and morals. But it happened otherwise. After the First World War my brother was already at Rome, for he had been separated from the family by the circumstances of the war in the north of France. Consequently my parents insisted that I go to be with him. “Since your brother is already at Rome, at the French seminary, go and join him so as to continue your studies with him.” Thus I left for Rome. I studied at the Gregorian University from 1923 to 1930. I was ordained in 1929 and I remained as a priest at the seminary during one year.

The First Victims Of Modernism 

During my Seminary years tragic events took place, which now remind me of exactly what I lived through during the Council. I am now in practically the same situation as our Seminary Rector at the time. Fr. Le Floch. When I was there he had already been Rector of the French Seminary at Rome for thirty years. From Brittany, he was a very outstanding man and as strong and firm in the Faith as Brittany granite. He taught us the Papal encyclicals and the exact nature of the Modernism condemned by St. Pius X, the modern errors condemned by Leo XIII and the liberalism condemned by Pius IX. We liked our Fr. Le Floch very much. We were very attached to him.

But his firmness in doctrine and in Tradition obviously displeased the progressive wing. Progressive Catholics already existed at that time. The Popes had to condemn them.

Not only did Fr. Le Floch displease the progressives, but he also displeased the French government. The French government feared that by the intermediary of Fr. Le Floch and by that formation, which was given to the seminarians at the French Seminary in Rome traditional Bishops, would come to France and would give to the Church in France a traditional and clearly anti-liberal direction.

For the French government was Masonic and consequently profoundly liberal and frightened at the thought that non-liberal Bishops could take over the most important posts. Pressure was consequently exerted on the Pope so as to eliminate Fr. Le Floch. It was Francisque Gay, the future leader of the M.R.P., who was in charge of this operation. He came to Rome to exert pressure on Pope Pius XI, denouncing Fr. Le Floch as being, so he said, a member of.’Action Franaise” and a politician who taught his seminarians to also be members of “Action Franaise.’ This was all nothing but a lie. For three years I heard Fr. Le Floch in his spiritual conferences. Never did he speak to us of “Action Franaise.” Likewise people now say to me: “You were formerly a member of Action Franaise.’”  I have never been a member of “Action Franaise.”

Clearly we were accused of being members of “Action Franaise,” Nazis and fascists and every other pejorative label because we were anti-revolutionary and anti-liberal.

Thus an inquiry was made. The Cardinal Archbishop of Milan (Card. Schuster) was sent to the seminary. He wasn’t the least of the Cardinals. He was in fact a Benedictine of great holiness and intelligence. He had been designated by Pope Pius XI to make the inquiry at the French Seminary so as to determine if the accusations of Francisque Gay were true or not. The inquiry took place. The result was: the French Seminary functions perfectly well under the direction of Fr. Le Floch. We have absolutely nothing to reproach the Seminary Rector with. But this did not suffice.

Three months later a new inquiry was begun, this time with the order to do away with Fr. Le Floch. The new inquiry was made by a member of a Roman Congregation. He concluded, in effect, that Fr. Le Floch was a friend of “Action Franaise,” that he was dangerous for the Seminary and that he had to be asked to resign. This is just what happened.

In 1926 the Holy See requested Fr. Le Floch to kindly abandon his post as Rector of the French Seminary. He was overwhelmed with sorrow. Fr. Le Floch had never been a politician. He was traditional, attached to the doctrines of the Church and the Popes. In addition he had been a great friend of Pope St. Pius X, who had had great confidence in him. It was precisely because he was a friend of St. Pius X that he was the enemy of the progressive wing.

It was at the same time that I was at the French Seminary that Cardinal Billot was also attacked. He was a first class theologian at the time and remains today well known and studied in our Seminaries. Monseigneur Billot, Cardinal of the Holy Church, was deposed. The purple was taken away from him and he was sent away in penance to Castelgandolfo, quite close to Albano, where the Jesuits have a house. He was forbidden to leave under pretext of having connections with “Action Franaise.”

In fact Cardinal Billot never belonged to “Action Franaise.” He did, however, hold Naurras in high esteem and had cited him in his theology books. In the second volume concerning the Church (De Ecclesia), for example, Cardinal Billot accomplished a magnificent study of liberalism where he took, in the form of notes, several quotations from Maurras. This was a mortal sin! This was all they could find to depose Cardinal Billot. It is not a minor tragedy, for he was one of the great theologians of his time and yet he was deposed as a Cardinal and reduced to the state of a simple priest, for he was not a Bishop. (At that time there were still some Cardinal deacons.) It was already the persecution.

Pope Pius XI Underwent The Influence Of The Progressive Wing 

Pope Pius XI himself fell under the influence of the progressives who were already present in Rome. For we see a distinct difference from the Popes before and after. But nevertheless Pope Pius XI at the same time wrote some magnificent encyclicals. He was not a liberal. “Divini Redemptoris,” his encyclical against Communism was magnificent. So also was his encyclical on Christ the King, which established the feast of Christ The King and proclaimed the Social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. His encyclical on Christian Education is absolutely admirable and remains today a fundamental document for those who defend Catholic schools.

If on the level of doctrine Pope Pius XI was an admirable man, he was weak in the order of practical action. He was easily influenced. It is thus that he was very strongly influenced at the time of the Mexican Civil War and gave the Cristeros, who were in the process of defending the Catholic religion and combating for Christ the King, the order to have confidence in the government and to put down their arms. As soon as they had put down their arms they were all massacred. This horrifying massacre is still remembered today in Mexico. Pope Pius XI placed confidence in the government who deceived him. Afterwards, he was visibly very upset. He could not imagine how a government, which had promised to treat with honor those who defended their Faith, could have then gone on to massacre them. Thus thousands of Mexicans were killed on account of their Faith.

Already at the beginning of this century we find certain situations, which announce a division in the Church. Slowly we arrived at it, but the division was very definite just before the council.

Pope Pius XII was a great pope well in his writing as in his way of governing the Church. During the reign of Pius XII the Faith was firmly maintained. Naturally the liberals did not like him, for he brought back to mind the fundamental principles of theology and truth.

But then John XXIII came along. He had a totally different temperament than Pius XII. John XXIII was a very simple and open man. He did not see problems anywhere.

When he decided to hold a Synod Rome they said to him, “But Holy Father, a Synod has to be prepared. At least one year is necessary and perhaps two so as to prepare such a meeting, in order that numerous fruits be gained and that reforms be truly studied and then applied so that your diocese of Rome might draw profit from it. All this cannot be done straight away and in the space of two or three months followed by two weeks of meetings and then all will be fine. It is not possible.”

“Oh yes, yes I know, I know, but it going to be a small Synod. We can prepare it in a few months and everything will be just fine.”

Thus the Synod was rapidly prepared: a few commissions at Rome, everybody very busy and then two weeks of meetings and all was over with. Pope John XXIII was happy his small Synod had been held, but the results were nil. Nothing had changed in the diocese of Rome. The situation was exactly the same as before.

The Drifts Begins With The Council 

It was exactly the same thing for the Council. “I have the intention to hold a Council.” Already Pope Pius XII had been asked by certain Cardinals to hold a Council. But he had refused, believing that it was impossible. We cannot in our time hold a Council with 2,500 bishops. The pressures that can exercised by the mass media are too dangerous for us to dare hold a Council. We are liable to get out of depth. And there was in fact no Council.

But Pope John XXIII said: “But it’s fine: we don’t need to be pessimistic. You have to look on things with confidence. We will come together for three months with all the Bishops of the entire world. We will begin on October 13. Then everything will be over with between December 8 and January 25. Everybody will go home, and the Council will be over and done with.”

And so the Pope held the Council! Nevertheless it did have to be prepared. A Council cannot be held off the bat just like a Synod. It was indeed prepared two years in advance. I was personally named as a member of the Central Preparatory Commission as Archbishop of Dakar and president of the West African Episcopal Conference. I therefore came to Rome at least ten times during the two years so as to participate in the meetings of the Central Preparatory Commission.

It was very important, for all the documents of the secondary commissions had to come through it so as to be studied and submitted to the Council. There were in this commission seventy Cardinals and around twenty Archbishops and Bishops, as well as the experts. These experts were not members of the Commission, but were only present so they could eventually be consulted by the members.

The Appearance Of Division 

During these two years the meetings followed one another and it became clearly apparent for all the members present that there was a profound division within the Church itself. This profound division was not accidental or superficial but was even deeper amongst the Cardinals than amongst the Archbishops and Bishops. On the occasion of the casting of votes the conservative Cardinals could be seen to vote in one way and the progressive Cardinals in another. And all the votes were always more or less the same way. There was obviously a real division amongst the Cardinals.

I describe the following incident in one of my books A Bishop Speaks. I often mention it because it truly characterizes the end of the Central Commission and the beginning of the Council. It was during the last meeting, and we had received beforehand ten documents on the same subject. Cardinal Bea had prepared a text “De Libertate Religiosa,” “Concerning Religious Liberty.” Cardinal Ottaviani had prepared another, “De ‘Tolerantia Religiosa,” .’Concerning Religious Tolerance.’

The simple fact the two different titles on the same subject was significant of two different conceptions. Cardinal Bea spoke of freedom for all religions and Cardinal Ottaviani of freedom for the Catholic religion along with tolerance of error and false religions. How could such a disagreement have been resolved by the Commission?

From the beginning Cardinal Ottaviani pointed the finger at Cardinal Bea and said, “Your Eminence, you do not have the right to present this document.”

Cardinal Bea replied, “Excuse me but I have perfectly the right to put together a document as President of the Commission for Unity. Consequently, I have knowingly put together this document. Moreover, I am totally opposed to your opinion.”

Thus two of the most eminent Cardinals, Cardinal Ottaviani, Prefect of the Holy Office, and Cardinal Bea, former Confessor of Pope Pius XII, a Jesuit having a great deal of influence on all the Cardinals, who was well known in the Biblical Institute and responsible for advanced biblical studies, were opposed on a fundamental thesis in the Church. Unity for all religions is one thing, that is to say that liberty and error are placed on the same footing; but liberty of the Catholic religion along with tolerance of error is something quite different. Traditionally the Church has always been for the opinion of Cardinal Ottaviani and not for that of Cardinal Bea, which is totally liberal.

Then Cardinal Ruffini, from Palermo, stood up and said; “We are now in the presence of two confreres who are opposed to one another on a question which is very important in the Church. We are consequently obliged to refer to a higher authority.”

Quite often the Pope came to preside over our meetings. But he was not there for this last meeting. Consequently the Cardinals requested to vote: “We cannot wait to go and see the Holy Father. We are going to vote.” We voted. Just about one half of the Cardinals voted for the opinion of Cardinal Bea and the other half for that of Cardinal Ottaviani. All those who voted for Cardinal Bea’s opinion were the Dutch, German, French and Austrian Cardinals, and all those in general from Europe and North America. The traditional Cardinals were those of the Roman Curia, from South America and in general those of Spanish Language.

It was a true rupture in the Church. From this moment I asked myself how the Council could proceed with such opposition on such important points. Who would win? Would it be Cardinal Ottaviani with the Cardinals of Spanish or romance languages or would it be the European Cardinals and those of North America?

In effect, the battle began immediately, from the very first days of the Council. Cardinal Ottaviani had presented the list of members who had belonged to the preparatory commissions, leaving full freedom for each to chose those that he wanted. It was obvious that we could not all know one another, since each one came for his own diocese. How could one possibly know the 2,500 Bishops of the world? We were asked to vote for members of the commissions of the Council. But who could we chose? We did not know the Bishops from South America nor from South Africa nor from India.

Cardinal Ottaviani thought that Rome’s choices for the preparatory commissions could help as an indication for the Council Fathers. It was in fact quite normal to propose these.

Cardinal Lienart arose and said, “We do not accept this way of doing things. We ask for 48 hours to reflect, that we might know better those who could make up the different commissions. This is to exert pressure on the judgement of the Fathers. We do not accept it.”

The Council had begun only two days previously and already there was a violent opposition between the Cardinals. What had happened?

During these 48 hours the liberal Cardinals had already prepared lists made out from all the countries of the world. They distributed these in the letterboxes of all the Council Fathers. We had therefore all received a list proposing the members of such and such a commission; that is such a bishop and another etc. from different countries. Many said: “After all why not. I do not know them. Since the list is already ready we have simply to make use of it.” Forty-eight hours later it was the liberals’ list, which was in front. But it did not receive the two thirds of the votes, which were required by the Council rules.

What then would the Pope do? Would Pope John XXIII make an exception to the rules of the Council or would he apply them? Clearly the liberal Cardinals were afraid that he might apply them and so they ran to the Pope and said to him: “Listen, we have more than half the votes, nearly 60%. You cannot refuse that. We cannot keep going like this and hold another election. We will never be done with it. This is clearly the will of the majority of the Council and we have simply to accept it.” And Pope John XXIII accepted. From this beginning all the members of the Council commissions were chosen by the liberal wing. It is easy to imagine what an enormous influence this had on the Council.

I am sure Pope John XXIII died prematurely because of what he saw at the Council, although he had thought that at the end of a few months everything would be done with. It was to be a council of three months. Then all would say good-bye and go home happy for having met one another at Rome and for having had a nice little meeting.

He discovered that the Council was to be a world of itself, a world of continual clashes. No text came from the first session of the Council. Pope John XXIII was overwhelmed by this and I am persuaded that this hastened his death. It has even been said that on his deathbed he said: “Stop the Council; stop the Council.”

Pope Paul VI Gives His Support To The Liberals 

Pope Paul VI came along. It is obvious that he gave his support to the liberal wing. Why was that?

From the very beginning of his pontificate, during the second Session of the Council, he immediately named four Moderators. The four Moderators were to direct the Council instead of the ten Presidents who had presided during the first Session. The Presidents, one of whom had presided over one meeting and then the second and then the third, sat at a table higher than the others. But they were to become honorary Presidents. The four Moderators became the true Presidents of the Council.

Who were these moderators? Cardinal Dopfner of Munich was one. He was very progressive indeed and very ecumenical. Cardinal Suenens, whom the entire world knows along with his charismatics and who has given conferences in favor of the marriage of priests, was another. Cardinal Lercaro who is known for his philocommunism and whose Vicar General had been enrolled as a member of the Communist party was a third. Finally there was Cardinal Agagianian, who represented somewhat the traditional wing, if I can say so.

Cardinal Agagianian was a very discreet and self-effacing man. Consequently he had no real influence on the Council. But the three others accomplished their task with drums beating. They constantly brought together the liberal Cardinals, which gave considerable authority to the liberal wing of the Council.

Clearly the traditional Cardinals and Bishops were from this very moment put aside and despised.

When poor Cardinal Ottaviani, who was blind, started to speak, boos could be heard amongst the young Bishops when he did not finish at the end of the ten minutes allocated to him. Thus did they make him understand that they had had enough of listening to him. He had to stop; it was frightful. This venerable Cardinal, who was honored throughout Rome and who had had an enormous influence on the Holy Church, who was Prefect of the Holy Office, which is not a small function, was obliged to stop. It was scandalous to see how the traditionalists were treated.

Monseigneur Staffa (he has since been named Cardinal), who is very energetic, was silenced by the Council Moderators. These were unbelievable things.

Revolutions Of The Church 

This is what happened at the Council. It is obvious that all the Council documents and texts were influenced by the liberal Cardinals and Commissions. It is hardly astonishing that we have such ambiguous texts, which favor so many changes and even a true revolution in the Church.

Could we have done anything, we who represented the traditional wing of the Bishops and Cardinals? Frankly speaking, we could do little. We were 250 who favored the maintenance of Tradition and who were opposed to such major changes in the Church as false renewal, false ecumenism, false collegiality. We were opposed to all these things. These 250 bishops clearly brought some weight to bear and on certain occasions forced texts to be modified. Thus the evil was somewhat limited.

But we could not succeed in preventing certain false opinions from being adopted, especially in the schema on Religious Liberty, whose text was redone five times. Five times the same opinion was brought forward. We opposed it on each occasion. There were always 250 votes against. Consequently Pope Paul VI asked that two small sentences be added to the text, saying that there is nothing in this text which is contrary to the traditional teaching of the Church and that the Church remains always the true and the only Church of Christ.

Then the Spanish Bishops in particular said: “Since the Pope has made this statement there is no longer any problem. There is nothing against tradition.” If these things are contradictory then this little phrase contradicts everything, which is in the texts. It is a contradictory schema. We could not accept it. Finally there remained, if I remember well, only 74 bishops against. It is the only schema, which met such opposition, but 74 of 2,500 is little indeed!

Thus ended the Council. We should not be astonished at the reforms, which have been introduced since. Since then, everything is the history of Liberalism. The liberals were victorious within the Council for they demanded that Paul VI grant them places within the Roman Congregations. And in fact the important places were given to the progressive clergy. As soon as a Cardinal died or an occasion presented itself, Pope Paul VI would put aside traditional Cardinals, immediately replacing them with liberal ones.

Thus it is that Rome was occupied by the liberals. This is a fact, which cannot be denied. Nor can it be denied that the reforms of the Council were reforms which breathe the spirit of Ecumenism and which are quite simply Protestant, neither more nor less.

The Liturgical Reform 

The most serious of the consequences was the liturgical reform. It was accomplished, as everybody knows, by a well-known priest, Bugnini, who had prepared it long in advance. Already in 1955 Fr. Bugnini had asked Msgr. Pintonello, general Chaplain of the Italian army, who had spent much time in Germany during the occupation, to translate Protestant liturgical texts. For Fr. Bugnini did not know German.

It was Msgr. Pintonello himself who told me that he had translated the Protestant liturgical books for Fr. Bugnini, who at that time was but an insignificant member of a liturgical commission. He was nothing. Afterwards he became professor of liturgy at the Lateran. Pope John XXIII made him leave on account of his modernism and his progressivism. Hence surprise, surprise, and he is found again as President of the Commission for, Liturgical Reform. This is all the same, unbelievable.

I had the occasion to see for myself what influence Fr. Bugnini had. One wonders how such a thing as this could have happened at Rome. At that time immediately after the Council, I was Superior General of the Congregation of the Fathers of the Holy Ghost and we had a meeting of the Superiors General at Rome. We had asked Fr. Bugnini explain to us what his New Mass was, for this was not at all a small event. Immediately after the Council was heard of the Normative Mass, the New Mass, the Novus Ordo. What did all this mean?

It had not been spoken of at the Council. What had happened? And so we asked Fr. Bugnini to come and explain himself to the 84 Superiors General who were united together, amongst whom I consequently was.

Fr. Bugnini, with much confidence, explained what the Normative Mass would be; this will be changed, that will be changed and we will put in place another Offertory. We will be able to reduce the communion prayers. We will be able to have several different formats for the beginning of Mass. We will be able to say the Mass in the vernacular tongue. We looked at one another saying to ourselves: “But it’s not possible!”

He spoke absolutely, as if there had never been a Mass in the Church before him. He spoke of his Normative Mass as of a new invention.

Personally I was myself so stunned that I remained mute, although I generally speak freely when it is a question of opposing those with whom I am not in agreement. I could not utter a word. How could it be possible for this man before me to be entrusted with the entire reform of the Catholic Liturgy, the entire reform of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, of the sacraments, of the Breviary, and of all our prayers? Where are we going? Where is the Church going?

Two Superiors General had the courage to speak out. One of them asked Fr. Bugnini: “Is this an active participation, that is a bodily participation, that is to say with vocal prayers, or is it a spiritual participation? In any case you have so much spoken of the participation of the faithful that it seems you can no longer justify Mass celebrated without the faithful. Your entire Mass has been fabricated around the participation of the faithful. We Benedictines celebrate our Masses without the assistance of the faithful. Does this mean that we must discontinue our private Masses, since we do not have faithful to participate in them?”

I repeat to you exactly that which Fr. Bugnini said. I have it still in my ears, so much did it strike me: “To speak truthfully we didn’t think of that,” he said!

Afterwards another arose and said: “Reverend Father, you have said that we will suppress this and we will suppress that, that we will replace this thing by that and always by shorter prayers. I have the impression that your new Mass could be said in ten or twelve minutes or at the most a quarter of an hour. This is not reasonable. This is not respectful towards such an act of the Church.”  Well, this is what he replied: “We can always add something.” Is this for real? I heard it myself. If somebody had told me the story I would perhaps have doubted it, new I heard it myself.

Afterwards, at the time at which this Normative Mass began to be put into practice, I was so disgusted that we met with some priests and theologians in a small meeting. From it came the “Brief Critical Study,” which was taken to Cardinal Ottaviani. I presided that small meeting. We said to ourselves: “We must go and find the Cardinals. We cannot allow this to happen without reacting.”

So I myself went to find the Secretary of State, Cardinal Cicognani, and I said to him: “Your Eminence, you are not going to allow this to get through, are you? It’s not possible. What is this New Mass? It is a revolution in the Church, a revolution in the Liturgy.”

Cardinal Cicognani, who was the Secretary of State of Pope Paul VI, placed his head between his hands and said to me: “Oh Monseigneur, I know well. I am in full agreement with you; but what can I do? Fr. Bugnini goes in to the office of the Holy Father and makes him sign what he wants.” It was the Cardinal Secretary of State who told me this! Therefore the Secretary of State, the number two person in the Church after the Pope himself, was placed in a position of inferiority with respect to Fr. Bugnini. He could enter into the Pope’s office when he wanted and make him sign what he wanted.

This can explain why Pope Paul VI signed texts that he had not read. He told Cardinal Journet that he had done this. Cardinal Journet was a deep thinker, Professor at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, and a great theologian. When Cardinal Journet saw the definition of the Mass in the instruction, which precedes the Novus Ordo, he said: ”This definition of the Mass is unacceptable; I must go to Rome to see the Pope.” He went and he said: “Holy Father you cannot allow this definition. It is heretical. You cannot leave your signature on a document like this.” The Holy Father replied to him (Cardinal Journet did not tell me himself but he told someone who repeated it to me): ”Well, to speak truthfully I did not read it. I signed it without reading it.”  Evidently, if Fr. Bugnini had such an influence on him it’s quite possible. He must have said to the Holy Father: ”You can sign it”. “But did you look it over carefully”. ”Yes, you can go ahead and sign it.” And he signed.

But this document did not go through the Holy Office. I know this because Cardinal Seper himself told me that he was absent when the Novus Ordo was edited and that it did not pass by the Holy Office. Hence it is indeed Fr. Bugnini who obtained the Pope’s signature and who perhaps constrained him. We do not know, but he had without a doubt an extraordinary influence over the Holy Father.

A third fact, of which I was myself the witness, with respect to Fr. Bugnini is also astonishing. When permission was about to be give for Communion in the hand (what a horrible thing!), I said to myself that I could not sit by without saying anything. I must go and see Cardinal Gut -a Swiss -who was Prefect of the Congregation for Worship. I therefore went to Rome, where Cardinal Gut received me in a very friendly way and immediately said to me: “I’m going to make my second-in- charge, Archbishop Antonini, come that he also might hear what you have to say.”

As we spoke I said: “Listen, you who are responsible for the Congregation for Worship, are you going to approve this decree which authorizes Communion in the hand? Just think of all the sacrileges, which it is going to cause. Just think of the lack of respect for the Holy Eucharist, which is going to spread throughout the entire Church. You cannot possibly allow such a thing to happen. Already priests are beginning to give Communion in this manner. It must be stopped immediately. And with this New Mass they always take the shortest canon, that is the second one, which is very brief”

At this, Cardinal Gut said to Archbishop Antonini, “See, I told you this would happen and that priests would take the shortest canon so as to go more quickly and finish the Mass more quickly.”

Afterwards Cardinal Gut said to me: “Monseigneur, if one were to ask my opinion (when he said “one” he was speaking of the Pope, since nobody was over him except the Pope), but I’m not certain it is asked of me (don’t forget that he was Prefect for the Congregation for Worship and was responsible for everything which was related to Worship and to the Liturgy!), but if the Pope were to ask for it, I would place myself on my knees, Monseigneur, before the Pope and I would say to him: ‘Holy Father do not do this; do not sign this decree.’ I would cast myself on my knees, Monseigneur. But I do not know that I will be asked. For it is not I who command here.”

This I heard with my own ears. He was making allusion to Bugnini, who was the third in the Congregation for Worship. There was first of all Cardinal Gut, then Archbishop Antonini and then Fr. Bugnini, President of the Liturgical Commission. You ought to have heard that! Alas, you can now understand my attitude when I am told; you are a dissident and disobedient rebel.

Infiltrators In The Church To Destroy It 

Yes, I am a rebel. Yes, I am a dissident. Yes, I am disobedient to people like those Bugninis. For they have infiltrated themselves into the Church in order to destroy it. There is no other explanation.

Are we then going to contribute to the destruction of the Church? Will we say: “Yes, yes, amen’; even if it is the enemy who has penetrated right to the Holy Father and who is ableot; make the Holy Father sign what he wants? We don’t really know under what pressure he did it. There are hidden things, which clearly escape us. Some say that it is Freemasonry. It’s possible. I do not know. In any case, there is a mystery.

How can a priest who is not a Cardinal, who is not even a Bishop, who was still very young at the time and who was elevated against the will of Pope John XXIII (who had chased him from the Lateran University), how can such a priest go to the very top without taking any account of the Cardinal Secretary of State, nor of the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Worship? How can he go directly to the Holy Father and make him sign what he wants? Such a thing has never before been seen in the Holy Church. Everything should go through the authorities. That is why there are Commissions. Files are studied. But this man was all powerful!

It was he who brought in Protestant pastors to change our Mass. It was not Cardinal Gut. It was not the Cardinal Secretary of State. It was perhaps not even the Pope. It was him. Who is this man Bugnini? One day the former Abbot of St. Paul Outside the Walls, a Benedictine who had preceded Fr. Bugnini as head of the Liturgical Commission, said to me: “Monseigneur, do not speak to me of Fr. Bugnini. I know too much about him. Do not ask me about him.” I replied: “But tell me. I must know it. The truth must be uncovered.” It is probably he who asked John XXIII to send him away from the Lateran University.

All of these things show us that the enemy has penetrated right within the Church, as St. Pius X already said. He is in the highest places, as Our Lady of La Salette announced, and as without a doubt the third secret of Fatima tells us.

Well, if the enemy is truly within the Church, must we obey him? “Yes, for he represents the Pope,” is a frequent answer. First of all we do not know this at all, for we do not know exactly what the Pope thinks.

I have, all the same, some personal proofs that Pope Paul VI was very much influenced by Cardinal Villot. It has been said that Cardinal Villot was a Freemason. I do not know. There are some strange facts. Letters of Freemasons addressed to Cardinal Villot have been photocopied. I do not have the proof of it. In any case, Cardinal Villot had a considerable influence over the Pope. He concentrated all power at Rome within his own hands. He became the master much more than the Pope. I do know that everything had to go through him.

One day I went to see Cardinal Wright with respect to the Canadian Catechism. I said to him: “Look at this catechism. Are you aware of those little books, which are entitled ‘Purture’? It’s abominable that children are taught to break away. They must break with their family, with society, with tradition. ..this is the catechism, which is taught to the children of Canada with the Imprimatur of Monseigneur Couderc. It’s you who are responsible for catechism in the entire world. Are you in agreement with this catechism?“No, no,” he said to me: “This catechism is not Catholic” -“It is not Catholic! Then immediately tell the Canadian Bishops’ Conference. Tell them to stop and to throw this catechism in the fire and to take up the true catechism.” His answer was: “How can I oppose myself to a Bishops’ Conference?”

I then said: “It’s over and done with. There is no more authority in the Church. It’s over and done with. If Rome can no longer say anything to a Bishops’ Conference, even if it is in the process of destroying children’s Faith, then it’s the end of the Church.”

That is where we are now. Rome is afraid of the Bishops’ Conferences. These conferences are abominable. In France the Bishops’ Conference has been involved in a campaign in favor of contraception. The Socialist Government, which is constantly advertising on the television the slogan: “Take the pill so as to prevent abortions,” got them involved, I think. They had nothing better to do than push crazy propaganda in favor of the pill. The cost of the pill is reimbursed for girls of only twelve years, so as to avoid abortion! And the bishops approve! Official documents in favor of contraception can be found in the Tulle diocese bulletin, which is my former diocese, and which bulletin I continue to receive This came from Bishop Bruneau, a former Superior General of the Sulpicians. He is supposedly one of the best Bishops of France. It’s like that!

Why Do I Not Obey Error? 

What should I do? I am told: “You must obey. You are disobedient. You do not have the right to continue doing what you are doing, for you divide the Church.”

What is a law? What is a decree? What obliges to obedience? A law, Leo XIII says, is the ordering of reason to the common good, but not towards the common evil. This is so obvious that if a rule is ordered towards an evil, then it is no longer a law. Leo XIII said this explicitly in his encyclical “Libertas.” A law, which is not for the common good, is not a law. Consequently one is not obliged to obey it.

Many canon lawyers at Rome say that Bugnini’s Mass is not a law. There was no law for the New Mass. It is simply an authorization, or a permit. Let us accept, for argument’s sake, that there was a law, which came from Rome, an ordering of reason to the common good and not to the common evil. But the New Mass is in the process of destroying the Church, of destroying the Faith. It’s obvious. The Archbishop of Montreal, Archbishop Grgoire, in a letter, which was published, was very courageous. He is one of the rare bishops who dared write a letter in which he denounced the evils of which the Church of Montreal is suffering. “We are greatly saddened to see parishes abandoned by a great number of the faithful. We attribute this, in great part, to the liturgical reform.” He had the courage to say it.

We are in the presence of a true plot within the church on the part of the Cardinals themselves, such as Cardinal Knox, who made that famous inquiry concerning the Tridentine Latin Mass throughout the entire world. It was a clear and obvious lie, so as to influence Pope John Paul II that he might say: “If there are such a small number who want Tradition, it will fall away by itself. His investigation was worth nothing.” Yet the Pope, at the time that he received me in audience in November of 1978, was ready to sign an agreement according to which priests could celebrate the mass they choose. He was ready to sign that.

But there is at Rome a group of Cardinals bitterly opposed to Tradition. Cardinal Casaroli the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Religious and Cardinal Baggio, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops who has the very important responsibility of nominating bishops, are amongst them. Then there is the infamous Virgilio Noe who is the second-in- charge for the Congregation for Worship and who is perhaps worse even than Bugnini. And then there is Cardinal Hamer, the Belgian Archbishop who is second in charge of the Holy Office, who comes from the region of Loops n and is imbued with all the modern ideas of Louvain. They were bitterly opposed to Tradition. They did not want to hear us speak about it. I believe that they would have strangled me if they could.

At Least Leave Us Liberty 

They league together against me as soon as they know I am making an effort to obtain from the Holy Father the freedom for Tradition. Just leave us in peace; just leave us to pray as Catholics have prayed for centuries; just leave us to continue what we learned in the seminary; just leave us to continue that which you yourselves learned when you were young, that is to say the best way to sanctify ourselves.

This is what we were taught at the Seminary. I taught this when I was a priest. When I became a bishop I myself said this to my priests, to all my priests and to all my seminarians. This is what you need to do to become a saint. Love the holy sacrifice of the Mass, which is given to us by the Church. Be devoted to her sacraments and her catechism, and especially change nothing. Keep Tradition. Keep to the Tradition, which has lasted for twenty centuries. It is that which sanctifies us. It is that which sanctified the saints. But now all has been changed. This cannot be. Just leave us at least freedom!

Obviously, when they hear this they immediately go to the Holy Father and say to him: “Concede nothing to Archbishop Lefebvre, grant nothing to Tradition. Especially do not back down.”

Since these are the most important Cardinals, such as Cardinal Casaroli the Secretary of State the Pope does not dare. There are some Cardinals who would be rather more in favor of an agreement, such as Cardinal Ratzinger. It is he who replaced Cardinal Seper who died at Christmas of 1981. Cardinal Ratzinger was nevertheless very liberal at the time of the Council. He was a friend of Rahner, of Hans Kung, and of Schillebeeckx. But his nomination as Archbishop of the diocese of Munich seemed to open his eyes somewhat. He is now certainly much more aware of the danger of the reforms and more desirous of returning to traditional rules, along with Cardinal Palazzini who is in charge of the Congregation for Beatifications and Cardinal Oddi who is in charge of the Congregation for the Clergy. These three cardinals would be in favor of allowing us freedom. But the others have still a great deal of influence over the Holy Father…

I was at Rome five weeks ago, so as to see Cardinal Ratzinger who was named by the Pope to replace Cardinal Seper as a personal intermediary for relations with the Society and myself. Cardinal Seper had been named on the occasion of the audience, which Pope John Paul II granted me. The Pope had made Cardinal Seper come and had said to him: “Your Eminence, you will have the job of maintaining relations between Archbishop Lefebvre and myself. You will be my intermediary.” Now he has named Cardinal Ratzinger.

I went to see him and I spoke with him during an hour and three quarters. Certainly Cardinal Ratzinger seems more positive and more willing to come to a good solution. The only difficulty, which remains rather troublesome, is the Mass. Ultimately it has always been a question of the Mass, right from the beginning.

For they know very well that I am not against the Council. There are some things, which I cannot accept in the Council. I did not sign the schema on Religious Liberty. I did not sign the schema on the Church in the modern world. But it cannot be said that I am against the Council. These are things, which cannot be accepted because they are contrary to Tradition. This ought not to upset them too much, since the Pope himself said: “The Council must be looked at in the light of Tradition.” If the Council is to be accepted in the light of Tradition I am not at all upset.

I will readily sign this, because everything, which is contrary to Tradition, is clearly to be rejected. During the audience, which the Pope granted me (-on November 18, 1978 – Ed.), he asked me: “Are you ready to sign this formula?” I replied: “You yourself used it and I am ready to sign it.” Then he said: “Then there are no doctrinal differences between us? ” I replied: “I hope not.” – “Now what problems remain? Do you accept the Pope?” – “Of course we recognize the Pope and we pray for the Pope in our Seminaries. Ours are perhaps the only seminaries in the world where the Pope is prayed for. We have a great deal of respect for the Pope. Each time the Pope has asked me to come I have always come. But there is a difficulty concerning the liturgy,” I said to him, “which is truly very important. The new liturgy is in the process of destroying the Church and the Seminaries. This is a very important question.” – “But not at all. This is but a disciplinary question. It is not very serious at all. If this is the only problem. I believe that it can be fixed up.”

And the Pope called Cardinal Seper, who came immediately. If he had not come I believe that the Pope would have been ready to sign an agreement. Cardinal Seper came, and the Pope said to him: “I believe that it should not be so difficult to make an agreement with Archbishop Lefebvre. I believe that we can come to an agreement. There is just the question of the liturgy which is a little thorny.” – “But, concede nothing to Archbishop Lefebvre,” cried out the Cardinal. “They make of the Tridentine Mass a flag.” – “A flag?” I said. “But of course the holy mass is the flag of our Faith, the ‘mysterium fidei.’    It is the great mystery of our Faith. It is obvious that it is our flag, for it is the expression of our Faith.”

This made a profound impression on the Holy Father, who appeared to change almost immediately. In my opinion this showed that the Pope is not a strong man. If he had been a strong man he would have said: “It is I who am going to decide this matter. We are going to fix things up.” But no. Immediately he became as if were afraid. He became fearful, and when he left his office he said to Cardinal Seper: “You can speak together right now. You can try to make an arrangement h Arch- bishop Lefebvre. You can stay here. But I am obliged to go and see Cardinal Baggio. He has very many files to show me concerning Bishops. I must leave.” As he left he said to me: “Stop, Monseigneur, stop.” He was transformed. In a few minutes he had completely changed.

It was during this audience that I had shown him a letter that I had received from a Polish Bishop. He had written to me a year beforehand in order to congratulate me for the Seminary I had founded at Econe and for the priests that I was forming. He wished that I maintain the old Mass with all its Tradition. He added that he was not the only one. We are several Bishops who admire you, who admire your Seminary, the formation that you give to your priests and the Tradition that you maintain within the Church. For we are obliged to use the new liturgy, which makes our faithful lose the Faith.

That is what the Polish Bishop said. I took this letter with me when I went to see the Holy Father, saying to myself: “He will surely speak to me of Poland.” I was not wrong. He said to me: “But you know, in Poland all is going very well. Why do you not accept the reforms? In Poland there are no problems. People are simply sorry to have lost the Latin. We were very attached to Latin, because it bound us to Rome and we are very Roman. It is a pity, but what can I do? There is no longer any Latin in the Seminaries nor in the Breviary nor in the Mass. There is no more Latin. It’s quite un facunate, but it’s just like that. You see, in Poland these reforms were made and they did not create any difficulty. Our seminaries are full, and our Churches are full.”

I said to the Holy Father: ”Allow me to show you a letter I received from Poland.” I showed it to him. When he saw the name of the Bishop he said: “Oh, this is the greatest of the communists’ enemies.” -“It’s a good reference,” I said. The Pope read the letter carefully. I watched his face in order to see how he would react to those words which were twice repeated in the letter: “We are obliged to use the liturgical reform which makes our faithful lose the Faith.” Obviously the Pope could not accept this. At the end he said to me: “Did you receive this letter just like that? – “Yes, this is a photocopy that I bring to you.” – “It must be a fake,” he replied.

What could I say? I could no longer say anything. The Pope said to me: “You know, the Communists are very cunning in their efforts to provoke divisions among the Bishops.” So according to him this was a letter fabricated by the Communists and then sent to me. I am very doubtful about this. This letter was posted in Austria, for I imagine that the author was afraid that the Communists would intercept it and that it would not arrive. That is why he posted it in Austria. I replied to the Bishop but I heard nothing more from him.

All this is to say that I think that there are even in Poland profound divisions. Moreover, there have always been divisions between the peace priests and those who wish to hold fast to Tradition. This has been tragic behind the iron curtain.

The Communist Influence On Rome 

You ought to read the book “Moscow and the Vatican,” by the Jesuit, Father Lepidi. It is extraordinary. It shows the influence that the Communists had in Rome, and how they were responsible for the nomination of Bishops and even of two Cardinals: Cardinal Lekai and Cardinal Tomaseck. Cardinal Lekai, was the successor of Cardinal Mindszenty, and Cardinal Tomaseck was the successor of Cardinal Beran. Both Cardinal Mindszenty and Cardinal Beran were heroes and martyrs for the Faith. They were replaced by peace priests who were determined above everything else to come to an understanding with the Communist government who persecuted traditional priests. These traditional priests went secretly to baptize in the countryside or to secretly catechize so as to continue their work as pastors in the Catholic Church, and yet they were persecuted by their Bishops, who said to them: “You do not have the right not to respect the rules of the Communist government. You do us a disfavor by acting against its laws.”

But these priests were ready to give their life so as to keep the Faith of children, so as to keep Faith in families, and so as to give sacraments to those who had need of them. Obviously in these countries one had always to ask for authorizations, if one wanted to carry the Blessed Sacrament to a hospital or to do anything at all. As soon as they left their sacristy these priests were obliged to ask the Communist party if it authorized them to do this or that. This was impossible. People died without the sacraments. Children were no longer educated in a Christian way. So the priests had to do these things in secret. If they were caught it was often because the Bishops themselves persecuted them. It’s frightening.

Neither Cardinal Wyszynski nor Cardinal Slipyi nor Cardinal Mindszenty nor Cardinal Beran would have done such things as these. They, to the contrary, encouraged good priests, saying to them: “Go ahead, go ahead. If you are put into prison you will have done your duty as a priest. If you must die martyrs then you will be martyrs.”

This shows how much influence they had on Rome. We have great difficulty in imagining it. We cannot even believe it.

I have never been against the Pope. I have never said that the Pope is not the Pope. I am absolutely for the Pope, for the successor of Peter. I do not want to separate myself from Rome. But I am against modernism, progressivism, and all the bad and destructive influences, which Protestantism has had via the reforms. I am against all those reforms, which poison us and poison the life of the faithful.

Thus I am told: “You are against the Pope.” No, I am not against the Pope To the contrary, I come to help the Pope. For the Pope cannot be modernist; he cannot be progressivist. Even if he allows himself to be pushed around, it is by weakness. This can happen. St. Peter also was weak with respect to the Jews. And St. Paul severely reproached him for: “You do not walk according to the Gospel,” he said to St. Peter. St. Peter was the Pope and St. Paul reproached him. And he did it vigorously: “I reproached the head of the Church because he was not walking according to the law of the Gospel.” It was a grave thing to say this to the Pope.

St. Catherine of Siena also vehemently reproached several Popes. We must have the same attitude. We say: “Holy Father, you are not doing your duty. You must return to Tradition to be persecuted by all those Cardinals and Bishops who are modernists you are going to bring about the ruin of the Church.”

I am sure that in his heart the Pope is profoundly concerned and that he seeks for a means to renew the Church. I hope that by our prayers and sacrifices and the prayers of those who love the Holy Church and who love the Pope we will succeed.

This will be especially by devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. If we pray to Our Lady, she who cannot abandon her Son, she who cannot abandon the Church that her Son founded, the mystical Spouse of her Son, we will be answered. It will be difficult and a miracle, but we will succeed.

As for myself, I do not want people to make me say that the New Mass is good, but that it is simply less good than the Traditional Mass. I cannot say that. I cannot say that these modern sacraments are good. They were made by Protestants. They were made by Bugnini. And Bugnini himself said on March 19, 1965, as can still be read in the “Osservatore Romano” and in “Documentation Catholique,” which magazines published a translation of Bugnini’s discourse:

“We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is for the Protestants.”

This was on March 19, 1965, just before all the reforms. Can we go to the Protestants and ask them concerning the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, concerning d toour catechism? In what are you not in agreement? Do you not like this or do you not like that? …Well we will suppress it. This is not possible. It would perhaps not be heretical to do so, but the Catholic Faith would be diminished. Thus it is that people no longer believe in Limbo, in Purgatory and in Hell. Original sin is no longer believed in, neither are the angels. Grace is not believed in. People no longer speak of that which is supernatural. Our Faith is being destroyed.

So we must absolutely maintain our Faith and pray to the most Blessed Virgin Mary. We desire to undertake a giant task, and without the help of the good Lord we will never be able to accomplish it. I am certainly aware of my weakness and of my isolation. What can I do by myself compared to the Pope or the Cardinals? I do not know. I go as a pilgrim, with my pilgrim’s staff. I am going to say “keep the Faith.” Keep the Faith. Be rather a martyr then abandon your Faith. You must keep the sacraments and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

You cannot say: “But it is all different now. It is not too bad after all. As for me, I have a solid Faith and I’m not likely to lose it.” For it is clear that those who habitually attend the New Mass and the new sacraments undergo a gradual change of mentality. After a few years it will become apparent in questioning somebody who goes regularly to this new ecumenical Mass that he has adopted its ecumenical spirit. This means that he ends up by placing all religions on the same footing. If he is asked whether one can save oneself through Protestantism, through Buddhism, or through Islam he will reply: “But of course. All religions are good.” And there you have it. He has become liberal and Protestant and is no longer Catholic.

There is only one religion. There are not two of them. If Our Lord is God and founded a religion, the Catholic Religion, there can be no other religion. It is not possible. The other religions are false. That is why Cardinal Ottaviani used the title: “Concerning Religious Tolerance.”

Errors can be tolerated when they cannot be prevented. But they cannot be placed on to dame footing as the truth. There could then be no missionary spirit. The missionary spirit could not then be possible. If all the false religions save souls then why go out on mission? What is one going to do there? We have only to leave them in their religion and they are going to all save themselves. This is not possible. What, then, has the Church done for twenty centuries? Why all the martyrs? Why were they all massacred on the mission? Did the missionaries waste their time? Did the martyrs waste their blood and their lives? We cannot accept that.

We must remain Catholic. The slide into ecumenism is very dangerous. Easily one falls into a religion, which is no longer the Catholic religion.

I sincerely wish that all could be witnesses of Our Lord, of the Catholic Church of the Faith, and of Catholicism, even if we have to be despised and insulted in the newspapers, in the parishes and in the churches. What does it matter? We are witnesses of the Catholic Church. We are the true sons of the Catholic Church and true sons of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

+ Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre

(Translated from Fideliter, Janvier-Fevrier 1992,)

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Modern Secularism: Faith And Unfaith In The Modern Age

Modern Secularism: Faith And Unfaith In The Modern Age
G. M. Jackson, M. A. 

Chapter I

Faith And Unfaith In The Modern Age

From the earliest ages, men have differed from one another in their conceptions of Divinity, their notions varying according to the degree of their intelligence and the level of their culture, and being affected by manifold other factors in their lives and circumstances. The overwhelming consensus of mankind, however, has been that a spiritual order existed, and interpenetrated our visible world: that the establishment of a right relationship with that order was a matter of overwhelming importance, both to individuals and to the community. Man could not live well – or be safe from disaster of varied kinds – unless he rendered this due to the hidden Powers which overshadowed his life, and exercised their secret control over the material world, which was commonly regarded as “the garment of the living Spirit.”

All the controversies of yesterday were between men who agreed, at least, upon the existence and importance of this Divine Order. This belief formed a basis of unity for Christians of every kind; and it linked Christendom with Judaism and Islam, and with the Platonist and Aristotelian philosophies, as well as with the pagan world of the Gentiles in Asia, Africa and America. To be sure, there were to be found a handful of disbelievers here and there – especially among highly civilized peoples: while there were a larger number of “worldlings” whose lives were conducted with small regard for anything but mundane motives and expediency. But one of the features of the modern world which seems to be new in the history of mankind is the systematic attempt which has been, and still is being made to expel or exclude the “spiritual idea” and its implications from the whole body of a civilization; an attempt which has, actually, achieved a very substantial degree of success.

Not only is full and clear belief in God more frequently absent from human lives than ever before, but the whole background of thought in which that belief is found is now very commonly rejected. It has become a basic assumption in our Western world that the temporal and material order is the only one of which we need to take practical account in our way of life, whether as individuals or as communities.

This assumption, it must be emphasized, is not peculiar to avowedly atheistic systems of thought like Communism: it underlies all the principal “ideologies” which have been contending for world power during the present 20 century: Fascism, Communism, Socialism and Democratic Liberalism as understood by many of its adherents. True, the “materialism” of these movements conceals an undercurrent of idealism whose origin is spiritual – and which gives them their driving force: but this force tends to grow weaker as the “perfume of the empty jar” of the rejected religious tradition gradually fades away, and the implications of a purely “space-and-time” view of man as a planetary social animal are realized in thought, and made the basis of action.

About the ultimate results of this process I shall have some reflections to make shortly: meanwhile I must re-emphasize the rampant fact of materialism of which any man of vivid and realistic supernatural faith must be aware in the world surrounding him – both in “new lands” like Australia and the United States, and in the older Western communities of Europe. Its outlook and values are reflected in our political and social life, in our press, radio, television, literature and cultural institutions, and in the day-to-day life of millions of our fellow-men. Just as the Western culture of the Middle Ages was Christian and Catholic, so the culture of our modern era is “secularist,” treating religious truth, in effect, as non-existent.

The Two Worlds 

The life of Faith, of course, continues to survive in the midst of this secularist civilization. We have – as Rosalind Murray has well said – “Two separate mental worlds, each self-contained” which exist side by side, intersecting and overlapping, though no more fusing than oil and water. Those who belong to one or the other are, in general, externally indistinguishable. They live side by side: they work together in office or bench or field: sometimes they are members of one family, or even sharers of one marriage-bed. Yet, spiritually, they remain poles apart: and it is becoming harder than ever to establish spiritual contact between one side and the other.

The Christian warriors and “Paynim” Moslems of the crusading era were far nearer akin to one another than many who dwell in constant and apparently intimate association in our own world.

We have said that the man of real faith cannot fail to be aware of this secret division between belief and non-belief. It is, however, largely ignored or treated as unimportant by public opinion and the organs through which that opinion is formed and expressed. Moreover, the attitude of “those who profess and call themselves Christians” reveals too often the unconscious infection of their thought by the prevailing tone of the world.

They are, it seems, reconciled to this anomalous situation as though it were normal: and they, too, are accustomed to talk, act and think about everyday affairs as though the differences of basic attitude to life were of no particular account. It is taken for granted that political views, nationality, social class, intellect, taste, differences of technical knowledge and skill are important in classifying human beings: but classification according to “religious opinion” is regarded as giving undue importance to a purely private matter which has – or ought to have – no social significance. In the case of teachers, for instance, it is commonly assumed that “religious tests” are not only objectionable, but unnecessary – the official Catholic view to the contrary is regarded as reactionary bigotry.

To the secular world it does not matter whether these people believe in God or not, so long as they can do their job without making life uncomfortable by insisting on their personal views about its meaning and purpose.

The Secularist Mind and Religious Persecution 

Indeed, the typical secular-minded “Modern Man” has become so profoundly alienated from religion that it is incomprehensible to him that anyone can truly regard the order of things with which believers are concerned as real and of ultimate importance. When the fact of religious persecution or conflict is presented to him in the modern world, his first reaction is one of sheer disbelief. The stories are “propaganda,” invented to discredit the movements accused of intolerance. When the mass of evidence presented makes it impossible for him to hold this opinion any longer, he tries to interpret the conflict in terms of secularist “realism.” The Christian is a victim because he is suspected of Fascism, or “reactionary associations”; the militant “anti-God” atheism of the U.S.S.R. and Red Peking is a party-gesture which he deplores but explains away, treating it as without fundamental human or social significance, and therefore unfit for more than passing attention.

The “real” issue – as seen by most of the foes as well as the friends of Communism in this country – has no relation to this side of Red activity: it is concerned rather with questions like whether Soviet planning works efficiently or not, and whether the new “world order” which the Marxist-Leninist Revolution proposes to establish will be comfortable from the point of view of man’s peace and social well-being, and will help or hinder his “progress” in the sciences. Again, there is vivid interest in the possibilities of a compromise which will enable the Communist and Democratic-“Capitalist” ways of life to flourish side by side: or in that of a modification of the Communist ideology so that its adherents may pursue their objectives in a humane and efficient way, without resorting to the nastiness of police-terrorism, servile labour and armed blackmail and aggression.

If some change of this sort could be accomplished, the great multitude of our people, as well as their leaders, would be perfectly satisfied. They are entirely uninterested in the tragedy of the mass- destruction of spiritual belief and religious tradition by deliberate, organized pressure on the part of atheistic authorities: and – generally speaking – they regard the improvement of “living standards” and literacy as more than compensating for the destruction of human faith and hope and the vision of spiritual truth. And this multitude of secularist-minded people includes a large body of those who would profess themselves “believers” in God, and even in the Christian religion.

Tolerance and Intolerance 

The secular assumption of the unimportance and unreality of religion is behind all the current smooth language about “agreeing to differ,” “living and letting live” and the rest of it. In effect, the believer is told that no one will interfere with his religion if he will conform in his actions and words to the secular convention that God is of no account. But if he ventures to challenge openly the current local standards of secularism, he is soon made to feel that he is a “peculiar” person, and that his sort of views are repugnant to the ruling influences of his world.

For example, while Catholic beliefs about the Virgin Birth, Purgatory, the Assumption, Holy Images and so forth, are widely regarded with good-natured indifference, tinged with romantic sympathy or “scientific” contempt, it is different with the rulings of the Church about such things as divorce, “mixed” marriages, contraception, sterilization, abortion, difficult cases in childbirth, or euthanasia, in which the law of God is asserted dogmatically in fields which “modern thought” regards as governed solely by social expediency.

Here, the reactions to Catholic views are frequently violent: and it is made clear that the intrusion of God as a Reality into the sphere of public policy and social life is regarded as intolerable. For the rest, the secularist “standard pattern” has been imposed on the free public education systems of this country and others, which is based on the implicit assumption of the unimportance of religion in the sphere of culture and general knowledge: and those who will not conform to this principle of secularist orthodoxy are obliged to pay a part of the expense for the secular school system based on it, as well as bearing the whole burden of their own “dissident” Christian educational structures (so sadly the position of Catholic schools in the Australia of the 1950s).

There are, in fact, no terms of reconciliation between the worlds of those who believe that Theism is an “opinion” of no account socially, and those who believe that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever,” and that He is the Supreme Reality upon which all mundane things depend. This is already realized by the more radical secularists on the one side and the Catholic Church on the other: and as our civilized world moves on from one crisis to the next, the terms of man’s choice will become clearer, and the irrepressible conflict may be expected to grow more bitter in one social sphere after another.

Chapter II

The Secularist Looks At The World  

Let us take a closer look, now, at the “way of thought” which has replaced the Christian faith of our ancestors. We must remember, of course, that secularism is not a definite, thought-out philosophy except in the case of the few, and that there is considerable variation in the detail of the opinions of those who stand by it. In general, the design here set forth is implied in the actions and attitudes of most men, rather than systematized in their minds.

(1) The “Real World” is conceived as the visible, tangible order in which man lives, as a denizen of the planet Earth: everything beyond this is, more or less, “Gas and gaiters.” Nothing certain can be known about it, so that it can and must be treated as non-existent for the ordinary purposes of practical life. The discussions of “supernatural truth” in which religious controversialists engage are, in effect, discussions about the government of fairyland: their dogmatic statements are no more valid than the fantastic utterances of astrology. And with these go all the assumptions about “sacred authorities” and other sanctities in the sphere of social life.

(2) The universe is a sort of machine, working according to natural laws which are unalterable: these laws govern all life, both physical and psychological. They can be observed and described by human science, and are actually being so observed and described more and more.

(3) The stories of “miraculous” events and revelations in human history are, therefore, “legends”: they can sometimes be explained as due to natural causes, or symbolical interpretations of natural phenomena; but many must be dismissed as purely mythical. Some of these myths may have moral value for children – or for simple-minded people who need their aid for good living and happiness: but the growth of man’s mind to its full stature involves the progressive rejection of “all that nonsense” and the “facing of facts” as revealed by “scientific modern thought.”

(4) The laws which govern ethical conduct are not based in a “Higher Law” either implanted in the minds and hearts of men by God, or positively revealed by Him (e.g., through Moses, or Zoroaster, or Mohammed, or Jesus Christ). They are simply based on the agreement of men to follow certain customs in order to live peacefully together, and develop their higher faculties. The practical standard of ethics is that of “good citizenship,” and good neighborhood, the observance of the customary code of “decency, kindness and tolerance” in private relationships, and so on.

(5) The idea of “revealed” Truth is commonly felt to be somehow degrading to human reason: “We can work things out for ourselves and save ourselves.” Belief in immortality and justice in the “after-life” is sneered at as “escapism,” and regarded as “anti-social,” on the ground that it leads men to neglect social reform here on earth, and to endure tyranny and injustice in hopes that all will be eventually made right in Heaven. Men should have the courage, we are told, to face the grim truth about personal mortality without this sort of “wishful thinking,” and to work for an earthly consummation of communal happiness through enlightened goodwill. The Christian way of thought is condemned as undemocratic as well as cowardly since it derives human authority and justice from a Divine Despot rather than from the creative powers of ascendant man himself.

(6) Unlike revelation from above, however, revelation from below – through the subconscious animal instincts – is to be taken very seriously. These must not be “repressed,” but their demands met – especially in regard to sex: a “healthy frankness” about the body and its functions is to replace the “unnatural” reticence of the past, caused by religious superstitions concerning “purity.”

(7) Since the authority of Government comes from man alone, the only legitimate form is that in which rules are regarded as delegated by the people to carry out their will and serve their material well-being. No Power “by the grace of God” is to be admitted as real. Hence the power of Church dignitaries is regarded as a spiritual tyranny exercised over superstitious minds: while monarchy, in its traditional form, is held intolerable if the King exercises real political power. It is only to be endured, when politically inactive, as a concession to the irrational “romantic” instinct of the people, and their desire for a symbol of the nation’s unity.

(8) The “churches” are regarded as having real “value” only in virtue of their social function as agencies of humanitarian reform and of education and moral supervision – especially for the young. The criterion by which their activities are measured has nothing to do with sanctity: the “fruits” looked for are those of earthly well-being: and comparison is made between their activities in this respect and those of the State and other human organizations, without regard to the primary religious aims of teaching the Truth of Christ and drawing men to a higher life of grace through His Love.

The Decline of Liberal Humanism 

At the end of the progress of four centuries from a fully “Christian” order to that of modern secularism the general mind has been stamped with a view of man which sees the animal side of human nature as fundamental, and regards him as “of the earth, earthy” in the strictest and fullest sense. But this descent did not take place all at once: nor is it yet complete. There was a long “middle period” in which the leaders of Western thought dreamed of an “ideal humanism” which would retain a sense of the high value and perfectibility of the human person, while denying the foundation of Christian thought and belief upon which that idea had formerly rested.

But once the conception of man as wholly mortal was accepted, it was seen before very long that the short individual life could only have value and significance in relation to the larger, permanent life of the community, and the “human process” of which that community itself was a part.

This meant the doom of the “middle way” of liberal-humanism. The ideas of “human happiness” and “human well-being” could only be considered realistically in relation to a pattern of life planned by men for masses of men: the individual being a mere temporary “nexus” of social relationships. Secular intellectual interest shifted, therefore, from humanist philosophy and rational ethics to politics and social planning. The “new order” – the secularist substitute for “salvation” – must be set up by external organized action: the applied scientists and social technicians – not the pure scientific inquirers after truth – became the “significant men” of the new age to whom the communities of the world must look for the enhancement of human power and the new designs for well-being – even for the making of a new race by eugenic breeding and educational “conditioning.”

Culture was no longer the perfection of the individual understanding, wisdom and sense of beauty, but the training and tailoring of the individual “social cell” for social purposes, so that he would “fit in” with the new organized pattern of communal living. For the new secularists, moral virtue and “social usefulness” are precisely equivalent. The “good” man is the active, trained collaborator in the tasks of the social hive, obedient to the directives of those who speak in the people’s name, living smoothly and easily with his fellowmen so as to avoid every kind of social friction. He is, in fact, the perfect “yes-man” conforming to the pattern of the hive in thought, word and deed.

Towards “Insectification” 

In a word, in “emancipating” man from Divine Authority, modern secularism has begun a process towards what has been well called the “insectification” of the human community – the total absorption of the life of the person in the life and activities of the hive within which alone it can have “meaning.” “Modern thought” moves already in the direction of giving the State full control of its members’ bodies and minds.

First, the “unfit” are to be eliminated by scientific eugenics – including marriages “planned” under medical supervision, enforced sterilization or contraception in certain cases, and “euthanasia” – so-called ‘mercy killing’ – for the hopelessly sick, insane or deformed.

Secondly, the public communal authority of the State is to be substituted gradually for the family in the moulding of citizens. Little ones are to be cared for in crèches; the young are to be fed and receive medical attention at school; and their educational “conditioning” is to be handed over to vocational experts, who will decide upon their training and placing according to the requirements of planned social construction.

Finally, “humane” social pressure is to be used to eliminate recalcitrant groups and organizations from the field of culture, and to oblige all to submit to the planned secular pattern of thought and life.

Once again, let me emphasize that I am describing the trend of secularist “modern thought,” rather than setting forth a doctrine accepted by secularist-minded people generally in Australia at the present time. Among these, there are still wide differences as to what their way of thought implies, and most still cling to the illogical outlook of liberal humanism. But the process of “materialization” goes on apace, and is very widespread: and a vivid sense of non-material truth and sanctity as affecting the whole life of man and the community is already comparatively rare, even among Christians.

Chapter III

The Phenomenon Of Disintegration

The ordinary modern man – whether nominally infidel or “Christian” or even Catholic – is “disintegrated” in the sense that he is found to be holding simultaneously opinions which are logically incompatible with one another. In the case of the Christian, this means that his thought is “dashed” with materialism, national idolatry and national blood feuds, the politics of class hate and envy, false secular “humanism” and so on.

On the other hand, the thought of the actual materialist is “dashed” with all kinds of remnants of Christian idealism and “personalism” which have no proper place in the materialistic system of thought at all. People who deny all real value to individual life and personality except in relation to the “social mass” are nevertheless shocked, sometimes even more than Christians, at the infliction of indignities and cruelties upon their fellow-men, or the ruthless “social engineering,” “conditioning” and liquidation carried out by the Nazis or Communists, who accept the full consequences of their philosophy of man and the universe.

This mingling of a secularized Christianity with a secularism tinged with Christian sentiment has the effect of producing a general common level of social conduct and standards, such as prevails in communities such as our own at the present time. It tends, also, to foster the illusion of the insignificance of religious thought and belief in relation to practical conduct.

The materialist’s outlook logically leads to the view that the word “should” has no true meaning, since a man’s conduct is determined by the social pattern in which he finds himself, together with his physical structure and the laws which govern his psychological life. Yet he usually continues to talk and act as if he, and he and other men were morally responsible beings: and his designs for secular living – the very idea that such living can be consciously designed – are still based on that assumption. He is horrified, as I have noted, at social cruelty and injustice; on the contrary, he approves humanity, virtue, heroism and zeal for the cause of liberty.

Exhausting Moral Capital 

It should hardly be necessary to point out the danger of the prevalence of this state of mind. The man who practices virtue only because of his instinctive habitual attachment to values which in terms of his philosophy he must hold to be irrational has a moral foundation for his life which is essentially unstable. A society of such men is living on its moral capital without replacing it from one generation to another. Faith and the rational morality based on theism no longer has a firm hold over the desires of rulers and peoples: their concentration on material achievement and wealth and power means that their control of nature through applied science becomes increased, while they also become progressively less fit to exercise such control.

That is why we find that natural science, in our own secularist age, is prodigal of promises for human betterment which remain largely unfulfilled: while its development for purposes of destruction have reached sinister heights under the guidance of the “will-to-power.” That is why the highly-developed techniques of large-scale organization which we have mastered are used so much to create engines of oppression and falsehood and human de-formation of which the devilish imaginations of our ancestors never dreamed.

Secularism, then, would appear to be essentially a destructive and parasitic way of thought and life, since it can only survive by making use of values which are constantly eroded by its own action. Having noticed this feature – reflected in the instability and inconsistency of individual lives, and the growth of destructive forces in the social sphere, let us look more closely at certain common secularist assumptions, and see how far they are coherent from the standpoint of the common-sense idea that human thought has some relation to real life.

Chapter IV

The Suicide Of Thought

We will begin with a common “line” set forth by secularist “modern minds” at the present day. “I don’t” they will say “maintain the position that everything can be explained in terms of matter and energy, because I don’t know enough for that. But I intend to continue trying to explain everything in this way until I can find something for which other assumptions are required.”

Now that sounds a fair enough proposition: so let us offer one fundamental problem for our secularist to explain in terms of matter and energy if he possibly can: namely, the fact that he is thinking. He will answer, no doubt, that the study of the mind itself is by no means excluded from the world view of modern secular science: and point to the results of psychological research, the work of Freud, Jung and others, in order to show that the process of thought is increasingly being explained in terms of matter and energy. Actually, what the new psychologists are concerned with is the results of mind: they classify the way people behave, giving an exterior view of their mental life: and the results they have attained by this research are very valuable indeed.

It would not, however, be of any value at all if the minds of those engaged in the research were no more than a mass of “complexes” produced by a material process. If we argue (with the Freudian) that “thoughts” are merely due to a process of this sort: or (with the Marxist) that they are due to “class conditioning” we have to make an exception of the particular thought-process we are using in our argument.

True or False? 

The dilemma may be expressed more simply in this way. We have two propositions, based on two arrangements of thoughts, which, on materialist principles, are reducible to terms of matter and energy. One is “The moon is made of green cheese, and is eaten slowly by the sky-giant every month.” The other is “The moon is a satellite attached to our planet earth, and the monthly ‘phases’ we observe are caused by the variation of its position in relation to the earth and the sun.” How is it that one of these propositions comes to be qualified as objectively “False” and the other as “True,” if they are no more than different arrangements of “matter and energy,” in the human thinking organ? What is the basis of this valuation, and how can it have any meaning? And if it has no meaning, how can we reach any conclusion about life or reality by any process of thinking whatever?

This argument has been set forth in brief by Professor J. B. S. Haldane – himself, strangely enough, a zealous Marxian – who says, “If any mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose my beliefs are true . . . and hence, I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”

To sum up, materialistic logic has no explanation of the function of the human mind as a truth-finding organ: a function which must be assumed, in some fashion, in order to relate thought to objective reality. If the psychologists cannot tell us truth, they can’t tell us the truth about how our minds work! All knowledge and therefore all science, has become impossible: all language unmeaning.

A way of thought which is reduced to this idiotic incoherence in its attempt to describe the nature of thought itself, and which finds it necessary to doubt or deny the freewill which is assumed as a fact in every human relationship of our lives, can only be described as a road to the suicide of thought. This suicide, in fact, is the inevitable consequence of the view that man’s thought and action is simply part of the process of nature, determined in the same way as other physical phenomena.

The Rational Approach to Faith 

The difficulties involved in accepting a non-materialistic philosophy or faith are real and serious: but, in tackling them, we are not brought to the same kind of impasse. The method of argument which leads to such conclusions as God’s existence, the possibility of Divine Revelation, and the probability of the survival of the human soul after the death of the body, is a rigorously rational one: and where there are problems – such as those of evil and pain – they are faced up to by the great philosophers of Christian Theism in an honest and realistic fashion, even though their conclusions remain tentative and imperfect. The trouble is not that the secularist “modern man” cannot find an answer to the questions he asks: but that he either does not ask the questions at all, or refuses, like Pilate, to “stay for an answer,” on the dogmatic assumption that there is none of any worth to be given. He will say, “I don’t know: no one can know: and, anyhow, it doesn’t signify.”

The first word (or sentence) is, no doubt, true: the second he has not tested: the third is both false and foolish – since it ought to be clear that enormous practical consequences are involved in the great questions about what man is and to what destiny the human race is moving, individually and collectively.

Chapter V 

The Revolt Against Truth 

The startling truth about the world in which we live is that most of those who guide its thinking are not really interested in objective truth at all. The rebellion against religious “dogma” is, in fact, a far more profound revolt than most of us realize. It is not – as its maintainers seriously and sincerely contend – simply an impulse to slough off inessential and “unreal” ideas which have cribbed, cabined and confined the rational mind. Rather, it is a fundamental revolt against the laws of man’s being – a refusal to accept objective truth. If we look at the points of our faith most generally attacked by modern thinkers, it will be realized that they are those which embody the basic truths about man’s position in the universe and real nature.

Thus, the Divinity of Christ is rejected as a incomprehensible fantasy: and we substitute the myth of a “higher human” raised by his own power and acquired social virtues to a sort of earthly divinity. The initiative in redemption is transferred from God to man: man replaces God as the focus of adoration. The process from material being to rationality, from rationality to the new higher humanity, is a process which takes place in defiance of all the laws of thought perceived by reason – it involves adding two and two to make five at each stage. But it is pleasing to man’s self-assertion: it makes him a master, a self-creator – not a created being saved by the descending love of his Maker. The whole concept of secularist “progress,” in fact, is a mass of “wishful thinking”: the materialization of the idea of “salvation” has turned it into an erection of nonsense built on pride.

Again, denial of eternal punishment is represented as a humane reaction to the primitive conception of a vindictive Divinity – those indignant about the doctrine of hell almost invariably conceive it in crude and childish imaginative terms, and refuse to trouble themselves to examine the careful statements of Christian philosophers and theologians. In reality, at the back of it there lies something very different: a refusal to accept the principle of retribution which runs through actual life. Once again, the secularist will not have the nature of the universe, in which inexorable consequences result from the misuse of free-will. “Don’t worry: it won’t really happen” “It does not really matter.” This is the other facet of the rejection of religious dogma to the impulse to self-assertion. The serpent, you may remember, told our first parents that they would not die, by their disobedience, but would become as gods.

The Habit of Self-Deception 

Of course, our attitude does not affect the truths we are running away from: but they do not seem so near and so menacing if we can manage to pretend that they are not there. This gesture of “non-recognition,” therefore, has become a characteristic feature of our world even in lesser matters than those of the foundations of life and thought. We have a powerful school of politicians and “intellectuals” who hold that the way to peace is to pretend that the aggressor-powers are sincere in their desire for an accommodation; that they do not hold by their Marxist principles, but by others less uncomfortable in their implications: that they are not really guilty of the crimes against religion and humanity of which overwhelming evidence exists: or that those crimes are not related as they really are to the fundamental aims and beliefs of those who have ordered them. They invent new smooth names to describe ancient evils, and deem that they have thereby exorcised them: they propose solutions to bitter, menacing problems by doing the comfortable thing and “wishing upon a star.” Communism is to be “cured” by social well-being without arming to repel the Red totalitarian power-machine: Asia is to be reconciled without any real concessions to inter-racial justice . . . and so the dream-story goes on.

Science and the New Thought 

Even the Laws of Science – hitherto assumed to be the immutable and authoritative ultimate basis of existence in our secularist world, as those of faith were in Christian ages – are no longer immune from the subjective erosion which has undermined the idea of “Truth” in other spheres. Thus in a Scientific Charter of Scientific Principles, drawn up during the recent Second World War, by the British Association we find the statement: “That the basic principles of science rely on independence combined with co-operation, and are influenced by the progressive needs of humanity.”

A letter of 13 October 1941 to the British Daily Telegraph draws attention to the implications of this oracle. “Men apparently do not rely on the basic principles of science, but the basic principles rely on man! The law of gravitation, the principle of the conservation of energy, the theory of relativity, depend for their validity on the proceedings of men, and are influenced by their progressive needs. Newton’s apple would have acted quite differently if men had been less independent and co-operative, or if their progressive needs had been different!”

So, the “truth of the senses” which secularism alone admits, faces the denouement of its own dethronement. Scientific propositions themselves are mere “conventions,” expedient for the operation of this or that individual or group. Scientists are even found contending that they are not concerned with reality, but formulate their schemes “as if they corresponded with reality.” But if science is not concerned with reality, what is it concerned with? And if its sages talk in these terms, what can we expect of political and social ideologues except a “truth” which is conceived purely in terms of temporary expediency; a criterion according to which Hitler’s and Stalin’s dogmas have precisely the same validity as those of the civilized democratic world! And, with the downfall of truth, man tumbles from the lofty pedestal upon which he was set by liberal-secularism as a “seeker after truth” to the level of an animal intent on the exaltation of his greed, his appetites and his egoism by means of “rationalizations” of various kinds.

Chapter VI

The Moral Challenge To Men Of Faith  

One of the commonest answers of the secularist to the Christian who speaks to him of the merits of his faith is, “If the difference between your way of life and mine is as great as you claim, why is it that Christians are in practice so difficult to distinguish from us pagans in the fashion of their actual behavior?” He will go on to cite examples of Catholic drunkards and lechers, Catholics who are uncharitable and grossly dishonest, cruel and narrow-minded . . . and so on.

I have already answered this challenge in part by pointing out that our world is not composed of all-out Catholics living in the light of Catholic truth, and all-out secularists living in accordance with their own philosophy, but of Catholics infected by the values of the secularist world around them, and secularists who have inherited Christian habits of thought which raise their conduct above the level of their philosophy. Hence the tendency towards a certain common level of practical standards.

The reply, however, is not one which we Christians can accept as in any way satisfactory in answer to the challenge regarding our own inadequacy. The man who makes it is, often enough, really in quest of truth: and he is puzzled by the paradox of the elevation of Catholic principles and beliefs, and the contrasting insufficiency of the people who have received the new “Life of Faith” but show small sign of having been transformed by it, or by the torrents of grace to which they have access through the Sacraments.

The Christian of today, living in the world, carries a grave responsibility: for, willy-nilly, he stands for those who do not share his faith as representing the Church of God in action. “What has it done for you, anyhow?”

We may as well begin by admitting, with shame, that both as a community and individually we have failed lamentably to “Come up to scratch.” Don’t let us minimize a truth which is very patent to our critics, but rather make it clear that we realize it a good deal more fully than they can possibly do. Indeed, it belongs to our position that we should see our defects better than any outsiders can: and the degree to which we do so is actually the measure of our progress in the spiritual life. It is not without significance that St. Francis of Assisi, whose life was, in the opinion of some, more completely Christ-like than any in Christian history, should have cried out upon himself constantly as utterly degraded: “the chief of sinners.” The ordinary Christian lives on an immeasurably lower level, yet he operates in the same medium: and is capable, therefore, of understanding that he is very far from what he ought to be.

We do not claim to be better as individuals than very many non-believers: but we do claim that the way is open to us, through Divine grace, to a level of goodness, even sanctity, to which those without the life of faith cannot aspire. We have been privileged to see further into the meaning of life: the scope of what we mean by good and evil has been infinitely extended for us, and with this extension of our understanding an immeasurable source of strength has been offered to us.

Through faith we see truth: through grace we can act upon it, by responding to the Divine Gift offered to us: but neither faith nor grace can make the Christian life an easy one. It is a “way of the Cross,” and neither Christ nor His disciples have ever pretended that it was anything else. No mechanical transformation, no automatic moral regeneration is effected by faith. If we assent in a merely nominal and external fashion to the truths of religion, they will not be sufficient to transform our lives: if our reception of the Sacraments is automatic and superficial, we are failing to make use of the graces given to us . The force and dynamism of the gift is not affected: but our souls are deprived of the full benefit inherent in it.

The Half-Christian 

That is the trouble with most “ordinary Catholics.” Their faith is only half-alive: and it is because it lacks vitality that they become infected with secularism in their practical life, as an ill-nourished child “picks up” germs. That there should be so many “so-called Christians” who fail to appreciate and live by their faith may be a “cause of scandal” to secularist inquirers: but it is explained by the general tendency of human nature to turn away from the “hard and rare” in every field of activity. All higher religions and philosophies have been confronted with the same problem: in proportion to their demands has been the natural man’s reaction to them.

But no other religion makes so complete and “totalitarian” a demand on the whole nature of man as Christianity – which presents him with a goal to which his unaided efforts are incapable of attaining. This being the case, there is no ground for surprise that man being man, and in a fallen world, so few Christians do attain perfection, and “Christian civilization” has always been a patchy business, even in days when the Church’s beliefs and standards were almost universally accepted in Europe, at least officially.

We Catholic Christians cannot avoid a large part of responsibility for the process which, beginning with the revolt of the Renaissance and Reformation eras, has ended in the nightmare of secularist nihilism in which our modern Western world now groans and tosses unrestfully. What are we going to do about it?

Showing the Flag 

To begin with, it is necessary for the ordinary lay Christian to lay hold on the “Life of Faith” with something of the new zeal of converts in the ancient world of paganism, and in the mission-fields of our own day. He must do his utmost to grasp something of the pattern of Christian thought and make it his own, so that all the corners of his personal life and values may be “Christianized.” He must not be content to carry the faith around in a bag as a sort of jigsaw puzzle of dogmas and cultural traditions which he has inherited: but he must open the bag, put the picture together and look at it himself, before showing it to others.

In a world of disinterested and confused thinking, men who “know their own minds” and have a clear-cut philosophy of life by which they actually live are certain to create an impression if they show their flag so that others can see it, and read the image and superscription upon it. That is one reason for the impressive success of the Communists – though there are others far less creditable to them.

But while Catholics in their public lives and social relations are concerned simply to see how far they can go along with this or that secular movement, or approve this or that secular initiative; while the effect of their faith appears in nothing but a certain number of negations and criticisms concerning the details of secular organizations and policies; while they keep Christ and the Cross, and the Law of God, out of sight as though they were a sort of secret or even something a little indelicate, the destructive process of the secular system will not be reversed in our favor: there will be no return of our world to the sanities of Christian thought and the Christian order.

The Need for Holiness 

The temptation of the “good Christian” today is to despair of the salvation of a society which is “non- conducting” to the Christian current. He withdraws into his shell, shrinking from anticipated rebuffs. He “hides his light under a bushel” and is content to remain unnoticed and unmolested. Even, however, if he does all that in him lies, he finds his action “insulated” by the character of his environment. He must choose between an inertia which belies his whole position, or an activity which is alien and distasteful to the social group in which he moves.

If he chooses activity, however – as he must – there is still another danger to be avoided: that of accepting the secularist standard which regards external visible action as the real action. The essential activity of the Christian is spiritual: holiness as distinct from social action – being as the most potent kind of doing. And the more we find our world idolizing external energy, force and “output,” the more we ourselves need to cultivate contemplation, prayer, the “Life of the Spirit.” It is only in proportion as it is a flowering of this interior life that our visible action can be effective against the hostile “principalities and powers” which lie behind the secularist revolt against God: it is only if our lamps are filled with the sacred oil of Divine love that they can “shine before men” in the sort of personal service which wins souls and transforms societies.

The Sign of Contradiction 

But if hostile reaction is the chief effect of mere outward Christian action taken against the general secular opinion, it is not to be supposed that a spiritual contradiction will be more endurable to those who deny or ignore spiritual Reality. The contrary is the case. External opposition can be countered by methods which the secular world understands very well indeed: and it arouses correspondingly less fear among those who command the machinery of power and propaganda. It is precisely when it becomes apparent that the Catholic community really “lives by the spirit” and accepts its standards of value as the only real ones, that it provokes the deepest opposition: because this challenges the entire structure of the secularism which is today’s orthodoxy.

The easygoing, low-tension quality of both Faith and the reaction to it has concealed from most observers in Australia the extent of the divergence between the believer and non-believer. But if there were to be an awakening: if Catholicism were to come alive, not as a “social action” or political pressure movement, but as a spiritual force permeating the community, we should find a corresponding strong anti-religious movement. We have to reckon with a positive non-religious standard of value held – however illogically – by many people in this country, varying from “anti-God” bigotry to cultivated “social-humanism”: but wherever this standard is confronted with positive, dynamic Faith, it reacts with violence, as against a visible enemy.

The position of the rebel heretic – the Voltaire or Diderot – challenging an officially Christian society is often recalled today by secularists with sympathy and admiration: but, it is the opposite situation which now confronts us increasingly everywhere – involving the much older question of the Christian’s position as citizen of a non-Christian state.

We usually think of this problem as being peculiar to the “totalitarian” States – Nazi or Communist – where it has appeared in an obvious and drastic form. But it concerns this country also, since in Australia

Christians are in a minority in a community whose real standards, ideals and principles of action are based on a different principle from theirs. Our conception of our country’s well-being will not be that of most of them if it is based on Christian concepts: the good we want for her is not what they conceive as “the good.”

In time of crisis such differences of underlying standards tend to become intensified. The Christian, in so far as he is true to his own values, becomes to some extent suspect, as in but not of the community. Thus it was with the first Christians. They obeyed Caesar in all lawful things – they did not even resist active persecution: yet they were held to be dangerous, because they testified by their conduct and way of life the strength of their “other-worldly” loyalty. The diluted Christo-secularist is not feared; he is innocuous and “sterilized” by his conformity to the world. It is the “total” Christian, the apostle, who is a permanent challenge to the world’s Caesars, whether they are styled emperors, or leaders, or “Sovereign People’s Representatives.”

Victory Through the Cross 

The life of faith must be an apostolate, or it will perish: and its very nature makes it a sign of contradiction in relation to secularism. It requires that we give all we have, ourselves, our lives, in the service of Christ our Lord. This is costly: but there is no cheap and easy substitute. The Christian in our secularist world must choose between his faith and that world’s “works and pomps.” He cannot serve two masters – or combine “the best of both worlds” by some kind of tour de force. We have to save our world, it seems, if we are to save ourselves: but we have to begin by Christianizing ourselves. And we must face up to the fact that those who do the work of Christ must be prepared to pay the price He paid for victory. We, too, must be lifted up on the Cross, so that the peoples of the world may see and understand, and its valleys of dry bones may be filled with the hosts of a new Christendom, raised out of their death by the power of the renewing Spirit.

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Freemasonry and The American Ideal

Freemasonry and The American Ideal
Dr. Thomas A. Droleskey

Although it has become au courant to minimize the influence of Freemasonry in American politics and culture, the evidence for the overwhelming influence of the ethos of Freemasonry in this country is massive.

The essence of Freemasonry is as follows: that it is necessary to convince men of “good will” that denominational religion in general-and Catholicism in particular-is divisive. Men must see each other as brothers, working by means of natural virtue to pursue the common good without doing or saying things that might divide a nation needlessly along denominational lines. Thus, all matters of religion are reduced to “opinions” that are best left unaddressed in public while men of “good will” pursue social and economic progress in the framework of the modern state, which is thus indifferent to the Incarnation and the Redemptive Act of the God-Man. Men of “good will” must find some “common ground” upon which to agree, thereby assuring themselves that they can build a new world order (novus ordo secolorum) founded on man’s natural abilities, absent any advertence to the Deposit of Faith Our Lord entrusted to the Catholic Church and absent any reliance upon sanctifying grace, to redeem the world according to the varying needs of the times.

As Pope Leo XIII noted in Humanum Genus, the philosophy of Freemasonry seeks to separate the Church from the State. It deifies man and embraces moral and theological relativism as virtues upon which to pursue the common good. It seeks to imbue an ethos of naturalism in every aspect of a nation’s social life, making it more difficult for men to seek out the truth of their identity as redeemed creatures and to pursue their eternal destiny through Christ’s true Church. It is an especially important goal of Freemasonry to undermine the sanctity and the stability of the family by a variety of means, including the state control of education.

Pope Leo XIII put it this way in Humanum Genus:

When these truths are done away with, which are as the principles of nature and important for knowledge and for practical use, it is easy to see what will become of both public and private morality. We say nothing of those more heavenly virtues, which no one can exercise or even acquire without a special gift and grace of God; of which necessarily no trace can be found in those who reject as unknown the redemption of mankind, the grace of God, the sacraments, and the happiness to be obtained in heaven. We speak now of the duties which have their origin in natural probity. That God is the Creator of the world and its provident Ruler; that the eternal law commands the natural order to be maintained, and forbids that it be disturbed; that the last end of men is a destiny far above human things and beyond this sojourning upon the earth: these are the sources and these the principles of all justice and morality.

If these be taken away, as the naturalists and Freemasons desire, there will immediately be no knowledge as to what constitutes justice and injustice, or upon what principle morality is founded. And, in truth, the teaching of morality which alone finds favor with the sect of Freemasons, and in which they contend that youth should be instructed, is that which they call “civil,” and “independent,” and “free,” namely, that which does not contain any religious belief. But, how insufficient such teaching is, how wanting in soundness, and how easily moved by every impulse of passion, is sufficiently proved by its sad fruits, which have already begun to appear. For, wherever, by removing Christian education, this teaching has begun more completely to rule, there goodness and integrity of morals have begun quickly to perish, monstrous and shameful opinions have grown up, and the audacity of evil deeds has risen to a high degree. All this is commonly complained of and deplored; and not a few of those who by no means wish to do so are compelled by abundant evidence to give not infrequently the same testimony.

Moreover, human nature was stained by original sin, and is therefore more disposed to vice than to virtue. For a virtuous life it is absolutely necessary to restrain the disorderly movements of the soul, and to make the passions obedient to reason. In this conflict human things must very often be despised, and the greatest labors and hardships must be undergone, in order that reason may always hold its sway. But the naturalists and Freemasons, having no faith in those things which we have learned by the revelation of God, deny that our first parents sinned, and consequently think that free will is not at all weakened and inclined to evil. On the contrary, exaggerating rather the power and the excellence of nature, and placing therein alone the principle and rule of justice, they cannot even imagine that there is any need at all of a constant struggle and a perfect steadfastness to overcome the violence and rule of our passions.

Wherefore we see that men are publicly tempted by the many allurements of pleasure; that there are journals and pamphlets with neither moderation nor shame; that stage-plays are remarkable for license; that designs for works of art are shamelessly sought in the laws of a so-called verism; that the contrivances of a soft and delicate life are most carefully devised; and that all the blandishments of pleasure are diligently sought out by which virtue may be lulled to sleep. Wickedly, also, but at the same time quite consistently, do those act who do away with the expectation of the joys of heaven, and bring down all happiness to the level of mortality, and, as it were, sink it in the earth. Of what We have said the following fact, astonishing not so much in itself as in its open expression, may serve as a confirmation. For, since generally no one is accustomed to obey crafty and clever men so submissively as those whose soul is weakened and broken down by the domination of the passions, there have been in the sect of the Freemasons some who have plainly determined and proposed that, artfully and of set purpose, the multitude should be satiated with a boundless license of vice, as, when this had been done, it would easily come under their power and authority for any acts of daring.

Freemasonry & The Secret Destiny of America

What refers to domestic life in the teaching of the naturalists is almost all contained in the following declarations: that marriage belongs to the genus of commercial contracts, which can rightly be revoked by the will of those who made them, and that the civil rulers of the State have power over the matrimonial bond; that in the education of youth nothing is to be taught in the matter of religion as of certain and fixed opinion; and each one must be left at liberty to follow, when he comes of age, whatever he may prefer. To these things the Freemasons fully assent; and not only assent, but have long endeavored to make them into a law and institution. For in many countries, and those nominally Catholic, it is enacted that no marriages shall be considered lawful except those contracted by the civil rite; in other places the law permits divorce; and in others every effort is used to make it lawful as soon as may be. Thus, the time is quickly coming when marriages will be turned into another kind of contract — that is into changeable and uncertain unions which fancy may join together, and which the same when changed may disunite.

With the greatest unanimity the sect of the Freemasons also endeavors to take to itself the education of youth. They think that they can easily mold to their opinions that soft and pliant age, and bend it whither they will; and that nothing can be more fitted than this to enable them to bring up the youth of the State after their own plan. Therefore, in the education and instruction of children they allow no share, either of teaching or of discipline, to the ministers of the Church; and in many places they have procured that the education of youth shall be exclusively in the hands of laymen, and that nothing which treats of the most important and most holy duties of men to God shall be introduced into the instructions on morals.

The point of the Church’s concern over the influence of Freemasonry in the world is not necessarily about attempting to chart and document this or that conspiracy. No, the Church’s consistent condemnation of Freemasonry is rooted in her understanding that ideas have consequences; ideas that are inimical to the Faith will always have bad consequences for men and for their societies. It is thus important to be aware of these false ideas and that there are people who hold them who have tried quite mightily to use them in their own positions of political and/or social influence.

A bill was introduced on January 7, 2003, by Senator Ernest F. Hollings (D-South Carolina) to require a period of “universal national service” for all Americans, both men and women, between the ages of eighteen and twenty-six. Although the bill, numbered S. 89, has no co-sponsor in the Senate at present, the May 31, 2004, issue of The Howard Phillips Issues and Strategies Bulletin indicates that the Selective Service System does indeed have it own plans to push for the passage of such legislation after the 2004 Congressional elections. Included in the Selective Service System’s plans are efforts to require Americans between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five to keep the government informed as to any extraordinary “skills” they might develop over the course of time.

Of particular interest to me when researching the facts for my article was to confirm my recollection that Hollings is a Freemason. I typed in his name and the word “Freemasonry” into a search engine, coming up with a list of prominent Masons on a Masonic website. Hollings’s membership in the Lodge is relevant to the bill he introduced as a system of universal national service would doubtless include mandatory participation in various educational programs designed to indoctrinate in all manner of political correctness those young people who had been home-schooled or were sent by their parents to schools that kept such rot out of their curricula. Hollings’s bill thus proposes to develop a system that would force young people who have been shielded from the evil influences of religious indifferentism and social relativism into being subjected to those influences for a period of at least two years. Hollings’s bill thus demonstrates a desire to increase the power of the state over the lives of young citizens, which is of the essence of Freemasonry.

The Masonic website on which Hollings’s name was found listed people from all over the world. The Americans listed on the site came from all walks of society. Included are thirty-five Supreme Court Justices, a subject discussed in Paul Fisher’s Behind the Lodge Door. It is no accident that the flurry of egregious Supreme Court decisions from 1945 to 1973 occurred when a number of Freemasons were on the Court at various points (Fred Vinson, Wiley Rutledge, Harold Burton, Robert H. Jackson Tom Clark, James Byrnes, Earl Warren, Hugo Black, William Douglas, Potter Stewart, Thurgood Marshall). Eight of the nine justices serving on the Court between 1949 and 1954 were Masons. All but three of the thirty-third degree Mason President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s nine court appointees were Masons, as were four of the Mason Harry Truman’s. There was a period between 1967 and 1969 when five of the nine justices were Masons (Warren, Black, Douglas, Marshall, Stewart). These Masonic justices ruled in cases that established “precedents” that are now honored without question by at least four, sometimes five or six, justices on the Supreme Court at present (John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, joined frequently by Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy).

A Glance at Freemasonry in America 

One of the proofs of the utter triumph of the legally positivist and morally relativist ethos of Freemasonry in American government and law is that the wretched legacy of these Roosevelt and Truman justices now binds their ideological fellow-travelers who do not belong to the Lodge. Just as Masons do not need one of their own on the Throne of Saint Peter to have popes speak in ways that reflect the Masonic ethos, as Father Paul Kramer notes in The Devil’s Final Battle, so is it the case that they no longer need one of their own on the Supreme Court to respect the ground-breaking decisions (pornography, contraception, abortion) rendered when the Court was their private preserve. The decisions have been preserved as sacrosanct under the legal principle of stare decisis, something that was known by the Masonic justices when they were using the very fungible nature of a written document, the Constitution, that admits of no higher authority above its own text to attempt to impose a veritable social revolution while the public was mesmerized by the novelty known as network television entertainment programming in the 1950s and 1960s.

Also included on the list were fifteen Presidents of the United States of America and the current Vice President of the United States of America, Richard N. Cheney. Senators, financiers, industrialists, movie moguls (Darryl Zanuck, Walt Disney, Cecil B. DeMille), revolutionaries and a whole host of others were found on the list. An entire book or two could be written on the cultural influences exercised just by the entertainers on the list. For present purposes, it is important to note that Disney, who left instructions for his body to be frozen after his death so that he could be resuscitated when science discovered a “cure” for death, left behind quite a Masonic legacy at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, that lives on to this day. There is a “Club 33” restaurant at Disneyland. A dues-paying member’s membership was canceled shortly after he brought a priest, Father Patrick Perez, as a guest to the club.

All of this is important not because these individuals have worked or conspired together, although instances of same are not be discounted as frivolous. This is important because most men act on what they believe. A man who believes in the lies of Freemasonry is going to give expression to his beliefs in the course of his life’s work. If such a man has the ability to influence the course of social life, then it is important to point out the nature of his beliefs and how they are incompatible with the true Faith-and thus the good of any nation, including our own. What is harmful to man’s Last End is harmful to society. And the belief that man can act in this life without any regard to the Deposit of Faith and without relying upon sanctifying grace is harmful to man’s Last End and fatal to society. Masonry does not merely wish the Church “ill,” as some have contended; it seeks to eradicate the expression of the Faith in all quarters of public life. It has done so violently in the Catholic countries of Europe and Latin America, doing so more insidiously in the United States as a result of its prominence in all aspects of our social life. To recognize Freemasonry’s pervasive influence and to rebut its false premises is not to engage in conspiracy-mongering. It is to alert Catholics that we must not succumb to any degree of religious indifferentism in any aspect of our national life.

Several Masonic websites list Edmund Burke, generally credited as the father of classical conservatism, as a member of the brotherhood. This makes perfect sense. Although this will anger a lot of people, the fact is that Burkean conservatism was and remains an effort to try to find some inter-denominational or non-denominational way to “conserve” the “heritage” of the West without acknowledging the Catholic Church as the repository and explicator of the Deposit of Faith and without submitting to the Social Reign of Christ the King as it was exercised by the Church during the era of Christendom. Burke’s own indifferentism is cited favorably by a Fred C. Kleinknect, a “Supreme Grand Commander” of Masonry, in the context of a commentary on the ethos of Freemasonry:

Unfortunately, our purpose as well as our very existence is questioned by the uninformed. They fail to

see that Masons are invariable churchgoing men who extend the precepts of their faith beyond their sabbath to every day of their lives. They work within their churches and in their communities for the betterment of their fellowmen. Masons, in fact, go beyond narrow sectarianism and limiting dogma. They agree with the statement of the famous statesman and writer Edmund Burke: “The body of all true religion consists, to be sure, in obedience to the will of the Sovereign of the world, in a confidence in His declarations, and in imitation of His perfection.”

But what are “His declarations”? They are not, Masons believe, the passing credos of religious sects or cults. Rather, they are the inspired wisdom contained in the Bible, the Talmud, the Koran, the Bhagavad-Gita or any of the other Great Books of Faith that have been universally recognized as man’s best guides to happiness on this world and reward in the next. Freemasonry, therefore, welcomes to its ranks Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and all good men of whatever religion who truly aspire to live accordingly to the Creator’s will.

Because it is universal in scope and inclusive in membership, Masonry provides a philosophy and a Fraternity where good men can “meet on the Level and part on the Square.” It binds all men in a mystic tie of sincere brotherhood and mutual love. Faith and work, soul and body, heart and hand are united as Masons everywhere labor through Freemasonry in peace and harmony to honor the Creator and serve mankind.

Kleinknect’s summary of Masonry can be applied to any and every political philosophy or ideology that is founded in whole or in part on a rejection of Catholicism as the foundation of personal and social order. That one of this country’s chief popularizers of conservatism, the late Barry Goldwater, whose first wife was an active ally of Margaret Sanger, was himself a Mason, also makes perfect sense. Masonry desires potential political allies to set aside whatever denominational differences they have to concentrate on the “trees” in the forest rather than seeing that the forest is made up of trees that have their proximate roots in the errors of modernity itself. Thus, good people wind up spinning their wheels and rending their garments over the symptoms of modernity rather than recognizing our problems are the result of the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King and can only be ameliorated by the restoration of Christendom as the fruit of the Triumph of Our Lady’s Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. This is all the natural result of thinking and acting as though man can philosophize and theorize like the pagans who lived before the Incarnation of the Co-Eternal Word as man in Our Lady’s virginal and immaculate womb. It is a rejection of the authority that the God-Man entrusted solely to His true Church to teach and to govern all men in all nations until the end of time.

Yes, Masons often fight each other, sometimes violently. Edmund Burke was a fierce critic of the Masonically-inspired French Revolution. American Masons fought Mexican Masons during the Mexican-American War. Mexican Masons engaged in fratricidal warfare for nearly a century. Republican Masons in this country have vied for office against Democrat Masons. There is, obviously, little honor among these thieves. What unites them all, though, is this: the theft of the true heritage of the West, Catholicism, and the imposition of a variety of sterile substitutes (political ideologies, various forms of nationalism that present themselves to the public as “patriotism,” educational theories stressing evolutionism and moral relativism) as its state-sponsored substitute.

America’s Top Freemason-Pike

There is another aspect, though, of this matter that needs to be addressed in light of a discovery made when researching Senator Hollings’s Masonic membership. Also included on the list on the Masonic website is the name of one Charles B. Rangel, a member of the United States House of Representatives from the Borough of Manhattan and, much more importantly, a Roman Catholic. Rangel, who is the Ranking Minority Member of the House Ways and Means Committee, is a notorious pro-abort who invokes the old Masonic canard of the “separation of Church and State” to justify his support for the systematic destruction of over 4,000 innocent human beings under cover of law by means of surgical abortion alone, not including those babies killed by chemical abortifacients.

True, very few Catholics in public life who invoke the Masonic canard of the “separation of Church and State” are Masons. However, this is proof of the success of the Masonic ethos. As noted earlier in the context of the Supreme Court, Freemasonry does not need initiated members to speak its language in order to embrace its ethos of religious indifferentism and legal positivism. That Rangel, though, is listed as a member of the Lodge poses a direct challenge to his archdiocesan ordinary, Edward Cardinal Egan, the Archbishop of New York.

It is still a mortal sin for a Catholic to belong to a Masonic lodge. As is the case with much else in the postconciliar era, there is ambiguity in the 1983 Code of Canon Law as membership in Masonic lodges is not listed as an excommunicable offense as it had been in the 1917 Code. An attempt to clarify that ambiguity was made by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith, on November 26, 1983:

It has been asked whether there has been any change in the Church’s decision in regard to Masonic associations since the new Code of Canon Law does not mention them expressly, unlike the previous code.

This sacred congregation is in a position to reply that this circumstance is due to an editorial criterion which was followed also in the case of other associations likewise unmentioned inasmuch as they are contained in wider categories.

Therefore, the Church’s negative judgment in regard to Masonic associations remains unchanged since their principles have always been considered irreconcilable with the doctrine of the Church and, therefore, membership in them remains forbidden. The faithful, who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion.

It is not within the competence of local ecclesiastical authorities to give a judgment on the nature of Masonic associations which would imply a derogation from what has been decided above, and this in line with the declaration of this sacred congregation issued Feb. 17,1981.

In an audience granted to the undersigned cardinal prefect, the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II approved and ordered the publication of this declaration which had been decided in an ordinary meeting of this sacred congregation. Given at Rome, from the Office of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Nov. 26, 1983. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect. Father Jerome Hamer, O. P. Titular Archbishop of Lorium, Secretary.

Cardinal Egan has thus far refused to publicly state his position about Catholics in public life who support the slaughter of the preborn under cover of law. He has a veritable stable of prominent Catholics of both major political parties, including Rangel and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and current New York State Governor George Pataki, who present themselves for Holy Communion week after week after week. While the American bishops argue amongst themselves about denying Holy Communion to these Catholic reprobates, Cardinal Egan can make a very clear public statement about Mr. Rangel’s Masonic membership by referring to Cardinal Ratzinger’s 1983 letter. Charles Rangel is to be denied Holy Communion as a result of his Masonic membership. It will be quite interesting to see if Cardinal Egan will firmly and publicly acknowledge that membership in a Masonic lodge is incompatible with being a Catholic in good standing.

If Cardinal Egan does nothing, as he has shown to be his wont in the past four years since succeeding the late John Cardinal O’Connor, then he will demonstrate all too clearly that the false ideas of Freemasonry, which promotes social “peace” as the single most important “virtue” in society, continue to intimidate some American Catholic prelates in the Twenty-first Century just as surely as it intimidated at least a few prelates now and then in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. It is when the Church herself refuses to raise the voice of her Divine Bridegroom against the purveyors of false ideas, no less enshrines those ideas in the language of her own documents and in her own Sacred Liturgy, that those ideas become harder for the average Catholic to recognize as evil, no less resist with all of his might.

Symbols on the Dollar Bill and The Secret Beliefs of America’s Founding Fathers

All Catholics, both those in the clergy and the laity, would do well to read the works of Saint Maximilian Kolbe and to read about the life and the work of Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro. Saint Maximilian Kolbe had no less than twelve publications in Europe and in Japan opposing Freemasonry and Zionism and all other secular ideologies, promoting total consecration to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart and the prominent wearing of the Miraculous Medal as the antidotes to the poisons promoted by Freemasonry and its nefarious allies. Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro gave up his life to plant the seeds for the restoration of the Social Reign of Christ the King in Our Lady’s beloved country, Mexico. These great heroes of the Faith in the Twentieth Century were not goofy conspiracy theorists. They recognized full well the dangers of religious indifferentism and secularism in all walks of life, knowing that there is no inter-denominational or non-denominational way to fight these and other, inter-related evils. We must invoke their help from Heaven and follow their example of apostolic zeal to fight such foes in our own national life today.

Our Lady has told us that her Immaculate Heart will triumph in the end and a period of peace will be given to the world. This will happen after some Pope actually consecrates Russia to her Immaculate Heart. In the meantime, as we pray and fast for this to happen, we never lose heart as we point out the errors that plague both Church and State. Indeed, we unite ourselves more fully to the Immaculate Heart and to Heart formed therefrom, the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. It will be by entrusting ourselves more and more completely to these two Hearts that we will be emboldened to run whatever risks we need to run in order to plant the seeds for the conversion of this nation and the world to the Social Reign of Christ the King and of Mary our Immaculate Queen. The false ideas that hold some sway at present will become but a distant memory of the history books as people live and work once more in the shadow of the Holy Cross.

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What About those Six Protestants and the New Mass?

What About those Six Protestants and the New Mass?
Louis Tofari

six-protestants.jpg

Putting Catholic Answers back into the spotlight, apologists Tim Staples and Patrick Coffin hosted again the topic of “Radical Traditionalism” during the evening of August 12th. For all intents and purposes, this re-run was damage control, as back in May, the two hosts managed (during their previous same-titled show) to offend every type of Catholic who attends the traditional Mass, whether out of preference or doctrinal conviction.

During the second show, Tradition was not well-represented by callers, and to put it mildly, the hosts made a quick dinner of them. One caller in particular erroneously affirmed that Quo Primum said the Mass could not be changed and the New Mass was invalid because its consecration formula omitted the phrase “Mysterium Fidei”.

In all fairness, the radio show’s hosts ably and correctly replied to this caller’s mistaken statements. But the situation altered dramatically when the caller parlayed their corrections with a spot-on assertion: six Protestants helped to create the Novus Ordo Missae. The hosts replied “this is a myth” and cited a book which supposedly (and “authoritatively”) upheld their position.[1] They went on to state that like at other previous ecumenical councils, there were Protestant observers at the Second Vatican Council, but simply to watch the proceedings and not contribute.

It seems that neither they (nor their favored authors) have read Michael Davis’ works on the New Mass (such as Pope Paul’s New Mass, The Roman Rite Destroyed, Cranmer’s Godly Order, Liturgical Time Bombs in Vatican II), or the Second Vatican Council (Pope John’s Council), let alone Fr. Wiltgen’s classic The Rhine Flows into the Tiber, Romano Amerio’s hefty Iota Unum or Roberto de Mattei’s recently translated-into-English tome, The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story.

In fact, this is a situation in which the proof (Protestantism) can be undeniably found in the pudding. But before addressing the “myth” about the New Mass’ fabrication, one point concerning ecumenical councils needs to be made as in fact, it set the stage for the Consilium’s liturgical revolution.

Protestants were for example invited to the First Vatican Council (1868-1870), but this was in the authentic spirit of ecumenism in an attempt to effect their conversion to the One, True, Holy and Apostolic Faith. Not however to advocate their heresies or errors as acceptable treatises. During Vatican II though, the liberal Council Fathers enabled the Protestant observers’ ideas to be introduced within the conciliar texts. This is an indisputable fact of which ample evidence can be found in the aforementioned titles and which has been boasted about by Catholics[2] and Protestants alike.[3]

Returning to the “myth” that Protestant observers did not contribute in creating the New Mass, to hold this position is to deny the obvious – not only in fact, but also in substance. In the first place, an ecumenical liturgy that would no longer offend Protestants was Fr. Annibale Bugnini’s intention from the get-go as he declared in 1965:

We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren that is for the Protestants…

While we learn from the close confidant of Pope Paul VI, Jean Guitton:

The intention of Pope Paul VI with regard to what is commonly called the Mass, was to reform the Catholic Liturgy in such a way that it should almost coincide with the Protestant liturgy. There was with Pope Paul VI an ecumenical intention to remove, or, at least to correct, or, at least to relax, what was too Catholic in the traditional sense in the Mass and, I repeat, to get the Catholic Mass closer to the Calvinist mass” [my emphasis][4].

To accomplish this ecumenical goal, the Consilium enlisted the help of these Protestant observers:

1.    A. Raymond George (Methodist)

2.    Ronald Jaspar (Anglican)

3.    Massey Shepherd (Episcopalian)

4.    Friedrich Künneth (Lutheran)

5.    Eugene Brand (Lutheran)[5]

6.    Max Thurian (Calvinist-community of Taize).

Their contribution in creating the New Mass was immortalized in a picture taken of them during an audience with Pope Paul VI after thanking them for their assistance. The image was subsequently published in L’Osservatore Romano on April 23, 1970 with the title: “Commission Holds Final Meeting, Pope Commends Work of Consilium”.

In addition to the self-evidence of this photograph, we also have verifying testimony from several persons, the most well-known being the aforementioned Anglican Jaspar, who described to Michael Davies how the Protestant contributors gave their input, often implemented verbatim.

But let’s pretend this picture does not exist, nor any credible testimonies from Protestants who were actually there. Even without these we still have more than sufficient evidence of Proof Protestant in the Pudding: in the texts of the Novus Ordo Missae itself.

For example, the Ottaviani Intervention clearly shows that the New Mass does not conform to the doctrines as infallibly defined by the Council of Trent – that is, the very Catholic beliefs about the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament and priesthood which Protestants reject.

But the most telling pudding proof comes from the Protestants themselves, who affirmed (in reference to the official edition and not merely a bad implementation of it), that they too could use Pope Paul’s new missal since the objectionable content such as “a false perspective of sacrifice offered to God” has been “abandoned” in “the new Eucharistic Prayers”.[6] Or that “…nothing in the renewed Catholic Mass need really trouble the Evangelical Protestant”.[7] Many more such testimonies exist, but space is fleeting here – so cf. Michael Davies again!

Even more significant were their actions. After declaring the doctrinal suitability of the Novus Ordo Missae, Episcopalians and Lutherans adopted its texts nearly verbatim. Obviously this indicates “a fundamental change of doctrine”,[8] because they were unwilling to do this with the undeniably orthodox texts of the 1962 Missale Romanum.

Time and again, we find “conservatives” denying these indisputable facts concerning the theological deficiencies of the Novus Ordo. While I could conclude with a quote from Archbishop Lefebvre wherein he affirms that the New Mass, even when said with piety is nevertheless impregnated with a Protestant spirit – I won’t. Rather, I will give the words of a post-conciliar French liturgist, Fr. Henri Denis, who at least had the intellectual honesty to say:

To claim that everything has changed is quite simply to be honest about what has happened. In some of the debates with traditionalists it has sometimes become the accepted practice to say that nothing has been changed. It would be better far to have the courage to admit that the Church has made important modifications and that she had good reason to do so. Why not acknowledge that religion has changed…?”[9]

Of course, the Catholic Church is Christ and thus cannot change her doctrine given to her by the Divine Word but wayward churchmen certainly can try, while claiming it’s a Church teaching, and when this occurs we must remember the Spanish proverb: Obedience is the servant of Faith, not Faith of obedience; or as St. Peter put it: “we must obey God before men.” This is the essence of the struggle that Catholics find themselves in today: obey what the Church has handed down (Tradition) or adhere to the errors of men (Modernism).

Footnotes

1. The book cited was The Pope, the Council, and the Mass: Answers to Questions the Traditionalists Have Asked by James Likoudis and Kenneth Whitehead. Sufficient time does not exist here to refute the fallacies related to our topic, let alone the entire book, a neo-conservative masterpiece.

2. And in L’Osservatore Romano no less!

3. Cf. chapter IX in Davies’ Pope John’s Council, and furthermore the 2001 conference given by Fr. Franz Schmidberger which revealed that the source of Lumen Gentium’s ecumenical phrase of “subsist in” was actually from a Protestant observer.

4. Apropos, December 19, 1993 and again in Christian Order, October 1994.

5. Note, he has been mistakenly listed as “Dr. Smith” in some publications; the correct list of names can be found in Michael Davis’ works.

6. Jean Guitton quoting a Protestant publication in the December 10, 1969 issue of La Croix.

7. As quoted from M.G. Siegvalt (Protestant professor of dogmatic theology) in La Croix on November 22, 1969.

8. As asserted by Cardinal Alfons Stickler in November 2004, in support of the Ottaviani Intervention.

9. Des Sacrements et des Hommes (Paris, 1977), p. 34 – English translation from Michael Davies.

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The Destruction of Catholic Faith Through Changes in Catholic Worship

The Destruction of Catholic Faith Through Changes in Catholic Worship
Michael Davies

The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall of Annibale Bugnini

Before discussing the time bombs in the Council texts, more specifically those in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which would lead to the destruction of the Roman Rite, it is necessary to examine the role of Annibale Bugnini, the individual most responsible for placing them there and detonating them after the Constitution had won the approval of the Council Fathers.

Annibale Bugnini was born in Civitella de Lego [Italy] in 1912. He began his theological studies in the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians) in 1928 and was ordained in this Order in 1936. For ten years he did parish work in a Roman suburb, and then, from 1947 to 1957, was involved in writing and editing the missionary publications of his Order. In 1947, he also began his active involvement in the field of specialized liturgical studies when he began a twenty-year period as the director of Ephemerides liturgicae, one of Italy’s best-known liturgical publications. He contributed to numerous scholarly publications, wrote articles on the liturgy for various encyclopaedias and dictionaries, and had a number of books published on both the scholarly and popular level.

Father Bugnini was appointed Secretary to Pope Pius XII’s Commission for Liturgical Reform in 1948. In 1949 he was made a Professor of Liturgy in the Pontifical Propaganda Fide (Propagation of the Faith) University; in 1955 he received a similar appointment in the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music; he was appointed a Consultor to the Sacred Congregation of Rites in 1956; and in 1957 he was appointed Professor of Sacred Liturgy in the Lateran University. In 1960, Father Bugnini was placed in a position which enabled him to exert an important, if not decisive, influence upon the history of the Church: he was appointed Secretary to the Preparatory Commission on the Liturgy for the Second Vatican Council. [Biographical details are provided in Notitiae, No. 70, February 1972, pp. 33-34.] He was the moving spirit behind the drafting of the preparatory schema (plural schemata), the draft document which was to be placed before the Council Fathers for discussion. Carlo Falconi, an “ex-priest” who has left the Church but keeps in close contact with his friends in the Vatican, refers to the preparatory schema as “the Bugnini draft.” [Carlo Falconi, Pope John and His Council (London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1964), p. 244.] It is of the greatest possible importance to bear in mind the fact that, as was stressed in 1972 in Father Bugnini’s own journal, Notitiae (official journal of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship), the Liturgy Constitution that the Council Fathers eventually passed was substantially identical to the draft schema which he had steered through the Preparatory Commission. [Notitiae, No. 70, February 1972, pp. 33-34.]

According to Father P. M. Gy, O.P., a French liturgist who was a consulter to the pre-conciliar Commission on the Liturgy, Father Bugnini “was a happy choice as secretary”:

He had been secretary of the commission for reform set up by Pius XII. He was a gifted organizer and possessed an open-minded, pastoral spirit. Many people noted how, with Cardinal Cicognani, he was able to imbue the discussion with the liberty of spirit recommended by Pope John XXIII. [A. Flannery, Vatican II: The Liturgy Constitution (Dublin: Sceptre Books, 1964), p. 20.]

The Bugnini schema was accepted by a plenary session of the Liturgical Preparatory Commission in a vote taken on January 13, 1962. But the President of the Commission, the eighty-year old Cardinal Gaetano Cicognani, had the foresight to realize the dangers implicit in certain passages. Father Gy writes: “The program of reform was so vast that it caused the president, Cardinal Gaetano Cicognani, to hesitate.” [Flannery, p. 23.] Unless the Cardinal could be persuaded to sign the schema, it would be blocked. It could not go through without his signature, even though it had been approved by a majority of the Commission. Father Bugnini needed to act. He arranged for immediate approaches to be made to Pope John, who agreed to intervene. He called for Cardinal Amleto Cicognani, his Secretary of State and the younger brother of the President of the Preparatory Commission, and told him to visit his brother and not return until the schema had been signed. The Cardinal complied:

Later a peritus of the Liturgical Preparatory Commission stated that the old Cardinal was almost in tears as he waved the document in the air and said: “They want me to sign this but I don’t know if I want to.” Then he laid the document on his desk, picked up a pen, and signed it. Four days later he died. [Fr. Ralph M. Wiltgen, S.V.D., The Rhine Flows into the Tiber: A History of Vatican II (1967, rpt. Rockford, IL. TAN, 1985), p. 141.]

The First Fall

The Bugnini schema had been saved—–and only just in time. Then, with the approval of Pope John XXIII, Father Bugnini was dismissed from his chair at the Lateran University and from the secretaryship of the Conciliar Liturgical Commission which was to oversee the schema during the conciliar debates. The reasons which prompted Pope John to take this step have not been divulged, but they must have been of a most serious nature to cause this tolerant Pontiff to act in so public and drastic a manner against a priest who had held such an influential position in the preparation for the Council. In his book The Reform of the Liturgy, which to a large extent is an apologia for himself and a denunciation of his critics, Bugnini blames Cardinal Arcadio Larraona for his downfall. He writes of himself in the third person:

Of all the secretaries of the preparatory commissions, Father Bugnini was the only one not appointed secretary to the corresponding conciliar commission . . . This was Father Bugnini’s first exile. At the same time that Father Bugnini was dismissed from the secretariat of the conciliar commission, he was also discharged from his post as teacher of liturgy in the Pontifical Pastoral Institute of the Lateran University, and an attempt was made to take from him the chair of liturgy at the Pontifical Urban University. This repressive activity emanated directly from Cardinal Larraona and was very kindly seconded by some fellow workers who wanted better to serve the Church and the liturgy. The basis for the dismissals was the charge of being a

“progressivist,” “pushy,” and an “iconoclast” (innuendos whispered half-aloud),

accusations then echoed in turn by the Congregation of Rites, the Congregation of Seminaries, and the Holy Office. But no proof was offered, no clear justification for such serious measures. [Annibale Bugnini, The Reform of the Liturgy 1948-1975 (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1990), p. 30.]

Bugnini’s claim that “no proof was offered” is simply a gratuitous assertion on his part. The fact that he saw no proof in no way proves that it did not exist. Falconi condemns the dismissal of Father Bugnini as a retrograde step, but adds:

All the same, Bugnini managed to get his draft through as far as the Council, and now it will be interesting to see if it is passed, and even more so if the draft schema of the proscribed Secretary of the Liturgical Commission should open the way for the success of other drafts of a progressive character. [Falconi, p. 224.]

The dismissal of Father Bugnini was very much a case of locking the stable door after the horse had bolted. It would have helped Father Bugnini’s cause had he been appointed Secretary to the Conciliar Commission (the post was given to Father Ferdinand Antonelli, O.F.M.), as he could then have guided his schema through the Council—–but this was not essential. It was the schema that mattered.

Seventy-five preparatory schemata had been prepared for the Council Fathers, the fruits of the most painstaking and meticulous preparation for a Council in the history of the Church. [Wiltgen, p. 22.] The number was eventually reduced to twenty, and seven were selected for discussion at the first session of the Council. [Ibid.] The Bugnini schema was the fifth of these, and it was presumed by most bishops that the schemata would be debated in their numerical sequence. [Ibid.] But the other schemata were so orthodox that the liberals could not accept them—–even as a basis for discussion. At the instigation of Father Edward Schillebeeckx, O.P., a Belgian-born Professor of Dogmatics at the Catholic University of Nijmegen, the schemata were rejected with one exception—–the Bugnini schema. This, he said, was “an admirable piece of work.” [Ibid., p. 23.] It was announced at the second general congregation of the Council on October 16, 1962, that the sacred liturgy was the first item on the agenda for examination by the Fathers. [Bugnini, p. 29.] Notitiae looked back on this with considerable satisfaction in 1972, remarking that the Bugnini preparatory schema was the only one that was eventually passed without substantial alteration. [Notitiae, No. 70, p. 34.] Father Wiltgen comments:

It should be noted that the liturgical movement had been active in Europe for several decades, and that quite a large number of bishops and periti from the Rhine countries had been appointed by Pope John to the preparatory commission on the liturgy. As a result, they had succeeded in inserting their ideas into the schema and gaining approval for what they considered a very acceptable document. [Wiltgen, p. 23.]

As for the other schemata, one prominent Council Father, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, wrote:

Now you know what happened at the Council. A fortnight after its opening not one of the prepared schemata remained, not one! All had been turned down, all had been condemned to the wastepaper basket. Nothing remained, not a single sentence. All had been thrown out. [Marcel Lefebvre, A Bishop Speaks (Kansas City, MO: Angelus Press, 1987), p. 131.]

Bugnini’s allies who had worked with him on preparing the schema now had the task of securing its acceptance by the bishops without any substantial alterations. They did so with a degree of success that certainly exceeded the hopes of their wildest dreams. They seem to have presumed that the bishops would be a bunch of “useful idiots,” men who preferred to laugh rather than to think. “It was all good fun,” wrote Archbishop R. J. Dwyer, one of the most erudite of the American bishops. “And when the vote came round, like wise Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.M., ‘We always voted at our party’s call; we never thought of thinking for ourselves at all.’ That way you can save yourself a whole world of trouble.” [Twin Circle, October 26, 1963, p. 2.] The Bugnini schema received the almost unanimous approval of the Council Fathers on December 7, 1962 and became Vatican II’s “Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy” (CSL). But the Constitution contained no more than general guidelines; therefore, to achieve total victory, Father Bugnini and his cohorts needed to obtain the power to interpret and implement it.

The Second Rise

The Rhine Group [Note 1] pressed for the establishment of post-conciliar commissions with the authority to interpret the CSL. It “feared that the progressive measures adopted by the Council might be blocked by conservative forces near the Pope once the Council Fathers had returned home.” [Wiltgen, pp. 287-288.] Cardinal Heenan, of Westminster, England, had warned of the danger if the Council periti were given the power to interpret the Council to the world. “God forbid that this should happen!” he told the others. [Ibid., p. 210.] This was just what did happen. The members of these commissions were “chosen with the Pope’s approval, for the most part, from the ranks of the Council periti. The task of the commissions is to put into effect the Council decrees . . . and, when necessary, to interpret the Council institutions, decrees, and declarations.” [The Tablet (London), January 22, 1966, p. 114.] On March 5, 1964, l’Osservatore Romano announced the establishment of the Commission for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Liturgy, which became known as the Consilium. The initial membership consisted mainly of members of the Commission that had drafted the Constitution. Father Bugnini was appointed to the position of Secretary of the Consilium on February 29, 1964. What prompted Pope Paul VI to appoint Bugnini to this crucially important position after he had been prevented by Pope John XXIII from becoming Secretary of the Conciliar Commission is probably something that we shall never know.

In theory, the Consilium was an advisory body, and the reforms it devised had to be implemented by either the Sacred Congregation for Rites or the Sacred Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments. These congregations had been established as part of Pope Paul’s reform of the Roman Curia, promulgated on August 15, 1967. Father Bugnini’s influence as Secretary of the Consilium was increased when he was appointed Under-Secretary to the Sacred Congregation for Rites. [Notitiae, No. 70, February 1972, p. 34.] On May 8, 1969, Pope Paul promulgated the Apostolic Constitution Sacra Rituum Congregatio, which ended the existence of the Consilium as a separate body; it was incorporated into the newly established Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship as a special commission which would retain its members and consultors and remain until the reform of the liturgy had been completed. Notitiae, official journal of the Consilium, became the journal of the new Congregation. Father Annibale Bugnini was appointed Secretary of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and became more powerful than ever. It is certainly no exaggeration to claim that what in fact had happened was that the Consilium, in other words Father Bugnini, had taken over the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship. The April-June 1969 issue of Notitiae announced Father Bugnini’s appointment, stating:

This number of Notitiae appears under the direction of the new Congregation for Divine Worship. Pope Paul VI, at the end of the 28 April Consistory, made the announcement and gave it an official character with the Apostolic Constitution “Sacred Congregation of Rites” of 8 May. The new Congregation will continue on a firmer juridical foundation, with more effectiveness and renewed commitment, the work accomplished by the Consilium in the past five years, linking itself with the Council, its preparatory commission, and the entire liturgical movement . . . The Consilium continues as a particular commission of the Congregation until the completion of the reform.

Father Bugnini was now in the most influential position possible to consolidate and extend the revolution behind which he had been the moving spirit and the principle of continuity. Nominal heads of commissions, congregations, and the Consilium came and went—–Cardinal Lercaro, Cardinal Gut, Cardinal Tabera, Cardinal Knox—–but Father Bugnini always remained. He attributed this to the Divine

Will: “The Lord willed that from those early years a whole series of providential circumstances should thrust me fully, and indeed in a privileged way, in medias res, and that I should remain there in charge of the secretariat.” [Bugnini, p. xxiii.] His services would be rewarded by his being consecrated a bishop and then being elevated to the rank of Titular Archbishop of Dioclentiana, as announced on January 7, 1972.

The Imposition of the New Rite of Mass

What the experts were planning had already been made clear on October 24, 1967 in the Sistine Chapel, when what was described as the Missa Normativa was celebrated before the Synod of Bishops by Father Annibale Bugnini himself, its chief architect. Since he had been appointed secretary of the post-Vatican II Liturgy Commission, he had the power to orchestrate the composition of the New Rite of Mass which he had envisaged in the schema that he had prepared before his dismissal by John XXIII—–the schema which had been passed virtually unchanged by the Council Fathers. As already remarked, why Pope Paul VI appointed to this key position a man who had been dismissed by his predecessor is a mystery which will probably never be answered.

Fewer than half the bishops present voted in favor of the Missa Normativa, but the far-from-satisfied majority was ignored with the arrogance which was to become the most evident characteristic of the liturgical establishment, to which the Council Fathers had been naive enough to entrust the implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. The Missa Normativa would be imposed on CatholIcs of the Roman Rite by Pope Paul VI in 1969, with a few changes, as the Novus Ordo Missae: the New Order of Mass.

In 1974 Archbishop Bugnini explained that his reform had been divided into four stages—–firstly, the transition from Latin to the vernacular; secondly, the reform of the liturgical books; thirdly, the translation of the liturgical books; and fourthly, the adaptation or “incarnation” of the Roman form of the liturgy into the usages and mentality of each individual Church. [Notitiae, No. 92, April 1974, p. 126.] This process (which would mean the complete elimination of any remaining vestiges of the Roman Rite) had already begun, he claimed, and would be “pursued with ever increasing care and preparation.” [Ibid.]

The Second Fall

At the very moment when his power had reached its zenith, Archbishop Bugnini was in effect dismissed—–this was his second fall—–to the dismay of liberal Catholics throughout the world. What happened was that the Archbishop’s entire Congregation was dissolved and merged with the Congregation for the Sacraments under the terms of Pope Paul’s Apostolic Constitution Constans Nobis, published in l’Osservatore Romano (English edition) of July 31, 1975. The new congregation was entitled the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship. The name Bugnini did not appear in the list of appointments. Liberals throughout the world were dismayed. The Tablet, in England, and its extreme liberal counterpart in the United States, the National Catholic Reporter, carried an indignant report by Desmond O’Grady:

Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, who, as Secretary of the abolished Congregation for Divine Worship, was the key figure in the Church’s liturgical reform, is not a member of the new Congregation. Nor, despite his lengthy experience was he consulted in the planning of it. He heard of its creation while on holiday at Fiuggi . . . the abrupt way in which this was done does not augur well for the Bugnini line of encouragement for reform in collaboration with local hierarchies . . . Msgr. Bugnini conceived the next ten years’ work as concerned principally with the incorporation of local usages into the liturgy . . . He represented the continuity of the post-conciliar liturgical reform. [The Tablet, August 30, 1975, p. 828.]

l’Osservatore Romano carried the following announcement in its English edition, on January 15, 1976: “5 January: The Holy Father has appointed Apostolic Pro Nuncio in Iran His Excellency the Most Reverend Annibale Bugnini, C. M., titular Archbishop of Dioclentiana.” This was clearly an artificial post created to gloss over the fact that the Archbishop had been banished.

In his book The Devastated Vineyard, published in 1973, Dietrich von Hildebrand rightly observed concerning Bugnini that: “Truly, if one of the devils in C. S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters had been entrusted with the ruin of the liturgy, he could not have done it better.” [Dietrich von Hildebrand, The Devastated Vineyard (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1973), p. 71.] This is a statement based on an objective assessment of the reform itself It is beyond dispute that whether or not the Roman Rite has been destroyed deliberately, it has been destroyed. (See later herein.) If this result is simply the consequence of ill-judged decisions by well-meaning men, the objective fact remains unchanged: they could not have destroyed the Roman Rite more effectively had they done so deliberately. But the thoroughness of the destruction caused many to wonder whether it might be more than the result of ill-considered policies. It came as no great surprise when, in April of 1976, Tito Casini, Italy’s leading Catholic writer, publicly accused Archbishop Bugnini of being a Freemason. [Tito Casini, Nel Furno di Satana (Florence: Carro di San Giovanni, 1976), p.150.] On October 8, 1976, Le Figaro published a report stating that Archbishop Bugnini denied ever having had any Masonic affiliation.

I have made my own investigation into the affair and can vouch for the authenticity of the following facts. A Roman priest of the very highest reputation came into possession of evidence which he considered proved Archbishop Bugnini to be a Freemason. He had this information placed into the hands of Pope Paul VI with the warning that if action were not taken at once, he would be bound in conscience to make the matter public. Archbishop Bugnini was then removed by means of the dissolution of his entire Congregation. I have verified these facts directly with the priest concerned, and the full facts can be found in Chapter XXIV of my book Pope Paul’s New Mass.

An important distinction must be made here. I have not claimed that I can prove Archbishop Bugnini to have been a Mason, but that Pope Paul VI dismissed him and exiled him to Iran because he had been convinced that the Archbishop was a Mason. I made this same point in a letter published in the January 1980 Homiletic and Pastoral Review, which prompted a violent attack upon me by Archbishop Bugnini in the May 1980 issue. He denied that any of the prelates who, since Vatican II, had been accused of Masonic affiliation “ever had anything to do with Freemasonry,” and he continued:

And for Michael Davies it would be enough. [sic] But for him and his colleagues, calumniators by profession . . . I repeat what I wrote in 1976: “I do not own anything in this world more precious than the pectoral cross: if one is able to prove honestly, objectively, an iota of truth of what they affirm, I am ready to return back the pectoral cross.”

But, as I have already stated, I did not accuse him of being a Mason but simply pointed out that Pope Paul VI had been convinced that this was the case, and the fact that this does not constitute calumny is proved by the fact that Bugnini conceded precisely what I had alleged in his book The Reform of the Liturgy. Referring to his removal from his position by Pope Paul VI and the suppression of the Congregation for Divine Worship, he wrote:

What were the reasons that led the Pope to such a drastic decision, which no one expected and which lay so heavily on the Church? I said in the preface to this book that I myself never knew any of these reasons for sure, even though, understandably in the distress of the moment, I knocked on many doors at all levels . . . There were those who ascribed the change to the “authoritarian,” “almost dictatorial” way in which the secretary of the congregation supposedly managed the agency, not allowing freedom of movement to his own co-workers and limiting the role even of the cardinal prefects. [NOTE 2] But when all is said and done, all this seems to be the stuff of ordinary administrative life. There must have been something more earthshaking. Toward the end of the summer a cardinal who was usually no enthusiast for the liturgical reform told me of the existence of a “dossier” which he had seen on (or brought to?) the Pope’s desk and which proved that Archbishop Bugnini was a Freemason. [Bugnini, p. 91.]

Although one is not supposed to speak ill of the dead—–de mortuis nil nisi bonum [literally, ” of the dead, nothing except good”], in an historical study such as this, objectivity demands that it be made clear that truth was not a priority with Archbishop Bugnini. In an attempt to play down the role played by the Protestant observers in his liturgical revolution, he stated: “They never intervened in the discussions and never asked to speak.” [Notitiae, July-August 1974.] As is made clear in Appendix I, this is highly misleading. There is not the least doubt that the Second Vatican Council was a cause of great satisfaction to Protestants. In their final message to the Council, read by Archbishop Felici on December 4, 1965, the Observer-delegates enlarged on this theme: “Blessed be God for all that he has given us so far through the Holy Spirit, and for all that he will give us in the future.” Oscar Cullmann, the noted Swiss theologian, summed up their thoughts when he declared: “The hopes of Protestants for Vatican II have not only been fulfilled, but the Council’s achievements have gone far beyond what was believed possible.” [Xavier Rynne, The Fourth Session (London: Herder & Herder, 1966), p.256.]

1. In the Preface to The Rhine Flows into the Tiber (p. 1), Father Wiltgen explains that the “predominant influence” during the Second Vatican Council came from Council Fathers and periti (experts) from the “countries along the Rhine river—–Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, the Netherlands—–and from nearby Belgium. Because this group exerted a predominant influence over the Second Vatican Council, I have titled my book The Rhine Flows into the Tiber:” This is certainly the most informative book written on what really happened at Vatican II, and it should be owned by every Catholic taking a serious interest in events since the Council. The six countries named were those in which the Liturgical Movement had been most active and in which liberal ideas were most manifest.

2. In a footnote commenting on these complaints made by members of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Archbishop Bugnini comments: “Human deficiencies are always possible, of course, but the accusation reflects a mentality that was periodically revived among officials of the Congregation who out of ambition or defects of character, were determined to create difficulties for the secretary.” This remark is typical of his insistence throughout the book that no criticism made of him can ever be justified and that those who make these criticisms have bad motives.

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The Man Behind The Novus Ordo Liturgical Curtain: What Every Catholic Should Know About Annibale Bugnini

The Man Behind The Novus Ordo Liturgical Curtain: What Every Catholic Should Know About Annibale Bugnini
John Grasmeier

Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit: according to the tradition of men according to the elements of the world and not according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

Ecclesiastic Revolution

Up until the socially turbulent 1960s, the Mass Catholics celebrated had barely changed over the preceding 500 years. Before then, the development of the order of the Mass was the result of divine inspiration and painstaking refinement undertaken with great care over many centuries.  The very liturgical celebration that altered human existence was an organic development that began with the very first Mass given by Our Lord at the last supper, then was slowly and wisely refined through the centuries by our church fathers, popes, councils and saints.

“The most beautiful thing this side of heaven” was cataclysmically revolutionized in just a few short years by a handful of new thinkers. One stalwart architect of this liturgical revolution was a man by the name of Annibale Bugnini, who was the guiding light and “main man” responsible for this enormous sea change in Catholic liturgy.

Life of Liturgy

As a career liturgist, very little of Mr. Bugnini’s vocation was spent “flock tending”. Born in Italy in 1912 he became an ordained priest in 1936 at the age of 24. After only 10 years of parish duties, he began liturgical studies and shortly thereafter, in 1948, was appointed by Pope Pius XII to be the secretary of his Commission for Liturgical Reform. He became Consulter to the Sacred Congregation of Rites and Professor of Sacred Liturgy in the Lateran University in 1956 and 1957 respectively.

He gained an influential toehold in 1960 when he was appointed Secretary to the Preparatory Commission for the Liturgy. In 1962, he able to use this position to bring to fruition what became known as “The Bugnini Schema”. The Bugnini Schema was the liturgical draft document that wound up being nearly identical to what was later adopted by the Liturgy Constitution. The rapid development of the Novus Ordo Mass was now well under way.

Canned

Only a few short months after this apparent victory, Bugnini was mysteriously and promptly removed from both his position as secretary of the commission and his chair at the Lateran University. This unprecedented move would not have happened without the full consent of Pope John XXIII, or without the (to this day unknown) offense being extraordinarily egregious. No explanation was ever disclosed as to reason for Bugnini’s sudden removal.

Say What?

In 1964, a commission called “The Consilium” was established to implement the Second Vatican Council document on the Sacred Liturgy (passed in 1963 by the Council Fathers). Inexplicably, Pope Paul VI appointed Bugnini to the position of secretary of the Consilium, disregarding his predecessor John XXIII, who had removed him from the same position on the preparatory commission. Incredibly, Bugnini would now be in charge of interpreting the very same liturgy constitution of which he was instrumental in creating.

In 1969 Paul VI ended the separate nature of the Consilium by dissolving it and making it part of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship (which ironically only 6 years later he would suppress) and appointed Bugnini as its secretary. Bugnini was now in the most powerful position possible to ensure implementation of his brainchild. Three years later, in 1972, he was consecrated as an Archbishop.

Canned Again

In what Bugnini describes in his autobiography as an “earth shaking” event, he was once again summarily dismissed from his duties, this time by Pope Paul VI. The Congregation of Divine Worship was suppressed and Bugnini was “exiled” to Iran in a sensational move that immediately and permanently ended his career. Once again under mysterious and unexplained circumstances, the main architect of the Novus Ordo Mass was harshly rebuked and essentially fired from all duties of any significance.

Further Facts Regarding Mr. Bugnini

In March of 1965, in the periodical L’Osservatore Romano, Bugnini was quoted as saying: “We must strip from our Catholic prayers and from the Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren that is for the Protestants.” In 1974 preceding his second downfall, Bugnini proudly proclaimed Vatican II to be a “major conquest of the Catholic Church”.

This article has not gone into any depth regarding some of the existing subjective evidence implicating Bugnini as a Freemason. Although disturbing data does exist to support the contention, it can’t be said that it has been proven beyond all doubt. Suffice to say that whatever the reason behind Bugnini’s two abrupt dismissals by two separate pontiffs, the offense or offenses must have been extraordinarily grave for a prelate in his position to receive such a harsh rebuke. To whit, neither Bugnini nor the Vatican have shed any light on the specific reasons behind either of his demotions.

There is much we don’t know concerning the late archbishop. What is certain however is that the most central element of worldwide Catholicism – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – was revolutionized nearly single-handedly by disgraced and dubious man.

One Annibale Bugnini.

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The Jurisdiction Of The Bull Quo Primum Of Pope Saint Pius V

The Jurisdiction Of The Bull Quo Primum Of Pope Saint Pius V
Fr. Raymond Dulac

I. Preliminary Remarks

If the bull decrees a true law, it will be a human law whose authority is derived neither from the nature of things nor from Divine revelation, but emanates from the free will of the human legislator.

This legislator must manifest as clearly and fully as possible the nature and extent of his will:

He must state that he is laying down a true law, creating a juridical obligation, not simply expressing a wish, a recommendation, a “directive,” or even perhaps a formal expression of his will which stops short at declaring itself as the imposition of a command on those subject to him.

He must define the law’s scope in respect of time, place, and persons.

Where necessary, he must lay down precise instructions for discharging the obligations contained in his legislative decree: what it commands, what it permits and, perhaps, certain privileges which it concedes.

Where the legislation applies to subject matter which is not entirely new, the legislator must state precisely the relationship of the new law to previous law or custom.

Only partial derogation? 

Total abrogation?

Since the unwritten law of custom possesses a particular force peculiar to itself, he must state explicitly how much of it the new law maintains and how much it suppresses.

For the formal, official expression of these various intents, there are certain “legal rules,” a set vocabulary, a propria verborum significatio, well known to jurists. The Church has never failed to observe them as singular guarantees against both arbitrary despotism and anarchy. It has been reserved for the “post-conciliar Church” to scorn them, and with them what its representatives call “legalism”; that is, a clear, honest, straightforward expression of intent on all subjects – dogmatic, ethical, disciplinary.

An “up-to-date” member of the hierarchy no longer dares to command, but speaks in ambiguous terms to give the impression of doing so. Thus he is able to retreat or advance, according to his assessment of the situation, without ever losing face. This is because he is hiding behind a mask. This new authority has given itself a new name: it calls itself service. Self-service would have been more apt!  Everyone does as he wishes, from the highest to the lowest.

II. The Bull Decrees A True Law

It is a law carrying a juridical obligation expressed in traditional legal terms.

This law is not simply a personal decree of the Sovereign Pontiff, but most certainly an act of the Council (of Trent). St. Pius V referred explicitly to the “decrees of the Holy Council of Trent,” which had given him this task after the Fathers had manifested their wishes with precision. This explains the official title of our Missals: “The Roman Missal restored according to the decrees of the Holy Council of Trent, published by St. Pius V.” The Council decreed its restoration, the pope ordered its publication.

The will of the legislator is invested with varied nuances which are given in detail in the lengthily enunciated final sentences, concerning which we have pointed out that this is not merely done for the sake of emphasis. As an excellent exercise in respectful attention, the reader can easily place each of these eleven terms alongside a corresponding provision of the bull. The eleven terms are:

Hanc paginam Nostrae permissionis, statuti, ordinationis, mandati, praecepti, concessionis, indulti, declarationis, voluntatis, decreti et inhibitionis… [This notice of Our permission, statute, ordinance, command, direction, grant, indult, declaration, will, decree and prohibition… – Ed.]

The Bull specifies minutely the persons, time, and places to which its provisions apply.

The obligation is confirmed by express sanctions.

The pope does not promulgate a new Missal with his law; he restores the existing one. Nevertheless, he states clearly where that which existed before has been subjected to partial derogation or total abrogation. In this respect, the final Non obstant section is precise, specific, and rigorous, not simply making general mention of the former laws and customs now to be abolished, but listing each one of them by name.[1]

III. The Bull Respects Established Rights

It is characteristic of a truly great leader that the more firm he is in imposing obligations, the more scrupulous will he be in respecting rights: not simply the general and absolute rights of the abstract “person,” but the historic rights of individuals and particular communities, even when acquired solely by custom.

Pope Pius V thus confirms two rights:

That of churches or communities which have enjoyed the use of their own Missal, approved since its institution.

That of a Missal similarly distinct from the Roman one, which can claim to have been in use for over two hundred years.

This confirmation of existing rights (…nequaquam auferimus) is not to be confused with the “permission” or with the “indult” which follow. The pope is confirming existing rights which he is content to maintain in his bull.

IV. The Bull Makes Allowance For Personal Preferences

After confirming the right of religious orders, chapters, etc., to the peaceful possession of their own missals, Pius V permits such communities to renounce them in favor of his own, “si iisdem magis placeret”; if his own missal pleases them more. But on one condition, that this preference is approved by their bishop or superior as well as by “the whole chapter.” Here again, the pope, while favoring his own missal in certain cases, does not wish to infringe established rights, and indeed, allows them priority. In this respect we must bear in mind that these particular missals are fundamentally identical with the Roman one, presenting purely minor variations.

V. The Bull Grants A Privilege

This is an important point to which no one, so far as we know, has made particular reference.

The “contemporary mentality” (according to Bugnini) wishes to ignore privileges: considering exceptions to the common law as displaying an aristocratic mentality unworthy of an age which is simultaneously egalitarian and totalitarian. This age recognizes only rights and grievances or “wrongs.”

The “post-Conciliar Church,” living in that kind of world, offers two contributions of its own: transitory “experiences” and legalized law-breaking (imposition of the vernacular, Communion in the hand, laymen helping themselves to the chalice, general concelebration, etc.).

The Catholic Church, for Her part, personalized Her laws and sometimes allays or smoothes them by custom and privilege. Is this aristocratic? Let it be so, and so much the better! It displays remarkable conformity with the Gospel, which is a law of grace and consideration.

St. Pius V conceded, as we have seen, exceptions to the norms laid down in his missal. Now we see that, in addition to the obligation which the bull imposes, he adds a privilege which favors his own missal. This privilege is to be effective in all cases and at all times. “Furthermore, by virtue of the terms of these presents, in virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, We grant and concede…” and in this respect we wish to make seven observations:

What stands out in this section of the bull is the use of the verbs “concedimus et indulgemus” which introduce it: their correct signification is of a favor which attains the legal status of a “private-law.” As, in the present case, the privilegium adds itself to the law; it must be understood as conferring a new authority upon it which takes precedence in all cases, present and in the future, where the law of Quo Primum might be made the object of a derogation. Therefore, even where the law ceased to bind, the privilege would still exist

The importance of this privilege is emphasized by the words “in virtue of Our Apostolic Authority,” which the pope invokes before conferring it.

This privilege is granted without exception to every priest, secular and regular, in every church, for every form of Mass.

No superior may impede the use of this privilege for any reason, either privately or publicly.

Those accorded the privilege cannot be obliged by anyone whatsoever, to use another missal (“a quolibet cogi et compelli”), or to implement even the slightest modification to the Missal of Pius V.

This concession has no need of any additional permission, agreement, or consent. The bull states: “by the terms of these presents,” which are thus considered adequate to suffice.

Finally, it is a matter of a perpetual privilege (“etiam perpetuo”).

This final statement leads us to a question which affects each and every legislative disposition of the bull: to what extent can a pope bind his successors? This is a great and delicate question, which will be limited in this instance to the case under discussion. It is obviously not a question of the pope as interpreter of the Divine Law, which is immutable, but of the pope in respect of ecclesiastical law.

VI. Is The Bull Valid Forever?

Here one principle stands out: “Par in parem potestatem non habet”: Equals have no power over each other. No one, therefore, can constrain his equals. This is particularly true of the supreme power. This is essentially the same power exercised through its different holders. It is necessary to give the most careful consideration to the full import of this principle. If a pope (to speak only of the highest religious authority) has the power to loose what another pope by the same power has bound, then he should use this right only for the gravest possible reasons: reasons which would have prompted his predecessor to revoke his own law. Otherwise, the essence of supreme authority is itself eroded by successive contradictory commands.

When philosophers discuss “divine power” they make use of a distinction which is infinitely more applicable in the case under discussion: what God can do in virtue of “absolute power” and what He can do in respect of His “regulated power.”[2]
The matter has not been decided when one can say, for example: “Paul VI could validly abrogate the bull of St. Pius V.” It remains to be shown that he is doing so legitimately.
Now this matter of lawfulness touches the very form and foundation of the new law – in the first place, involving the question of the mutability of law itself. Divine law contains the proof of its own universality and immutability within itself. But ecclesiastical law, like all human law, must add supporting evidence to its intrinsic proofs, even if this evidence is of the most obvious kind – purely conventional to begin with, but which by public consent eventually prevents the law from becoming arbitrary and artificial.

As to the form, the bull Quo Primum possesses all the conditions necessary for perpetuity. We have adequately demonstrated this by illustrating the terms used by the legislator.

As to content, its perpetuity is confirmed by three characteristics:

The aim in view, which is that there, should be but one missal so that the unity of Faith may be protected and manifested by unity of public prayer.

The method of its establishment, which is neither that of an artificial creation devised from a number of possibilities nor even a radical reform, but the honest restoration of the ancient Roman Missal: the honest restoration of a well-proven past being the best guarantee of a tranquil future.

Its authorship, which is that of a pope acting with all the force of his Apostolic authority, in exact conformity with the express wish of an Ecumenical Council in conformity with the uninterrupted tradition of the Roman Church and, so far as concerns the principal parts of the missal, in conformity with the Universal Church.

Each of these characteristics taken separately, and still more when taken together, assure us that no pope can ever licitly abrogate the bull of St. Pius V, even if we admit that he can do so validly and without betraying either the Deposit of Faith or any fundamental law of the Church.

It seems indisputable to us that Pope Paul VI has not, in fact, made any such abrogation, even if one thinks only of the legal formulas that would be required, and which are lacking in his Act.

Unfortunately, however, it seems equally indisputable that Pope Paul VI does favor the de facto abolition of the Roman Missal, whether by deliberate will, or connivance, or tolerance, or by constraint due to obscure pledges from which he cannot free himself – or which make him their prisoner.

He who resists the failings of a pontiff for a day serves the eternal papacy.

VII. Counsels Concerning A Respectful Resistance

Four and a half years ago, publicly and in writing, we gave our first counsels concerning the reasons for, and legitimate means to be used in, resistance to the liturgical revolution authorized by the reigning pope. It was in September 1967, two years before the “promulgation” of the new Ordo Missae, but at a time when the portents of revolution were so clear as to confer upon the ordinary priest and layman the right and duty of such resistance. Since then we have had occasion to reassert that position. Had it been erroneous or a source of scandal, it is unbelievable that neither the Holy See, nor the bishops, nor their “theologians,” should not have condemned or at least refuted the arguments put forward. It is equally incredible that to date [this was written in January 1972 – Ed.] the author has not once been called upon to retract them.

We therefore offer the following criteria for conduct:

First Rule: The Missal of Paul VI cannot be said to be obligatory in any strictly juridical sense which would impose its use and exclude that of the “Roman Missal restored by the decree of the Council of Trent and published by order of St. Pius V.”

Second Rule: The bull Quo Primum Tempore of St. Pius V has not been totally abrogated by the constitution of Paul VI, Missale Romanum, of April 3, 1969. At most, Pope Paul’s constitution derogates only certain particular details of the Tridentine Missal which will not be discussed in detail here.

Third Rule: Even if it is supposed that these derogations of Pope Paul are strictly obligatory, the fact remains that they leave intact the three privileges contained in the bull of St. Pius V, which have not been expressly abrogated by the present pope, and express abrogation is required by the principles of law.

The three privileges are:

The right of every priest to avail himself of the perpetual privilege discussed in Section V above.

The right of every priest to use, in preference to the Missal of Paul VI, the Tridentine Missal, which ratified a custom developed over the 15 preceding centuries and the centuries which followed.

The freedom of Religious to keep the missal of their Order, or to use that of St. Pius V, in preference to the Pauline missal. (NB: Religious belonging to Orders with their own missal have a right to demand that their chaplain should use their own missal even if he does not wish to do so).

As a consequence, the faithful too have the right to partake of the first two freedoms, through their priests on whom these freedoms have been directly conferred. They may, therefore, legitimately ask their priest or their bishop to insure that Masses are regularly celebrated in the Tridentine rite.

We are so certain of this doctrine that we feel able to add this final recommendation: If – and God forbid – any superior of whatever rank should presume to deny to priests, religious, or faithful the exercise of these rights, they may and should denounce to the competent authority, by every legitimate means, this infraction of the bull of St. Pius V, as an “Unlawful Abuse of Their Authority”.

Footnotes

1. Contrast with Pope Paul’s Missale Romanum, particularly in regard to its non obstant section.

2. Fr. Dulac is probably referring to the Summa Theologica, I. Q.25, A.5, ad 1. While God has the power to do anything, once He has willed to do it in a certain manner, and no other, He necessarily excludes other options, e.g., having made the human soul immortal, His power to annihilate it is naturally regulated or “ordered” by this decision. He could not annihilate something which He had intended to be immortal without contradicting His original intention. God’s “regulated power” is His power as submitted to His wisdom. Fr. Dulac wishes us to see the papacy as a continuing office and to appreciate that only the gravest possible reasons could compel such a manifest self-contradiction as the granting of a perpetual privilege by one incumbent, and its revocation by a successor.

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Modernism – A Catholic Refutation

Modernism – A Catholic Refutation
Raymond Taouk

“By their fruits you shall know them” – Matt 7:14

Modernism is the most dangerous of all heresies because it destroys any basis for belief in a supernatural world, whereas previous heresies had restricted themselves to denying one or more teachings of the Catholic faith.

St. Pius X described Modernism as “the synthesis of all heresies” as it seeks to “lay the axe not to the branches and shoots (of the Catholic Church) but to the very root”, that is, to the faith and “its deepest fibbers, and once they have struck the axe “they (modernists) proceed to diffuse poison throughout the whole tree, so that there is no part of the Catholic truth which they leave untouched” (Pascendi). Modernism poses a threat to our faith, and hence to our hope of salvation.

It would not be false to call the Modernists the worst enemies of the Church for it is not from without but from within that they plot the destruction of the Church; by mingling in themselves rationalism and Catholicism, which is used to subtly seduce the ignorant in the name of “progress”.

Ever since the days of Pope Pius X, we have witnessed this struggle between two camps, that of Tradition, in which the deposit of the faith is preserved and handed over to future generations and that of the Modernists, which marches in the name of progress to destroy all that the Church holds to be sacred, while destroying not only the deposit of the faith but even its very foundations, that is the notion of faith itself.

This heresy of Modernism has not changed its nature and approach till the present day but has only become more bold and daring as it has now affected the whole Catholic Church to so large an extent that it has been embraced by almost the entire Catholic hierarchy;  thus  it is important that we learn to recognise it for what it really is.

The History of Modernism

The Church first took note of the heresy of Modernism and defined it on September 26, 1835 when condemning the approach of certain priests and professors in German universities, who were using the Modern Philosophy of Descartes, Kant and Hegel to reinterpret the Articles of Faith. It was said that “They are profaning their teaching office and are adulterating the sacred Deposit of Faith.”

Nevertheless in its early days Modernism began as and ideology which was taken up by a number of rationalists, spreading itself into the bosom of the Church at around the end of the 19th Century. It’s aim was a revolutionary transmutation of Catholic dogma through the application of historical criticism, by subtly influencing the ignorant to their cause by means of vague well sounding terms (i.e. “progress”, “Modern”, “New insight”, “liberty” etc.).

Although from the very outset of its introduction into the faith it was condemned by the Church in the Holy Office’s decree of Lamentabili, and various other condemnation which followed it, nevertheless it continue to flourish because of its vague and ambiguous nature.

It was during the pontificate of St. Pius X that a lay intellectual and politician, Antonio Fogazzaro, described the road to reform the Church and Papacy in his novel Il Santo. Speaking about the Modernist groups who continued their work despite the condemnations, Fogazzaro affirmed: “We are a good number of Catholics both inside and outside of Italy, ecclesiastics and laymen, who desire a reform in the Church. We want a reform without rebellion, carried out by the legitimate authority. We want reforms in religious instruction, reforms in the liturgy . . . and reforms also in the supreme government of the Church. In order to achieve that, we need to create a public opinion that will induce the authorities to act according to our opinions, even if this takes 20, 30, or 50 years.” – Antonio Fogazzaro, II santo (Milan, 1907), p. 38.

Many of the forerunners of Modernism were rationalists, who made their reason to be the ultimate standard by which they will or will not believe regardless of the facts presented. This itself stemmed from Protestantism which sought to liberate man from God and make him independent to such a degree that his salvation was self determined by simply believing in ones own justification or by making himself the arbiter of what the bible does or does not mean.

In the nineteenth century rationalist and liberal Protestant historians had also began to exert their influence in the hope of eliminating what was known as orthodox (traditional) Christianity.

Sometime in the 1930s, Progressivism came to light. This was but an artful name to designate a type of Modernism that was more prudent, subtler, and a more sophistic movement that dodged those strong condemnations of Modernism. It was more complete and encompassing in some aspects as it set forth a more extensive vision of man, the universe, and the Church.

Thus during the short span of twenty years (1890 – 1910) the Church suffered a convulsion, which she has never really emerged from. However to determine the precise origin of Modernism is not as such possible in such a minor study, yet nevertheless we may say for the sake of brevity that it was the fruits of a union between an erroneous philosophy and a rationalistic and Liberal theology.

In 1958 the election of John XXIII was the landmark for the reform of the Church and the Papacy so long desired by the modernists. Vatican II, which was announced on January 25, 1959, would take this reform much further.

The Modernist dream of changing the ecclesiastical institution and eventually obtaining a Pope favourable to a revolution in the Mystical Body of Christ accords with the previously announced aims of Freemasonry in relation to the Church (cf. The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita (Rockford: TAN, 1999), pp. 6-10). This dream was to be realised in the pontificate of Pope John XXIII (“the transitional Pope”) and his immediate successors.

Some Well Known Modernists

Joseph Renan (1823 – 1892) was one such character. He had been a Catholic seminarian but came to doubt the truth of Christianity after studying the writings of the German critics. He did as much as anyone to destroy belief in Christ’s divinity with his book “the life of Christ”. He had a considerable influence upon Abbe Alfred Loisy a prominent leader among the Modernists.

Abbey Loisy was born in 1857 and died in 1940. His express ambition was to become a Father of the church; but he ended up as the Father of Modernism, one of the most dangerous adversaries the Church has ever seen.

Loisy formed the opinion that in order to retain her credibility in the approaching 20th Century, the Church must make a radical revision of her traditional teaching in order to accommodate this teaching to the findings of modern scholarship. What is interesting about loisy’s views as that like those of George Tyrrell (whom I shall shortly explain) they were to become the cornerstones from which modernism would emerge into the modern world and eventually into the Church . Loisy in his book “The Gospel and the Church” made a distinction between faith and history, and between the Christ of faith and the Christ of History. St. Pius X had no doubts about the implications of this Modernist thesis in which “we have a twofold Christ . . a Christ who has lived at a given time and place , and a Christ who has never lived outside the pious meditations of the believer” (Pascendi).

Finally in 1906 Loisy abandoned his priestly function and was formally excommunicated in 1908 after having five of his books placed on the index. He devoted the remained of his life (from 1909 -1930)to justifying Modernism.

Another among the names of influential Modernists is that of George Tyrrell who was born to a Protestant family in Ireland in 1861. He eventually moved to England and became a Catholic in 1879. After Joining the Jesuits he was ordained in 1891. He was led into Modernism under the influence of Baron von Hugel in 1897. Tyrrell spent much of his effort in writing works in defence and explanation of the modernist thesis although he often did this under pseudonyms to save himself from being condemned. Yet in 1906 he was expelled from the Society of Jesus and was excommunicated in the following year.

Before his death, Tyrell realised that the battle had been lost, yet he was still hopeful. In a letter dated 24 August 1908 he wrote to a friend of his “thanks to a silent and secret preparation we shall have won a much greater proportion of the army of the Church to the cause of liberty”. Today it seems these were have indeed come true!

With such persons working for the destruction of the Church by means of a positive revolution which wound set into effect the promotion and eventual expectation of the modernist doctrine, it is not hard to see why another well Known Modernist such as Maurice Blondel could write (in 1903) already at the beginning of the 20th Century ” With every day that passes, the conflict between tendencies which set Catholic against Catholic in ever order -Social, political, philosophical – is revealed as sharper and more general. One could almost say that there are now two quite incompatible “Catholic mentalities”.

Thus by the end of the 20th Century Modernism will have succeeded in claiming a great victory with the (at least implicit) approval of its doctrine at the Second Vatican Council at already by this time (1960’s) a great number of the Catholic hierarchy had been well imbued with the Modernist  spirit and mindset which would help set into effect the almost unstoppable chain reaction of deception that we now see among the Catholic hierarchy who no longer espouse the principles of Catholic doctrine but rather the  principles of the French revolution “Liberty, equality, and fraternity” which is especially made evident in the Declarations Dignitatis Humanae, Lumen Gentium , Gaudium et Spes and Religious Liberty of the Second Vatican Council.

Such persons were followed by well know Catholic figures such as Henri de Lubac, Telhard de Chardin, Karl Rahner who lead the devastation of Modernism into the theological field which has devastated the Catholic faith ever since.

Pope Pius X reduces the cause of Modernism to Pride, Curiosity and Ignorance for “these very Modernists who seek to be esteemed as Doctors of the Church, who speak so loftily of modern philosophy and show such contempt for scholasticism, have embraced the one with all its false glamour, precisely because of their ignorance” -8th, Sept. 1907

This is, in brief, the philosophical & theological background of Modernism. Agnosticism represents its negative aspect, while its positive aspect is the principle of vital immanence.  The errors of Modernism thus stem from their erroneous principles as St. Thomas well put it “A small error in principles leads to a grave error in ones conclusion”.

“Let no one lead you astray with empty words; for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience. Do not, then, become partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are the light in the lord. Walk, then, as children of light, testing what is well pleasing to God; and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them”. – Ephesians 5:6-11

The Principles of Modernism

Modernists place the foundation of religious philosophy in that doctrine which is commonly called agnosticism. According to this teaching human reason is confined entirely within the field of phenomena, that is to say to things that appear, and it has no power to overstep these limits. Hence for the Modernist the intellect is incapable of recognising Gods existence.

The core of the Modernist Principles is found in a triple thesis; the denial of the supernatural as an object of certain knowledge; an exclusive immanence of the Divine and of revelation reducing the Church to a simple, social, civilising, phenomenon; and a total emancipation of scientific research from Church dogma which would allow the continued assertion of faith in dogma, with its contradiction on the historical level.

Modernism and Pantheism

Modernism holds to some views that subscribe to the pantheistic notion of God.  That is just as pantheism identifies God with the universe (material creation). This is like the immanent God of the Modernists who has no existence independent of the material universe, as St. Pius X affirms in his Encyclical Pascendi (8 Sept. 1907) ” the doctrine of immanence in the Modernist acceptation holds and professes that every phenomenon of conscience proceeds from man as man. The rigorous conclusion from this is the identity of man with God, which means pantheism”.

St. Pius X further warned, “By how many roads Modernism leads to atheism and to the annihilation of all religion. The error of Protestantism made the first step on this path; that of Modernism makes the second; Atheism makes the next”.

Modernists and Ambiguity

Modernists have a great distaste for clarity and so they often make use of orthodox Catholic terminology to distort the truth of things and to bolster their cause of deception in which it seems at times they have even deceived the greatest of intellectuals and the most devout of Catholics. It would thus be wrong to imagine that everything in the writing of the Modernists was unorthodox. Much of what they often write often sounds perfectly sound, with much ambiguity. A statement like “Our faith is based upon the Resurrection of Jesus Christ” could mean His physical (Historical) Resurrection as the Church teaches, or simply a symbolic story which was invented by the first Christians to promote faith in Christ who rose only in the mind of his believers. For this reason Pope Pius X warned ” In their books one finds some things which might well be approved by a Catholic but on turning over the page one is confronted by other things which might well have been dictated by a rationalist.  When they write history they make no mention of the divinity of Christ, but when they are in the pulpit they profess it clearly; again, when they are dealing with history they take no account of the Fathers and the Councils, but when they catechise the people, they cite them respectfully” – Pascendi

Although I have previously asserted that this Heresy of Modernism has gained a footing in the Catholic Church, I do not affirm on this account that they (the Modernist hierarchy) have made a clear list of propositions that they have explicitly affirmed. Modernism does not operate in this way; it’s technique is infiltration “without order and systematic arrangement, in a scattered and disjointed manner” wrote Pope Pius X (Pascendi).

On this same score Fr. Amerio Romano in his book “Iota Unum”, points out the various changes in the language used by the Modernist (Neo-Modernist) theologians since the second Vatican Council which had opened the door to the modernist revolution in the Church.

A modernist will often recite the articles of the Creed using the same words as the Church prescribes but interprets them with his own lights or according to the current progressive understanding thus giving a new meaning the ancient terms.

Modernism – Dogma, Faith, Revelation & God

Modernists hold Catholic dogma (teaching) to be nothing but a common consciousness of the believers or as their “collective conscience”. Thus prompted by this “common consciousness” the believers came together in a society to formulate and systematise its beliefs. This according to Modernism this is how the Magisterium of the Church originated. Its function is to interpret and formulate whatever is found by the collective conscience to be helpful to the life of the Church at any given period. Thus the faith and the Magisterium originated in the people. Their collective conscience is the ultimate authority for what Christians should believe. Thus the Magisterium is made subservient to the people and is made to bow down to the popular ideas of the day. Thus for the Modernist God is not transcendent; He is not “out there” but “totally within”. As St. Pius X explained in Pascendi, the Modernist God was no more than a symbol and that “the personality of God will become a matter of doubt and the gate will be opened to pantheism”.

The modernist philosophers who challenge all rational proof of the existence of God as the First Cause of everything in existence, both material and spiritual fall victims to a scientific atheism. For these, God is something emanating from man’s subconscious. This false “faith” of theirs, based as it is on mere sentiment or feelings, is expressed in ever-changing formulae, since these have no other objective than that of maintaining or of warming up over and over again a sentimental life, a life of the heart which is, by definition, irrational. For these people, religion is a form of life and, as such, cannot constitute an adherence to an exterior object. Their “faith” proceeds from man; known as religious immanence, vital immanence. Such a system of “belief” cannot possibly be viewed as an unmistakably clear knowledge above all scientific knowledge; on the contrary, science (which modernists have reduced to the level of measurable things, to impose its control on all human judgement) affirms the objectivity of reality.

The Modernists regard revelation as a purely natural emergence of religious knowledge from a natural sense known as the “religious sense”. Thus it affirms the erroneous principle of naturalism. For this reason do Modernists place the Catholic faith on the same footing as other religions as all organised religions are valid expressions (more or less perfect) of the same emerging consciousness. Thus for the Modernist the Catholic Church is not the one authentic mediator of revealed truth.

As St. Pius X says “The Sacred Books may be described (by the Modernists) as a summary of experiences, not indeed of the kind that may now and again come to anybody, but those extraordinary and striking experiences which are the possession of every religion” and thus no place is left for Christ or His Church for grace or for anything that is above and beyond nature.

The modernist sees the objective content of the faith to which Catholics have always held to as mere mythology with the distinction between nature and grace being a mere scholastic invention, like the term transubstantiation. Thus in such a system doctrine has no permanent value in a changing world where people will express their experience of faith in different ways.

Modernism and Evolution

St. Pius X stated that the principle doctrine of the Modernists was that of evolution “to the laws of evolution everything is subject under penalty of death – dogma, Church worship, the books we revere as sacred, even the faithitself” (Pascendi). The modernist maintain that there is ever in the Church a constant struggle between the conservative and the progressive elements which serve to bring about the a new synthesis from which comes a new dogma. Hence writes St. Pius X “those who study more closely the ideas of Modernists, evolution is described as a resultant from the conflict of two forces, one of them  tending towards progress, the other towards conservation”.

Christianity taken as a whole to the modernists is merely the culmination of the evolutionary process as it could be observed at work in religion.

It might be said that By means of these false and groundless principles, Dogma, the Sacraments, the Holy Scriptures, the Church and ecclesiastical authority can be done away with.

Modernism and Miracles

Since the Catholic Church has a well documented history of Miracles and other unexplainable occurrences that have served to confirm its divine origin the modernists confronted with this will seek to explain it away by denying the historical, physical and objective facts of reality which  they reject by mere prejudice. This is because modernists are agnostic and maintain that what ever goes beyond the capacities of human reason or experience is not knowable. And so they reduce miracles to mere expressions of interior feelings that serve to intensify the internal feelings of the claimant. This reduces miracles to a mere subjective belief (feeling or idea) of an individual.

Renan States “It is evident that the Gospels are in part, legendary because they are interlarded with miracles and the supernatural.” – The life of Jesus

Any historical evidence in defence of miracles is automatically judged as useless (before examination!) because it testifies to the supernatural. With this same prejudice they affirm miracles to be impossible without giving any such proof.

Further Modernist seek to down play the historical value of any miracle discrediting them often as “exaggeration” “Legends” “old stories” “fables” “vermont expressions of desire” etc.

A Catholic Refutation of the Modernist Principles

For more than a century the Church has firmly and consistently fought against the erroneous philosophical principles of Modernism which now pervades the  theological thought of the post conciliar Church to a greater extent.

There can be no doubt that religious indifferentism is the spirit which now pervades the ecumenical movement of the post-conciliar Church which was long ago condemned by Pope Pius XI in Encyclical Mortalium Animos and by the Syllabus of Errors (Dz 2918).

Cardinal Newman writing against the Liberals of his day put it well say” What is the worlds religion now? . . . it includes no true fear of  God, no fervent zeal for His honour, no deep hatred of sin, no horror  at the sight of sinners, no indignation and compassion  at the blasphemies  of heretics, no jealous adherence to doctrinal truth . . . and therefore  is neither hot nor cold but lukewarm (Newman Against the Liberals, pp. 110)

True Development of Catholic dogma

While for the Modernist revelation is a continuing process destined to go on until the end of time with earlier statements of the faith being modified or even contradicted if it is more suited to the spirit of the age. The Catholic notion is quite the contrary. The Churches teaching is that public revelation was given once and for all (completed with the death of the last apostle) to be more and more fully understood as time goes on, but to be passed on in its entirety, undiminished and uncorrupted. For the

Modernist, dogmas have no absolute truth and are valid for the time in which they are made, but not necessarily at other periods.

In contrast to this false notion of Catholic teaching the First Latern Council declared that ” If anyone does not profess, in accordance with the Holy Fathers, properly and truthfully all that has been handed down and taught publicly to the Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church of God, both by the same Holy Fathers and by approved universal Councils, to the last detail and intention: let him be anathema!”

Our Lord, warns us at the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ – “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly are ravening wolves.” (Matt. 7:15) These words echo across the centuries to us Catholics at the present day, who are just as much, and even more, in need of such a warning. What should motivate us to heed this warning most carefully in our daily lives? Because the purity and integrity of the Faith is a serious matter.

Certainly we don’t expect to find men dressed in sheepskin. No. What we are told to “beware” of is that which on the surface   sounds pleasing to the ear; that which seems “positive” or “beneficial” at first glance. But behind it all is a subtle error that destroys Faith. What is one of the best ways that an error against the Faith can be taught to a Catholic and have him easily accept it as true even if at first they question the novelty of it. The way it was done at the turn of the century was to say that “doctrine evolves”, or that “truth evolves with man”. Today however, being that evolution is not generally looked upon favourably by Catholics, they will instead say that you must realise that there is “doctrinal development” – this is the “sheep’s clothing” of which Our Lord speaks. What better way to have false doctrines accepted by the faithful than to claim that the doctrine only “seems different” because they are the truths of old which have “developed” and progressed, or advanced! This is one of the most insidious and treacherous methods of corrupting the faith of a Catholic. The word “development” sounds beneficial or very “theological” to the ear, and may very well catch people off-guard.

The First Vatican Council condemned the Modernists notion of Doctrinal development in the following words: “If anyone says: it may happen that to doctrines put forward by the Church, sometimes, as knowledge advances, a meaning should be given different from what the Church has understood and understands, let him be anathema.”

The term “doctrinal development” is a very general term that has more than one meaning. It must be properly understood.

When for example an oak tree grows, it matures and develops as anything in nature. The oak tree has in perfection what the acorn had in germ. The acorn does not later become an apple tree. When it comes to the supernatural truths of Divine Revelation we see that this is true. The Church cannot at one time condemn something as a sin or error and latter teach that it is true or a virtue. Let us look at a young boy who lived generations ago. At age 10 the boy learns his catechism, receives the sacraments and professes his Faith. He is a Catholic pure and simple, and knows the truths of his faith. As he matures, so does his faith and understanding of the truths, which he always knows are true. Later in life he studies philosophy and theology and becomes a theologian. He is still just as much of a Catholic as he was when he was 10 but now instead of simply excepting things to be true, he now knows the reason for these truths. He has attained a BETTER understanding as he grew. This is nothing less than a “development of doctrine” in its TRUE SENSE. At age 10 he was Catholic with a GOOD understanding of the Truths of the Faith. As an elderly theologian he believes and professes the very SAME doctrines with the SAME MEANINGS but with a BETTER understanding.

The Church was given the Truths of the Faith from Our Lord. This “Deposit of Faith” has been preserved and taught infallibly from the beginning. When the Church was young, Christians had a GOOD understanding of the Faith. As the Church grew we developed a BETTER understanding of what was contained in that sacred deposit.

The First Vatican Council affirms the same thing, namely that “The doctrine of the Faith revealed by God has not been proposed to men as a philosophical invention to be perfected, but entrusted to the bride of Christ as a divine deposit, for her to guard faithfully and to infallibly teach. Further it is necessary to guard the sacred dogmas in the sense that the Church has    once and for all time exposed, and it is never permitted, under the pretext of a more profound understanding, to distance oneself from them. It is thus important that intelligence, knowledge and wisdom grow and progress vigorously, in each as in all, for each individual man as for the Church as a whole, in the course of ages and centuries; but only in its kind, that is to say, in the same dogma, the same sense, and the same thought” – Dz 3020

A Catholic in the 1st Century is just as much a Catholic as an orthodox theologian of the 20th century, believing the same doctrines. Truth is immutable. A true development of doctrine “increases” the understanding of the fine points and its relation to other truths. Never can a BETTER understanding means that what was previously understood was defective. It was understood in less detail, but was NOT an error, or anything to the contrary. A theologian believes the same truths as the school-boy, only he knows them in better detail. This fuller detail cannot be contrary to what the school-boy knows. So, we see Our Lord warns us of men who would seek to corrupt our Faith.

The Church has had to deal with such heretics in the past, and has dealt with them severely. Heretics who hold high office in the Church can easily fool the average Catholic simply by standing on his office of dignity. Bishop Arius is a good example of this as by his heresy (the Arian heresy) he caused about 80% of the clergy in the east to fall away from the Faith. And many went along, not because they understood the heresy, but because they followed their clergy into it.

St. Paul gives us a principle to remember: “brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle.” (2 Thess. 2:14) Immutable truth is found in tradition.

So we are able to see not only how prevalent error is today, but also how easily one can fall into error and cease to be Catholic, which shows us how serious adherence to tradition and the true meaning of Doctrinal development really is.

A Refutation of the Modernist Notion of Revelation

Contrary to the modernist notion or revelation the Church has constantly insisted on the external character of divine revelation.

The whole concept of an interior emergence of revealed truth is clearly condemned by the Oath against Modernism which states: “I hold with certainty and I sincerely confess that faith is NOT a blind impulse of religion welling up from the depth of the subconscious . . . but a genuine assent of the intellect to truth which is received from outside, by hearing”.

In fact, faith, which is the beginning of salvation, was defined by the First Vatican Council (Session 3, Chapter 3) as being a supernatural virtue that operates in the order of knowledge, because, by it, we adhere to the Truth revealed by God, moved by the authority of God, and not by evidence. The Council further declared that as Faith is a rational gift, together with internal Grace, God provided external signs, accommodated to human intelligence, in order that men would know really that God revealed such and such Truths. Finally, it condemned those who affirm that Faith is a blind adherence, or based only on our internal experience.

Therefore, no conversion or adherence to the Church is made without an intellectual knowledge that accepts a Truth.

Further if it were merely some interior sense how is it that not all men acknowledge this sense? For there are indeed a number of men who assert themselves to be atheists, yet accordingly if the modernist system were true there would be no atheists as it would not be possible to deny that which is evidently from within!

The Modernist argument that God can not be known by reasons is refuted by Pope St. Pius X who affirms that “To say a thing cannot be known does not authorise us to deny it.” Indeed this is simply a clear fault in logical reasoning.

St. Paul affirms that those who deny the intellect the ability to know God’s existence are inexcusable (Romans 1:20).

Further in response to this the Church declares with the First Vatican Council that  “If anyone says that the One True God, our Creator and Lord, cannot be known by means of things created, let him be anathema.”

The Modernists view of Sacred scripture is best summaries in the words of Fr. George Tyrrell who wrote that “The Evangelists, full of His (Christ’s) Spirit and mind, might conceivably have been inspired to reveal Him to us, not in a strictly historical narrative, but in such fact founded fictions as would best characterise and portray His personality to those who knew it not”. – Lex Orandi, Chapter 23

The modernists thus conceive the scriptures not as historical Facts, but mere fictitious stories told to conduce people to believe based on the testimony they give without logically (and openly) asserting that the sacred writers to be liars and deceivers.

The modernist in the Church today rejoice at this since it is precisely in the field of exegesis (scriptural interpretation) that they have succeeded in wreaking havoc and destroying any real biblical scholarship by their erroneous and heretical interpretations to the sacred text.

However such a reckoning has been condemned constantly by the Church as Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Providentissimus Deus (1893) clearly affirmed that “It is absolutely wrong and forbidden, either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture, or to admit that the Sacred writer has erred”.

The writings of the Fathers must be used as a basis for the interpretation of sacred scripture and to reject such a teaching would be to come under the papal condemnations of the Holy Council of Trent (Session IV) and both Popes Leo XIII (Providentissimus Deus) and Pope Pius XII in Divino Afflante spiritu, Sep. 30 , 1943

Pope St. Pius X condemned in his Syllabus of Errors, (July 3, 1907) the false notion that modernists attach to the scriptures, their interpretation and purpose. The following are just a few:

“The Church’s interpretation of the Scriptures is to be subject to the corrections of exegetes” (Proposition No. 2) or that “the evangelists wrote what they thought was more profitable for their readers, and not necessarily the truth” (Proposition No. 14) or that “revelation could have been the consciousness acquired by man in his relationship with God” (Proposition No. 21).

“That the Divinity of Christ is not proven by the Gospels but comes from Christian communities looking back on the life of Jesus” (proposition 27)

“That the Christ of history is inferior to the Christ of faith” (Proposition 29).

“that the Knowledge of Jesus in the Gospel is not the same as the Church teaches us” (Proposition 32).

It is of interest to note that four months after Pope St. Pius X published this syllabus he prescribed the penalty of excommunication for all those who held or defended the positions condemned in the Syllabus of Errors.

If Modernists hold to such audacious views of the Gospels, it may be justly asked who is the Christ of Modernism? He is simply Anti-Christ, the clever creation of Satan making a supreme effort to revoke mankind of its belief in the divine incarnation of the Son of God (cf. 1 John 2). I will conclude on this point with the words of Pope St. Stephen I as they seem most apt to refute modernist false notion of revelation, that is “Let them innovate in nothing, but keep the traditions”!

A Refutation on the Modernist Notion of the Magisterium.

Since modernists are not concerned with true knowledge but rather with feelings [sentiments] and immanence – [i.e., the teaching that the foundation of faith must be sought in an internal sense which arises from man’s need of God], and since they no longer have any external object to adhere to, the modern theologians have simply become begetters of symbols, designed to represent the divine emanating from human subconscious. They also consider that the Magisterium’s sole function is that of transmitting or passing on common opinions. Their cult thus ends up being a humanistic expression of religious feelings. The modernist Church, for its part, is now seen as the collective conscience in the same way that popular regimes constitute the public conscience: and only the democratic form is considered suitable to their ends. Thus we end up with the error of separation of the Church and the State. In fact, since modernists hold faith to be subject to human knowledge [science] and reason, to the total advantage of [human] reasoning and to the vanishing point of faith, the Church is seen to be subject to the collective conscience which constitutes what may be essentially called an all-encompassing Christian democracy, that is to say, the State. Understood in this way, authority becomes nothing more than a service whose mission is limited to the taking of the “universal pulse” in order to explain it in a formula comprehensible to everyone.

However the Catholic teaching on the Magisterium and its teaching authority is clear.Namely that although the Pope is limited by the deposit of the faith, (Dz 3070) it is he who is the lawful expounder of Catholic doctrine and not every private individual (Dz 3055). This fact is well affirmed by all the fathers and doctors of the Church without question. It was finally defined by the First Vatican Council. St. Thomas Aquinas makes it clear that “neither Jerome nor Augustine nor any other of the sacred doctors upheld his own opinion” (Secunda Secundae Q.XI, Art. II.) unlike today’s Modernists self appointed “popes”.

Pope St. Pius X condemned the Modernist notion of the Magisterium in Lamenentabili sane in proposition No. 6 which declares the following as condemned “The learning Church (ecclesia dicens) and the Teaching Church (ecclesia docencs) collaborate in such a way in defining truths that it only remains for the teaching Church to sanction the opinions of the learning Church.

It is well to note that if a Catholic wants to remain a Catholic, he cannot attribute error to the Church’s infallible teaching. What the Modernist does on the other hand is that he simply keeps the label (the same words with minor distortion for a while atleast) while substituting the content . Yet such a deceptive notion of the faith and the role of the Magisterium was clearly condemned by the First Vatican Council when it declared that “If anyone shall say that, because of scientific progress, it may be possible at some time to interpret the Church’s dogmas in a different sense from that which the Church understood and understands, let him be anathema” (Dz. 1800).

The same Council also teaches that Papal definitions are irreformable “of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church”.

Further for many years, in the wake of the first wave of modernism, priests and Catholic professors had to affirm on Oath “I sincerely receive the doctrine of faith which the orthodox Fathers have transmitted to us from the Apostles, always in the same sense and meaning. And therefore I reject absolutely the false and heretical view of the evolution of dogmas, according to which they may change meaning so as to receive a different sense.”

Contrary to what might be decided by today’s Episcopal meetings (which are done in the name of collegiality) the faith must remain intact and any attempts to render it obsolete contradicts the vary purpose of the power given to them which can only work for the edification of the Church and not for the destruction thereof (2 Cor 13:10).

A prominent tool used by the Modernists since the Second Vatican Council has been the false innovation of collegiality which itself was so bitterly debated at the Council as Fr. Ralph Wiltgen points out in his book “The Rhine flows into the Tiber”. By means of Collegiality the Modernist element within the hierarchy have worked to give greater power to the bishops in order to muffle the voice of the Pope along with that of other bishops who might want to take a different course of action. The First Vatican Council condemned this collegial orientation in Church (Dz 3055).

Yet in may be useful to see what the thoughts of St. Gregory Nazianzen (382 AD) was regarding this false notion of collegiality which has been so readily taken up by the post conciliar hierarchy, he thus writes” If I must speak the truth, I fell disposed to shun every conference of bishops; for never did I see a synod brought to a happy issue, and remedying, and not rather aggravating, existing evils”

A Refutation on Principle of Ambiguity

” I hate arrogance and pride, and every wicked way, and a mouth with a double tongue.” – Proverbs 8:13

Modernists have a great hatred for clarity as it confines them to confess exactly what they mean in a way that they will be understood by all but for them this would be disastrous as they know to well that the simple and faithful Catholics would reject them as absurd and rash men without a faith or an integrity worth upholding.

Cardinal Newman stressed well in his day the importance of the use of clear terminology saying “I must not be supposed to be forgetful of the sacred and imperative duty of preserving with religious exactness all those theological terms which are ecclesiastically recognized as portions of dogmatic statements, such as Trinity, Person, Consubstantial, Nature, Transubstantiation, Sacrament . . . such sensitiveness is the only human means by which the treasure of faith can be Kept inviolate” – On Consulting the Faithful

Modernists avoid well using such terms as mentioned above, or when they do use them it is done in such a vague context as to render the meaning two fold as a subtle means of undermining the faith without explicitly appearing to do so. Yet with the same breath we might add that today the Modernists have become more bold and often coming out with clearly heretical and erroneous statements since today there is little or nothing to stop them, since their views are almost unanimously held by those who ought to safeguard the deposit of faith. Indeed we may say with St. Thomas More, that “the forte has been brayed by those who ought to have defended it”.

This mark of ambiguity of the Modernists is clearly evident in the writings of the post conciliar Popes and that of numerous like minded theologians who’s works for the greater part are vague and even difficult to interpret and understand.

This why the media often makes use of the current Popes works to favour the false maxims of the world since the Pope himself gives them this liberty by the vagueness in his writings. Unlike the previous popes of the past who were despised for their clear wording and affirmation of Catholic teaching as they wrote with clearness and simplicity and all thoroughly understood what they were writing about, and above all they had a firm conviction of the faith, unlike the post conciliar Popes who seem to cast a negative out look on the Churches past and ask for a forgiveness from Her enemies who seek to violate Her and Her laws.

We may affirm with the scriptures that such ambiguity has helped to bring on the confusion which now reigns in the Church  – “the double tongue is accursed: for he hath troubled many that were at peace.” Ecclesiasticus 28:15

In order to instill in our minds the great destruction that has resulted by the ambiguous terminology used by the Modernists since Second Vatican Council we simply need parallel it will a great event in History, namely the Arian crisis of the fourth Century where the Council of Nicea (325) defined that the Son is consubstantial (homoousion) with the Father. This meant that, while distinct as a person, the Son shared the same divine and eternal nature with the Father. The term homoousion thus became the touchstone of orthodoxy. No other word could be found to express the essential union between the Father and the Son, for every other word the Arians accepted, but in an equivocal sense. They would deny that the Son was a creature as other creatures – or in the number of creatures – or made in time, for they considered him a special creation made before time. They would call Him “Only-begotten,” meaning “Only directly created” Son of God etc., However this word (homoousion) alone they could not say without renouncing their heresy (cf.  M. L. Cozens, A Handbook of Heresies (London, 1960) p. 34).

Many bishops and the faithful complained that too much fuss was being made about the distinction between homoousion and homoiousion. They considered that more harm than good was done by tearing apart the unity of the Church over a single letter, over an iota (the Greek letter “i”). They condemned those who did this. Yet St. Athanasius, the Bishop of Alexandria refused to modify in any way his attitude and remained steadfast in refusing to accept any statement not containing the homoousion or to communicate with those who rejected it. The fact is (as history has confirmed) that St. Athanasius and his supporters were right. That one letter, that iota, spelled the difference between Christianity as the faith founded and guided by God incarnate, and a faith founded by just another creature. Indeed, if Christ is not God, it would be blasphemous to call ourselves Christians.

A great number of Catholics died at the hands of the blood thirsty Arains simply because they refused to accept one iota of change in the same word! What might we thus say of the volumes of ambiguity which were approved in the name of the Second Vatican Council?

Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches us to avoid ambiguity when he affirms “Let your yes bet yes and your no be no”. It may be affirmed that regardless of the modernist ambiguity (according to Canon 1325) such persons must be held as heretics (if not formal at least material) if they perniciously reject or doubt any of those truths, which must be held with a divine and Catholic faith. Modernists simply use this vague terminology in order to reconstruct theology to suit their own views.

The Baltimore Catechism states that: “A person who denies even one article of our faith could not be a Catholic; for truth is one and we must accept it whole and entire or not at all.”

This merely repeats the teaching of Our Lord as written by St. James: “whosoever shall keep the whole law, but offend in one point, is become guilty of all.” (St. James 2:10)

St. Thomas Aquinas concurs: “To reject but one article of faith taught by the Church is enough to destroy faith as one mortal sin is enough to destroy charity…”

Pope Leo XIII, in his encyclical “Satis Cognitum”, teaches this in so many words: “Nothing is more dangerous than the heretics who, while conserving almost all the remainder of the Church’s teaching intact, corrupt with a single word, like a drop of poison, the purity and the simplicity of the faith which we have received through tradition from God and through the Apostles.”

Thus a person’s Faith can be easily corrupted by this false and ambiguous language of the modernist as so we should find motivation in the fact that this the danger is more prevalent today than it was at the turn of the century.

A Refutation of the Principle of Evolution

Maurice Blondel (1861-1949), the well known modernist, (who is mentioned above) is often seen as one of the Fathers of Modernism (cf. “They Think They’ve Won!” SiSiNoNo, No.4). He taught a new definition of truth which is directly contrary to the Church’s perennial definition (in order to bolster the modernist evolutionary principle in which all is subject to change). He said truth is not the agreement of our intellect and objective reality. Let me give an example of why this is wrong and why truth is the conformity of our intellect with reality. If I hold a bird and tell you this is a bird, you will test the truth of my statement by comparing what I have said, what is supposed to be in my mind, and the objective reality. If these correspond, then my word is true and you must submit your intelligence to the reality of the bird. If these do not correspond, then my word is false. But modern thinkers say truth is the agreement between our intellect and life. Now, how do we recognize life? The first question we ask when we find someone lying in the road is, “Is he alive?” To see if he is, you will see if there is movement of his eyes, if his heart is beating, etc. Life means movement. If you say that truth is the conformity of our intellect with life, that is, of our intellect and movement, then truth must move! If truth must move, then we must keep changing it. If it stands still, then it’s not truth. So, we have been ordered to change to show that the Church has life!

Thus we can now understand why someone like Pope John Paul II would define Tradition as “That which can Change!”

Yet Pope St. Pius X in virtue of his Apostolic Authority, condemned the modernist thesis which holds that “Christ did not teach a fixed body of doctrine applicable to all times and all men; he rather inaugurated a certain religious movement which adapts itself, or should adapt itself, to different times and places” – The decree Lamentabili

likewise in his proposition of Errorshe condemns the notion that “the organic constitution of the Church is not    unchangeable, like human society, the Christian society is subject to perpetual evolution” – Error 53 (Lamentabili Sane)

And again he condemns as false the notion that “Truth is no more immutable than man himself, since it evolved with him, in him and through him” – Error 58 (cf. Error 62).

The same modernist philosophers also deny that our intelligence can understand the essence of things (the deepest part of things) which can’t change. You may have a boy who will change in height, weight, and age, but his essence as man will always be the same. He will always be a man, always possess a human nature, and this will not change. The modern philosophers say you can’t go that deep and that you are obliged to stay at the level of changing. This limits discussion to only the changing part of things and our personal opinions about them, which are no more or less important than anyone else’s opinions. This is a world of total subjectivism, of opinions, which is clearly evident at the level of religions. All religions are equally good! But the essence of God is His existence. There is still only one God and this one God has to be worshipped as He commands. There can be no change here! But the modernists say we can no longer say that Our Lord has to reign on this earth; there are Buddhists, Muslims, this and that, and it is impossible to require them to worship a Jesus they don’t know. But, don’t try to convert them because their opinion is as good or bad as yours!

For this reason do we see the post conciliar hierarchy embracing the false notion of religious liberty as presented in the texts of Vatican II which has nevertheless been condemned by Pope Pius IX in Quanta Cura and by Pope Leo XIII in Libertas Praestantissimum.

Yet regardless of what is asserted the fact remains that truth doesn’t change.

Refutation of Modernists Notion of Miracles

The Miracles for which the Catholic Church often claims authentication are beyond doubt true and authentic since a great number of them have even been subjected to scientific examination and have showed themselves to be beyond the explanation or powers of nature.

Although we acknowledge the existence of both the physical laws and metaphysical laws we must say that both are deduced from the free will of God and not from the necessary being of God. Although metaphysical and mathematical laws  are always absolutely necessary and are not subject to exception by miracles. However physical laws have only a contingent necessity as they depend on God’s free will. For example, there is nothing in the nature of things (themselves) and in the concept of matter which requires bodies to attract to one another but there is something in the nature of a square and that of a circle which makes it impossible even to God’s Omnipotence to create a “square circle”. In the latter case there is an antecedent impossibility which is founded on the eternal Truth, while in the case of all physical laws, their necessity is subsequent to and arising from the decree of the God’s free Will.

Miracles are interruptions of nature’s effects and not violations of its laws. St. Thomas states that “Although God may produce an effect outside the working of its natural cause, He in no way abolishes the regular relation of this to effect”.

Rather than violate the laws of nature miracles only serve as a confirmation to them, as according to the axiom “the exception confirms the rule”, sine if there were no rule (laws of Nature) there could be no exception!

Thus we may say that the miracles of Scripture are irregularities in the economy of nature, but with a moral end, and although they are exceptions to the laws of one system (laws of nature), they coincide with those of another.

In response to the modernist rejection of Miracles we may ask with St. Paul “Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you that God should raise the dead?” – Acts 26:8

Anyone who reads the Gospels without prejudice sees in every page of them that miracles were one of the most effective means employed by Christ to prove to His hearers that He was their Messiah performing His divine works and giving the “signs” that Isaias had foretold, – “If I do not the works of My Father, believe me Not. But if I do them and ye will not believe Me, believe the works themselves that ye may and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father” – John 10:26 (See also Matt 11, John 25:24). Now if Christ really performed those works (miracles) of healing, if He did actually raise the daughter of Jairus, and Lasarus, and the son of the widow of Naim from the dead, then the objections of the Modernists fall to the ground. But if He did not raise them from the dead, then since He claimed to do these deeds as proofs of His divinity, He was in truth the blasphemous impostor that the chief priests said He was. Anyone who, though really only human, induces men to worship him as God is both a conscienceless liar and a promoter of idolatry.

In considering the credibility of Christ’s miracles, we should also not forget that they were often wrought in the presence of hostile and skeptical observers. The whole ninth chapter of St. John’s Gospel is an illustration of this fact.

Miracles cannot be regarded as something accidental that is they cannot be regarded as something that can be omitted without doing essential damage to revelation. They not only authenticate the message, but are part of that message.

The same modernist have sort to eliminate miracles from the Gospel, have ended up by denying the Godhead of Christ, giving to His perfect Humanity a personality of its own and denying to Him anything more than a metaphorical “divinity” one shared with all men, the same in kind though less in degree. “Christ is divine, but so are we all, at least potentially” is the message of the Modernists.

To deny God the power to perform a physical miracle is to deny Him Omnipotence.If the Creator of life is cannot for a wise and loving moral purpose restore life to the dead, He would not be God.

Just as the Protestants deny the deny the efficacy of good works so to the modernists deny the efficacy of Miracles. Yet Pope Pius IX in his well known Syllabus of Errors (Dec. 8, 1864) condemned this : – Error No. 7 ” the prophecies and miracles described and related in sacred Scripture are the invention of poets . . . and in the books of both Testaments are contained mythical inventions”

Truly Modernists are like those in St. Paul’s warning to Timothy “Having an appearance of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid” – 2 Tim 3:5

The Christ of Modernism (stripped of His Godhead and His divine power of miracles) can never have been the “God -Man” Victim who was needed to make full atonement to God for the sins of Mankind.

Conclusion:

The logic of Modernism is that man has no God outside himself and hence if accepted would certainly result in the destruction of all religion and ultimately in the destruction of all civilization itself. This is precisely what we are seeing in contemporary society, above all in man’s arrogation to himself of the divine prerogatives of life and death (i.e. Contraception, abortion, suicide, murder etc.).

The few courageous Priests and bishops who have zealously fought against this heresy have no doubt received a great amount of persecution from there fellow priests and bishops who have themselves accepted whole heartily these false principles which work for the destruction of the Church and true civil order. St. Pius X saw this in his day and noted that” There is little reason to wonder that the Modernists vent all their bitterness and hatred on Catholics who zealously fight the battles of the Church. There is no species of insult which they do not heap upon them .. . they seek to make a conspiracy of silence around him (who speaks against them) to nullify the effects of his attack”.

We have clearly seen these methods (and many others which St. Pius X mentions) used against such well known and staunch defenders of the Faith such as Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre , founder of the Society of St. Pius X in 1970. As Mgr. Rudolf Graber (Bishop of Regensburg, Germany) put it “What happened over 1600 years ago is repeating itself today, but with two or three differences: Alexandria is the whole Universal Church, the stability of which is being shaken, and what was under taken at that time by means of physical force and cruelty is now being transferred to a different level. Exile is replaced by banishment into the silence of being ignored; killing, by assassination of character.” – Athanasius and the Church of Our Times, p. 23.

Pope St. Pius X in his day warned us against the modernist infiltration into the Church saying that: “we should act without delay in this matter [to condemn Modernism] is made imperative especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; but what is to be most dreaded and deplored, in her very bosom,? We allude…to many who belong…to the priesthood itself, who, animated by a false zeal for the Church, lacking the solid safeguards of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, put themselves forward as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack ….Enemies of the Church they certainly are, nor indeed would he be wrong in regarding them as the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church. For, as We have said, they put into operation their designs for her undoing, not from without but from within. Hence, the danger is present almost in the very veins and heart of the Church, whose injury is the more certain from the very fact that their knowledge of her is more intimate”. – Pascendi

The same Pope warns us that “the gravity of the evil [of Modernism] is daily growing and must be checked at any cost. We are no longer dealing, as at the beginning, with opponents “in sheep’s clothing,” but with open and bare-faced enemies in our very household, who, having made a pact with the chief foes of the Church are bent on overthrowing the Faith. These are men whose haughtiness in the face of heavenly wisdom is daily renewed, claiming the right to correct it as if it were corrupted. They want to renovate it as if it were consumed by old age, increase it and adapt it to worldly tastes, progress and comforts, as if it were opposed not just to the frivolity of a few, but to the good of society.There will never be enough vigilance and firmness on the part of those entrusted with the faithful safe-keeping of the sacred deposit of evangelical doctrine and ecclesiastical tradition, in order to oppose these onslaughts against it. –Pope St. Pius X, Motu Proprio Sacrorum Antistitum, 1910

That was in the early 1900’s. Today those Churchmen, deformed by Neo-Modernism in the seminaries and religious institutions and by the false ideas of the last Council, are in power in the Church and occupy the key positions in the Catholic hierarchy, putting to work their “counsels of destruction” to unify the human race “in a common ruin.” – St.Pius X

Despite Modernism’s remarkable expansion and conquest of important and eminent positions in the Catholic Church, a great number of the Catholic clergy and laymen persevere in believing, that it is the duty of all Catholics to continue to follow St. Pius X’s advance to combat this insidious heresy. Many Catholics today have to be extra vigilant because these heretics are not being condemned, and can be found in many parishes. Some of these vigilant Catholics call themselves “traditional Catholics” to distinguish themselves from those who are not standing fast to the traditions.

All Catholics have a duty to help root out the Modernist ambition to revolutionise the Church and destroy to the true harmony that God had ordained for civil society for as Pope Felix III affirmed “To not resist error is to approve it, to not defend truth is to suffocate it . . . Whoever fails to oppose a manifest prevarication, can be considered a secret   accomplice” (cited by Pope Leo XIII in his letter to the Italian bishops, Aug. 12, 1892).

The IV Lateran Council tells us the same thing in the following words : “We decree that those who give credence to the teachings of heretics, as well as those who receive, defend, or patronize them, are excommunicated.”

No one is above tradition. We read the strong words of St. Paul – “though we, or an angel from heaven etc.”. These are words which include the warning that the office even of a Pope, could be used to spread heresy. So effective is the Sheep’s Clothing of “ecclesiastical office” in promoting error that St. Bernard, Cardinal Newman, and others, logically believed that the only way the Anti-Christ could possibly be so effective in creating a “great apostasy” among Catholics is by becoming an “anti-pope” whom the Catholic world at large would think is a valid Pope. (cf. THE ANTICHRIST in “Catholic Encyclopaedia”).

Thus it’s a matter of choosing between an erroneous human judgements and the infallible judgement of the Church, which for 2000 years has taught that nothing which pertains to the perennial and certain doctrine of the Church and which, in any way whatsoever, direct or indirect, relates to the truths of faith or morals, nothing of the constitution of the Church, nothing of that which has been fixed by Christ and, through His mandate, by the holy Apostles is subject to change.

The following words of St. Athanasius may help to give us conviction in the ongoing battle against modernism in the Church; that is ” Catholics who remain faithful to Tradition, even if they are reduced to a handful, are the true Church of Jesus Christ.” (ca. 296-373) Apud Caillau and Guillou, Coll. Selecta Ss. Eccl. Patrum, vol. 32, pp. 411-412.

In the words of the Jesus we may summaries the Modernists and the post Conciliar hierarchy who have embraced this error by saying “they are blind, and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit. ” Matt 15:14)

As a solution to this modernist crisis we propose simply the solution of Pope Pius X as he mentioned in is his famous consistorial speech, Primum Vos (Nov. 9, 1903), that is” Our task, consists in defending both Christian Truth as well as the Law of Christ.”

It seems clear that we must conclude with Pope Pius X that “the domineering overbearance of those who teach the errors, and the thoughtless compliance of the more shallow minds who assent to them, create a corrupted atmosphere which penetrates everywhere, and carries its infection with it. (Pascendi, 34).

Thus it is clear that despite the war being waged by Modernists in the name of progress and liberty its poisonous errors which we have above expounded must be unmasked and refuted for restoration of the faith and civil society to take effect.

Sources Used:

1. Partisans of Error by Michael Davies,

2. Pius X, by Rene Bazin,

3. Pius X, By Fr. hieronymo Dal-Gal

4. Three Modernists by John Ratte, 5. Enemy within the Gate by John Mckee

6. In the Murky Waters of Vatican II by Atila Sinke Guimaraes,

7. The Second Wave by W. J. Hayes

8.  The Modernist Crisis by Von Hugel,

9. Modernism and the Christian Church by Fr. F. Woodlook, S.J.

10. Catholic, Apostolic and Roman by the Priest of Campos Brazil

11. The Mouth of the Lion by Dr. David Allen White

12. Various Works of Pius X

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Modernism: The Synthesis of All Heresies

Modernism: The Synthesis of All Heresies
Robert J. Siscoe

In the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Pope St. Pius X condemned the errors of the Modernists, whom he prophetically referred to as “the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church”. In condemning this vast system, which he rightly termed “the synthesis of all heresies”, he explained that the Modernist assumes the various personalities of “a philosopher, a believer, a theologian, an historian, a critic, an apologist, a reformer”, and then proceeded to expound the errors of each personality in systematic fashion. In this article, we will consider the errors of the Modernist as a philosopher, who “lays the ax not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fibers” (1). Since the errors of Modernism are subtle and often difficult to discern, we will begin by reviewing what the Church teaches regarding faith, by distinguishing between the object of faith, the virtue of faith, and the act of faith. By having these clear distinctions fresh in our mind, we will more easily perceive the errors of this most crafty enemy.

The Object: 

The Deposit of Faith consists of the complete Revelation of Jesus Christ, and is contained within the two sources of revelation, namely, Scripture and Tradition. “Christ Our Lord entrusted the truth which He had brought from heaven to the Apostles, and through them to their successors”. (2) This Revelation, which contains the doctrines that make up the Catholic Faith, “has been committed as a Divine deposit to the spouse of Christ, to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted by her”. (3) Over the course of centuries doctrines contained within the Deposit are clarified and defined by the ecclesia docens (the magisterum), but nothing new can be added that is not contained, at least implicitly, in the Deposit of Faith, for public revelation ceased with the death of the last apostle. (4)

The Virtue:

The virtue of faith is a supernatural virtue that dwells within the intellect, the purpose of which is to help us believe the truths God has revealed. Quoting the First Vatican Council, Pope Leo XIII wrote: “Faith, as the Church teaches, is ‘that supernatural virtue by which, through the help of God and through the assistance of His grace, we believe what he has revealed to be true, not on account of the intrinsic truth perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself, the Revealer, who can neither deceive nor be deceived’ (First Vatican Council, Sess. iii., cap. 3).” (5) The virtue of faith has been called the pupil of the intellect (6) (which is the eye of the soul), since it provides a supernatural light to the mind which enables the one who possesses it to see the truth in the teachings Christ has revealed.

The Act: 

When the Church proposes a doctrine for belief, as being divinely revealed, the individual Catholic must give assent to this truth. “All those things are to be believed by divine and Catholic faith which are contained in the written or unwritten word of God, and which are proposed by the Church as divinely revealed, either by a solemn definition or in the exercise of its ordinary and universal Magisterium”. (First Vatican Council) The formal object of Faith is God revealing; the material object of faith is each individual doctrine, as well as the entire Deposit as a whole. The act of faith takes place when man, moved by the virtue of faith and grace, accepts and embraces a truth that is contained within the Deposit and proposed for belief by the Church. “This faith is an act of the intellect made under the sway of the will. By it we hold firmly what God has revealed and what the Church proposes to us to believe”. (7)

To summarize, the teachings of the Catholicism have been revealed by God and passed down to us an objective body of doctrines, which is called The Deposit of Faith. The virtue of faith dwells within the intellect and helps us to believe the truths God has revealed to man. The act of faith takes place when an individual adheres, with his intellect and will, to the individual doctrines contained within the Deposit and proposed for belief by the Church. With all this in mind, we will now consider the errors of Modernism regarding faith, revelation, and dogma.

Modernism:

Modernism, which is founded on the philosophical error of agnosticism, rejects the idea that God has revealed Himself to man through public revelation. Hence, “all external revelation [is] absolutely denied.” (8) Consequently, they reject the Deposit of Faith, and the immutable truth of the doctrines contained within it. Having rejecting external public revelation, which is the foundation of the true religion, Modernists claim that religion originates from within man – from a divine principle which they call vital immanence. This “divine within”, as understood by the Modernists, is not to be confused with actual grace, by which God enlightens the mind to a truth, and moves the will to the good; nor is it to be confused with sanctifying grace, a completely gratuitous gift, distinct from the nature of man, that God infuses into the soul at baptism, and which remains as a permanent superadded quality of the soul, unless it is forfeited by man through sin. On the contrary, for a Modernist, vital immanence is a part of man’s nature, a divine seminal principle that belongs to man as a conscious being. They claim that this “divine within” is the well-spring, the font, “the germ of all religion”. (9)

This divine principle within man first manifests itself, and is perceived, as a “need for the divine”. This need for the divine produces a sentimental movement of the heart – a “religious sense”, and “it is this sense to which Modernists give the name faith” (10). Faith, for a Modernist, is nothing but “a sentiment which originates from a need of the divine”. (11)

In the Modernist system, vital immanence takes the place of God, and is at once “the revealer and the revealed”, manifest as a “religious sense” which is a sentiment of the heart. This religious sense, which springs from the “divine with”, takes the place of the virtue of faith. As we saw earlier, the virtue of faith dwells within the intellect and helps us to believe the truths that God has revealed to man through public external revelation. The religious sense on the other hand, dwells in the heart, and helps man to discover the truth “revealed” by the divine principle within man; for as Pius X explains, not only is this sense of the heart considered “faith”, but it contains within it “revelation”. He wrote: “But we have not yet reached the end of their philosophizing, or, to speak more accurately, of their folly. Modernists find in this sense not only faith, but in and with faith, as they understand it, they affirm that there is also to be found revelation”. (12)

We can see that for the Modernists, revelation does not constitute objective truth revealed by God to man, but is something that man discovers within himself. This pretended “revelation” springs forth from a divine principle within man, and is discerned in the “consciousness”, which, for a Modernist, is itself identical with revelation. “Hence it is” wrote St. Pius X, “that they make consciousness and revelation synonymous”. (13) For the Modernist, “Revelation is not a doctrine received from God, but on the contrary the subjective fruit of the concept of God which springs forth … from the depth of our conscience or consciousness”. (14) This revelation springing from the “divine within”, which is discerned in the individual consciousness, is manifested externally by the “general consciousness” of the multitude. Which brings us to the next error of Modernism: The origin of dogma.

Origin of Dogma:

Up to this point everything we have discussed has taken place within the heart, the origin and well-spring of Modernist’ “revelation”; but we have now reached the point where the intellect is engaged. The purpose of the intellect, according to Modernism, is to give formal expression to the “revelation” that originates in the heart, is perceived by the individual consciousness, and finally manifested by the “general consciousness”. This formulation of “dogma” takes place in two phases: first there is an initial simple formula, which attempts to give expression to the general consciousness, but which is not always precise. This is then followed by a secondary formula, a proposition that is more perfect and precise than the first, and which, if sanctioned by the magisterium, becomes dogma; for according to the Modernists, the purpose of the magisterium is merely to sanction what has been “revealed” internally to man, manifested externally by the “general consciousness”, and sufficiently formulated by the theologians. Pius X explained it this way:

“So far, Venerable Brethren, there has been no mention of the intellect. Still it also, according to the teaching of the Modernists, has its part in the act of faith. And it is of importance to see how. In that sentiment of which We have frequently spoken, since sentiment is not knowledge, God indeed presents Himself to man, but in a manner so confused and indistinct that He can hardly be perceived by the believer. It is therefore necessary that a ray of light should be cast upon this sentiment, so that God may be clearly distinguished and set apart from it. This is the task of the intellect, whose office it is to reflect and to analyse, and by means of which man first transforms into mental pictures the vital phenomena which arise within him, and then expresses them in words. Hence the common saying of Modernists: that the religious man must ponder his faith. – The intellect, then, encountering this sentiment directs itself upon it, and produces in it a work resembling that of a painter who restores and gives new life to a picture that has perished with age. The simile is that of one of the leaders of Modernism. The operation of the intellect in this work is a double one: first by a natural and spontaneous act it expresses its concept in a simple, ordinary statement; then, on reflection and deeper consideration, or, as they say, ‘by elaborating its thought’, it expresses the idea in secondary propositions, which are derived from the first, but are more perfect and distinct. These secondary propositions, if they finally receive the approval of the supreme magisterium of the Church, constitute dogma”. (15)

While it is true that dogmatic definitions are formulated into propositions by the Church, these propositions do not give expression to the “general consciousness” of the multitude; but rather articulate, in a precise manner, a particular truth contained within the Deposit of Faith. For a Modernist, dogma is not a truth revealed by God and defined by the Church; it is a truth revealed within man, and sanctioned by the Church. They completely invert the order by making man, not God, the principle of revealed truth, and the source of all religion.

All Religions are True:

According to Modernism, religion is nothing more than man attempting to give external expression to the religious sense that he “experiences” within. Hence, for a Modernist, all religions are true, since they all spring from the same divine principle within man. “Indeed Modernists do not deny but actually admit”, wrote St. Pius X, “that all religions are true. That they cannot feel otherwise is clear. For on what ground, according to their theories, could falsity be predicated of any religion whatsoever? … In the conflict between different religions, the most that Modernists can maintain is that the Catholic has more truth because it is more living and that it deserves with more reason the name of Christian because it corresponds more fully with the origins of Christianity”. (16) A Modernist may believe that one religion is more true than another, insofar as it more “fully” expresses the divine within, but all are true to a degree. Hence a Modernists is, by necessity, ecumenical, and will logically show “profound respect” for “the great religions of the world” (17) – not simply for individuals who might belong to these religions, but respect for the false religions themselves – since they too, according to the Modernist, spring from the same divine principle.

Evolution: 

According to the Modernists, everything is in a continual process of evolution. Man began as a lower form of life, and eventually reached the level of a conscious being. This evolutionary process will continue until man finally becomes conscious that he himself is God. Jesus, according to a Modernist, is not God who became man through the Incarnation, in order to satisfy the justice of God and thereby redeem man from sin, but simply a man who became “aware” that he was God. According to them “the divinity of Jesus was his own awareness of it”. (18) Jesus was simple a more highly evolved man, who “came to reveal man to himself” – that is, to reveal to man that he is also God!

Now, since the Modernists believe that “revelation and consciousness are synonymous”, and since they believe man’s consciousness is in a constant state of evolution, it follows that revelation itself will advance through the course of time, in correspondence with the ever-evolving consciousness of man. This explains how a Modernist can reject, without a scruple, what has been taught by the Church since the beginning. After all, if man is continuously evolving to a higher “consciousness”, and if revelation is nothing more than the “general consciousness” of man at a particular phase of the evolutionary process; and if he believes that modern man is more evolved than those who preceded him, why would he not accept a new “truth” – a new revelation – that corresponds to the more advanced reason he imagines himself to possess? An “enlightened” Modernist will naturally consider himself superior to those who preceded him, and to those less evolved men of his own time who still hold to the religious teachings of antiquity. This explains why the Modernists in the hierarchy will show great tolerance for a man such Hans Kung, who may simply be ahead of his time, while at the same time these same Modernist prelates will react with disgust toward someone like Archbishop Lefebvre, who refused to abandon the perennial teaching of the Church and the dogmatic decrees of the councils. This also explains why a Modernist would shy away from the idea of objective immutable truth, and from holding firmly to any dogma, lest in so doing he risk the danger of not progressing to the next evolutionary phase of “higher consciousness”.

Life = Truth:

Since Modernists reject the idea of a public external revelation as the foundation of the true religion, and instead hold that religion emanates from a divine principle within man, how will he know if a religion is “authentic”? For the Modernists, if something is alive they consider it evidence that it is true. “For the Modernists” wrote Pius X, “to live is a proof of truth, since for them life and truth are one and the same thing”. (19) Now, since Modernists believe that all living things are evolving, and since evolution involves change, for something to be alive it must continually change; that which is not changing is not alive, and therefore not true. Hence, according to Modernism, for religion to remain true, it must be subject to continuous change – to an ongoing “aggiornamento” – and this change will not be limited to the external Rites, but to truth itself! Which brings us to the next error: Evolution of Dogma.

Evolution of Dogma:

According to the Modernists, a dogmatic definition does not express absolute immutable truth, but is merely a useful tool – a symbol – used to express the “truth” of a particular time – a “truth” that is manifest by the “general consciousness” of the people. As man evolves to a higher consciousness, truth itself, and the dogmas that express it, will need to be updated and changed. “Hence”, wrote St. Pius X, according to the Modernists “it is quite impossible to maintain that [dogmas] express absolute truth: for, in so far as they are symbols, they are the images of truth, and so must be adapted to the religious sentiment in its relation to man… Consequently, the formulae too, which we call dogmas, must be subject to these vicissitudes, and are, therefore, liable to change. Thus the way is open to the intrinsic evolution of dogma. An immense collection of sophisms that ruin and destroy all religion. Dogma is not only able, but ought to evolve and to be changed. This is strongly affirmed by the Modernists, and clearly flows from their principles”. (20)

Evolution of dogma may be one of the greatest traps for Catholics today. By claiming that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another, Catholics are led by the Modernists to reject what the Church has always taught in favor of new teachings. The truth is that not only are dogmas infallibly articulated expressions of immutable truth, but the understanding of them is immutable as well. In other words, not only is the dogmatic formula infallible, but the way in which the formula is understood is itself fixed. It is never permitted to depart from what the Church has taught under the pretext of a “deeper understanding”, as the First Vatican Council teaches:

“The doctrine of the faith which God revealed has not been handed down as a philosophic invention to the human mind to be perfected, but has been entrusted as a divine Deposit to the Spouse of Christ, to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted. Hence, also, that understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding”. (21)

And again…

“If anyone shall have said that it is possible that to the dogmas declared by the Church a meaning must sometimes be attributed according to the progress of science, different from that which the Church has understood and understands: let him be anathema”. (22)

One of the tactics employed by the Modernists to promote the evolution of dogma, is to refer to it as “development of doctrine”. True development of doctrine, which differs substantially from the heresy of evolution of dogma, can be understood in two ways: it can refer to a greater clarity in the manner of expressing a truth that has always been believed, or it can be understood as defining explicitly a doctrine that has always been believed implicitly. Regarding the latter, Bishop Tissier de Mallerais explained that through the centuries, there is an increase in the number of propositions, but no new Revelation. He wrote:

“In the New Testament there is an increase in the propositions by the organs of Tradition, especially the Magisterium, and hence a passage from the implicit to the explicit…. There is then a development, not in the articles of the Faith but in the explanation of the truths of the revealed deposit. … It is a development like a bud which blossoms… like a bud which opens up very beautifully, but remains the same bud. There is an unfolding, but without alteration; a displaying of all that which had been contained within from the outset. One calls this homogeneous because there is no mutation. It is the same living species, the same plant, it is a development without mutation, it is the same reality unfolding itself and making explicit all its details, but it is the same reality.” (23)

True doctrinal development never departs from the original understanding, but only adds greater clarity to what was always believed, at least implicitly. Evolution of dogma, on the other hand, results in a substantial change in the meaning of the doctrine. Sometimes evolution of dogma will manifest itself in an explicit denial of the dogmatic formula itself. For example, when extra ecclesiam nulla salus is brought up, it is not uncommon to hear a Modernist say “we don’t believe that anymore”. Some of the more “conservative” Modernists will begrudgingly accept the proposition, but then water it down to such an extent that it becomes, as Pius XII wrote, “a meaningless formula” (24). No Salvation Outside of theChurch is a dogma completely incompatible with Modernism, and therefore must be eliminated to make way for what John Paul II called the “invincible guarantee of universal salvation”. (25) Some of the more crafty Modernists will retain the traditional terminology, yet infuse into it a completely different meaning. For example, they will use the word “transubstantiation”, yet their understanding and explanation of the word will be identical to the Lutheran heresy of consubstantiation (26); or they might retain the phrase ‘resurrection of the body’, but then argue that it means “not to the resurrection of physical bodies, but of persons”. (27)

Whichever tactic is employed, whether it be an outright rejection of a dogma, or treating the proposition as “a meaningless formula”, or infusing an altogether new meaning into the traditional terminology, the end result is one and the same, namely, a corruption of the Deposit of Faith through the corruption of the articles of faith contained within it – and this applies to each and every article of the faith, “for there is no part of Catholic truth that they leave untouched, none that they do not strive to corrupt” (28)

To counteract this destructive error, Pope St. Pius X included the following phrase in his Oath Against Modernism, which he required all priests, seminarians, and seminary professors to take annually, and which remained in force until the New Springtime arrived in July, 1967. The section reads:

“Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely”.

Cause of Modernism:

St. Pius X lists three causes of Modernism, namely, pride, curiosity and ignorance. He wrote: “It is pride which puffs them up with that vainglory which allows them to regard themselves as the sole possessors of knowledge, and makes them say, elated and inflated with presumption, ‘We are not as the rest of men’.” He said that curiosity, if not regulated by prudence “suffices to account for all errors”, and leads to the “spirit of novelty”, which has always been the mark of heresy. But the proximate cause of Modernism, according to the Pope, “consists in a perversion of the mind” and ignorance.

“[T]he intellectual cause of Modernism … and the chief one, is ignorance. Yes, these very Modernists who seek to be esteemed as Doctors of the Church, who speak so loftily of modern philosophy and show such contempt for scholasticism, have embraced the one with all its false glamour, precisely because their ignorance of the other has left them without the means of being able to recognize confusion of thought and to refute sophistry. Their whole system, containing as it does errors so many and so great, has been born of the union between faith and false philosophy”. (29)

Conclusion: 

Modernism is more than a heresy. Heresy denies one or more dogmas of the Catholic Faith. Modernism undermines all dogma by denying the immutable nature of truth itself. Modernism is truly a new religion – the religion of man. In this religion, vital immanence – “the divine within” – puts man in the place of God; the “religious sense”, which is produced by the “divine within”, replaces the virtue of faith; while the ever-evolving “general consciousness” constitutes the equivalent of the deposit of faith. In this religion of man, everything is turned upside down: God did not become man through the Incarnation; instead, man is becoming God through the process of evolution. In this inverted religion, the true God is rejected, and all things are “ordained to man as to their center and summit”. May the good God preserve us from these monstrous errors, “which ought not to seduce clear thinking minds”, and may our Lady of Fatima pray for us. Amen.

Footnotes:

1) Pascendi, 3

2) Pius XII Allocution Si Diligis, 1954

3) First Vatican Council

4) Lamentabali # 21

5) Satis Cognitum

6) See Dialogue of Catherin of Siena, pg 126

7) Catholic Encyclopedia

8) Pascendi, 7

9) Ibid, 10

10) Ibid, 7

11) Ibid, 7

12) Ibid, 8

13) Ibid, 8

14) 100 years of Modernism pg. 85

15) Pascendi, 11

16) Ibid, 14

17) John Paul II, Angelus Address, Oct. 12, 1986:

18) 100 years of Modernism pg. 85

19) Pascendi, 15

20) Ibid, 13

21) First Vatican Council

22) Ibid

23) The true notion of Tradition, January 1997 issue of Si Si No No

24) “Some reduce to a meaningless formula the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to gain eternal salvation”. (Humani Generis)

25) www.waragainstbeing.com/parti-article6

26) Message to the Abbes of the Order of the Most Holy Redeemer, September 21, 2002

27) “It now becomes clear that the real heart of faith in the resurrection does not consist at all in the idea of the restoration of bodies, to which we have reduced it in our thinking ( …) One thing at any rate may be fairly clear: Both John (6:63), and Paul (1 Cor. 15:50) state with all possible emphasis that the ‘resurrection of the flesh’, the ‘resurrection of the body’, is not a resurrection of the physical bodies… To recapitulate, Paul teaches, not the resurrection of eternal physical bodies, but the resurrection of persons, and this not in the return of the ‘flesh body’, that is, the biological structure…” (Introduction to Christianity by Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, pgs 349, 357-58)

28) Pascendi, 3

29) Ibid, 41

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The Condemnation of Modernism

The Condemnation of Modernism
Cardinal Mercier

Editor’s Note:This month marks the Centenary of Pope St. Pius X’s Encyclical Against Modernism, Pascendi, issued on September 8, 1907. Presented here is a letter of Cardinal
Mercier, then-primate of Belgium, on the subject of Modernism. The Letter is of dogmatic and historical interest as it was written at the time of Pascendi’s release. The Cardinal
congratulates the Church in Belgium at the time for not succumbing to Modernist errors.

The Encyclical. 

Dearly Beloved Brethren,

On July 3rd, 1907, the Holy Father prepared a list of errors which, later, were grouped together under the name of Modernism, and condemned.

On the 8th of September following he addressed to the Catholic world an Encyclical of incomparable fulness, vigor, and clearness, in which he sets forth his reasons for condemning Modernism.

Thank God! These errors, which have so far invaded France and Italy, attract few followers in Belgium. You have been preserved by the vigilance of your pastors, by an impartial scientific spirit, and by the Christian submission that animates the representatives of higher learning in your country.

Nevertheless, beloved brethren, I consider it a pastoral duty to bring to your knowledge this Pontifical Encyclical, which henceforth will be known in ecclesiastical history by its introductory Latin words: “Pascendi Domini gregis”, or, more briefly, “Pascendi.”

Since the Holy Father addresses his letter to each Church in particular, that is, to the Bishops, priests, and Catholic laity, it is his intention that each one should individually profit by the Encyclical. The importance of this document, moreover, gives it an historic value: hence, those who are interested in our Mother, the Church, should know, at least in substance, its meaning. It is a well-known fact that scarcely had the Pope spoken, or rather before he had spoken, and from the moment that the telegraphic agents heralded his coming announcement, the unbelieving press began to misrepresent it, and the newspapers and reviews hostile to the Church in our country neither published the text nor the general tenor of the Encyclical with fulness or frankness.

But with an eagerness and a harmony of opinion that altogether explain their attitude, they quibbled over the word Modernism in the endeavor to convince their confiding readers that the Pope condemns modern thought, which in their ambiguous language signifies modern science and its methods. This offensive and false impression of the Pope and his faithful followers has perhaps been shared by some amongst you, hence it is our earnest wish to remove this impression by explaining Modernism, and, in so doing, enlighten you as to the reasons that led to its condemnation by the Supreme Authority of the Church.

What Is The Fundamental Idea Of Modernism? 

Modernism is not the modern expression of science, and consequently its condemnation is not the condemnation of science, of which we are so justly proud, nor the disapproval of its methods, which all Catholic scientists hold, and consider it an honor to teach and to practice.

Modernism consists essentially in affirming that the religious soul must draw from itself, from nothing but itself, the object and motive of its faith. It rejects all revelation imposed upon the conscience, and thus, as a necessary consequence, becomes the negation of the doctrinal authority of the Church established by Jesus Christ, and it denies, moreover, to the divinely constituted hierarchy the right to govern Christian society.

The better to understand the significance of this fundamental error, let us recall the teaching of the Catechism on the constitution and mission of the Catholic Church.

Christ did not represent Himself to the world as the head of a philosophy and uncertain of His teaching! He did not leave a modifiable system of opinions to the discussion of His disciples. On the contrary, strong in His divine wisdom and sovereign power, He pronounced, and imposed upon men the revealed word that assures eternal salvation, and indicated to them the unique way to attain it. He promulgated for them a code of morals, giving them certain helps without which it is impossible to put these precepts into practice. Grace, and the Sacraments which confer it upon us, or restore it to us, when, having sinned, we again find it through repentance, form together these helps, this economy of salvation. He instituted a Church, and as He had only a few years to dwell with us upon earth, He conferred His power upon His Apostles, and after them on their successors, the Pontiffs and Bishops.

The Episcopate, in union with the Sovereign Pontiff, has then received and alone possess the right to officially set forth and comment upon the doctrines revealed by Christ: and it and he alone are empowered to denounce with authority errors that are incompatible with its teachings. The Christian is he who confides in the authority of the Church and sincerely accepts the doctrines that she proposes to his faith. He who repudiates or questions her authority, and in consequence rejects one or more of the truths he is required to believe, excludes himself from the ecclesiastical fold.

The Church And The Modernists

The excommunication pronounced by the Pope against willful Modernists, which adversaries characterize as an act of despotism, is simple and natural, and in it we see only a question of loyalty.

Yes or no, do you believe in the divine authority of the Church? Do you accept outwardly and in the sincerity of your heart what in the name of Christ she commands? Do you consent to obey her? If so, she offers you her Sacraments, and undertakes to conduct you safely into the harbor of salvation. If not, then you deliberately sever the tie that unites you to her, and break the bond consecrated by her grace. Before God and your conscience you no longer belong to her: no longer remain in obstinate hypocrisy a pretended member of her fold. You cannot honestly pass yourself off as one of her sons, and as she cannot be a party to hypocrisy and sacrilege, she bids you, if you force her to it, to leave her ranks.

Of course she only repudiates you so long as you wish it yourself. The day you deplore having strayed from the fold, and return to recognize loyally her authority, she receives you with clemency, and treats you in the same way as the father of the prodigal son, who welcomed with tenderness his repentant child.

Such, then, is the constitution of the Church.

The Catholic Episcopate, of which the Pope is the head, is the heir of the apostolic college that teaches the Faithful the authentic Christian revelation.

And as the life of the entire organism is centered in the head, which directs its actions and arranges with order all its movements, so the Pope assures unity to the teaching Church; and each time that one of the Faithful, even a Bishop, proclaims contrary doctrine, the Holy Father decides with Supreme Authority, and from that authority there is no appeal.

In fine, the entire question resolves itself into this: whenever a Christian is in doubt, he asks himself these two questions — What must I believe now? And why must I believe it?

The reply is this: I believe the teaching of the Catholic Bishops who are in accord with the Pope, and I am forced to believe it, because the Episcopate in union with the Pope is the organ that transmits to the Faithful the revealed teaching of Jesus Christ. Let me say in passing that this organ of transmission is no other than tradition, which the believing Christian must loyally accept and follow. Hence the Modernism condemned by the Pope is the negation of the Church’s teaching, a simple truth you learnt as a child when preparing for your First Communion.

The Affinity Of Modernism With Protestantism

The generating ideas of the Modernist doctrine first saw light in Protestant Germany. These ideas, however, became forthwith acclimatized in England, and several off-shoots have penetrated into the United States.

The spirit of Modernism has appeared in Catholic countries, where it manifests itself in the writings of certain authors who are forgetful of the traditions of the Church, and have shocked by the enormity of their errors loyal consciences faithful to their baptismal vows. This spirit has breathed over France, Italy has felt its blight, and some Catholics in England and Germany have suffered the infection. Belgium, happily, is one of the Catholic countries that has most successfully resisted its pernicious influence.

You understand, we make a difference between Modernist doctrines and the spirit that animates them. The doctrines disseminated in the philosophical, theological, exegetic and apologetic writings have been admirably systematized in the Encyclical Pascendi; and since it has been your privilege to escape their influence, it is hardly necessary to prove to you how completely these teachings are at variance with faith and sound philosophy.

But I dread even more for your souls the contagion of this spirit of Modernism, which is the outcome of Protestantism.

You know in what Protestantism consists. Luther questioned the right of the Church to teach the Christian world the revelations of Jesus Christ with authority. The Christian, he contends, is self-sufficient in his beliefs; he infers the elements of his faith from the Sacred Scriptures, which each man interprets directly under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. He does not admit the existence in the Church of a hierarchically-constituted authority which transmits faithfully to the world the revealed teaching, or that it has the right to interpret, or to claim to guard this teaching in its integrity.

This is the essential point in dispute between Catholicism and Protestantism. The Catholic contends that the faith of the Christian is communicated to the Faithful by an official organ of transmission: the Catholic Episcopate, and that faith is based on the acceptance of the authority of this organ. The Protestant says, on the contrary, that it is exclusively an affair of individual judgment based on the interpretation of the Bible. A Protestant Church is necessarily invisible, since it depends on the assumed agreement of individual consciences as to the meaning of Holy Scripture. Protestantism thus formulated was condemned by the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century, and the man does not exist who would dare to call himself a Protestant and think himself at the same time a Catholic.

But the spirit of Protestantism crept here and there into Catholic centers, and gave birth to conceptions wherein we find a mixture of sincere piety — the religious instincts of a Catholic soul and the intellectual errors of Protestantism.

Frederick Paulsen, Professor at the Rational Protestant University at Berlin, speaking of the Encyclical Pascendi admits this strange fact. “It seems,” he says, “that all the doctrines condemned by the Encyclical are of German origin, and yet there is hardly one theologian in Germany who defends Modernism in his own faculty of Theology.”

This is most significant. But traces of the spirit of Protestantism in German University centers date further back than to-day. When Pius IX called a General Council in 1869, a learned and well-known Catholic Professor at the University in Munich, Döllinger, who later openly fell away, writing à propos of the rôle of Bishops in these Councils, says: “The Bishops must be present at the Council to bear witness to the faith of their respective dioceses; and the definitions that result from the Council must be the expression of collective beliefs.”

Here you have, beloved brethren, the accord of the individual conscience substituted for the direction of authority.

The Spirit Of Modernism In Fr. Tyrrell’s Writings

The most intelligent observer of the contemporary Modernist movement and the most expressive of its tendency, he who has seized its true significance and who is perhaps the most profoundly imbued with its spirit, is the English priest, Father Tyrrell.

In the numerous writings published by him in the last ten years there is much that is edifying, much for which we are deeply grateful to the author: but often in the spirit which animates these same pages there is the fundamental error of Döllinger, the real principle of Protestantism.

This, however, is not surprising, inasmuch as Father Tyrrell is a convert, and was educated under Protestant influences.

Tyrrell, who was intent only on the interior workings of the conscience, neglectful of dogmatic traditions and ecclesiastical history, zealous above all to hold in the bosom of the Church those of our own contemporaries whom the blustering assertions of unbelievers disconcert (those unbelievers who, sometimes in the name of natural science, sometimes in the name of historical criticism, endeavor to impose philosophic prejudices and hypercritical conjectures as conclusions drawn from science in conflict with our Faith), has, after the lapse of forty years, renewed an attack analogous to that of the apostate Döllinger.

Revelation, he says, is not a doctrinal deposit confided to the guardianship of the teaching Church of which the Faithful will receive the authentic interpretations at various times when an authoritative announcement is required; it is the collective life of religious souls, or, rather, of every person of good will who aspires to an ideal above the material ambitions of the egotist. The Saints of Christianity are the élite of this invisible society, this communion of Saints. While the Religious life follows unswervingly its course in the depths of the Christian conscience, “theological” beliefs work themselves out in the intelligence, express themselves in formulae commanded by the needs of the moment, but less conformed to the living reality of faith according as they are dogmatically defined. The authority of the Roman Catholic Church interprets the interior life of the Faithful, recapitulates the product of the universal conscience, and announces it in the form of a dogma. But the true inner religious life remains the supreme guide in matters of faith and dogma.

Moreover, the force of the intelligence being subject to a thousand fluctuations, the code of belief varies; the dogmas of the Church in turn change their sense, if not necessarily their expression, according to the successive generations to whom she speaks. Nevertheless the Catholic Church remains one, and is faithful to its Founder; for since the time of Christ the same spirit of religion and holiness animates the successive generations of the Christian world, and all meet on the common ground, which in the main is the sentiment of filial piety to Our Father in heaven, love for humanity, and a universal brotherhood.

Causes That Favored The Growth Of Modernism

Such, beloved brethren, is the soul of Modernism.

The leading idea of the system has been greatly influenced by the philosophy of Kant; a Protestant himself and author of a special theory in which the universal certitude of science is opposed to the exclusively personal certitude of religious sentiment. It has been without doubt this infatuation, as general as it is ill-considered, that attracts so many superior minds to apply arbitrarily and a priori to history, and especially to the history of the Holy Scriptures and our dogmatic beliefs, an hypothesis — the hypothesis of evolution — which, far from being a general law in the domain of human reasoning, has not been even proved in the limited field of the formation of animal and vegetable species. This idea in itself, which in the beginning inspired many generous champions of the Catholic apologetic school, and which later on plunged them into Modernism, is none other at bottom than Protestant individualism, which substitutes itself for the Catholic conception of a teaching authority established by Jesus Christ, and charged with the mission of informing us what we are obliged to believe under pain of eternal damnation.

This spirit is everywhere in the atmosphere, and for this reason, no doubt, the Pope, specially guided by Divine Providence, addresses to the whole world an Encyclical, the doctrinal tenor of which concerns, it seems, but a fraction of the Catholics of France, England, and Italy.

The doctrines condemned by the Encyclical horrified faithful Christians by their mere announcement. But in the tendencies of Modernism there must be something seductive which seems to attract even honest minds, true to the faith of their baptism. Whence comes, and in what consists the charm that renders Modernism so attractive to youth? We see two principal causes, and these are the two errors I hope to dissipate in the second part of my pastoral letter.

Pretended Antagonism Between Progress And The Church

The unbelieving Press loudly proclaims that the Pope, in condemning Modernism, puts himself in opposition to progress, and denies to Catholics the right to advance with the age. Deceived by this falsehood, which certain Catholics have imprudently believed, many right-minded and honest souls, until now faithful to the Church, waver, become discouraged, and imagine without reason that they cannot obey their Christian consciences and at the same time serve the cause of scientific progress.

It seems clearly my duty to reply to these calumnious accusations of a hostile press in an announcement addressed specially to the clergy, extracts from which they can make use of at their own discretion for the benefit of the Faithful. It is imperative, however, to convince men of good will in Belgium that, in being with the Pope against Modernism, they are not less with the times in promoting progress and in honoring Science.

Thanks be to God, the Belgian Catholics have escaped these Modernist heresies. The representatives of philosophical and theological teaching in our University, those in our free branches of studies, and those also in the Seminaries and Religious Congregations, have unanimously and spontaneously given weight to this declaration in a document signed by each one of them, in which they state that the Pope, by his courageous Encyclical, has saved the Faith and protected Science.

And these same signatories, have they not the right to proudly face their accusers, in the name of the Catholic institutions they represent, and to demand of them: What, then, is the science that we have not served, and that we will not serve, as well, if not better, than you? Do our Professors fear to be compared with yours? The pupils we educate, pitted by public competition against yours, do they not always carry off the honors?

The strength of conviction and the sincerity of love is tested by sacrifice. You know, perhaps, the liberality of the unbeliever in behalf of Science. This is true, and I rejoice in the fact, but I ask you without fear to compare it with the lavish generosity of millions of Catholic Belgians for all branches of learning.

The Unconscious Assimilation Of The Constitution Of The Church With Modern Political Organizations

The second error — an error which takes advantage of the spirit of Modernism to infect the youth of our day, and sometimes also to draw away the masses — is the unconscious confusion of the constitution of the Catholic Church with the political organizations of modern society.

Under the Parliamentary system, each citizen is supposed to have a voice in the direction of public affairs: the revolutionary theories circulated by Rousseau, and adopted in the declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789, have disseminated in the masses a mistaken idea that the directing authority of the country is made up of the collective individual wills of the people; the representatives of power are thus considered delegates, whose exclusive rôle it is to interpret and turn to account the opinions and will of their constituents.

It is this conception of power that Döllinger wished to apply to the Bishops assembled in the Vatican Council. Later on, Father Tyrrell applied it to the Bishops as well as the faithful ecclesiastics or laics of the Christian community, reserving only to the Bishops and even to the supreme authority of the Pope the right to put on record and to proclaim authentically what the dispersed members of the Christian family, nay, even what religious communities have thought, loved, and felt.

This analogy is false: civil society, following a natural law, is born of the union and co-operation of the wills of the members that compose it. But the supernatural society of the Church is essentially positive and external, and must be accepted by its members as it was organized by its divine Founder, and to Christ alone belongs the right to dictate to us His will.

Listen to the Son of God, made Man, giving His Apostles His sovereign and indefeasible instructions: “Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” “He that believeth, and, is baptised, shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.” The Evangelist St. Mark, who quotes these words in the last page of his Gospel, concludes as follows: “And the Lord Jesus, after He had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God. But they going forth preached everywhere; the Lord working withal, and confirming the word with signs that followed.” Hence the Bishops continue the apostolic mission, and the Faithful must listen, believe, and obey their teaching under pain of eternal damnation. “If he will not hear the Church,” says our Lord, “let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican,” that is like unto a man without faith. “Amen, I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

The Christian Must Protect His Fatih By Enlightenment

Hold fast, dear Christians, to the cornerstone of your faith. Confide in your Bishop, who himself is supported by the Successor of Peter, the Bishop of Bishops, the immediate representative of the Son of God, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Protect with vigilance the treasure of your faith, without which nothing will profit you for eternity.

Perfect your religious instruction.

It is an astonishing fact that in proportion as the youth grows to manhood, he considers it almost a question of honor to develop his physical forces, to increase the measure of his knowledge, to strengthen his judgment, enrich his experience, to polish his language and refine his style, and better inform himself on the march of events. Man has at heart the perfection of his profession, and is there a lawyer, magistrate, doctor, or merchant who would not blush if forced to admit at forty that for the last twenty years he had added nothing to his store of knowledge?

And is it not a fact that if Catholics of twenty, thirty and forty years of age were interrogated, they would have to confess that since their First Communion they had not studied their religion, and perhaps have even now forgotten what they then learned?

In these troubled times I understand the conquests of unbelief, and I deplore them; but what seems more difficult to explain is that a believing, intelligent man, conscious of the value of that rare gift of Faith, is content to ignore what he believes, why he believes it, and what the solemn vows of baptism pledged him to, towards God and his neighbor.

Every well educated man should have in his library a Catechism, if not to learn by heart, at least to study the text. The one most highly recommended is the Catechism of the Council of Trent, an admirable work in its clearness, precision and method, in which by the order of the Fathers of the Council of Trent, a commission of distinguished theologians was charged to condense the substance of faith and morals and the institutions of Christianity.

To instruct himself in the reasons for his belief the well-informed Catholic should have, beside his Catechism, a manual of the dogmatic teachings of the Church, and the principal Pontifical Encyclicals addressed to our generation, those of Leo XIII, of glorious memory, and the Encyclicals of Pius X.

All Catholics should have in their households, if not the integral text of the Bible, at least the New Testament, that is, the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. And they should have, moreover, a history of the Church and an apologetical treatise.

But to keep alive and nourish his piety every Christian should possess a Roman Missal, and a treatise on the liturgy that will explain the ceremonies of the Mass and the principal manifestations of religious worship in the Church.

The Imitation of Christ, Bossuet’s Meditations on the Gospels, and The Introduction to a Devout Life, by St. Francis of Sales, and, in addition to these, several lives of the Saints that represent to us the practical application of the teaching of the Gospel: these books form together at a very modest outlay the minimum religious library of a Christian family. Every family, however humble, ought to have several books of piety.

I have sometimes glanced at the libraries of friends following liberal careers, and noticed books of science, of literature, and profane history; but how often one searches in vain for any religious literature. Is it then surprising that minds so poorly equipped are easily taken in by an audaciously formulated objection: they are then horrified, and appeal to apologetics for help.

Apologetics have without doubt their place in the Church, and oppose a defense to every attack. When one is ill the physician is called in, but hygiene is more potent than the doctor. Study for choice the statements and proofs of Catholic doctrine, penetrate yourself with its teachings and meditate on them, get to know the history of the Church, and learn her apostolic labors.

Exhortation To Pray And Vigilance

Watch and pray! By the integrity of your life, by the purity of your morals, and by the humble confession of your dependence on God and your need of His merciful Providence, banish the interested motives for unbelief, and then will disappear, as mists before the sun, the doubts that rise in the soul and obscure the horizon. And if at times on some special point a doubt should trouble your conscience, have recourse to some enlightened man: the explanation he will give you will be adapted to your mentality and to your peculiar state of soul at that moment; and will be more efficacious than replies indiscriminately addressed to a large crowd of listeners or readers.

None of us, dearly beloved brethren, sufficiently appreciates the gift of Faith. Man is so made that he takes no account of what has definitely become part of his constitution. You have sight, hearing, good lungs, and a sound heart; and do you often thank God for these blessings? Ah! if you were menaced with blindness, loss of hearing, tuberculosis or paralysis, how much greater would be your appreciation of the blessings that you seem on the point of losing, and how spontaneous would be your gratitude when you had recovered your sense of security.

The Protestant nations are sick, and for four centuries the leaven of free interpretation has been working in them: observe with what painful anxiety religious souls are being torn asunder by the thousand and one sects between whose conflicting claims they cannot come to a decision.

And it is just when devout Protestants are attacked by liberalism and tossed about by doubts, and appeal in despair to authority for help, crying: “Save us, O Lord, or we perish!” that the Modernists would do away with the Chief who makes us the envy of our separated brethren, and invite us to renew an experiment that four lamentable centuries proclaim a failure.

No, beloved brethren, we will have nothing to do with such a painful experiment. More closely than ever will we hold to the Vicar of Christ.

“I have a great mystery to preach to you,” said Bossuet; “the mystery of the unity of the Church.” United within by the Holy Spirit, she has still a common tie in her exterior Communion, and must remain united by a government wherein the authority of Christ is represented. This union guards unity, and under the seal of ecclesiastical government unity of mind is preserved.

The unity of Christian Faith is safe only in the Catholic Church, and the Catholic Church is only stable on the Chair of Peter.

“We will turn then,” said St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons, at the end of the second century, “to the most ancient of the Churches, known to all as the Church founded and constituted at Rome by the two glorious Apostles, Peter and Paul: we will prove that the traditions held by the Apostles, and the Faith they announced to men, have come to us by the regular succession of Bishops: and it will be a subject of confusion for all those who, either from vanity, blindness or bad feeling, take in without discrimination all sorts of opinions that may happen to appeal to them; for such is the superiority of the pre-eminence of the Church of Rome, that all the Churches, that is to say, the Faithful the world over, must be in accord with her, and the Faithful, wherever they may come from, will find intact in her the traditions of the Apostles.”

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Pascendi Exposes Modernist Tactics

Pascendi Exposes Modernist Tactics
Fr. Francois Knittel

Modernist Tactics According Pascendi Gregis

We wish to honor Pope St. Pius X, the first canonized pontiff that the good Lord gave us since St. Pius V, by remembering his teachings. The task is not easy, since the teachings of his 11-year pontificate are abundant: his Catechism;[1] frequent Communion[2] and at an early age;[3] Catholic Action;[4] devotion to Our Lady;[5] the responsibility of those who govern the Church;[6] the Priesthood;[7] the doctrine of St. Thomas of Aquinas[8] and that of many others.

Some of the most interesting of St. Pius X’s teachings to recall are those on Modernism. The three documents vital to the subject are Lamentabili Sane (July 3, 1907), Pascendi Dominici Gregis (Sept. 8, 1907), and Sacrorum Antistitum (Sept. 1, 1910). Without any doubt, the most well-known aspect of this teaching on Modernism is the description that St. Pius X gives of the successive faces of the Modernist: the philosopher, believer, theologian, critic, apologist, and reformer. It is a long and arduous text that measures up to the challenge which confronted the Church and its magisterium.

As for us, we will emphasize what St. Pius X wrote on the tactics of the Modernists. The holy Pope was worried not only about the doctrinal aspects of this question, but also about the progress of this error in minds and hearts. How could a doctrine so complex, overwhelming, and contrary to the natural structure of human intelligence have such dissemination? How can we justify all the new measures taken by the Pope—Anti-Modernist Oath, vigilance counsels, exclusion of Modernists from the priesthood and teaching positions, prohibition to publish, control over priestly conventions—knowing that the Church always had to fight against one heresy or other in the course of its history? Why such particular treatment? From the very beginning of his encyclical on Modernism, St. Pius X said:

Still it must be confessed that the number of the enemies of the Cross of Christ has in this days increased exceedingly, who are striving, by arts, entirely new and full of subtlety, to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, if they can, to overthrow utterly Christ’s kingdom itself.[9]

What are these new arts full of subtlety used by the Modernists unmasked by the Pontiff?

Enemies Within

Above all, they are the enemy inside the Church itself. For if we consult our catechism, we will see that those who are outside the Church are the infidels, the heretics, the schismatics, and the apostates. Some were never part of the Church (infidels), some abandoned the Church because of their sins against the Faith (heretics and apostates), or against charity (schismatics), but all, some sooner than others, separated themselves from the Church. That very same separation had the advantage of clarifying the situation and alerting the Catholic faithful against the teachings and actions of these “devouring wolves.”

Nothing of the sort happened with the Modernists whose primary characteristic is to try to stay within the Church at all cost:

That we make no delay in this matter is rendered necessary especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuous they appear.[10]

[W]e allude… to many who belong to the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more lamentable, to the ranks of the priesthood itself,… and lost to all sense of modesty, vaunt themselves as reformers of the Church.

…And this policy they follow willingly and wittingly, both because it is part of their system that authority is to be stimulated but not dethroned, and because it is necessary for them to remain within the ranks of the Church in order that they may gradually transform the collective conscience—thus unconsciously avowing that the common conscience is not with them, and that they have no right to claim to be its interpreters.[11]

Thus it is obvious that there is a firm desire not to get out of the visible structure of the Church, so that they can, at their whim, modify it from the inside. These are the wolves mentioned by Our Lord, “in the clothing of sheep” (Mt. 7:15). Their dissimulation is not accidental, but essential to their works; without it they could not do anything.

Destroying The Catholic Faith Itself

By remaining within the Church under false pretenses, the Modernists try to modify, and thus destroy, the Catholic Faith. Their attacks are not going to be against an institution or a dogma in particular, but will aim at the very virtue of faith:

Moreover they lay the axe not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fires. And having struck at this root of immortality, they proceed to disseminate poison through the whole tree, so that there is no part of Catholic Truth from which they hold their hand, none that they do not strive to corrupt.[12]

Certainly this suffices to show superabundantly by how many roads Modernism leads to the annihilation of all religion. The first step in this direction was taken by Protestantism; the second is made by Modernism; the next will plunge headlong into atheism.[13]

And now, can anybody who takes a survey of the whole system be surprised that We should define it as the synthesis of all heresies? Were one to attempt the task of collecting together all the errors that have been broached against the faith and to concentrate the sap and substance of them all into one, he could no better succeed than the Modernists have done.[14]

It is true that any heresy destroys the Catholic Faith by implicitly doubting the authority of God the Revealer. For if we believe in the revealed truths (Trinity, Incarnation, Redemption, Holy Eucharist, etc.) it is not by personal taste, whim, or opinion, nor because said truths are evident. The only true motive that makes us believe without the shadow of a doubt is precisely the authority of God, who cannot lie, who cannot be in error, who cannot be ignorant. But to deny a dogma is the equivalent of denying God, who unveiled His mysteries for us, His inerrancy and infallibility. It is in that sense that willful heresy will result in the loss of the virtue of faith.

Modernism, as St. Pius X teaches, not only will result in the loss of the virtue of faith like any other heresy, but will even make the existence of said virtue impossible. In Modernism, everything is reduced to a natural dimension, everything is enclosed in the subject, everything is borne out of the desires coming from the depth of consciousness. There is no longer any room for supernatural, mysterious, external, and objective realities. The problem is no longer on this or that particular point of doctrine or morals, but it is the very possibility of the act of faith as defined by our catechism which is destroyed.

Hence “there is no part of Catholic truth which they do not strive to destroy.” Hence also the definition of Modernism as “the synthesis of all heresies.” Hence finally, the ultimate consequence of this revolutionary movement is “atheism.”

Smokescreen Of Confusion In Modernist Doctrine

At the service of his will to effect the radical subversion of Catholic doctrine within the Church, the Modernist will use several subterfuges. First, he will mix in his speeches and writings, in a strange and dangerous fashion, Catholicism and Rationalism. What is Rationalism? Pope Pius IX defined it in the Syllabus of Errors (1864) as:

Human reason, without any reference whatsoever to God, is the sole arbiter of truth and falsehood, and of good and evil; it is law to itself, and suffices, by its natural forces, to secure the welfare of men and nations. (Condemned Propostion No. 3)

Upon reading this definition of Rationalism, we cannot but notice the radical opposition between Rationalism and the Catholic Faith. One of the infallible signs betraying the Modernist character of an author or some writing, is precisely that adulterous union between Catholicism and Rationalism:

For they double the part of the rationalist and Catholic, and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error.[15]

Hence, in their books you find some things that might well be expressed by a Catholic, but in the next page you will find other things which might have been dictated by a rationalist.[16]

This adulterous union between Catholic thought and rationalist thought is the direct result of the Modernist’s will to stay within the Church in order to change the Faith from inside. To speak clearly against the Faith would immediately render them visible and mark them in everyone’s eyes with the infamous seal of heresy and apostasy! That is why they never speak clearly.

Every Modernist sustains and comprises within himself many personalities which appear and disappear according to the necessities of the cause and the opportunities of the moment. It is this evidence which gave the encyclical Pascendi its particular structure. To reveal the Modernist in hiding, St. Pius X had to explain in detail all the disguises, tricks and feints used by the Modernist to avoid the judgment of the Magisterium:

It must be first noted that every Modernist sustains and comprises within himself many personalities: he is a philosopher, a believer, a theologian, an historian, a critic, an apologist, a reformer. These roles must be clearly distinguished from one another by all who would accurately know their system and thoroughly comprehend the principles and consequences of their doctrines.[17]

Lastly, the final trait of the Modernist: he gives the impression that his doctrines lack global vision. Thus, in the eyes of an unwary Catholic, the doctrines of the Modernists will appear fluctuating, insecure, indecisive, and even contradictory. Pope Pius X did not share that view as he explained in several instances:

But since the Modernists… employ a very clever artifice, namely, to present their doctrines without order and systematic arrangement into one whole, scattered and disjointed one from another, so as to appear to be in doubt and uncertainty, while in reality they are firm and steadfast, it will be of ad vantage… to bring their teachings together here into one group, and to point out the connection between them, and thus to pass an examination of the sources of the errors, and to prescribe remedies for averting the evil.[18]

In the writing and addresses they seem not infrequently to advocate now one doctrine now another so that one would be disposed to regard them as vague and doubtful. But there is a reason for this, and it is to be found in their ideas as to the mutual separation of science and faith.[19]

It may be… that some may think We have dwelt too long on this exposition of the doctrines of the Modernists. But it was necessary, both in order to refute their customary charge that We do not understand their ideas, and to show that their system does not consist in scattered and unconnected theories but in a perfectly organized body, all the parts of which are solidly joined so that it is not possible to admit one without admitting all.[20]

Undoubtedly, one of the benefits of Pascendi Gregis was to show the Modernist doctrine in all its scope and as a coherent system. To stick one’s finger into the Modernist machinery is to lose your whole body. To be Modernist in history will lead, little by little, to become so in exegesis and philosophy as well. The adulterous union between Catholic principles and rationalist principles is a fundamental perversion very frequently condemned by the Popes.

Practice Of Modernism

After showing us how the Modernists are the enemy within, who endanger the very Faith without ever giving a global overview of their system, Pope Pius X unmasked three practical points that make the Modernists actions particularly dangerous. When in spite of their deceptions, some Modernists are unmasked by the authority, called to public retractation, or even publicly condemned, they usually give the appearance of submission to the measures that affect them:

But you know how fruitless has been Our action. They bowed their head for a moment but it was soon uplifted more arrogantly than ever.[21]

And thus, here again a way must be found to save the full rights of authority on the one hand and of liberty on the other. In the meanwhile the proper course for the Catholic will be to proclaim publicly his profound respect for authority-and continue to follow his own bent.[22]

And so they go their own way, reprimands and condemnations notwithstanding, masking an incredible audacity under a mock semblance of humility. While they make a show of bowing their heads, their hands and minds are more intent than ever on carrying out their purposes.[23]

That apparent submission is perfectly coherent with the deliberate decision of the Modernists to stay in the Church. If they rebelled against authority or openly despised the truths of our Faith, they would thus unmask themselves. That apparent submission to the decisions of the authorities, even hard penalties, is a key element of Modernist tactics.

The other side of the coin in that the return of a Modernist to the totality of the Faith is always doubtful. How can one be certain of the sincerity of such a conversion when dissimulation and hypocrisy are at the root of the system? Didn’t all these fashionable Modernist theologians of the last 50 years repeatedly swear the Anti-Modernist Oath:

Chenu, Rahner, Congar, Küng, Drewerman and Boff, to mention a few? With that apparent submission to the authorities, Modernists frequently lead as well an externally exemplary life:

To this must be added the fact, which indeed is well calculated to deceive souls, that they lead a life of the greatest activity, of assiduous and ardent application to every branch of learning, and that they possess, as a rule, a reputation for the strictest morality.[24]

Here, too, they could not remain in the Church without apparently keeping the discipline of the Church and its way of life. The apostate or the one who seeks laicization will bring himself to the attention of the Catholic faithful.

In virtue of the necessary connection between what one thinks and what one does, it is legitimate to think that this exemplary life is nothing but external. Let us recall for instance, the weird relations maintained by Teilhard de Chardin, Karl Rahner,[25] or Hans Urs von Balthasar,[26] and of the prince of liberation theologians, the Franciscan Leonardo Boff who recently abandoned the priesthood.[27]

Attracting Public Opinion

The last Modernist tactic indicated by Pope Pius X is the manipulation of public opinion. This manipulation is done in two phases:

  1. It is necessary to silence any serious opponent of Modernism. Any serious debate with said opponent will be avoided, his works opposed to Modernism will not be mentioned, and their publication will even be prevented if possible, and
  2. at the same time, every Modernist speech or book will be praised to the sky. The use and multiplication of pen names used by some Modernist authors will give the impression of a wave of opinion, when frequently, in fact, we are dealing with a few authors singing one another’s praises.

…[t]he boundless effrontery of these men. Let one but open his mouth and the others applaud him in chorus, proclaiming that science has made another step forward; let an outsider but hint at a desire to inspect the new discovery with his own eyes, and they are on him in a body; deny it, and you are an ignoramus; embrace and defend it, and there is no praise too warm for you. In this way they win over any who, did they but realize what they are doing, would shrink back with horror.[28]

But of all the insults they heap on them, those of ignorance and obstinacy are the favorites. When an adversary rises up against them with an erudition and force that render him redoubtable, they try to make a conspiracy of silence around him to nullify the effects of his attacks, while in flagrant contrast with this policy towards Catholics, they load with constant praise the writers who range themselves on their side.[29]

When one of their numbers falls under the condemnation of the Church the rest of them, to the horror of good Catholics, gather round him, heap public praise upon him, venerate him almost as a martyr to truth.[30]

Under their own names and under pseudonyms they publish numbers of books, newspapers, reviews, and sometimes one and the same writer adopts a variety of pseudonyms to trap the incautious reader into believing in a whole multitude of Modernist writers.[31]

When truth is no longer the measure of the validity of an argument, then there is no other way than to look for palliatives to cover its intrinsic weakness. In an era of democracy, truth does not count for much, only the majority; neither does honesty, only power and fame. On the contrary, woe to those who do not blow with the prevalent winds of history. Woe to those who do not board the great ship of progress. They will be buried alive in a lead coffin. They will not find publishers for their books, nor a single magazine for their articles, no chair for them to teach, and the faithful will never hear their voice even though it is the voice of the Good Shepherd.

A Secret Society?

To conclude his analysis of Modernist tactics with practical advice, Pope Pius X called for the unmasking of Modernism. Faced with such hypocritical and deceitful error, only one thing needs to be done: bring it out to the light of day so that all can see its evil.

We must now break silence, in order to expose before the whole Church in their true colors those men who have assumed this evil disguise.[32]

It is very interesting to compare this order of the Holy Pontiff with that of his predecessor Pope Leo XIII in the encyclical Humanum Genus in condemnation of Freemasonry:

We wish it to be your rule first of all to tear away the mask from Freemasonry, and to let it be seen as it really is.[33]

The comparison of these two texts—one on Modernism and the other on Freemasonry—does suggest a similarity between these two revolutionary events. The two Pontiffs seems to suggest a kinship between the Masonic sect and the Modernist sect. Perhaps some will think excessive the use of the expression “Modernist sect.” However, here too, we are only echoing the teachings of Pope St. Pius X:

We think it is obvious to every bishop that the type of men called Modernists, whose personality was described in the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, have not stopped agitating in order to disturb the peace of the Church. Nor have they ceased to recruit followers to the extent of forming an underground group. In this way they are injecting the virus of their doctrine into the veins of Christian society, publishing books and articles either unsigned or under false names. A fresh and careful reading of Our said encyclical reveals clearly that this deliberate shrewdness is to be expected from those men We described in it. They are enemies all the more formidable as they are so close. They take advantage of their ministry by offering their poisoned food and catching the unguarded by surprise. They supply a false doctrine which is the compendium of all errors.[34]

Thus, St. Pius X did speak of the Modernists as an “underground group.” Few authors have noticed and examined this detail. In an article of April 1964, Jean Madiran did made the following observations:

In the encyclical Pascendi, Pope Pius X mentioned several times and in various manners the “occult” action of Modernists. Is it a secret society in the strict sense? The encyclical Pascendi implies it though does not affirm it clearly.

Three years later, however, this formal accusation was made by Pope Pius X (Sacrorum Antistitum of Sept. 1, 1910):

[the] Modernists, whose personality was described in the encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, have not stopped agitating in order to disturb the peace of the Church. Neither have they ceased to recruit followers to the extent of forming an underground group.

…We have consulted books and magazines that gave the “history” or the “results” of Modernism since World War II: we did not find any mention of this specific aspect of the question. Not only is the secret society is omitted, but the presentation of Modernism made by many authors implicitly denied it ever existed. It is denied by the fact that their presentation of Modernism is incompatible with the existence of the secret society of Modernists. They do mention writers, investigators, editors, and clergymen undoubtedly in error, but guileless souls: certainly true for many, but insufficient to explain the historical phenomenon of Modernism. It does not explain its organized preponderance, nor the concerted campaigns, nor the medley of insults and praises, nor the premeditated tactics, nor the occult activities described in the encyclical Pascendi. Neither does it explain the accusation of “underground group” of the Motu Proprio of Sept. 1, 1910 [Sacrorum Antistitum].

All the stories of the Modernist crisis, these “analyses” of Modernism, and the judgments expressed have been radically corrupted because of the systematic ignorance and dissimulation of such an important element of judgment… By hiding the existence of the secret society, the historians obviously did not shed any light on its disappearance.

Nonetheless, this is an unresolved historical question, indeed, an open question, that is, when did the secret society of Modernists cease to exist? We cannot even ask if they were “reconstituted” at a later date, for to be reconstituted it is necessary to have ceased to exist; but we do not know if and when it was dissolved. Not only is no answer given, but the question itself is not even raised.

Historians of the crisis think that the encyclical Pascendi in 1907 mortally wounded Modernism and that that was the end of it, and even too brutal and complete of an end. That was not the position of Pope Pius X who, three years later, on Sept. 1, 1910, clearly affirmed: “Nor have they ceased to recruit followers to the extent of forming an underground group.” They had not ceased. But then, when did they cease? Or did they ever cease?[35]

The Modernist Is An Apostate And A Traitor

In conclusion, we will let Fr. Calmel, O.P., give us a panoramic view of the question of Modernism in its theological, moral, spiritual, and tactical aspects:

The classic heretic—Arius, Nestorius, Luther—even if he had some wistful desire to remain in the Catholic Church, did everything necessary to be ousted. He fought openly against Divine Revelation, the sacred deposit of which is guarded by the Church. The heretic, or more accurately the Modernist apostate like a Loisy or Teilhard de Chardin, deliberately rejects the whole doctrine of the Church, but desires to remain in the Church and takes the necessary measures to stay in. He dissembles and feigns with the hope of changing the Church in the long run—or, as the Jesuit Teilhard de Chardin wrote, to rectify the Faith from the inside. The Modernist has in common with other heretics the rejection of Catholic Revelation. But he differentiates himself from other heretics, because he hides this rejection. We must insist on this: the Modernist is an apostate and a traitor.

You may ask, “Since the position of the Modernists is fundamentally disloyal, how can he keep it all his life without destroying his internal mental balance?” Is psychological balance compatible with a perpetually maintained duplicity in the most supreme questions? We must answer that yes it is, as far as the ringleaders are concerned.

With respect to the followers, the question of the psychological imbalance within a never-failing hypocrisy is less acute. When these followers are priests—alas, only too frequently—they usually end up marrying, thus putting an end to the necessity of dissimulation. For once they are married, they will continue to be apostate, but will stop being Modernists. Things become clearer with respect to them. They no longer have to fake the virtues of a Catholic priest.

Concerning the ringleaders, prelates with important charges, if they can practice their Modernism without serious damage, it is with a doubt because they are distracted by accomplices who never get tired of singing their praises. Distracted from looking at themselves, they manage to escape the burning questions of a slowly dying moral conscience.

In any case, the blindness of the mind and the hardening of the heart will always be the end of the road, but without necessarily leading to dementia. We are certain that closing oneself in spiritual darkness does not happen at once, but it is prepared slowly by numerous acts of resistance to grace. This divine chastisement is merited by numerous sins. What is more, if any other sinner can recognize himself as such and beg divine mercy, we must admit that a sinner of that type cannot convert if not for a great miracle of grace: a very rare one.

Translated for Angelus Press by Fr. Jaime Pazat de Lys of the Society of St. Pius X. The author, Fr. Francis Knittel, was ordained for the Society of St. Pius X in 1989 and a former District Superior of Mexico.

Footnotes

1. Acerbo Nimis (April 15, 1905).

2. Sacra Tridentina Synodus (Dec. 20, 1905).

3. Quam Singulari (Aug. 8, 1910).

4. Il Fermo Proposito (June 11, 1905).

5. Ad Diem Ilium Laetissimum (Feb. 2, 1904).

6. Jucunda Sane (Mar. 12, 1904).

7. Haerent Animo (Aug. 4, 1908).

8. Doctoris Angelicis (June 29, 1914).

9. Pascendi Dominici Gregis, ed. Claudia Carlin (Pierian Press), p. 71.

10. Ibid., col. 2.

11. Ibid., p. 83, col. 2.

12. Ibid., p. 72, col. 1.

13. Ibid., p. 90, col. 1.

14. Ibid., p. 89, col. 1.

15. Ibid., p. 72, col. 1.

16. Ibid., p. 78, cols. 1,2.

17. Ibid., p. 72, col. 2.

18. Ibid., p. 72, col 2.

19. Ibid., p. 78,col. 1.

20. Ibid., p. 88, col. 1.

21. AW., p. 72, col. 1.

22. AW, p. 82, col. 1.

23. AW., p. 83, col. 2.

24. Ibid., p. 72, col. 1.

25. Courrier de Rome, (March 1995), p. 8.

26. Si Si No No, Italian ed., (Dec. 1992), p. 7.

27. Translator’s note: He died shortly thereafter.

28. Pascendi, p. 86, col. 2.

29. Ibid., p. 9l, col. 2; p. 92, col 1.

30. Ibid., p.92, col. 1.

31. Ibid., p. 92, col. 1.

32. AW., p. 72, cols. 1, 2.

33. The Papal Encyclicals, vol. 2 (Pierian Press), p. 99, col. 2.

34. Sacrorum Antistitum (Sept. 1, 1910), The Doctrinal Writings of St. Pius X (Manilla, Philippine Islands: Sinag-tala Publishers, 1974).

35. Author’s translation of a Spanish translation (for which he could not find a reference) of an article originally in French.

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Universal Catholic Apostasy Predicted

Universal Catholic Apostasy Predicted

Catholic Sacred Scripture Which Predicts Universal Catholic Apostasy

Luke 18:8
Matthew 24:15
Matthew 24:24-25
2 Thessalonians 2:3-5

We find in Luke 18:8, that Jesus predicts there will be little faith left when He returns at His second coming, “…when the Son of Man (Jesus) comes, will he find faith on the earth?”  This entails a great religious apostasy from those who once knew and professed the truth. Likewise it indicates there will be a small religious group of believers who hold the true orthodox Catholic faith.

In Matthew 24:15, Jesus predicts the abomination of desolation, “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel–let the reader understand.”

Matthew 24:24, states that, “…false christ’s and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”

And, in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-5, we read, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”

Further, as one Catholic author and apologist points out, “The New Testament tells us that this deception will happen in the very heart of the Church’s physical structures, in the “Temple of God” (2 Thess. 2:4) and in “the holy place” (Mt. 24:15). It will be because people receive not the love of the truth (2 Thess. 2:10).”

Catholic Prophecy Concerning the Universal Apostasy

Also we find the prophecy of St. Nicholas of Fluh (1417-1487): “The Church will be punished because the majority of her members, high and low, will become so perverted. The Church will sink deeper and deeper until she will at last seem to be extinguished, and the succession of Peter and the other apostles to have expired. But, after this, she will be victoriously exalted in the sight of all doubters.”

St. Paul says that Antichrist ‘sitteth in the temple of God’This is not the ancient Temple of Jerusalem, nor a temple like it built by the Antichrist, as some have thought, for then it would be his own temple…this temple is shown to be a Catholic Church, possibly one of the Churches in Jerusalem or St. Peter’s in Rome, which is the largest church in the world and is in the full sense ‘The Temple of God.'” Fr. Herman Kramer, (‘The Book of Destiny,’ 1975, pg. 321)

We see one example in which Pope Pius XI, states that St. Peter’s Basilica is a great temple, “…the Basilica of St. Peter’s…that great temple…” (Quingaugesimo ante (#30), Dec. 23, 1929)

Further, we find, “…St. Bernard speaks in the passage of the Antipope (as the Beast of the Apocalypse).” ‘The Catholic Encyclopedia,’  volume 1, (article on Antichrist)

Rev. Culleton writes, “Towards the end of the world, Antichrist will overthrow the pope and usurp his see.” (‘The Reign of Antichrst,’ 1974, pg. 130)

Likewise, Our Lady of La Salette appeared Sept. 19, 1846, predicting, “Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist…the Church will be in eclipse.”

“Rome (not the Catholic Church) has lost the Faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.” (Bro. Peter Dimond, ‘The Truth About What Really Happened to the Catholic Church,’ pg. 5)

1 John 2:22, “Who is a liar, but he who denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, who denieth the Father, and the Son.”

Pope Leo XIII’s Prayer to St. Michael 

“…October 13, 1884, Pope Leo XIII…experienced a horrifying vision.”

“The pope later confided that during the strange episode he saw demons and heard the atrocious, guttural voice of Satan boasting to God that he could destroy the Church and drag the world to Hell if he were given sufficient time and power. According to the Pontiff, Satan asked God for between 75 and 100 years of enhanced worldly influence and it was granted.”

“Afterwards Pope Leo…urgently composed the famous prayer to the archangel Michael.”

On September 25, 1888, Pope Leo XIII, composed what is known as the (original) Prayer to St. Michael (which is also a prophecy), which, “he ordered…to be recited after all Low Masses as a protection for the Church against the attacks from Hell.”

Pope Leo XIII writes, “That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan, who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity…

“These most crafty enemies,” continues Pope Leo, “have filled and inebriated with gall the bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, that they raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered…pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that …that he may no longer seduce the nations.”

Further, Pope Leo XIII, writes, that Satan and the other unclean spirits, “wander about the world for the injury of the human race and of the ruin of souls.”

“Pope Leo XIII foresaw and predicted the great apostasy; and he pinpointed that the apostasy would be led from Rome – Rome which alone is “the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of truth for the light of the world.” Pope Leo clearly foresaw that this place (Vatican City in Rome), where had been set up the Chair of Peter by the first Pope, St. Peter himself, would become the throne of Satan’s abominable impiety, with “iniquitous design that when the Pastor (the true Pope) has been struck, the sheep (the Catholic faithful) may be scattered.”

“Pope Leo was not predicting the defection of the Catholic Church (which is impossible, as the gates of Hell can never prevail against the Catholic Church [Mt. 16]), nor the defection of the Chair of Peter (which is also impossible), but rather he was predicting the implementation of an apostate, counterfeit Catholic religion from Rome in which “the pastor” (the true Pope) is replaced by a usurping antipope (as has occurred in Church history), with the iniquitous design that “the sheep may be scattered.”

Further, “Pope Leo’s prayer also foresaw that Satan’s impure apostates would lay impious hands “on the Church’s most sacred possessions.” What are the Church’s most sacred possessions? The most sacred possessions of the Church are those things which Christ entrusted to Her: namely, the deposit of faith (with all of its dogmas) and the seven sacraments instituted by Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. ..Pope Leo’s prayer foresaw the attempted destruction of the deposit of faith with Vatican II and the new sacramental rites of the Vatican II Church.”

In 1934, this original Prayer to Saint Michael by Pope Leo XIII was change, taking out the reference to,“the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of truth for the light of the world.” And eventually the entire prayer was replaced by a different version of the “prayer to Saint Michael,” and eventually, the prayer itself was removed from the Low Mass.

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Antiquated Modernists: Why Modernists Are The Dinosaurs

Antiquated Modernists: Why Modernists Are The Dinosaurs
Dr. Peter Chojnowski

St. Pius X, in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, speaks of Modernism as “the synthesis of all heresies.”1 Since we live in times when the heresy of Modernism and its theological progeny dominate the Catholic intellectual landscape, it is profitable to consider this error from many different vantage points. The vantage point that I shall take in this article is the following: Is Modernism truly modern? By this question, I do not mean to throw into doubt the historical fact that Modernism emerged as a full-fledged heresy in the 19th century as a result of the subjectivism introduced into Western philosophy by the Prussian philosopher Immanuel Kant with his book The Critique of Pure Reason.

Just as I am not questioning the modern context of the emergence of Modernism, so also do I not question the fact that Modernism, as a heresy, teaches that the fundamental doctrines of the Faith are in some way subject to the “religious consciousness” of the times. Indeed, as I will state, this is the modernists’ only claim to the label “modern.” The only other potential claim the modernists have to this label stems from their slavish devotion to certain schools of modern philosophy. St. Pius X, in Pascendi, constantly makes reference to the fact that the modernist theologian dances to the tune of the modern philosopher. By this, of course, St. Pius X means those philosophers who have made Kant’s “subjectivist turn.” With all of these qualifications in mind, I will state my thesis. Modernism, as a heresy, is not at all in accord with some of the most notable aspects of modernity. I base this conclusion on the premise that it is empirical science which is the most concrete “achievement” of modernity. It shall be my thesis that, rather than being in accord with modern scientific innovations and the outlook on the world which produced them, Modernism, in its most fundamental theological and philosophical positions, is alien to and in essential conflict with that outlook and with the innovations which were the result of that outlook. Some may object that my thesis indicates an over concern with reclaiming the label “modern” from the modernists. The objector would be extremely perceptive in this regard, since I believe it provides those who propagate Modernism with an enormous psychological advantage to be thought of as “modern.” Isn’t it self-evident that to be “modern” is to be the inheritor of the collective wisdom and empirical knowledge of the ages?

My thesis, in this regard, is stark and clear. Traditional Catholicism has every right to be considered “modern,” and Modernism, in all its contemporary forms, ought to be considered antiquated. Before this thesis is argued for, it is best to first remember one thing. It was the Catholic medievals who were the first people in Western history to refer to themselves as “the moderns.” Indeed, one of the names used to refer to the newly emerging Gothic architecture in the vicinity of Paris in the 1100’s was the opus modernum or “modern work.” When arguing for the truth of my thesis that traditional Catholicism, rather than Modernism, is in fundamental accord with certain essential aspects of modernity, I will refer to the scholarly work done by Fr. Stanley Jaki, O.S.B., physicist and theologian. [Fr. Jaki is a Hungarian-born Benedictine, ordained in 1948. He has doctorates in physics and theology and has been on the faculty of Seton Hall University since 1965.—Ed.]. The two works which shall particularly draw my attention are his Gifford Lectures, published under the title The Road of Science and the Ways to God and his book The Savior of Science. In these works, Fr. Jaki argues the case that it is only within the religious and cultural context of a civilization dominated by Roman Catholicism that modern empirical science as we know it could have emerged. The reasons for this being the case, along with the essential conflict between the modern scientific outlook on the world and the modernist outlook on the world, will constitute the subject matter of this essay.

Modernism As Primitivist Revival 

Before arguing the thesis that Modernism is not “modern” at all, but rather, a type of neo-primitivism, it is best to first define what I mean by the term “Modernism.” Here I will rely solely on the explanation given of Modernism by St. Pius X in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis. I will also refer to the ways in which the progeny of Modernism—feminist “theology,” the New Age, and “liberation theology”—are actually a “turning of the clock back” to non-empirical modes of thought. Before St. Pius X discusses the specifics of modernist Christology and their position on the relationship between faith, science, and history, he first discusses the modernist notion of the relationship between the human mind and the world. According to St. Pius X, the modernists reject the idea that the human mind is in immediate and vital contact with the world. Instead, what the human mind has access to is “phenomena” or that which “appears” to the human mind. What the human mind “perceives” is not the created order in all of its variety, richness, purposefulness, and meaningfulness, but rather, sensible impressions which serve as the building blocks of a “world” which has meaning and purpose only insofar as it is perceived by a human mind.2

This modernist disengagement of the human mind from the true order of nature leads, according to Pascendi, to the philosophical-theological position of agnosticism. Since the human mind is unable to have living contact with the created order, but only with an empirically-based mental “reconstruction” of that order, neither is it able to have a living, rational contact with the Creator of that order.3 The “world” as the modernists portray it then, is not one which directs our minds to God, but rather, a “field” of empirical facts which whispers not of its origins.

This sterile world of facts is, therefore, the only one which the natural mind has access to. This is the “world” which is the subject matter of science and history. Such a “world” without metaphysical roots in the creative Will of God is only “transformed” into a world which has religious meaning when it encounters the mind of the “believer.” It is the faith of the “believer” or the faith of a community of “believers” which invests a world of bare facts with theological significance.4

The example St. Pius X gives of this “transformation” of the phenomena is what the modernists teach concerning the sacred person of our Lord. According to them, Christ was merely a man whose life, being so extraordinary, has been invested with a theological meaning by the faith of the early Christian community. Since our Lord’s life was such an anomaly in His own time and place, the faith of His early followers invested Him with divine attributes.5 The culmination of this process of deification is the prologue to St. John’s Gospel. Here Christ becomes the Logos or Verbum of the Eternal Father.6 Not only has Christ become for the believer the Savior of all, but moreover, He has become Him “through Whom all things were made.” This leads us to the question as to what the modernists say about the relationship between faith, science, and history. According to St. Pius X, the modernists set up an unbreachable wall between the “world” of faith and the “world” of science and history. The two “worlds” really have nothing to do with one another. The “world” of faith is the product of interior religious sentiments being projected upon the “world” of empirical facts, thereby transfiguring and disfiguring those facts.7

The origin of this theologically meaningful “world” is not the human mind’s recognition of the need for an Ultimate Cause of the order which it finds in the world; rather, its source is the human mind’s own efforts to make meaningful that which is otherwise value-neutral. By creating this “world” of religious fiction, the human mind attempts to satisfy its own vague “need” for the divine.8 The salvation history spoken of by the Catholic tradition, then, is merely various attempts by the community of believers to satisfy an interior need of the human heart. The “idea” which went farthest in satisfying this need, was the “idea” of the Incarnation.

The “world” of empirical science and objective history, however, knows nothing about the truths of faith. According to St. Pius X, the modernists go so far as to say that science and history know nothing either of God the Savior or of God the Creator. Science and history can only convey empirical facts concerning the world as it is perceived by the human mind. This world needs no God to create it, redeem it, or sustain it. St. Pius X insists that even though the modernists make a radical distinction between the realm of faith and the realm of science, it is the realm of science which they truly take seriously. Since the modernists attribute the truths of faith to the subjective consciousness of man and the truths of empirical science and history to rationality, it is only natural that, ultimately, the facts of science and history would be taken for truth and the facts of faith be interpreted as a sort of pious entertainment, entertainment which distracts one from the cold, hard facts.

In order to keep the truths of faith relevant to the empirical facts of science, religious consciousness ought to conform itself to the basic view of reality presented by empirical science. Thus, rather than being in a domain of its own, faith must adapt itself constantly to the newly-discovered facts of science. What is to be avoided at all cost is the interference of faith in the serious domain of scientific discovery.

What, according to St. Pius X, is the ultimate result of this bifurcation of faith and science? Since the rational mind cannot find evidence of the activity or presence of God in either nature or the events of history, its only logical conclusion must be that nature possesses an autonomy such that it need not be dependent on an ultimate creative and sustaining cause. Nature is its own “cause.” It is its own source of existence, life, and motion.

When this belief in the autonomy of nature is united with a religious subjectivism or, as St. Pius X refers to it, a “vital immanence”9 in which God only manifests Himself through the sentiments of an individual, what results is the philosophical position of pantheism. In several places in Pascendi, St. Pius X mentions this as almost an inevitability.10 If there is not a very specific infinite and perfect Being who is distinct from the world, yet also knowable, perhaps everything is “God.”

The Scientific Method And The Mind’s Path To God 

As we have seen above, the modernists, when it comes to the question as to the relationship between Christian faith and science, take the same position as Charles Darwin did when writing to a perplexed German high school student by the name of W. Mengden: “Science has nothing to do with Christ.” By taking this position, the modernists and Darwin neglected two glaring facts about the history of science. The first is that all of scientific discovery is guided by universal and generalized notions and presuppositions. Empirical science never moved incrementally from one small empirical fact to another small empirical fact, such as Sir Francis Bacon and the Empiricists would have it. The second is the glaring historical fact that modern empirical science emerged, and only emerged, within the context of a Roman Catholic cultural milieu. Within such a cultural environment, certain truths are presupposed. Such presuppositions served as the general framework and intellectual support for all of the great discoveries in the empirical sciences from the 17th century to our own day. These two facts make the modernist’s claim that science is completely independent of the facts of the Faith and of the historical facts of salvation history all the more quaint and outdated. It was in the 20th century, the most “modern” of all, that historians of science like Pierre Duhem,11 himself a devout Catholic, have shown the roots of modern quantitative physics, for example, to lie in the Catholic Middle Ages. Also in the 20th century, a thinker who was not at all sympathetic to the Catholic Church, Alfred North Whitehead, spoke of the debt which modern science owed to the medieval scholastics.12 Whitehead, of course, was a pantheist and the father of what is called “process theology.”

What is the reason for this debt which modern empirical science owes to the Catholic Church and to the culture which the Church produced? The reason for the debt is simply this: as most philosophers and historians of science now recognize, empirical science essentially depends upon certain presuppositions concerning the nature of the world and man’s ability to know that world. There is no such thing as “presuppositionless” science (i.e., without anything taken for granted).

What I will maintain here is that these presuppositions are primarily theological and philosophical. What modern empirical science presupposes is a view of the world and of the human mind which has been presented to Western man by none other than the Catholic Church. So rather than the Christian religion being led around by science like a silly and immature sibling, it is the true religion which has opened the gates to progress and attainment in the sciences. Therefore, rather than continue to assert the dated modernist position that the truths of faith and the facts of salvation history are unrelated to science or the history of science, we become aware of the cultural context in which modern science emerged and of the fundamental notions and dogmas which formed the foundation of that cultural context.

Interestingly enough, the truths which provided the foundation and the necessary presuppositions for successful modern scientific inquiry are precisely the truths which are contemptuously rejected by the modernists. As Jaki argues in his book The Savior of Science, it was precisely the Catholic doctrine of the Incarnation of the Divine Word, the Verbum or Logos of the Eternal Father, which provided the human mind with an understanding of the universe which was compatible with a progressive scientific culture. Again, interestingly enough, but not surprisingly, it is precisely the doctrine of the Incarnation of the Divine Word which the modernists contemptuously claim has nothing to do with real science, not to mention the real history of science.

Why is it that the Catholic doctrines of the Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Incarnation are the sine qua non of a truly scientific and “modern” mentality? The answer is simply this. Only if the Divine Word, through whom all things were made, is fully divine can we be sure that the universe is rationally ordered throughout all of its parts. It is only such a universe which can be the object of true science. St. Athanasius, a young deacon at the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea, used the evident fact of the orderliness and regularity of the universe to argue for the full divinity of the Divine Logos, who became flesh in the Man Jesus of Nazareth.”13

Not only is the fact of our Lord’s Divinity an essential presupposition for the emergence of a truly scientific and modern mentality, the fact that our Lord is the “only begotten” of the Eternal Father, monogenes in the Nicean Greek, was also historically a necessary presupposition. This is also the case for a very simple reason. For many of the ancient civilizations of the past, the universe itself was considered to be the “only begotten” of the First Principle. The universe was, therefore, considered by the ancient pagans to be divine. The Babylonians, the Chinese, the Hindus, even, to a great extent, the Romans and the Greeks, could be classified as pantheists—”everything” is God.14

Such a “divine” universe is not one which serves as an appropriate object of scientific investigation. It is only a created universe, orderly and regular throughout, which can serve as such an object. To be created and, therefore, to be a creature, means to be “contingent,” dependent on the intention and will of a Creator. Such a universe does not have to exist, nor does it have to exist in a certain way. It is such a singular and unique universe, which can both incite scientific interest and satisfy it.

Fr. Jaki insists that the reason for the failure of science in pre-Christian cultures was due precisely to the fact that they failed to recognize the universe as created, contingent, and ordered and regular throughout. It was, of course, only in Latin Christendom that the empirical sciences became a progressive, cumulative discovery of the structure of the universe. Historically it is the case that only in a culture founded on the truth that God, who is completely distinct from the world, came into the world and took on flesh, did the most “modern” of endeavors reach the stage of fruition. It is the modernists, then, along with the New Agers, the ecological feminists, and the “Christian” Marxists, who reject the basics of the modern outlook. They, like the ancients, seek to divinize the universe. Not only are the “modernists” “turning back the clock” when it comes to their re-divinization of the universe, they also advance a view of the mind’s relationship to reality which is not at all consonant with modern empirical science. As we have seen earlier, St. Pius X traced the philosophical roots of Modernism to an agnosticism which refuses to recognize the fact which St. Thomas Aquinas took to be obvious, that the human mind can move from a knowledge of creation to a knowledge of the Creator. This natural progression of the mind is what is denied by those who wish to separate the natural mind from an order which the human mind itself did not create.

By short-circuiting the created mind’s connection to its Creator through its grasp of the order and regularity of nature, the modernists dim the lights on any possibility of explaining the rationality of empirical science. By restricting the human mind to “phenomena,” or “that which appears to the mind,” the modernists deny that fact which modern empirical science presupposes, that the object of science is not “what appears to the human mind,” but rather, natural reality itself. This is why empirical science pays no attention whatsoever to “modern” subjectivist philosophical trends. Here we have another reason why “modern” subjectivist philosophy, upon which Modernism is ultimately based, is “out of tune with the times.”15 As Fr. Jaki argues in his 1974-1975 Gifford Lectures,16 it is the same basic view of human knowledge which permeates both St. Thomas Aquinas’s five proofs for God’s existence and modern empirical science’s attempt to uncover the telescopic and microscopic complexity of the created order. Both understand there to be an immediate and informative contact between the mind and nature; both understand that there stands something “behind” the phenomena which the senses perceive and which common sense evaluates.

The Last Gospel As Prologue To Modernity 

Just as it is perfectly natural for natural theology to make the intellectual “leap” from creature to Creator, so empirical science must “leap” from the minutiae of empirical observations to the most general and universally applicable theories and explanations concerning the natural laws which “stand behind” what we see and touch. The reason both natural theology and modern empirical science feel so self-assured in making these leaps is on account of the solid foundation of universal natural order and stability upon which both types of sciences stand. This presumption of nature’s order, stability, regularity, and contingency has only been held to by those minds which have accepted the theology contained in the prologue of the Gospel of St. John. It is only a world created through the Word who is the perfect image of God the Father which can be assumed to be regular throughout all of its parts. It is only a world made from nothing which could be so singular and unique as to generate interest in empirical investigations. In a created and contingent universe, nothing but its general features of order, regularity, and universal uniformity can be presupposed. A world which “knew not” its Creator when He “dwelt among us” is one which is not divine, in any sense of the term. So, contrary to the modernist and Darwinian belief that “Christ has nothing to do with science,” it was the Divine Word becoming Flesh which opened the intellectual and psychological gates to the advancement of empirical science. Moreover, this utterly unique earthly birth of One who “was in the beginning with God,” also made for a more distinct and “scientific” understanding of history.

Now that such a unique and unrepeatable event has occurred in cosmic history, all events must be seen as unique and, in some way, unrepeatable. Such events are the only ones which can be chronicled by historians. Christ, then, stands at the beginning of “history.” Can, however, traditional Catholics tolerate the label “modern?” Perhaps it would take some getting used to. If “modernity” is ours, perhaps it is the Catholic mind which can render the most thorough critique of the path which modernity and modern quantitative science has taken. It is also the Catholic mind which can assess the measure to which empirical science has deviated from the path of human wisdom. It is only the mother of an adult wayward child who can truly explain to a casual observer the personal “story” behind her child’s waywardness. Only she, because she knew him in the beginning. Let us remember that modern science and modernity itself emerged from a cultural soil enlivened by the radiance of the Roman Mass. No other “religious” rite in history can claim this distinction. It is only in such a realistic and bracing liturgical setting that one can glimpse the true visage of a mankind freed from pagan superstition and pantheism. For modernity, truly understood, says to man what antiquity never did, “You are not God.” Worship Him who dwelt among us and whose glory we have beheld.

Footnotes

1. Pope St. Pius X, “Pascendi Dominici Gregis” in The Papal Encyclicals 1903-1939, trans. and ed. Claudia Carlen, IHM (McGrath Publishing Company, 1981), p. 89.
2. Ibid., sect. 6, p. 72.
3. Ibid., sect. 6, p. 72.
4. Ibid., sect. 9, p. 74.
5. Ibid., sect. 9, p. 74.
6. Ibid., sect. 31, p. 85.
7. Ibid., sect. 9, p. 74.
8. Ibid., sect. 7, p.73.
9. Ibid., sect. 7, p.73.
10. Ibid., sect.l9, p. 79; sect.22, p.80; sect. 39, p. 90.
11. Duhem makes this claim in his magisterial work entitled Le Systeme du monde. Also, see Fr. Stanley Jaki’s articles on this subject matter entitled “The Role of Faith in Physics,” Zygon 2 (1967), pp. 187-202, and “Theological Aspects of Creative Science,” in Creation, Christ, and Culture: Essays in Honour of T. F. Torrance (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1976), pp. 149-166.
12. Alfred North Whitehead, Science in the Modern World (New York: Macmillan, 1926), p. 10.
13. See Fr. Stanley Jaki, The Savior of Science (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1990), p. 76. St. Athanasius states his argument connecting the regularity and the orderliness of the universe to the simplicity of God’s Being and His Trinitarian character in his Against the Heathen, sect. 39, in Vol. IV of The Nicean and Post-Nicean Fathers, pp. 24-25.
14. See Jaki, pp. 72-80.
15. There has even occurred, from the 1960’s to our own day, an attack on the objectivity of science and upon its cumulative nature, by the denizens of modern subjectivism. Thomas Kuhn and P. K. Feyerabend were leaders in this attack. Feyerabend brought subjectivism to its logical conclusion when he stated that witchcraft was as intellectually respectable as empirical science. He also has called “authoritarian” the idea that knowledge has a foundation in reality. With this idea, the “Question Authority” crowd and the “Question Reality” crowd meet and become one!
16. Published under the title The Road of Science and the Ways to God (Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1978).

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Atheism

Atheism
by Fr. F. J. Koch

That God exists is a truth made known to us by reason; hence atheism is opposed to reason.

1. Atheism does not satisfy the intellect; it cannot refute the arguments in support of God’s existence, nor can it adduce valid reasons for denying it. Thus it fails to beget in its adherents a firm conviction.

Lord Bacon of Verulam (1561-1626) writes: “A little or superficial knowledge of philosophy may incline the mind of man to atheism, but a farther proceeding therein doth bring the mind back again to religion.” Cicero says of an Epicurean atheist: “I never knew any one who had so much fear of death and God, the two things that we are told not to fear at all; he is always speaking of them.” (de nat. deor., I, 31.) “But, indeed, positive atheism, as a rational conviction, is impossible. It is absolutely impossible that any direct positive proof whatsoever should be brought against the existence of God.” (Kane, God or Chaos.)

2. Atheism does not satisfy the heart. We are naturally impelled to seek lasting happiness, and our craving is never satisfied unless there is eternity with God. Thus atheism destroys all joy in life, all courage in misfortune, and all hope in death.

“No one is so completely alone,” says Jean Paul, “as the man who denies God’s existence. He mourns with the heart of an orphan, bereft of the greatest of fathers, beside the vast corpse of nature, in which no universal spirit lives and moves, and he continues to mourn until he himself drops off from this corpse.”

3. Atheism overthrows morality and authority, the supports of human society. If it were universally accepted, it would inevitably bring about the destruction of the human race.

If there is no God there is no supreme Judge and no check upon immorality and vice. If there is no God there is no Lord and Master, ni Dieu ni Maitre, and this involves anarchy, the overthrow of all civilization and of human society. Hence even pagan states upheld faith in the gods, for as Homer says (Od., Ill, 48): “All men have need of them.”

Atheism originates either in pride of intellect or in perversity of the will.

Intellectual pride refuses to acknowledge any supernatural authority in spiritual matters and relies solely on individual investigation. The quest of knowledge apart from the practice of religion stunts man’s religious tendency, narrows his intellectual horizon, makes him dwell upon isolated facts, and leads him to oblivion of God, who is the first cause of everything. As an individual an atheist who has received a Christian education and lived in Christian surroundings may remain morally good, for even an unbeliever is unconsciously influenced by his Christian environment.

A perverse will and an immoral and dissipated manner of life are a frequent source of unbelief. Hence we read in Holy Scripture: “The fool [Hebrew nabhal, lit. morally corrupt] hath said in his heart: There is no God.” (Ps. xiii, i.)  St. Augustine, too, remarks: “Nobody denies God save one whose interest it is that there be no God.” La Bruyere (who died in 1696) says: “I should like to find a sober, learned, self-controlled, and chaste man who denies the existence of God and the immortality of the soul; but such a person does not exist.” d’ Alembert writes: “A foolish desire not to think like other people, and to give free scope to the passions, has produced more unbelievers than all specious arguments put together.” A modern writer on education says: “The slave of sinful habits is finally forced either to despair of God’s mercy or to doubt God’s existence. It is natural, moreover, that he should hate one whom he is compelled to fear, and resist one whom he dreads. During his lifetime Voltaire enjoyed himself and mocked at God; when he had to die he stormed and raved.” (Pesch, Lebensphilosophie, I a, II.) Even Rousseau gave the following advice to a young friend: “My son, preserve thy soul always in such a state that it may wish that there were a God, and then thou wilt never question this truth.” (Emile, IV.)

As man approaches maturity he feels most forcibly the power of his passions, and hence it is at this period of life that many lose their faith. No one becomes an unbeliever at a more advanced age; in fact many who have lost their faith when young recover it later. (Buffon, La Harpe, Montesquieu, Daumer, Coppee, etc.)

The adherents of atheism have never been very numerous, and in every age the noblest and most intellectual men have invariably believed in God.

Socialists generally profess atheism because believers in God, who hope for a just reward in the world to come and who regard rulers as God’s representatives, refuse to adopt their views. Many socialists, though otherwise well educated, know practically nothing of Christianity. Among learned men most of the professed atheists are either students of natural science or philosophers. Concentration of mind upon matter diminishes their appreciation of what is spiritual and moral in life, and especially of God, the supreme Spirit. Yet even among scientists the great majority are believers. Kneller has enumerated more than one hundred and sixty scientists in the nineteenth century who were sincere believers. (See A. Kneller, Christianity and the Leaders of Modern Science.)

In every age innumerable princes, statesmen, artists, poets, soldiers, inventors, and scholars have believed in God. Among astronomers may be mentioned Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Herschel, Euler, Secchi, Madler, Heis, and Galle. Among scientists and philosophers: Bacon, Descartes, Leibniz, Wolf, Ampere, Volta, Newton, Kant, Faraday, Liebig, Linnaeus, Cuvier, O. Fraas, Joh. Muller, Ohm, Rob. von Mayer, Helmholtz, Siemens, Pasteur, E. V. Baer, J. Ranke, Becquerel, Lord Kelvin, and many others. Ozanam says of Ampere that on one occasion he raised both his hands to his head, exclaiming: “How great God is, Ozanam, and what a mere nothing is all our knowledge!” Even Darwin, whose works are often quoted by unbelievers in support of their views, confesses:

The question whether a Creator of the universe exists has been answered in the affirmative by the greatest thinkers who have ever lived.”

From the book, A Manual of Apologetics by the Rev. F. J. Koch. Translated from the revised German Edition By A. M. Buchanan, M.A. (London). Revised and edited by the Rev. Charles Bruehl, D.D., Professor at St. Charles Seminary, Overbrook, PA.

New York: Joseph F. Wagner Inc., 1915.
Nihil Obstat: Remigius Lafort, S.T.D., Censor.
Imprimatur: John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.

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Padre Pio and the Freemason

Padre Pio and the Freemason
By Father Pascal P. Parente, S.T.D., Ph.D., J.B.C.

A well-known attorney of Genoa, Comm. Cesare Festa, a first cousin of Dr. G. Festa of Rome, former mayor of Arenzano and one of the most prominent Freemasons of Genoa, was one of the first conquests of Padre Pio’s kindness and zeal. Dr. G. Festa had often exhorted his cousin to abandon Freemasonry and to return to the Church, but to no avail. When he became acquainted with Padre Pio, he spoke about the Padre to his cousin Cesare. One day, out of curiosity, Cesare left Genoa and traveled all the way south to San Giovanni Rotondo.

“What, you here? You, who are a Freemason?” exclaimed Padre Pio the moment he laid eyes on the newcomer.

“Yes, Father,” said Cesare.

“And what is your intention as a Freemason?”

“To fight against the Church from a political point of view.”

Padre Pio smiled, took his visitor’s hand and with extreme kindness began to tell him the story of the Prodigal Son. That same day Cesare went down on his knees before Padre Pio and made his confession, the first in twenty-five years. The next morning he received Holy Communion.

For a few days he remained with the Padre to strengthen his soul for the ordeal that lay ahead. Padre Pio advised him to wait before announcing his official break with the Freemasons. After a few months he returned again to see the Padre, and this time he stopped in Rome to tell his cousin, Dr. Festa, of his conversion and change of heart.

When an Italian pilgrimage to Lourdes was organized under the leadership of Archbishop Achille Ratti of Milan (later Pope Pius XI), Cesare decided to offer his services to the invalid pilgrims, both on the train and later at the hotel. This fact soon became known, and the Socialist paper Avanti and similar sheets let loose a violent attack under a big headline: “A Freemason at Lourdes!”

Cesare was immediately requested to explain his actions. His answer was brief and to the point. At Lourdes, he said, he had admired not so much the restoration of bodily health as the miracles of faith. A new storm followed, because, officially, he was still a member of the brotherhood. As he was preparing to go to the last meeting of the Lodge to break all ties with Freemasonry, he received a most encouraging letter from Padre Pio.

“Never be ashamed of Christ or of His doctrine. It is time to fight with open face. May the Giver of all blessings grant you the needed strength!”

These words, coming at such a critical moment, gave Cesare the necessary courage. He went to the Lodge and there, with great fervor of spirit, spoke openly of Christ, the Saviour of the world, of His doctrine, His Church, and of his own supreme happiness in returning to them. Then he officially presented his resignation from office and broke all ties with the sect.

All this took place during November, 1921. The following Christmas Cesare was in Rome with his cousin, Dr. Festa. There the former Freemason was to be seen in the garb of a Franciscan Tertiary, walking in the procession of the Bambino in the church of Ara Coeli, a lighted candle in his hand. Three days later he was received in an audience by Pope Benedict XV, to whom he described his conversion through the good offices of Padre Pio.

“Yes,” said the Pope, “Padre Pio is truly a man of God; some have doubts about him, but you will help to make him better known.”

Only half a block away from the Capuchin monastery in San Giovanni Rotondo is a book shop, owned by a distinguished photographer, Signor Federico Abresch. A German by birth and a former Protestant, he has long been a convert to the Catholic Faith. However, his conversation made at the time of his marriage to a Catholic girl had really been rather a formality than a sincere change of mind on his part.

In 1928 Signor Abresch came from Bologna, where he had a photographic studio, to visit Padre Pio. Kneeling down for confession, he simply expressed his unbelief, saying that he regarded confession as a good social institution and no more, not a divine means of grace.

Padre Pio looked at him with an expression of extreme pain. “Heresy! All your Communions have been sacrilegious!” he exclaimed. “You need a general confession. Examine your conscience. Jesus was more merciful to you than to Judas.” And with these words he dismissed him.

The poor man felt terribly confused, for he was unable to remember the last time he had made a good confession since entering the Church. When he returned to Padre Pio again, he explained his plight as best he could. Then, very kindly, Padre Pio told him what he could not remember. He had made his last good confession when he had returned from his wedding trip, something which the friar could never have known through natural means.

It was exactly so, as Signor Abresch now remembered the circumstances of that confession. From this point on, Padre Pio began to enumerate the other sins of commission and omission of the penitent before him, concluding with these words: “You have glorified Satan, and Jesus in His boundless love broke His neck for you!”

Signor Abresch then received his penance and absolution, and with them such a joy and happiness that he felt like a new person. From then on he went to daily Mass and Communion, and finally became a Franciscan Tertiary.

“I believe now,” he writes, “not only all the dogmas of the Catholic Church but even her smallest ceremonies. And I feel that if anybody should attempt to take this Faith from me, he could only take my life!”

Signor Abresch and his family, like so many other converts of Padre Pio, wished one thing more — to be able to live near the Padre. Those who cannot afford a move to San Giovanni Rotondo are satisfied with frequent visits there; those who can, settle down in the shadow of the Monastery of Our Lady of Grace — which explains the presence of Signor Abresch in San Giovanni Rotondo today. Most of the photographs published in this book are his property, and he has kindly permitted us to use them. He must exercise great skill to secure these photos, especially those taken during Mass, because Padre Pio never poses and will never knowingly allow anyone to take his picture.

Dr. Angelo M. Merla was one of the doctors who assisted Dr. Festa in the operation performed on Padre Pio which we have already described. He had been an unbeliever, and for thirty years had stayed away from the Church. Padre Pio brought him back to the Sacraments and to regular religious practices. He made his First Communion at the same time as his little daughter. Today, in his office, Dr. Merla often shows people a thermometer which broke when he tried to take the extraordinary temperatures of Padre Pio. (These, at times, reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit.)

Concerning other conversions brought about by Padre Pio, Dr. G. Festa relates that he saw, with his own eyes, how a young Jew knelt before Padre Pio one day and said: “Padre, I won’t leave there until you baptize me!” He had come to San Giovanni Rotondo out of curiosity; he went home a Christian.

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St. Philomena: Wonder-Worker Patron Saint Of The Traditional Roman Catholic Movement

St. Philomena: Wonder-Worker Patron Saint Of The Traditional Roman Catholic Movement
by Mark Alessio

Background

The daughter of a Greek king beheaded by emperor Diocletian in Rome, St. Philomena was ordered put to death as punishment for not marrying him. The emperor ordered archers to execute her with arrows, which, according to legend, turned back and killed the archers instead.

The emperor then ordered her killed by tying an anchor around her neck and throwing her into water. But, according to legend, angels broke the rope and brought her to land with dry feet.

She was beheaded after people who saw the miracles began to riot. Her body was found May 25, 1802, in the Catacombs of St. Priscilla at Via Salaria in Rome. She was believed to be 13 or 14 years old when she died.

She was declared a saint by Pope Leo XII (1823-1829) and afterwards her veneration was personally encouraged by Pope Gregory XVI (1831-1846), Pope Pius IX (1846-1878), Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903), and Pope St. Pius X (1903-1914). Over the years, many miracles have been attributed to St. Philomena, including the restoration of eyesight, the ability to walk and the reversal of paralysis.

There is a very interesting aria in the opera MEPHISTOPHELES by Arrigo Boito. In it, Mephistopheles introduces himself to Faust in these words: “I am the spirit who denies everything always; the stars, the flowers. My sneering and my hostility disturb the Creator’s leisure. I want Nothingness and the universal ruin of Creation.”

Try as one may, it would be difficult to come up with a more concise credo for those spiritual malefactors we group together under the designation “Modernists”. “Denial” is indeed the catchword of the times and it has really ceased to matter exactly what is being denied, as long as it represents something wholesome and salutary, as long as it connects us somehow to a past which understood such basic terms as “natural,” “unnatural,” “right” and “wrong”.

Many of us who had fallen away from the faith of our fathers reaped the bitter harvest of this modern Spirit of Denial, and made our way slowly and painfully back to real Roman Catholicism with our heads spinning. By the grace of God, we now stand on a solid shoreline, the sound of the Latin liturgy echoing consolingly in our ears, and look back over the waters we’ve traveled, shaking our heads in disbelief at the insurmountable odds we’ve beaten just to get there. Gratitude to Christ and Our Lady comes easy in those moments, and we wonder then how in the world it could ever be possible that a Catholic could despise any of the gifts of God.

We ask ourselves how anyone can listen to the song of  Mephistopheles and see therein anything but the disease it truly is. But people listen. They stop and ponder and draw near. And then it’s Eden all over again.

A Church once marked by gratitude to God expressed in its most tender and extravagant forms has become one of cynical, hollow stares, of confusion and sublimated rage. People are not animals. They know, deep down in the wells of their beings, that they have been cheated, and their response is a virulent one: apathy. Holy Days of Obligation are relegated to history, Saints are “cast out of Heaven” by angry experts, statues, altars and sanctuaries are profaned through intense liturgical programs and priests desecrate their Churches with interfaith services and the man in the pew nods and continues dropping his Sunday envelope into the basket like clockwork.

The Spirit of Denial leaves nothing untouched, casting its unclean shadow across anything or anyone that blocks its path. This article is offered in defense of one particular victim of the Modernist’s “Spirit,” a holy and powerful Saint who, because of her solicitous actions on behalf of the Church Militant, deserves so much better than she has received in our time. This Saint is St. Philomena, “the Thaumaturga (Wonder-Worker) of the 19th Century”. The smear campaign perpetrated against this noble Virgin-Martyr exemplifies not only the Modernists’ animosity towards the Sacred, but also their complete willingness to circumvent both reason and fact should the ideological need arise for it.

And so, today, the name of St. Philomena has come to symbolize a “mistake,” prudently covered up by an “enlightened” Church. On February 14, 1961 the Sacred Congregation of Rites issued a liturgical directive removing St. Philomena’s feast day, August 11th, from all liturgical calendars. Although the directive neither denied Philomena’s sainthood nor prohibited private devotion to her, it was a sad day for Christ’s Church, a Church which had, until then, shown nothing but the warmest and sincerest respect for her holy Martyrs. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let us first ask the question: who is St. Philomena?

The significance of the events surrounding the discovery of the relics of St. Philomena on May 24, 1802, certainly did not go unnoticed by St. John Vianney who later referred to her as the “new light of the Church Militant”. And a “new light” she was, literally coming forth from the bowels of the earth after lying in obscurity for more than 1500 years in the Catacombs of St. Priscilla in Rome. Her tomb itself, discovered by “fossors,” or excavators, was located in a chamber which had apparently remained undisturbed since the remains were first entombed. When the small band of fossors, assistants and clerics prepared to open the tomb on the following day (May 25th), the first thing they encountered was a mystery, for the loculus (tomb) was sealed by three terra-cotta tiles upon which were printed: “Lumena / Paxte / Cumfi.”

Also depicted on these tiles were symbols of martyrdom two anchors, two arrows, a palm, a javelin and a lily (the emblem of purity). The inscription is meaningless unless the first tile is placed at the end, thereby spelling out the phrase:  “Paxte / Cumfi/Lumena.

“Pax tecum, Filumena.” “Peace be with you, Philomena.” There was no question that the tiles should have been positioned thus. Was the mistaken order the result of the tomb having been sealed hurriedly in times of persecution? The fact that some tiles have been discovered in the Catacombs with their letters upside down lends weight to the theory. Archaeologists dated the tomb at 150 or 160 A.D. A renowned authority in the field of Christian archaeology, De Rossi, wrote: “The cemetery of Priscilla enjoys the fame of being one of the most ancient and primordial of the Roman Church. There…the compilers of historical martyrologies point out the sepulchers of Pudens, of his daughters Pudentiana and Praxedes, of the priest Semetris with other martyrs,whose burial is said to have been effected by those holy sisters in the times of Antoninus Pius…Prisca, who, some tokens lead me to suspect, had to do with the married pair Aquila and Prisca, or Priscilla … Philip and Felix, two of the celebrated martyred sons of St. Felicitas, put to death…in the year 162, under Marcus Aurelius …”

A Monsignor Brownlow, also writing of the Cemetery of Priscilla, states: “Besides the name of Peter, quite a large number of the names mentioned by St. Paul in the XVIth chapter of his Epistle to the Romans are found in this locality.”

Such is the distinguished company among whom the earthly remains of Philomena rested as the centuries turned over and the Church fought on, amidst ever newer and more diabolical persecutions.

The sight that greeted those who were privileged to open Philomena’s tomb was that of a small skeleton, the bones of a girl about twelve or thirteen years old. Fr. Charles Henry Bowden, writing in 1894, reports that, “The head of the Saint was much fractured but the chief bones were entire.” Besides the relics of the young martyr, the tomb contained a small broken glass vase containing some of her dried blood. This was a very important find. Fr. Bowden observes:  “But there is another still more certain and more venerable indication of martyrdom than the symbols engraved upon the tombs, namely, the generous blood of the victims. The practice of gathering up and preserving the blood of the martyrs is minutely described by many of the early Fathers, and was carefully observed by the Christians.”

So, on May 25, 1802, the tomb of St. Philomena, located in Catacombs dating to the Apostolic Age, was opened. On the outside of it were tiles decorated with a loving inscription painted by the early Christians, and inside were not only the priceless relics of the young girl herself, but the remains of a small ampule full of her blood that had been carefully collected and buried along with her by those same Christians. Not a bad resume at all for a Saint whom the Modernists would like us to believe “never really existed”!

St. Philomena wasted no time in calling God’s elect to a renewed wonder of the bounty and mysteries of the Catholic life. As the dried blood was being transferred from the broken vase to a clean urn, everyone present was amazed to find that the particles “were transformed into various precious and shining bodies; some presenting the luster and color of the purest gold, some of silver, some appearing like diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and other precious stones”.

This prodigy was witnessed firsthand by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, who has written a number of popular books on various Catholic topics. While on a visit to St. Philomena’s Shrine in Mugnano, Italy, Fr. O’Sullivan wrote: “I had the happiness of examining this priceless treasure as many as thirty or forty times. Each time, without fail, I saw the blood change most marvelously, and the transformation was so clear and distinct as not to allow room for the smallest doubt or misconception.”

When the relics were brought out into the light of day, they were examined by theologians and physicians and sealed inside a silk-lined casket, along with signed documentation. The casket was then carried to the Custodia Generale, and deposited among other relics to spend three more years in obscurity.

It was in May of 1805 that the path of St. Philomena crossed with that of Don Francesco di Lucia, a priest from the town of Mugnano, located twenty miles north of Naples. Don Francesco wanted very much to obtain a relic for his Church, preferably that of a virgin-martyr who could inspire the youth of the parish to virtue.

While accompanying the Bishop-elect of Potenza, Don Bartolemeo di Cesare, to Rome as secretary, the priest from Mugnano petitioned the Treasure House of Relics. Through the influence of his companion, the Bishop, Don Francesco was admitted to the Treasure House and presented to its guardian. Apparently, the teaming-up of the village priest and the youthful Virgin-Martyr was a match made in Heaven. Don Francesco describes their first “meeting” in these memorable words:  “Upon seeing the relic of St. Philomena an invisible force agitated me internally and externally. Then I felt an unusual and intense joy in my heart, and I was filled with a pure desire to possess her sacred body. This was so evident in my countenance that even the custodian of the Treasurybecame aware of it … At the same time I realized that it would be utterly impossible for me, a poor priest, to be so favored since the relics of identified martyrs were so rare.”

The body of Philomena was denied Don Francesco, on the grounds that it was too precious and should be preserved for a more glorious bestowal, and the relics of St. Ferma, another “girl saint” were given to him instead. It was not long after the relics of St. Ferma were safely in Don Francesco’s keeping then an unexpected development arose.

The relics of St. Philomena were delivered to the residence of Don Bartolomeo, who ordered that they be taken to the room of his secretary for “safekeeping”. The secretary was, of course, Don Francesco! The two men decided upon an exchange. St. Ferma would find her place with the Bishop, in a Church in his new diocese, while St. Philomena would be transferred to Naples and then enshrined at Mugnano. Sr. Marie Helene Mohr sums up the incident:  “It was truly evident that Philomena wanted to go with the poor parish priest to help his people.  The sensible bishop dismissed the traditional idea about reserving this latest treasure for a member of the hierarchy or a famous Church.”

Once again, a fascinating turn of events surrounding a Saint who “never existed”, according to the more mature, enlightened of our brethren.

From this point on, Philomena begins to display that spontaneous, joyful persona that prompted one Archbishop to say:  “Are you going to tell me these things of the Thaumaturga St. Philomena? I have grown old amid the playful things which she does in my own palace. The first such incident occurred during the coach ride from Rome to Naples. Unbeknown to Don Francesco and the Bishop, the case containing the relics of St. Philomena had been wedged under their seat, the servants presuming that it would be more secure there.

While the Bishop was sitting down, waiting for the carriage to depart, he was aware of his legs being struck from underneath the seat. Repeated investigations produced no loose baggage which might have caused the repeated blows, particularly in a stationary coach! When a servant finally pulled the small relic case out from beneath the seat,

where it was quite firmly lodged, and the Bishop realized what it was, he was astonished, having given the order previously that the case ride atop the front seat.

As the two priests rode on, eyeing the small case now resting motionless on its seat, the Bishop began to wonder aloud: “It didn’t just slip forward against me. I was rapped very hard.”

Cecily Hallack, recounting the story in her small book on St. Philomena, wryly observes: “But the more he described the blows, the more evident it became that they were not the kind of blows he could possibly have got from something of this size and weight slipping forward. There was nothing for it but to realize that Philomena had rapped the episcopal legs.”

Apparently, the Saint whose relics had lain in the dark shadows of the Catacombs for over a millennia and a half didn’t relish the idea of these relics being transferred to their new home in a manner more suited to ordinary baggage or bundles of laundry. Other miraculous occurrences attended the journey of the Saint to her new home.

Once these relics were installed in the Church of Santa Maria della Grazie in Mugnano, in a special reliquary designed in the image of a young girl, miracles of more serious import began to visit the populace in astounding numbers.

The variety of these miracles alone staggers the imagination: cures of blindness, physical ailments and maimed limbs, the bestowal of fertility on barren women, rescues of people in danger of drowning, falling or being killed in accidents, material assistance to the needy.

Many of these miracles were attested to in documents signed by reliable witnesses.  The number of ex voto offerings donated to the Shrine in token of benefits received would eventually grow to such a number that they would have to be stored in a separate area.

Two Noteworthy Cures

Two cures effected by St. Philomena are worth highlighting. The first involved the Archbishop of Imola, a fervent client of the Saint and great promoter of devotion to her, who succumbed to a serious illness to the point where it seemed his death was imminent. As he lay in bed, apparently ready to breathe his last, knockings were heard on his bedside table. These knockings, which were also experienced firsthand by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan in Mugnano, signified that the Saint was about to grant some special grace. In the case of the Archbishop of Imola, this signal heralded a complete recovery. This Archbishop went on to become Pope Pius IX, the man who solemnly pronounced the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

The second cure of particular interest in the saga of St. Philomena is that of the Venerable Pauline Jaricot, a young and very pious French girl who suffered from serious heart problems.

Determined to go to the Shrine at Mugnano to petition St. Philomena for help, Pauline, accompanied by two nurses and a chaplain, crossed the Alps and made for Rome to receive the blessing of Pope Gregory XVI. Her travels took such a toll on her health that she found herself too ill to leave the convent in which she was staying. The Pope, grateful to Pauline for having established both the Society for the Propagation of the Faith and the Living Rosary Association, went himself to visit her at the convent. It was there that Pauline made a “deal” with the Vicar of Christ. She put it to him in these words: “If on my return from Mugnano I were to come to the Vatican on foot, then would Your Holiness deign to proceed without delay to the final inquiry into the cause of Philomena?” (i.e., the canonization of Philomena).

No doubt Pauline’s great affection for Philomena had been encouraged by St. John Vianney, whom she knew personally and who had asked her to obtain a relic of the Saint for his own Church. The Pope agreed, stating that such a feat would constitute “a miracle of the first order”. As he left, however, he turned to the Mother Superior of he convent and remarked, “How ill she is! …We shall never see her again.”

Pauline reached Mugnano in such straits that she could only point her finger to indicate where she wished to be taken. On August 10th, while attempting to kneel at the Shrine, Pauline collapsed, but signaled that she didn’t wish to be moved. Then, a feeling of warmth spread through her body, color returned to her face and, to the joy of the townspeople who were not ignorant of the drama being played out in their Church, Pauline was cured.

The second act of this drama would take place in the audience chamber at the Vatican, where Pauline was admitted incognito and went at first unrecognized by Pope Gregory. When he realized who was standing before him, he exclaimed, “And has she come back from the grave, or has God manifested in her favor the power of the Virgin-Martyr?” The Holy Father was true to his word and, on January 30, 1837, the Decree was promulgated which authorized devotion to St. Philomena and granted to the clergy of Nola (the diocese which includes Mugnano) the privilege of celebrating Mass in her honor. Again, a truly remarkable chain of events surrounding a Saint whom we are told “never really existed”!

Now that the “hard facts” concerning the discovery and subsequent veneration of St. Philomena have been set forth, we can venture into a realm that promises further information on the life of the “Thaumaturga of the 19th Century”. On December 21, 1883, the Holy Office sanctioned the printing of a series of revelations on the life of St. Philomena which had been granted to three persons   a nun, a priest and an  artisan. We understand that this Imprimatur assures that the revelations contain nothing contrary to faith, and does not indicate any further pronouncement regarding their content by the Church. That the same “biography” was related to three people, unknown to each other, is certainly a fact worth considering.

The Revelations

In August 1833, Mother Luisa di Gesu, a Dominican tertiary, while at prayer before a statue of St. Philomena, began to wonder about the details of the Saint’s life. When she heard the voice of the Saint speaking to her, her first reaction was one of caution Sr.

Mohr noted this concern: “Fearing that she might be under an illusion, Mother Luisa intensified her prayer life. She obtained permission to observe rigorous fasts. She also penanced herself in every thinkable manner without injuring her health. Her directors enjoined absolute silence on her part, advising her to refrain from discussing the

revelation or trying to recall it. This test of her obedience proved the sincerity of the nun.”

A letter was sent to Don Francesco at Mugnano, asking him to answer certain questions concerning the Shrine, which Mother Luisa had never seen, and the revelations. He corroborated the facts concerning the Shrine and, to her relief, Mother Luisa’s superiors gave her permission and encouraged her to petition the Saint for information on her life and martyrdom. The revelations granted to this obedient nun, echoed in those reported by the priest and artisan, tell us that Philomena’s father was the prince of a small Greek state and that her parents, childless and desiring children, embraced Christianity on the advice of a Christian physician from Rome. The happy result of this conversion was a daughter whom they named Lumena, a reference to the “light” of the faith they acknowledged as the source of their joy. At her baptism, the girl was given the name Filumena (filia luminis — i.e., “daughter of light”).

The next event set forth in the revelations is the visit to Rome of Philomena, now a beautiful young girl, and her parents, her father being obliged to meet with Emperor Diocletian over the matter of hostilities threatened by Rome upon their homeland. At this meeting, the Emperor exhibited an inordinate desire for the young princess. Her parents, pleased with the honor accorded them by an Emperor of Rome asking for their daughter’s hand, entreated her to accept the proposal. Their entreaties turned to anger when their daughter insisted on remaining a virgin for Jesus Christ. The girl was brought before the Emperor in the hopes that some alluring promises might sway her, but her obstinacy landed her in prison, bound in chains. As the Saint related this, she noted that the angry Diocletian was “influenced by the devil”. After thirty-seven days, Our Lady appeared to Philomena to announce her coming tribulations with the encouraging words:  “In the moment of struggle grace will come to thee to lend its force. The angel who is mine also, Gabriel, whose name expresses force, will come to thy succor. I will recommend thee especially to his care.”

Diocletian, in a rage that Philomena would prefer a “malefactor” (i.e., Our Lord) to him, had the girl publicly lashed, after which she was tended to by angels while in her cell. Another meeting, during which Philomena defended the faith against the wiles of both the Emperor and his courtiers, who attempted to impress upon her that her selection by Diocletian was desired by Jupiter himself, ended with the Saint condemned to death. She was to have an anchor tied around her neck and thrown into the Tiber (recall the anchors depicted on the tiles of her tomb). This was not an uncommon form of execution for Rome. Our Lord referred to it in the Gospels: “But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea (St. Matthew 18:6).”

Through the ministry of angels, the anchor was loosened and the Saint was returned to shore. As she tells of this miraculous escape, she adds an incidental observation regarding the anchor: “It fell into the river mud, where it remains, no doubt, to the present time.” It’s a small detail, true, but a very human observation, the sort of afterthought one tacks on when relating an experience to a friend. We are further told that this miraculous rescue resulted in the conversion of many who witnessed it. When a shower of arrows (recall again the symbols on the tiles) failed to harm the Saint, she was again cast into a dungeon cell. The Emperor, accusing her of sorcery, ordered that flaming arrows be used on the next attempt, but these ended up killing the archers themselves. Again, conversions followed.

Finally, the innocent young girl who had been named “daughter of light” at her baptism was killed, and her soul sent to its place among the elect, when her neck was pierced by a lance (recall the condition of the skull found in the tomb).

Sound fanciful? Certainly no more so than the stigmata of St. Francis, or the Battle of Lepanto. Roman Catholics who still believe in the Resurrection or the Assumption of Our Lady have no trouble with the obvious and overwhelming fact that there truly are “more things in Heaven and earth” than are dreamed of in our meager philosophies. No one is bound to accept the veracity of these revelations of the life and death of St. Philomena. The Modernists would, in fact, be quitepleased if such things were swept under the rug. But just what kind of person accepts such stories of angels and escapes, of virtue triumphant against all odds? St. John Vianney, for one, who alluded to the events of Philomena’s life in the “Litany of St. Philomena” he composed for his “dear little Saint”:

St. Philomena, scourged like thy Divine Spouse …
St. Philomena, pierced by a shower of arrows …
St. Philomena, consoled by the Mother of God, when in  chains …
St. Philomena, comforted by angels in thy torments …
St. Philomena, who converted the witnesses of thy martyrdom …

Should you feel moved to accord these revelations the respect due to any other gift of God, you will find yourself in good company. Of course, there are those of the other camp, the ones who tell us that St. Philomena “never really existed”. How does one answer such people? How about with the following words of Pope St. Pius X:  “… to discredit the present decisions and declarations concerning St. Philomena as not being permanent, stable, valid and effective, necessary of obedience, and in full-effect for all eternity, proceeds from an element that is null and void and without merit or authority.

Strong, clear words from the man who realized perhaps more acutely than any other the real dangers of Modernism.

Nor was the great Pius X alone among the Vicars of Christ in his deep respect for St. Philomena. We have already mentioned Pope Pius IX and the cure effected for him by the Saint. On November 7, 1849, he showed his deep love for his benefactress by celebrating a Mass on the altar dedicated to her in her sanctuary and, in the same year, he named her “Patroness of the Children of Mary”. In 1854, Rome approved a Proper Mass and Office in St. Philomena’s honor.

Pope Gregory XVI, who had personally witnessed the miraculous recovery of Pauline Jaricot, was responsible for Philomena’s  canonization and her place on the Calendar.  He also sent to theShrine at Mugnano a gold and silver lamp as a token of his affection and esteem. He gave St. Philomena the title of “Patroness of the Living Rosary”.

Pope Leo XIII made two visits to the Shrine at Mugnano while he was apostolic administrator of Benevento, and sent to the Shrine a Cross from the Vatican Exposition. He raised the Confraternity of St. Philomena to the rank of archconfraternity and approved the wearing of her Cord, attaching to it indulgences and privileges. If we add to this list of Pontiffs the names of Saints who were devoted to Philomena — the Cure of Ars, St. Peter Julian Eymard, St. Peter Chanel, to name a few — we assemble an impressive list, a very impressive list of people devoted to a Saint who the Modernists decided “never really existed”.

Philomena Under Siege

So, what happened? How is it that a Saint revered throughout the Catholic world, one in honor of whom devotional Masses were offered, to whom numerous Shrines were erected and endowed, who was credited with the performance of abundant and varied miracles should find herself the victim of a malicious plot to dethrone her from the seat of honor she merited by a cruel and heroic martyrdom? The authors who have undertaken to write the story of Philomena have set forth their ideas on the subject.

Sr. Marie Helene Mohr wrote: “Truly, St. Philomena’s popularity would scarcely have circulated throughout the world had not those who are devoted to her received signal favors in response to their prayers to her for help …For if she is a saint, she is a saint; and if she is “powerful with God”, she is powerful with God. And there is nothing we can do at this late date in history to contravene the facts.

The use of the word “facts” is appropriate here. St. Philomena enjoys the distinction of having miracles performed by her attested to in signed documents. For instance, when the statue of the Saint at Mugnano was observed to exude manna (a clear fluid) in August 1823, two documents were drawn up and signed by eyewitnesses. One document, with eighteen signatures, was signed by priests and stewards. The other, boasting 27 names, including the signatures of the burgess, police deputy and communal chancellor.

Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, who received signal favors from the Saint at her Shrine, wrote: “It must strike any thoughtful Catholic as strange that one of the most loved and lovable of Saints, whose cult is producing such marvelous results for good all over the world and is being blessed every day by constant, striking and well-authenticated wonders, is so frequently singled out as an object of attack, not by Protestants or Free-thinkers, but by Catholics themselves…The disciple is not above his master, nor is the servant above his Lord, so that clients of St. Philomena must not be alarmed if a like treatment is meted out to their saintly Protectress…Well might she ask her traducers, as did the Divine Master before her: “For which of my good works do you stone me?'”

Philomena’s enemies, which are those of Christ and His Church, alleged many things in their accusations against the Virgin-Martyr. One claimed that the ampule of blood was found outside the tomb. Another that Philomena was “in pretense a Saint, but in reality she is neither a saint, nor a Virgin, nor a Martyr, nor a Philomena”. All such accusations, malicious in nature, have been answered by competent, clearheaded authorities. That such accusations fly in the face of pronouncements made by venerable Popes should automatically sound a warning bell to the faithful.

Again, what happened? What “Spirit of Denial” prompted the Sacred Congregation of Rites to issue the following “liturgical” directive, which was recorded on March 29, 1961 in the Acts of the Apostolic See: “But the Feast of St. Philomena, Virgin and Martyr (August 11th), should be removed from every calendar whatsoever.”

Yes, the vengeful, inexplicable offensive taken against the Virgin-Martyr, Philomena, was done in the name of liturgical reform. And this will come as no surprise whatsoever to those with eyes to see, those Catholics who interpret the popular term “liturgical directive” in its current, true sense carte blanche for the dismantling of Roman Catholicism. So at last we come down to it. St. Philomena was, quite simply, in the way. And so, she was carted off in the middle of the night, like a character from an old “Cold War” thriller. The “Spirit” that couldn’t tolerate the Canonical Mass, reverence for the Blessed Sacrament, Our Blessed Mother or the innocence of children found in St. Philomena a perfect victim for its rage. Laying aside for a moment her numerous miracles, she had come to symbolize many things which did not sit well in the plans of the Modernists. She symbolized chastity and a heroic perseverance that would certainly trouble those who find the term “Church Militant” offensive. Devotion to her, as expressed by the common people, was rife with the beautiful treasures of Catholicism so despised by the new “Spirit”: novenas, sacramentals, statuary and pictures, blessed oil, chaplets, cords and indulgences, special prayers and litanies. It reads like a catalog deliberately intended to both edify the laity and turn the stomachs of the Modernists.

The attacks against St. Philomena, like those directed against the Holy Mass, are not solely of recent vintage. In 1906, Fr. Buonavenia a Jesuit archaeologist, wrote a volume on the “controversy” surrounding the Saint, in which he refuted the slanderous accusations made agains ther by other men in his field. Yet, it wasn’t until 1961 and the eve of Vatican II that the forces lying in wait to “dismantle” the Church started to move … in the name of the “liturgy,” of course.  But God will not be mocked. Just as the Tridentine Mass continues to flourish, showering abundant graces and summoning the children of Mother Church home to a vital, true Faith, so other tears appear in the fabric of the false reality erected by the architects of the “New Religion”.

Fr. Timothy Hopkins, Representative of the central Shrine of St. Philomena in Mugnano del Cardinale, Italy, for the cultus of the Saint in the State of Florida, writes in his newsletter of March 1996, that as recently as 1994, he obtained a first class relic of the Saint from Bishop Canisius Van Lierde, Vicar General to the Pope and Keeper of the Church’s Holy Relics. Father uses this fact to make an astute observation: “One cannot believe that one of the highest Roman  authorities would be an agent of promoting the veneration of the ‘relics’ of a Saint who never existed!”

Fr. Hopkins follows this observation with another that, perhaps more than all the others quoted above, cuts to the heart of the matter. Why was St. Philomena attacked? Why were so many of her beautiful Shrines (including, hard as it is to believe, the one at Ars, France) destroyed?  Why did it suddenly become so important, urgent enough to call for a “directive”, to undertake the Orwellian task of erasing all traces of the “Thaumaturga of the 19th Century” from Catholic liturgical and devotional life? In short, why such unexplainable rage directed against a “Girl Saint” beloved for over a century by Popes, Saints and God only knows how many lay people?

Perhaps the most concise and penetrating answer to these queries was provided by Fr. Hopkins in his newsletter: “We must see the action taken in 1961 as the work of the devil (whether consciously or unconsciously done, God only knows) in order to deprive the people of God with a most powerful intercessor, particularly in the area of purity and faith, at a time when such intercession was most needed.

Obviously, it wasn’t only Emperor Diocletian who, “influenced by the devil”, moved against the young Saint, according to her legend. St. Paul warned us that our battles would be against “principalities and powers”, and the facts are obvious. Now would be a good time to take a stand, to really rattle the cages of the devil and his minions and give glory to God for His bounty: Pray to St. Philomena. Ask for her intercession. Take her as a Patron Saint and confide your children to her care. Say her litany. Read a short book about her. Utter a few words to her during your evening prayers. Remember her feast day, which was so unceremoniously “wiped off the books”. The enemies of Our Lord, Our Lady and Our Church don’t want spiritual devotions to happen. That fact alone recommends such actions to all sincere Catholics. God is generous, and we get nowhere by spurning His gifts.

St. Philomena, Beloved Daughter of Jesus & Mary, Pray for Us!
[For literature on St. Philomena, as well as holy cards, prayer books,
Cords and other devotional items, you may contact contact the Universal
Living Rosary Association, P.O. Box 1303, Dickinson, TX 77539, or the
Shrine of St. Philomena, 1946 SW 9th Street, Miami, FL 33135.]

Bibliography:

Fr. Charles Henry Bowden: History of St. Philomena (1894)
Sr. Marie Helene Mohr: St. Philomena, Powerful with God (1953)
Fr. Paul O’Sullivan: St. Philomena the Wonder-Worker (1927)
Cecily Hallack: St. Philomena: Virgin-Martyr & Wonder-Worker (1940)
Don Francesco de Lucia: St. Philomena, Virgin & Martyr (1865)

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“Salesianizing” The Traditional Catholic Movement: The Honey Of Humility and Kindness

“Salesianizing” The Traditional Catholic Movement: The Honey Of Humility and Kindness
Author Unknown

To attract souls to Catholic Tradition it is necessary that those soldiers within the “traditional movement”  increase their efforts to imitate the apostolic style of Saint Francis de Sales based on humility towards God and on kindness towards one’s neighbor.

Unfortunately, there are not just a few traditionalists who exhibit behavior that is harsh, acidic and severe, which drives away souls from the Tradition.  For example,  it was recounted to me that some nuns attached to the Tridentine Mass were very critical of conversations of their ex-prioress, because she showed a merciful attitude when she spoke with sinners.  True mercy is not that of the Modernists, those who justify sinful acts, but rather that of those true followers of Jesus Christ, like Saint Francis de Sales and Saint Leopold Mandic, who with sweet kindness managed to convince souls to end their attachments to sin and to be reconciled to God. If they had used harsh ways of dealing with these souls in an uncharitable way, they would have had great difficulty in converting them.

The spirit of kindness comes from God himself.  The soul that loves God loves as well all who are loved by God.  And so he gladly seeks out all those who need succor, consolation, and uplift, as far as it is possible.  Saint Francis de Sales says:  “Gentle humility is the virtue of virtues that God commended to us so much; because we need to practice it always and everywhere.”

This kindness needs to be put into practice especially with the poor, those who ordinarily, because they are poor, are treated harshly by men.  It needs to be put into practice also with those who are sick, those who are afflicted with infirmities and are for the most part not much helped by others.  In a special way this kindness must be put into practice in encounters with our enemies.  “Overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21).  Hatred must be conquered by love, and persecution with kindness.  This is what the saints have always done.  There is nothing that edifies a neighbor more than treating him with truly charitable kindness.  The saints continually had a smile on their lips, and their face breathed kindness in their words and actions.

The Superior should use as much kindness as possible with those entrusted to him.  Saint Vincent de Paul used to say that there is no better way to be obeyed that by using kindness.  Even in pointing out defects, the Superior should use kind words. One way of reprimanding someone is to do so forcefully; the other way is to reprimand with harshness.  There are times when one has to forcefully reprimand someone, when the sin is grave and especially when the sin is habitual. But one must avoid reprimanding with harshness and anger, because whoever reprimands with anger does more harm then good.   If ever in a rare case it may be necessary to use some harsh language to make the person understand the gravity of his sin, in the end it is necessary to leave him with “a sweet mouth”, with some words of kindness.  And when it happens that the person who has to be corrected gets angry, one has to stop the conversation for a moment and wait for the person’s anger to subside.  Otherwise he will become more and more irritated and offended. Oh, how much more can we achieve with kindness than with bitterness! Affability, love and humility: these are what captures the hearts of men.

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Revolution Revealed The Triumph of Modernism and the End of the Traditional Catholic Church (Part II)

Revolution Revealed The Triumph of Modernism and the End of the Traditional Catholic Church (Part II)
Peter Crenshaw

Part II

The New Beginning of the Church

The Cardinal then outlines his vision of the “new evangelization” which involves the Church starting anew from the beginning. In doing so he makes several shocking statements. First he states:

The calling of the Church, in the likeness of Jesus, is to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Even Christ himself did not proclaim or preach Himself, but the Kingdom. The Church, as His disciple and His servant, ought to do the same. Her calling is to serve, not to rule: “Servant of Humanity,” called her Pope Paul VI. She must do this service living in the world, herself a part of the world and in solidarity with it, because “the world is the only subject that interests God.

This statement is problematic on several levels. First, is it true that “Christ Himself did not proclaim or preach Himself?” Is this not the same Christ who preached the following?

John 6:51: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever;”

John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

John 8:58: “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”

John 10:9: “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”

John 10:11: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”

John 11:25: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.”

John 14:6:  “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Second, the mission of the Church is not to “proclaim the Kingdom of God” per se but in the words of Our Lord to “go… and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.” Thus, Cardinal Maradiaga commands the Church to follow Jesus by advocating a different mission than the one Jesus Himself commanded the Church to carry out.

Third, the Cardinal then quotes Paul VI in support of the notions that the Church must serve the world, is a part of the world and in solidarity with it and that “the world is the only subject that interests God.”  How different this naïve and disastrous worldview is from the words of Christ, who recognized that the world would always be at enmity against His Church:

If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.…

The admonitions of Cardinal Maradiaga unfortunately only get stranger from there. He then opines:

…there the Church, in humble company, helps making life intelligible and dignified, making it a community of equals, without castes or classes; without rich or poor; without impositions or anathemas. Her foremost goal is to care for the penultimate (hunger, housing, clothing, shoes, health, education…) to be then able to care for the ultimate, those problems that rob us of sleep after work (our finiteness, our solitude before death, the meaning of life, pain, and evil…).

Part of his vision seems to turn the Church into an instrument of socialism by somehow helping to eliminate all social classes and force a sort of totalitarian economic equality upon people.  Furthermore, the Cardinal declares that this is the “foremost goal” of the Church and must be first accomplished before She gets around to what is supposed to be Her primary mission, namely saving souls, or as the Cardinal puts it, one of “those problems that rob us of sleep after our work.” Unfortunately for the Cardinal, Pope Leo XIII already condemned the notion that equality of goods is a praiseworthy goal:

that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the leveling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation. Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal.

The other part of the Cardinal’s vision implies that impositions or anathemas are somehow bad things. This is reminiscent of John XXIII speaking of the “medicine of mercy” being applied to heretics instead of excommunications and condemnations. The idea was to present the good and true to those in error and expect them to be attracted and convert to these ideas by positive example and presentation alone. Unfortunately it looks like Pope John and the good Cardinal forgot about a little thing called original sin, which causes men to incline towards error and evil and necessitated the “impositions and anathemas” for the good of these stubborn souls. And they say we are the Pelagians…

The Cardinal, at this point, lamented the fact that,“too many times [the Church] gives the impression of having too much certitude and too little doubt, freedom, dissension or dialogue…”  Yet if the Church has no certitude and instead has doubt, what good is She to souls? Archbishop Lefebvre addressed this problem well:

A Catholic does not go to the priests or his bishop asking for suggestions to enable him to form his own idea about God, or the world, or the last things. He asks them he must believe and what he must do. If they reply a whole range of propositions and patterns for living, it only remains for him to make up his own personal religion: he becomes a Protestant. This catechesis is turning children into little Protestants.

The keynote of the reform is the drive against certainties.  Catholics who have them are branded as misers guarding their treasures, as greedy egotists who should be ashamed of themselves.  The important thing is to be open to contrary opinions, to admit diversity, to respect the ideas of Freemasons, Marxists, Muslims, even animists.  The mark of a holy life is to join in dialogue with error.

The Church as “Communion”

In the next section of his speech, Cardinal Maradiaga doubles down on the themes of radical equality and of equating the lay state with the ordained priesthood. He also seems to lay the groundwork for an argument in favor of women priests, though he stops short of this conclusion:

In other words, making equality among the members of the Church a reality, because the People of God is one, “sharing a common dignity as members from their regeneration in Christ, having the same filial grace and the same vocation to perfection; possessing in common one salvation, one hope and one undivided charity. There is, therefore, in Christ and in the Church no inequality on the basis of race or nationality, social condition or sex, because “there is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all ‘one’ in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3: 28 gr.; Colossians 3: 11).” (LG 32) “All share a true equality with regard to the dignity and to the activity common to all the faithful for the building up of the Body of Christ.” (LG 32)

Since all of the members of the Church are already equal in dignity, what does the Cardinal mean by “making equality among members of the Church a reality” if not sharing the power of the ordained priesthood with the laity, including women? The Cardinal goes on to say:

The communion of the Church is vital for her to be able to acquire credibility in today’s society. But this is not mere democratization; it is working to achieve an authentic coexistence as brothers and equals. And this goal certainly cannot be attained through a hierarchic mindset, understanding the Ministerial Order as a superior presbyterium, privileged and exclusive, in the way that it appeared to be configured, with absolute power concentrated at the apex and delegated down to the rest of the tiers of the hierarchy.

Thus the Cardinal launches a full frontal attack on the hierarchical authority of the Church, proving Pius X once again correct when he stated of the Modernists, “they disdain all authority.” St. Pius X assists us in presenting the Modernist view of Church authority as follows:

….In past times it was a common error that authority came to the Church from without, that is to say directly from God; and it was then rightly held to be autocratic. But this conception has now grown obsolete. For in the same way as the Church is a vital emanation of the collectivity of consciences, so too authority emanates vitally from the Church itself. Authority, therefore, like the Church, has its origin in the religious conscience, and, that being so, is subject to it. Should it disown this dependence it becomes a tyranny. For we are living in an age when the sense of liberty has reached its highest development. In the civil order the public conscience has introduced popular government. Now there is in man only one conscience, just as there is only one life. It is for the ecclesiastical authority, therefore, to adopt a democratic form, unless it wishes to provoke and foment an intestine conflict in the consciences of mankind. The penalty of refusal is disaster. For it is madness to think that the sentiment of liberty, as it now obtains, can recede. Were it forcibly pent up and held in bonds, the more terrible would be its outburst, sweeping away at once both Church and religion. Such is the situation in the minds of the Modernists, and their one great anxiety is, in consequence, to find a way of conciliation between the authority of the Church and the liberty of the believers.

The Cardinal then lays out the plan for the priesthood by referring back to Jesus. In doing so, the Cardinal incredibly refers to Jesus Christ, our eternal High Priest as a “layman.” Nevertheless, the Cardinal concedes that Jesus lived a “priestly” life, but only in the following sense:

…that He became a man, was poor, fought for justice, criticized the vices of power, identified Himself with the most oppressed and defended them, treated women without discrimination, clashed with the ones who had a different image of God and of religion, and was forced by His own faithfulness to be prosecuted and to die crucified outside the city. This original priesthood of Jesus is the one that has to be continued in history.

Thus the “priesthood” of Jesus Christ that the Cardinal tells us “has to be continued” is not Christ’s priesthood at all. Instead it is a purely human view of Christ as a “layman.” In addition, Christ did indeed “discriminate” against women in the literal sense of the word, as He did not select women to be apostles and to participate in the ordained priesthood. Once again St. Pius X wonderfully sums up what the Cardinal is doing here in Pascendi:

We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, and, what is much more sad, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, animated by a false zeal for the Church, lacking the solid safeguards of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, put themselves forward as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the Person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious audacity, they degrade to the condition of a simple and ordinary man.

The Cardinal goes on to state:

Consequently, this is what Vatican II teaches: “The baptized… are consecrated as… a holy priesthood” (LG 10). As the Apostle Paul teaches, there is a diversity of functions within the Church, but none of them translates into rank, superiority or domination. All are brothers and sisters, and, as a consequence, equal.

While all of the baptized are equal in dignity, they are most certainly not equal in rank and superiority while on earth, or afterwards for that matter. For after their earthly lives, some of the baptized will be in Heaven and some will be in Hell. In Heaven, some souls will have greater glory than others, and in Hell some will have greater punishments than other.  Indeed, no matter how much the progressives are sickened by authority and hierarchy, Our Lord seems very fond if it, choosing these principles as the mode of both His Church and the Kingdom of Heaven. In fact, to truly preach the “Kingdom” as the Cardinal earlier advocated is to preach a hierarchical structure where the just are rewarded and the wicked punished.

Then the Cardinal uses some very interesting words:

Certainly the Church is more than a democracy, since the religious experience of faith allows her to open herself to a dialogue in pluralism and to share in action the great common causes of life and of the whole being of the universe.

The key words here are “the religious experience of Faith.” This is pure Modernism. For the Modernist, Faith is merely a religious experience the believer has.  For the Catholic, “Faith is a Divine virtue by which we firmly believe the truths, which God has revealed.” Pius X speaks at length about erroneously defining Faith as “experience” in Pascendi:

…For the Modernist believer…it is an established and certain fact that the reality of the divine does really exist in itself and quite independently of the person who believes in it. If you ask on what foundation this assertion of the believer rests, he answers: In the personal experience of the individual. On this head the Modernists differ from the Rationalists only to fall into the views of the Protestants and pseudo-mystics. The following is their manner of stating the question: In the religious sense one must recognize a kind of intuition of the heart which puts man in immediate contact with the reality of God, and infuses such a persuasion of God’s existence and His action both within and without man as far to exceed any scientific conviction. They assert, therefore, the existence of a real experience, and one of a kind that surpasses all rational experience. If this experience is denied by some, like the Rationalists, they say that this arises from the fact that such persons are unwilling to put themselves in the moral state necessary to produce it. It is this experience which makes the person who acquires it to be properly and truly a believer. How far this position is removed from that of Catholic teaching!

Return to a Church of the Poor

The Cardinal then lashes out against capitalism by authoritatively quoting author Jean Ziegler, who is a very odd man for a Catholic Cardinal to be quoting.  Ziegler has been known to speak highly of Cuban Communism. He even once chauffeured Communist murderer Che Guevera around Geneva Switzerland.Joshua Muravchik of The Weekly Standard has the following to say about Ziegler:

The United States, according to Ziegler, is an “imperialist dictatorship” that is guilty, among other atrocities, of “genocide” against the people of Cuba by means of its trade embargo.

In 1989, Ziegler was one of a group of self-described “intellectuals and progressive militants” who gathered in Tripoli to announce the launching of the annual “Muammar Qaddafi Human Rights Prize,” awarded by the government of Libya. Ziegler explained that the purpose of the Qaddafi prize was to counterbalance the Nobel prize, which, he said, constituted a ‘perpetual humiliation to the Third World.’…

As for his work on the issue of food, the nongovernmental organization U.N. Watch has monitored Ziegler’s record as special rapporteur. It reports that Ziegler denounced the United States on such “food” issues as the embargo of Cuba on 34 occasions, but “never spoke out for the hungry or criticized any party in 15 of 17 countries deemed by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to have a man-made food emergency.

The Cardinal then returns to the theme of poverty, quoting Vatican II for the proposition that “Christ was sent by the Father ‘to bring good news to the poor…” In reality, Christ was sent by the Fatherto save souls as John 3:16 clearly tells us. The Cardinal then has the temerity to change and reinterpret the very words of Christ stating: “If Jesus calls the poor ‘blessed’ is because he is assuring them that their situation is going to change, and consequently it is necessary to create a movement that can bring about such a thing…”

First, Christ said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” not “the poor” per se. Secondly, and most importantly, Christ never promised the poor that their material condition would change in this life, nor did He commission His Church to ensure this end. If so, then the Church has failed in its commission and Our Lord apparently owes an apology to the many saints who died in poverty.

The Inhumane Pre-Conciliar Church?

After going on a political tirade against the evils and injustices of capitalism, and condemning “Eurocentric democracies,” the Cardinal finally focused his ire on the worst evil of all: the Catholic Church before Vatican II. The Cardinal titled this section, “Returning to a profoundly humane Church that will establish a new relationship with the world.” This clearly implies the pre-Vatican II Church was not humane, or at least not “profoundly” so.

The Cardinal then gives us some insight as to how he views Christ’s Church for the better part of Her history:

The Church could not continue posing as a reality facing the world, as a parallel “perfect society,” which pursued her own autonomous course, strengthening her walls against the errors and the influence of the world. This antithesis of centuries needed to be overcome.

Yes, astonishingly, the premiere Cardinal of our Church, previous candidate for the papacy, and advisor to the Pope actually said that Christ’s Church of 2,000 years was an “antithesis of centuries” that “needed to be overcome.” The Church “strengthening her walls against the errors and the influence of the world” is something, which “could not continue.” Those words in themselves are an indictment. Yet the Cardinal did not stop there. He went on:

The council intended to apply the renovation within the Church herself, because the Church was not the Gospel, nor was she a perfect follower of the Gospel; she was inhabited by men and women, who, same as everywhere else, and according to their limited, sinful condition, had established within her many customs, laws and structures that did not respond to the teachings or the practice of Jesus.

Here, at last revealed for the world to see, is the true opinion of the revolution towards Holy Tradition.  Tradition, according to the most influential Cardinal at the Vatican, is nothing more than a set of “customs, laws, and structures that did not respond to the teachings or the practice of Jesus Christ” and that were concocted by men and women in the Church according to their “limited sinful condition.” It follows then, that these traditions should be eradicated for the good of the Church in order to return to an earlier more “human time.” This line of thought is in perfect keeping with the progressive push to “renovate” the Church by changing such outdated “customs laws and structures” as priestly celibacy, the all-male priesthood, condemnation of homosexual acts, the prohibition on Communion for non-Catholics, etc.

St. Pius X described this precise disdain of tradition among the Modernists over a hundred years ago:

They exercise all their ingenuity in an effort to weaken the force and falsify the character of tradition, so as to rob it of all its weight and authority. But for Catholics nothing will remove the authority of the second Council of Nicea, where it condemns those “who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions, to invent novelties of some kind…or endeavor by malice or craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church”; nor that of the declaration of the fourth Council of Constantinople: “We therefore profess to preserve and guard the rules bequeathed to the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, by the Holy and most illustrious Apostles, by the orthodox Councils, both general and local, and by every one of those divine interpreters, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.” Wherefore the Roman Pontiffs, Pius IV and Pius IX, ordered the insertion in the profession of faith of the following declaration: “I most firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and other observances and constitutions of the Church.’

The Cardinal then repeats, with praise, those fateful words of Paul VI, which should instead, stand as a living indictment to the cause for his canonization:

I am pleased to repeat these words from Pope Paul VI: “We call upon those who term themselves modern humanists… to recognize our own new type of humanism: we, too, in fact, we more than any others, honor mankind.” (Paul VI, 7-XII-1965, No. 8).

An Open Church in Constant Dialogue, In Search of the Truth

The Cardinal finally, towards the end of his speech, administers the last insult to Christ’s Church. He states:

The Church, bearer of the Gospel, knew that she could not close her doors to dialogue without annulling the truth that could spring forth from anywhere –since God Himself has generously planted it everywhere. The Church did not have a monopoly on truth anymore, nor could she pontificate on a thousand human matters, or hold stances denoting arrogance or superiority. Instead, she should go out into the common arena, plainly and humbly, and share in the common search for truth.

Once again, we must shockingly come to terms with the fact that the man who made this statement is the pope’s principal advisor and the chair of a commission of cardinals tasked with revising the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia. The view that the Church of Christ, which possesses all Truth, has any need to “go out” and “share in the common search for truth” is quite simply heretical. In fact, the role of the Church is the exact opposite: to lead all men to the Truth, which She Herself possesses, being founded by Jesus Christ.  St. Pius X, quoting Pope Gregory XVI, sums up the Cardinal’s view well:

A lamentable spectacle is that presented by the aberrations of human reason when it yields to the spirit of novelty, when against the warning of the Apostle it seeks to know beyond what it is meant to know, and when relying too much on itself it thinks it can find the truth outside the Catholic Church wherein truth is found without the slightest shadow of error.

This erroneous view of the Cardinal stands as the predictable rotten fruit of Modernism. For once Faith is no longer defined as our acceptance of divinely revealed Truth, and is instead redefined to mean our inner “religious experience,” we are doomed to a road to relativism and indifferentism. As St. Pius X prophetically explained:

…given this doctrine of experience united with that of symbolism, every religion, even that of paganism, must be held to be true. What is to prevent such experiences from being found in any religion? In fact, that they are so is maintained by not a few. On what grounds can Modernists deny the truth of an experience affirmed by a follower of Islam? Will they claim a monopoly of true experiences for Catholics alone? Indeed, Modernists do not deny, but actually maintain, some confusedly, others frankly, that all religions are true. That they cannot feel otherwise is obvious. For on what ground, according to their theories, could falsity be predicated of any religion whatsoever?… In the conflict between different religions, the most that Modernists can maintain is that the Catholic has more truth because it is more vivid, and that it deserves with more reason the name of Christian because it corresponds more fully with the origins of Christianity. No one will find it unreasonable that these consequences flow from the premises.

We Must Wake Up!

In the final analysis, it can be said that, with this speech, we have finally seen the true face of the Revolution. Previously, these sorts of openly contradictory views of Tradition were shunned by the Vatican and high-ranking Cardinals. The most we could previously see were cracks in the façade; candid words of a high-ranking prelate here or there, which the Neo-Catholics or Vatican spokesmen would quickly dismiss. Of course, we have always had to suffer certain leftist priests and bishops stating these views. However, Rome would never discipline them and they were typically ignored and not taken seriously by most Catholics.

In contrast, Cardinal Maradiaga’s speeches at the University of Dallas and Archdiocese of Miamihave exposed the game plan of the Revolution openly and plainly. Amazingly, what Traditionalists have been attempting to expose for decades as the true impetus behind Vatican II has finally been thrust out in the open by the top Cardinal in the world.Yet, what is the reaction of the mainstream Catholic press to this earthquake?

Indeed, lack of outrage at these speeches is the worst-case scenario for the Church. Previously, revolutionaries in the Church needed to lay low, to wear masks, to guard their words. Today, after fifty years of Rome refusing to discipline dissenters and having this inaction defended by so-called “conservatives,” we, as a collective Faithful, can no longer even recognize, much less form outrage towards a Cardinal of the Catholic Church openly preaching revolutionary doctrine.

Far from being met with rebuke, the Cardinal’s speech was instead welcomed with open arms and applauded, not at Notre Dame or Georgetown, but at none other than the University of Dallas; an institution lauded by “conservative” Catholics as a bastion of orthodoxy in Catholic education. To date there has been no vociferous reaction to speak of from University of Dallas faculty or staff, or any of their “conservative” counterparts in Catholic media. Furthermore, Neo-Catholic luminary George Weigel was even quoted approvingly by the Cardinal twice; thus demonstrating Weigel’s unwitting facilitation of theCardinal’s revolutionary views.

Sadly, if we as Catholics are not even able to recognize the bombshell that was just dropped in Dallas or Miami much less form a thorough and aggressive resistance to it, may God have mercy on our souls. For it is our duty as Catholics to resist public errors such as these, no matter who utters them. If we need inspiration, we only need look again to St. Pius X, who, quoting Pope Leo XIII gives us our marching orders:

Let them combat novelties of words, remembering the admonitions of Leo XIII: ‘It is impossible to approve in Catholic publications a style inspired by unsound novelty which seems to deride the piety of the faithful and dwells on the introduction of a new order of Christian life, on new directions of the Church, on new aspirations of the modern soul, on a new social vocation of the clergy, on a new Christian civilization, and many other things of the same kind.’ Language of the kind here indicated is not to be tolerated either in books or in lectures.

On the other hand, if condemned error is now preached openly by a premiere Cardinal of Christ’s Church and is not resisted, but instead applauded by “orthodox” Catholics, we can truly join Our Savior in asking: “When the Son of Man comes, will He find Faith on earth?”

Posted in Article | Comments Off on Revolution Revealed The Triumph of Modernism and the End of the Traditional Catholic Church (Part II)

Revolution Revealed: The Triumph of Modernism and the End of the Traditional Catholic Church (Part I)

Revolution Revealed: The Triumph of Modernism and the End of the Traditional Catholic Church (Part I)
Peter Crenshaw

Part I

“The Second Vatican Council was the main event in the Church in the 20th Century. In principle, it meant an end to the hostilities between the Church and modernism, which was condemned in the First Vatican Council”…Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga

Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga is a very important man in today’s Catholic Church.  In addition to being the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, he is the pope’s principal advisor and the chair of a group of eight advising cardinals established by Pope Francis to revise the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia.  He also serves as the president of Caritas Internationalis, is a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and was considered a serious contender for the papacy during the last conclave. What he says matters.

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In late October, Cardinal Maradiaga gave two keynote addresses in the United States, purportedly to set the agenda for the carrying out of Francis’ plan for the Church.  The theme of the talks was, “The importance of the New Evangelization.”  The first address was given at the University of Dallas’ Ministry Conference, while the second was given at the closing assembly of Miami’s year-long Archdiocesan Synod. The basic text of both addresses was recently published online.

In the past, the “conservative” Catholic media has been quick to dismiss the traditionalist critique of post-Vatican II statements coming from the hierarchy.  Since the problematic elements in these statements were often subtle or ambiguous (much like the Conciliar texts themselves) Neo-Catholic commentators would simply apply their own “conservative” interpretation, declare the statements perfectly orthodox, and then move on. They also dismissed the historical evidence of the takeover of the Second Vatican Council by revolutionary progressives as the stuff of conspiracy theory. They confidently assured the faithful that the plan of Vatican II was no revolution, but in complete conformity with the Church of the past.

Reigning in the Revolution

Now, with the recent unprecedented words of the pope’s top advisor spoken for the entire world to hear, all previous Neo-Catholic assurances to the faithful have been shattered. Previously, the extremes of the revolution had been held in check and tempered, at least officially, by Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI.  These men were all Council Fathers whoshared many of the general ideals of the more radical periti such as Kung, Rahner, Congar, and Schillebeeckx.  However, in contrast to these open radicals, the popes understood that any lasting change to the Church must take place gradually and must attempt to be connected and reconcilable with the Church’s previous teaching.  Thus, these popes made exhaustive pains to try to find seeds of the revolutionary ideas of the Council (religious liberty, ecumenism, and collegiality) in past Magisterial texts, the obscure writings of Early Church Fathers, and appeals to the “development of doctrine.” These were all “hermeneutic of continuity” popes. They were men who had experienced the pre-Vatican II Church. Though they wished to reform it, they also wished to keep the essence of what it was. Thus, over the past 50 years we have witnessed a sort of confusing double-speak emanating from the Vatican, which at times authoritatively repeats traditional Catholic doctrine, and at other times proposes and enthusiastically supports novelties which undermine that doctrine. If anything, the past 50 years have been a frustrating and futile effort to reconcile the irreconcilable, resulting in a mass confusion and falling away of the faithful.

A Son of the Council

Now, it seems we have entered a new era. With the election of Pope Francis, we have the first pope since the Council who was not a Council Father. More than this, Jorge Mario Bergogliowas only twenty-five years old when the Council opened in 1962 and was not ordained a priest until December 13, 1969.  Thus the Novus Ordo Missae, which had entered into force just two weeks earlier on November 30, 1969, is the only Mass Pope Francis has known as a priest.  Also, unlike recent popes, Pope Francis’ life is not so much a bridge between the past Church and the present Church. Where previous popes had been ordained in the Old Rite and formed in Tradition, Pope Franciswas ordained and has existed as a priest only in the post-Conciliar era.  Thus we have the first pope who is not a father of the Council, but is rather a son of the Council.

Whereas his predecessors took great pains to try to reconcile their actions with the pre-Conciliar Church they had known, Pope Francis’ starting point is not the pre-Conciliar Church but the Church of the Council. Thus, Francisdoes not seem to have the same pressing need to justify current novel acts by relating them to a past Church he never knew as a priest and that a growing number of faithful have never experienced. The Church Fr. Bergoglio came into as a priest in 1969 was a Church of change, of innovation, of “the people”.  For him, religious liberty, ecumenism, and collegiality were not novel teachings, but teachings of the Church; the Mass of Paul VI was not the “new” Mass, but the Mass. Let no one doubt that we are moving into an era where memories of the Pre-Vatican II Church will remain only as ghosts in pictures, movies, and stories. Soon, everyone who has a memory of such a time will have passed from this world. Our next pope may very well have no memories of this period at all.

The era in which Pope Francis lived out his priesthood, and a growing majority of Catholics have lived their lives is one where only the Conciliar Church has existed. In this era, acceptable belief and practice for Catholics has been much more defined by what the authority is willing to allow rather than what has always been done. This is the first effective step of the revolution. For once Church doctrine and practice is tied only to the will of authority, all that is left is to get that authority to change it. We see this attitude from many on the left who perceive women’s ordination and approval of homosexual relations as completely achievable goals as long as they can elect a pope who would approve of such things. For now, the authority has been unwilling to compromise on such things, but will this be the case in the future? As the idea that tradition is changeable (and should be changed) grows in the Church, will there be a future pope who attempts to follow this legal positivism to its logical conclusion? Will the remaining threads tying the current Church with its past remain, or will they attempt to be explained away as “reformable” teachings?Only time will tell.

For now, however, it is enough to look at the words of the pope’s principal advisor.  The ideas of the revolution could not, up till now, be spoken of openly by Vatican officials.  Any talk of a break between the pre- and post-Conciliar Church was frowned upon by authorities as continuity was seen as the key to acceptance and credibility of the reforms.  Now, with Cardinal Maradiaga’s speeches come a watershed moment and turning point in the Church.  Ideas explicitly condemned by the Church have now been, not only publicly spoken by the pope’s top Cardinal, but applauded by millions of Catholics.  The Neo-Catholics, previously used to hearing such radical ideas only from dissenting priests and perhaps a few wayward bishops over the years, have met the Cardinal’s shocking pronouncements with a profound and confused silence. Sadly, they can hardly do otherwise, as to do so would be to contradict the public statements of the pope’s own advisor about the implementation of Francis’ pontificate; statements they cannot dismiss as easily as the personal ramblings of a dissident priest.

“The Church is Rising?”

Cardinal Maradiaga introduced his remarks by referring to Vatican II as both, “an event of grace and a paradigmatic reference.”  The paradigm he sees in the Council is a frightening one, which will be discussed in a moment. The Cardinal then immediately launched into a defense of the fruits of the Council.  As no good fruits of Vatican II are readily evident, it seems the Vatican must, from time to time, point out to the faithful where such good fruits are to be found.  This is redolent of the tailors pointing out to the Emperor how nice his “clothes” are.

According to the Cardinal, the post-Conciliar Church is “rising.”  Knowing that the Church in the West is not rising and the Church in Europe is on life-support, the Cardinal predictably describes the places where the Church is purportedly thriving.  Of course, these are all places of which most Catholics in the United States have little intimateknowledge.  In addition, hard statistics to back up these claims never seem to come. Nevertheless, even if we assumethat there is some sort of measurable growth in these places, it is never explained in what way “the Council,” brought this growth about. Especially since in the very places Vatican II was implemented most vigorously, the United States and Europe, the Church has been dying ever since.

The Cardinal then moved on to mention a “hostile culture” in Europe, “fed by secularism and laicism.” Seeing as how the Cardinal goes on to later praise secularism and laicism in the Church, it becomes hard to see how he can criticize it in Europe as a destructive force to the culture. Do forces which destroy secular culture somehow work towards the opposite goal in the Church?As for the United States, the Cardinal informs us that:

…the Gospel of Christ is…alive and effective. George Weigel assures us in The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church (Basic Books, 2000) that, 200,000 people embraced the Catholic faith in the United States in Easter of 2002, a number that for us is cheerful, and optimistic, and “a vital sign.”

Even though Weigel is considered by many Neo-Catholics to be a prophet, how he can assure us in a book published in 2000 that 200,000 people would embrace the Faith in 2002 is not clear.  To be fair, I searched in the post-2002 versions of Weigel’s book to find any sort of reference to 200,000 people in any context and could not do so. Nevertheless, even if we assume that the number of those entering the Church in the US in 2002 was higher than usual, what we are not told is how many people exited the Church in the same year and, more importantly, whatchurch these people believed they were entering. For if they believed they were entering the church the Cardinal is about to describe, it is not a Catholic Church any Traditionalist, or even conservative Catholic, would recognize.

“…An End to the Hostilities Between the Church and Modernism”

At this point, Cardinal Maradiaga proceeds to drop a bombshell on the Catholic world that the Neo-Catholic press has virtually ignored:

The Second Vatican Council was the main event in the Church in the 20th Century. In principle, it meant an end to the hostilities between the Church and modernism, which was condemned in the First Vatican Council. On the contrary: neither the world is the realm of evil and sin –these are conclusions clearly achieved in Vatican II—nor is the Church the sole refuge of good and virtue. Modernism was, most of the time, a reaction against injustices and abuses that disparaged the dignity and the rights of the person. The Vatican II Council officially acknowledged that things had changed, and captured the need for such a change in its Documents…

This overt justification of what Pope Saint Pius X condemned as the “synthesis of all heresies” by the premiere Cardinal advisor to the successor of Peter in front of the entire world stands as a watershed moment in the history of the Church. Although previous progressive cardinals and prelates have made statements based on Modernist principles, or have preached Modernism using veiled and ambiguous terms, never before have any of them been so brazen as to state that Vatican II ended the Church’s condemnation of Modernism. That day has now arrived.

That the premiere Cardinal in the Church has absolutely no reservation in stating such a thing on two different occasions in laying out Francis’ plans for the Church in the United States should indeed be chilling to every Catholic.  Unfortunately, this was just the beginning. After attempting to preemptively disarm all opposition by dismissing in one paragraph all previous condemnations of the Modernist heresy by the Church, the Cardinal then went on to lay out the principles of the revolution in the Church for the world to see. Take note that this is the very revolution we were warned about for years by such figures as Michael Davies and Archbishop Lefebvre, the very revolution documented in historical accounts of the Council and proclaimed by the revolutionaries themselves, and the very revolution we were assured did not exist.

“The People of God”

The Baltimore Catechism defines the Church as, “the congregation of all those who profess the faith of Christ, partake of the same Sacraments, and are governed by their lawful pastors under one visible head.” In contrast, the Cardinal lays out as his first principle that which is the Conciliar redefinition of the Church as “the people of God.” All that is needed to cut through the tomes of liberal verbiage used to explain this phrase is to replace the word “of” with the word “are.”  What is really being said by the revolution is that “The people are God.” The Cardinal drives this home by continually demeaning the hierarchy of the Church and raising up the laity as the true authority. For instance, the Cardinal explains that,

The People of God” is, for the Council, the all-encompassing reality of the Church that goes back to the basic and the common stuff of our ecclesial condition; namely, our condition as believers. And that is a condition shared by us all. The hierarchy has no purpose in itself and for itself, but only in reference and subordination to the community. The function of the hierarchy is redefined in reference to Jesus as Suffering Servant, not as “Pantocrator” (lord and emperor of this world); only from the perspective of someone crucified by the powers of this world it is possible to found, and to explain, the authority of the Church. The hierarchy is a ministry (diakonia = service) that requires lowering ourselves to the condition of servants. To take that place (the place of weakness and poverty) is her own, her very own responsibility.

If we find partial truths in the Cardinal’s statement, we should not be surprised. Modernism is itself a mixture of truth and error. This is precisely what makes it so dangerous. While it is true that the Church hierarchy “serves” the laity, this has always been understood in the sense of faithfully passing down the Deposit of Faith and providing the laity with the sacraments and spiritual formation; in other words, providing them what is necessary to save their souls. As Our Lord said, “I did not come to be served, but to serve.” However, is this the manner in which Cardinal Maradiaga is speaking? Or instead,is he trying to level the playing field of power and authority between the hierarchy and the laity? The answer becomes clearer as the Cardinal reveals his thoughts on the priesthood. However, before moving to that topic, we would do well to remember the words of Pope St. Pius X in Pascendi as he described the Modernist’s vision of authority in the Church:

They insist that both outwardly and inwardly it must be brought into harmony with the modern conscience which now wholly tends towards democracy; a share in ecclesiastical government should therefore be given to the lower ranks of the clergy and even to the laity and authority which is too much concentrated should be decentralized.

“This Change in the Concept of Priesthood is a Fundamental One…”

The Cardinal then goes on to reveal a “change in the concept of the priesthood” which is a remarkable claim since we have been told time and time again since the Council that the concept of the priesthood has not “really” changed at all. The Cardinal states:

Within the people, there is not a dual classification of Christians –laity and clergy, essentially different. The Church as a “society of unequals” disappears: “There is, therefore, in Christ and in the Church no inequality” (LG 12 32).

No ministry can be placed above this dignity common to all. Neither the clergy are “the men of God,” nor are the laity “the men of the world.” That is a false dichotomy. To speak correctly, we should not speak of clergy and laity, but instead of community and ministry. All the baptized are consecrated as a spiritual house and a holy priesthood (LG 10). Therefore, not only we clergymen are “priests,” but also, side by side with the ordained ministry, there is the common priesthood of the faithful. This change in the concept of priesthood is a fundamental one: “In Christ the priesthood is changed” (Hebrews 7: 12). Indeed, the first trait of the priesthood of Jesus is that “he had to be made like his brothers in every respect.

Yet is this true? Are the laity and the clergy not essentially different? Is not the soul of the priest stamped with an indelible sacramental mark at ordination that makes him essentially different from a layman? Is the previous view of the Cardinal in keeping with Tradition? Consider the words of Archbishop Lefebvre:

A confusion has been made with regard to the relation of the priesthood of the faithful and that of priests. Now as the cardinals said who were appointed to make their observations on the infamous Dutch catechism, “the greatness of the ministerial priesthood (that of priests) in its participation in the priesthood of Christ, differs from the common priesthood of the faithful in a manner that is not only of degree but also of essence.” To maintain the contrary, on this point alone, is to align oneself with Protestantism.

The unchanging doctrine of the Church is that the priest is invested with a sacred and indelible character. “Tu es sacerdos in aeternum.” Whatever he may do, before the angels, before God, in all eternity, he will remain a priest. Even if he throws away his cassock, wears a red pullover or any other color or commits the most awful crimes, it will not alter things. The Sacrament of Holy Orders has made a change in his nature.

Also consider the words of the Roman Catechism:

…the faithful should be shown how great is the dignity and excellence of this Sacrament considered in its highest degree, the priesthood.

Bishops and priests being, as they are, God’s interpreters and ambassadors, empowered in His name to teach mankind the divine law and the rules of conduct, and holding, as they do, His place on earth, it is evident that no nobler function than theirs can be imagined. Justly, therefore, are they called not only Angels, but even gods, because of the fact that they exercise in our midst the power and prerogatives of the immortal God.

In all ages, priests have been held in the highest honour; yet the priests of the New Testament far exceed all others. For the power of consecrating and offering the body and blood of our Lord and of forgiving sins, which has been conferred on them, not only has nothing equal or like to it on earth, but even surpasses human reason and understanding.

Strange Brew

The Cardinal then went on to almost channel verbatim the language of the Modernists with the following statement:

The new thought of the Vatican II Council had been slowly brewing in the Christian conscience, and the time had come to articulate it clearly before the universal Church. The socio-ecclesial reality posited problems and questions, serious challenges to which the Council wanted to respond.

First, the Cardinal is surprisingly unashamed to admit that the principles Vatican II espoused are “new.” This notion is in direct opposition with the admonition of St. Pius X who warned, “Far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty!” Furthermore, it is surprising that the Cardinal would speak of a “brewing in the Christian conscience”which has finally been articulated “before the universal Church.” This is precisely the methodology by which the Modernists sought to push their novel doctrines on Church authority. As St. Pius X states:

Already we observe, Venerable Brethren, the introduction of that most pernicious doctrine which would make of the laity the factor of progress in the Church. Now it is by a species of covenant and compromise between these two forces of conservation and progress, that is to say between authority and individual consciences, that changes and advances take place. The individual consciences, or some of them, act on the collective conscience, which brings pressure to bear on the depositories of authority to make terms and to keep to them.

The Cardinal then proceeds to spell out this “new thought” that had “been slowly brewing in the Christian conscience.” He starts by advocating a reform of the Church by returning to Jesus and states that “to discern what constitutes abuse or infidelity within the Church we have no other measure but the Gospel.” So far so good. However, the Cardinal immediately gives away the game by stunningly stating that “Many of the traditions established in the Church could lead her to a veritable self-imprisonment.The truth will set us free, humility will give us wings and will open new horizons for us.” Thus, according to the Cardinal, many of the Church’s own traditions apparently constitute abuse or infidelity within the Church as they are contrary to the Gospel.Only “truth” and “humility” will “open new horizons for us.” This is a notion that would surely make Luther proud. Fortunately for us, St. Pius X, proving even more prophetic than George Weigel, anticipated and answered this absurd notion back in 1907:

They exercise all their ingenuity in an effort to weaken the force and falsify the character of tradition, so as to rob it of all its weight and authority. But for Catholics nothing will remove the authority of the second Council of Nicea, where it condemns those “who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions, to invent novelties of some kind…or endeavor by malice or craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church…

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Attacks on Thomism

Attacks on Thomism
John Lamont

Thomism and Neomodernism 

I: Progressives, ‘Manualism’, and Thomism

Anyone who has any familiarity with the clerical and intellectual scene in the Catholic Church will have encountered the received ‘progressive’ wisdom concerning Thomism and its role in the Church before the Second Vatican Council, and concerning the preconciliar state of theology in general. Its claims and slogans are continually reiterated in theological and clerical circles, with little change since the era – the first half of the twentieth century – in which they were first elaborated. Unlike ‘progressive’ positions on moral questions, this received wisdom has virtually attained the status of a pseudo-orthodoxy within the Church, with some of its components being central to ‘conservative’ Catholicism. Its acceptance by neoconservatives is indicated by a favourable presentation of it by Fr. Brian van Hove in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review,1 a journal that is one of the oldest pillars of conservative Catholicism. Fr. Van Hove’s exposition of this received wisdom takes the form of an attack on Pius XII’s encyclical Humani Generis, an embarrassing document for neoconservative Catholics. His exposition is a naïve one, lacking the nuances that would be introduced by a clever apologist for his outlook, but it is valuable for that very reason. It is the naïve version of an idea, the simplified and readily accessible one, that gets widely adopted and that determines events; this fact is known by the clever apologists, who are aware that the nuances they introduce to disarm criticism and conceal their intentions will fall by the wayside once their position has triumphed. Together, these points make up the ideology that justified the destruction of preconciliar Catholic theology, and that is an essential underpinning of the progressive hegemony that now controls the Church. Seeing through this ideology is crucial to overcoming this hegemony; this article and its two sequels are devoted to the task of exposing it.

‘Manualism’.

An important component of this ideology is an attack on ‘manualism’. This attack claims that preconciliar Catholic theology largely consisted in ‘manualist theology’. Allegedly, this theology was conveyed in theological manuals, and suffered from legalism, dogmatism, anti-modernism (presumed to be a fault), abstraction, and ahistoricism.

The very idea of ‘manualist theology’ is however a fiction. Theological manuals were indeed in wide use before the Second Vatican Council, for the purposes that manuals exist for; the education of theological students.2 The best of them were excellently designed for that purpose, as any educator who looks at them can see. But there was no such thing as a school of theology based on these manuals, let alone a dominant school. Theology before the council was carried on by the same means as other scholarly enterprises; monographs, learned journals, extensive treatises. These works, not the theological manuals, were the venues for preconciliar theology. If we were to identify a characteristic product of theology in the period that preceded the council, it would not be the manuals, but the great works of reference such as the Dictionnaire de théologie catholique or the Dictionnaire de spiritualité. The articles in these works often amounted to book-length treatments in excess of 100,000 words. They include outstanding monuments of scholarship that could never be replaced today; the depth of theological learning that went into their composition no longer exists – so much for the weakness of preconciliar theology. The idea of ‘manualist theology’ was a fiction aimed at priests whose theological formation did not go much farther than the manuals they had studied in seminary. Such priests were in the majority, especially in the English-speaking world where academic theology was weak. Convince them that what they had learned in the seminary was flawed and obsolete ‘manualist theology’, and the road to leading them away from the Catholic doctrine they had been taught was open.

Thomism

Another article of the postconciliar creed has to do with the character of the Thomism that was promoted by popes from Leo XIII to Pius XII. The substantive accusations made against this Thomism are that it unjustifiably limited theology to a particular philosophical system, that theology was forced to conform to it, and that it was not the true thought of St. Thomas. These claims play a subordinate role in the criticism of preconciliar Thomism, whose main thrust lies in accusations that Thomism was ‘abstract’, ‘rationalist’, ‘ahistorical’, ‘arid’, ‘frozen’, ‘immobile’, ‘obsessed’, ‘encouraging pure secularity’, ‘sclerotically hardened and furred theologically, spiritually and ecclesially’, ‘causing a rupture between theology and life’, a ‘wax mask’, a ‘straightjacket’ that ‘reduced theological speculation to sterility’. The essence of this villainous form of Thomism is supposed to be given by the 24 Thomistic theses developed by leading scholars and endorsed by the Sacred Congregation of Studies in 1914, as containing the principles and main pronouncements of St. Thomas’s philosophy.3

The substantive accusations against Thomism are easily dismissed. The allegation that Thomism was imposed on preconciliar theology is without foundation, as can easily be seen by looking at the official texts that deal with it. All these texts are concerned with the teaching of philosophy and theology in educational institutions. Leo XIII and subsequent popes had decided that it was essential that the clergy be given a sound philosophical formation, and that the best philosophy for them to be formed in was Thomism. In order to achieve that end, they ruled that philosophical formation in seminaries and Catholic universities should be Thomistic in nature. This made it necessary to give some definition of what Thomism consisted in, and the 24 Thomistic theses were promulgated to meet this need.

It could be objected that students should have learned competing philosophies such as Kantianism or Scotism as well, rather than having their philosophical formation confined to one system. This proposal is an admirable one, and should certainly be followed in doctoral programs at the top 5 or 10 universities in the world. For the Catholic seminary and university system, it was (and is) absolutely impossible to implement. The most that could be achieved in this system, or in any average university system, was to get students to have some grasp of one philosophy. The average level of students, and the time available for their formation, does not permit anything else – and even this goal is very ambitious and difficult to achieve. This was the worthy goal of preconciliar legislation promoting Thomism. It was not an attempt to impose Thomism on theology in general.

The claim that the 24 theses do not accurately represent St. Thomas’s philosophical thought is false; they can all be abundantly documented from his works. They give a fairly good picture of his main philosophical positions. The choice of these theses is important for understanding the subsequent history of Thomism. They were selected with an eye to identifying where Thomism differed from other schools of Catholic philosophy – and notably from Suarezianism, the official philosophical school of the Jesuits. The 24 theses placed the Jesuits in the uncomfortable position of having to choose between magisterial authority and their own traditions. Although the Society of Jesus secured a clarification from Benedict XV stating the Jesuits were not forbidden to contest some of these theses when discussing questions traditionally disputed in the schools, it remained the case that ecclesiastical authority had decreed that Catholic education was to be based on philosophical principles that were opposed to Jesuit thought. This created a rift between the Society of Jesus and the magisterium that was later to widen. Much of the opposition to Thomism in the Church took its beginning from this Jesuit hostility.

The weakness of the substantive accusations against Thomism was however no hindrance to the anti-Thomist campaign, for which these accusations were largely window dressing. The focus of this campaign, and the key to its success, was a propaganda effort. This effort concentrated effectively on the key goals of propaganda; vilifying the opponents whose destruction is sought, creating fear of these opponents, and exalting the courage, goodness and wisdom of all those who join in the attack on them. The vilification took the form of the epithets noted above – ‘arid’, ‘rationalist’, ‘sterile’, etc. – together with the accusation that Thomists denounced loyal Catholics as heretics, and brought about their punishment by ecclesiastical authority, in order to impose their own, flawed personal views. The fear was of the alleged malice and tyranny of Thomists, and of the alienation from the modern world that would supposedly result if their obsolete ideas were imposed or officially sanctioned by the Church. These negative themes directly led to the glorification of anyone who agreed with them and denounced Thomists and Thomism; such denunciation protected the innocent victims of false denunciations, resisted tyranny, and promoted a glorious embrace between the Church and the modern world.

This propaganda was often crassly expressed, to a degree amazing in scholarly venues. But once it had succeeded in making an emotional connection, this crassness – as is the way with propaganda – only strengthened its power. Once this power had been demonstrated, fear of being its victim added to its strength. Now that the party behind it has achieved dominance in the Church, and banished Thomist philosophy and theology from virtually every Catholic institution of higher education, this propaganda largely takes a retrospective form. The overthrow of the attempted Thomist monopoly on orthodoxy – the ‘razing of the bastions’ touted by Hans Urs von Balthasar – and the alleged enlightenment and freedom of thought that resulted from this overthrow, are presented as the great theological achievements of the Council. The evils of the Thomists and their suffocating ideology provide the reason for dismissing their positions unexamined, and for proceeding as if the progressive movement that replaced them is in effect the whole of Catholic theology.

Thomism made an easy target for this propaganda, just because it is a highly developed philosophy. Any advanced field of study, such as philosophy, mathematics, or physics, can be convincingly portrayed as ‘arid’ and ‘rigid’. For most people’s tastes, this portrayal will often be true. Precise and rigorous subjects inevitably have arid components. Because it deals with fundamental questions whose answers are true always and everywhere, philosophy will be ‘ahistorical’ and ‘immutable’. It will not meet the desires and expectations of individuals or societies, because these desires and expectations are never geared towards subtle and difficult concepts. It will meet their needs – if it is true. But a demonstration of philosophical truth is a feeble counter to propaganda.

This propaganda is thus aimed not only at Thomism, but at philosophy itself, and the opponents of Thomism were only able to make use of it because they were not interested in philosophy. They would use philosophical claims to advance their agenda, but they proposed no general philosophical alternative to Thomism. They offered no account of central topics of philosophy – time, space, cause, universal and particular, body, soul, perception, and the like – to replace the Thomist accounts they had banished. Their proposed alternative to Thomism, ‘Transcendental Thomism’, with its ‘turn to the self’, has no serious analysis of such topics. Of course if they had attempted to offer a philosophical alternative to Thomism, they would have had to meet Thomists on the terrain of reasoned argument, where the Thomists were more than capable of holding their own. But they did not need to run this risk, because they were happy to dispense with philosophy rather than engage in it.

The nature of this rejection of Thomism has had grave consequences. It is not just the rejection of those characteristic theses that are advanced by Thomism but denied by other schools of Catholic thought. It is a global rejection of the content of Thomism as a whole. This content is largely shared with the other traditional Catholic schools – and indeed with traditional Western philosophy as a whole, since Thomism incorporates many of the basic Platonic and Aristotelian ideas that are central to this philosophy. Of course, rejecting these basic ideas means rejecting Western philosophy and the whole Catholic tradition of thought of which they are an essential part. But if we accept – as we should – that Western philosophy has some worth, it also means rejecting essential philosophical truths. Throwing out the basic framework of traditional Western philosophy means throwing out the fundamental philosophical insights that it contains. This abandonment has consequences for theology that were not lost on the Thomists who defended their tradition.

Although the progressive opponents of Thomism were hostile to philosophy, their attack on Thomism was not a purely negative one; it had the purpose of displacing Thomism and the Catholic philosophical heritage generally, in order to replace them with their own views. These views, which revived essential elements of the modernist heresy of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, need to be grasped in order to understand the current situation of Thomism and of the Church generally.

Thomism and Neomodernism 

II: The Neomodernist Challenge

Progressive received wisdom, with its attack on Thomism and ‘manualist’ theology, originates in the neomodernist movement in theology that got underway in the 1930s. A complete response to this received wisdom needs to describe and criticise the neomodernist opponents of Thomism.

The term ‘neomodernist’ is used here to refer to those theologians who from the 1930s onward revived essential elements of the modernist heresy of the late 19th and early 20th century. The neomodernists were members of the group known as the ‘nouvels théologiens’, most of whom were located in the Dominican studium at Le Saulchoir and the Jesuit scholasticate at Lyon-Fourvière; the principal Dominican figures of the ‘nouvelle théologie’ were Marie-Dominique Chenu and Yves Congar, and the principal Jesuit figures were Henri de Lubac, Henri Bouillard, and Jean Daniélou. Neomodernism ought not to be simply identified with the ‘nouvelle théologie’. The activities and theological concerns of the ‘nouvels théologiens’ were varied, and in some cases valuable, as for example the founding of the ‘Sources chrétiennes’ series of patristic texts and translations by de Lubac, Daniélou, and Claude Mondésert. Not all of the ‘nouvels théologiens’ argued for the neomodernist position, and some of them – most notably Daniélou – ended up being ostracised and slandered by their erstwhile friends, when they protested against the terrible consequences of neomodernism after the Second Vatican Council.4The connection between neomodernism and the ‘nouvelle théologie’ is that neomodernism first emerged as a substantial intellectual project among the ranks of the ‘nouvels théologiens’; that it benefited from the prestige of these theologians; and that its adherents benefited from the partisan support of the ‘nouvels théologiens’ and their supporters, who zealously took up the anti-Thomist propaganda line.

Neomodernism was first publicly advanced by the Belgian Dominican Louis Charlier, in his Essai sur le problème théologique, published in 1938.5 It had been argued for in 1937 by the French Dominican Marie-Dominique Chenu in a privately published (but influential) work, Une école de théologie: le Saulchoir.6 These publications were placed on the Index, and their authors were disciplined. The neomodernist positions of these Dominicans were then taken up and extended by French Jesuits; Henri Bouillard and Jean Daniélou.7 Hans Urs von Balthasar, then a minor figure, jumped on the neomodernist bandwagon in 1947,8 and it was later taken up by significant figures outside France, such as Edward Schillebeeckx and Karl Rahner.9 The francophone theologians were however the ones who pioneered it, gave it a strong foothold in the Church, and provided it with its first mature formulation.

To understand the neomodernists and their position, it is best to begin with the strategy they used to promote their thought. This strategy is based on the notion of historical consciousness. The neomodernists insisted that historical consciousness had become essential for good theology, and claimed that their theological position satisfied this essential requirement. The term ‘historical consciousness’ was used by them in two senses. In one of these senses, insistence on the necessity for historical consciousness is true, and in the other sense this insistence is false. In classical heretical fashion, the true claim was used by neomodernists to advance the false claim; arguments for the true one were treated as if they established the false one, and objections to the false one were treated as if they questioned the true one.

The true claim understands ‘historical consciousness’ to simply mean ‘knowledge of history’. The need for historical knowledge was a powerful slogan for neomodernists, because such knowledge acquired particular importance in the 20th century. Before the Thomist revival sponsored by Leo XIII got underway, it was generally assumed that Catholic theology was summed up and perfected by ‘baroque scholasticism’, the work of the scholastics of the 16th and 17th centuries. The influence of the Society of Jesus, whose theologians all belonged to this period or later, strengthened this assumption. However, the intensive study of St. Thomas undertaken by the Thomist revival, and the general revival of interest in medieval philosophy that accompanied it, revealed that this assumption was a serious mistake. During the 14th and 15th centuries, Catholic theology was almost entirely dominated by Scotists and nominalists. The baroque scholastics – including those who considered themselves followers of St. Thomas – accepted Scotist and nominalist positions that had come to be taken for granted in the centuries after his death. A better historical knowledge of St. Thomas’s thought was needed in order to distinguish between his views and those of the baroque scholastics, and to return to his actual positions when they proved superior to those of the later schools (as they usually did). This increase in knowledge had a transformative effect in both philosophy and theology. In philosophy, it led to a great increase of interest in the thought of St. Thomas, and established him in the non-Catholic world as a major thinker whose ideas were significant and even in some cases true.10 In theology, the gap between the baroque scholastics and St. Thomas himself was even wider than in philosophy. Returning to St. Thomas requires major changes in many fields of theology.11 The claim that historical knowledge at a high scholarly level had become essential for good theology in the 20th century was thus important and true.

The second, false understanding of ‘historical consciousness’ was quite different from the notion of historical knowledge. It consists in two claims; one about the nature of human thought, and one about history. The first claim asserts that human concepts cannot reproduce reality with entire and perfect accuracy. Thought inevitably falls short of the real nature of the things it is about, giving a partial and distorted picture of them. As a result – at least in philosophy and theology – a set of concepts constrains the understanding of reality that is held by those who use those concepts, in ways that inevitably produce a partially incorrect grasp of the reality that is thought about. That does not mean that reality is unknowable; it means that it can only be known in the imperfect way that human concepts can grasp it. The second claim asserts that different historical periods necessarily possess concepts, assumptions, and ways of reasoning that are peculiar to themselves. As a result, the thought of past times cannot be shared by later epochs (and vice versa), and no epoch can conceive of the world in the way that its historical forebears did.

This understanding of historical consciousness – which we can call ‘historical perspectivism’, a term that is coined here for the purposes of this article – is the basis for the neomodernist position. The thesis advanced by the neomodernist authors mentioned above was not always openly stated, and its implications may not have been fully understood by all of them. In the debates of the time it was associated with other positions and other criticisms advanced by these theologians and their allies. Nonetheless the thesis itself is clearly present in them, and it has had an enormous effect on the Church. The opening gambit for neomodernism, as remarked above, is an insistence on the need for ‘historical consciousness’. This insistence was usually introduced in works of historical scholarship that often had considerable merit, a context that facilitated the sleight of hand in passing from historical consciousness in the sense of historical knowledge to historical consciousness in the sense of historical perspectivism. This sleight of hand accomplished, neomodernism assumes the truth of historical perspectivism, and draws its consequences for theology and faith. It asserts that the content of theology necessarily fails to describe its subject matter with complete accuracy, and inevitably differs from age to age, as a result of the differences between the outlooks of historical periods. It follows that this content cannot be identified with divine revelation. Since this conclusion is true of all human assertions, not just those of theologians, and since divine revelation itself cannot be flawed and inaccurate, it follows that divine revelation cannot include propositions that are expressed in human language and grasped by human thought. It is realities, not assertions, that are divinely revealed.

Since the teaching of the Church as well as theology is expressed in human languages (Greek, Latin, etc.) and formulated in human concepts that belong to particular eras, Catholic dogma itself cannot be identical with divine revelation. Dogma can only give a partial understanding of divine revelation itself, and this understanding must be revised to conform to the historical development of human thought. There is no such thing as immutable Catholic teaching. Thomists who claim that such teaching exists are in fact anachronistically projecting their own views – born of their own epoch – onto the quite different outlook of Church authorities in the past.

This thesis requires a revision of the notion of truth. The traditional understanding of truth is that of Aristotle, who described truth as saying of what is, that it is. The neomodernists, due to their historical perspectivism, did not think that the theology and dogma of previous epochs could satisfy this understanding, but they did not want to dismiss them as false. They accordingly held that dogma was true, but that its truth could not be understood in Aristotle’s sense. Garrigou-Lagrange saw them as reviving the philosopher Maurice Blondel’s rejection of the traditional definition of truth as bringing the mind into conformity with reality (‘adaequatio rei et intellectus’) in favour of an account of truth as bringing thought into line with life (‘adaequatio realis mentis et vitae’). While this definition of truth was not explicitly stated by the neomodernists, the importance of Blondel for their thought makes this interpretation a plausible one; Bouillard, for example, wrote extensively and approvingly on Blondel.12 What they did explicitly assert was that the truth of past dogmatic pronouncements does not consist in their being an accurate description of reality, and that a theology that was not relevant to the present day (‘actuel’) was untrue.

The neomodernist position, when stated clearly, is not liable to attract many people. Although its conception of truth has been defended by the pragmatist school of philosophy, most lay opinion agrees with the majority of philosophical opinion in rejecting the pragmatist understanding of truth. In addition, no great philosophical expertise is needed to see that the historical perspectivism of the neomodernists is self-refuting. Historical perspectivism is a universal philosophical claim about the nature of human concepts and human knowledge, a claim that is presented as being true for all people at all times, and as being known to be true by the neomodernists. But such a claim contradicts historical perspectivism itself, which denies the possibility of knowledge of this sort. The success of neomodernism thus seems mystifying, and requires explanation.

The first key to this success was of course the fact that it was not stated clearly. There were some clear presentations of neomodernism, such as the one given by Bouillard, which were intended as guides and principles for the initiates who accepted the neomodernist program. But such clear presentations were always accompanied by denials of their content and implications, denials that were given wider circulation than the clear presentations and that were addressed to a more general public. To know that the denials were misleading, one had to follow the scholarly debates on the topic. This went beyond what most Catholics were willing and able to do, priests and bishops – and even theologians – included.

In such a situation, it is the responsibility of the highest ecclesiastical authority to investigate the questions at issue and to render an accurate judgment. The failure of the magisterium to properly accomplish this task is the second reason for the victory of neomodernism. Pius XII went some way towards doing this in Humani Generis, but he did not infallibly condemn neomodernism as heretical. As a result, John XXIII was able to reverse the effects of the teaching of Humani Generisby his statement at the opening of the Second Vatican Council: ‘The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another.’ To the uninitiated, this statement is an unobjectionable claim. In the context of the debates over neomodernism, however, it was a clear signal favouring the neomodernist position – a signal whose intent was confirmed by the appointment of neomodernists and their allies to positions of responsibility at the council. John XXIII may not have understood the full purport of his words and actions, but this did not diminish their effect as an endorsement of the neomodernist cause. With this papal endorsement, the Thomist opponents of neomodernism were left with nothing but truth and logic as weapons to defend their thought and to uphold the faith. As their opponents well understood, these weapons are powerless if the men who wield them can be denied a hearing. Papal and episcopal support enabled the neomodernists to ruthlessly and effectively silence the Thomist position within the Church, and to ensure that Thomism was only mentioned in order to reiterate the neomodernist line of propaganda. The success of this silencing makes it imperative to revive the arguments of the most effective opponent of neomodernism; Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange.

Thomism and Neomodernism 

III: Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange

The description of neomodernism that has been provided above will enable us to fully grasp the importance of the work of Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange O.P.. Fr. Brian van Hove attempts a not untypical character assassination of this Dominican theologian in his article on Humani Generis in the Homiletic and Pastoral Review. This attempt needs to be addressed before considering Garrigou-Lagrange’s theological significance.

Fr. van Hove makes much of Garrigou-Lagrange’s support for Vichy France. This support was shared with the majority of Frenchmen in 1940, the majority of French Catholics, and the Catholic hierarchy. The primate of France, Cardinal Pierre Gerlier, welcomed Pétain with the words ‘Pétain, c’est la France, et la France, aujourd’hui, c’est Pétain (Pétain is France, and France, today, is Pétain)’. The French bishops went so far as to condemn the actions of the French Resistance as ‘terrorism’, in a declaration on Feb. 17th 1944. Cardinal Suhard, the Archbishop of Paris during the Occupation, was the most important supporter of Garrigou-Lagrange’s theological opponents in the French hierarchy. His pastoral letter issued in Lent 1947, ‘Essor ou déclin de l’Eglise’ (‘Growth or decline of the Church’), was the first open act in favour of neomodernism on the part of a bishop; in it, following the neomodernists was portrayed as the key to the growth of the Church, and support for the Thomists as guaranteeing decline. He was also a supporter of Vichy, an enemy of the French Resistance (whose activities he denounced as terrorism), and a zealous collaborator with the German occupiers.13 This collaboration led the Dominican Raymond-Léopold Bruckberger, a decorated hero of the Resistance, to take part in the exclusion of Suhard from the mass in his own cathedral celebrating the liberation of Paris in 1944; but Bruckberger, a former editor of the Revue Thomiste, took the same position on neomodernism as Garrigou-Lagrange.14 One cannot therefore identify Garrigou-Lagrange’s theological views with support for Vichy. Nor, contrary to Fr. Van Hove’s vile calumny against Garrigou-Lagrange, can one identify support for Vichy with support for the persecution of Jews. Cardinal Gerlier was named ‘righteous among the nations’ by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial for his efforts in helping Jews escape persecution. As Limore Yagil has established,15 Frenchmen active in saving Jews from the Holocaust were as often as not Vichy supporters. Garrigou-Lagrange had no involvement in the persecution of Jews, and did not support the anti-Semitic measures of Vichy. At the Sorbonne he had studied under important Jewish thinkers – Durkheim, Lévy-Bruhl, and Bergson – whom he respected, and with whom he kept in touch; not the mark of an anti-Semite.

As for Garrigou-Lagrange’s alleged connections to the bigoted right-wing organisation Action Française; prior to 1926, he was indeed hand in glove with one of the leading figures in Action Française … Jacques Maritain. Their collaboration was however a purely philosophical and theological one. Garrigou-Lagrange, unlike Maritain, was not active in politics. Action Française was condemned by Pope Pius XI in 1926, and Garrigou-Lagrange did not oppose this condemnation; after it had occurred, there was no question of his supporting Action Française even if he had wanted to. Garrigou-Lagrange’s break with Maritain was not over Action Française or Vichy. It occurred in 1936, over the question of whether or not Catholics were obliged to support Franco in his struggle against the Spanish Republicans. Garrigou-Lagrange held that they were, but Maritain held that they ought not to support Franco. Since the Spanish Republic was dominated by Communists – Stalin’s NKVD had a free hand in carrying out executions in Republican Spain – and was determined to destroy the Church through wholesale murder, Garrigou-Lagrange can scarcely be condemned for his position on this issue.16

The slanders that have been directed at Garrigou-Lagrange are in stark contrast to his exemplary life. In addition to his great scholarly achievement, he was outstanding in his devotion to teaching and to the liturgy, his asceticism, and his help for the poor.

Fr. van Hove’s abuse of Garrigou-Lagrange is a characteristic example of anti-Thomist propaganda. His attempt to discredit any revival of interest in Garrigou-Lagrange’s work raises questions in an inquiring reader’s mind. Why single out this particular Thomist as a target, especially if his work was ‘minor at best’?

The answer is that Garrigou-Lagrange played a crucial role in the battle over the revival of modernism in the mid-20th century. In a series of articles in the late 1940s,17 he called attention to the revival of modernist ideas, stated that these ideas were heretical, identified the principles of this neomodernism, and subjected the principles to devastating criticism. Other theologians did some of these things as well,18 but Garrigou-Lagrange was the only one to both thoroughly refute neomodernism, and to state that it was heretical and needed to be treated as such. His initiative was an important precursor to the later condemnation of neomodernism by the encyclical Humani Generis, as Fr. Van Hove states. But it is his intellectual contribution to the defence of the faith that is most significant for neomodernists today, because it makes his scholarly rehabilitation a danger to that school of thought.

The question of Garrigou-Lagrange’s scholarly rehabilitation makes it important to consider whether the neomodernists were right in claiming superiority over their Thomist opponents in the first, legitimate sense of ‘historical consciousness’ – that of historical knowledge – and in scholarly ability in general. This claim cannot be sustained. It is of course absurd when applied to the Thomist Etienne Gilson, who rejected the historical perspectivism of the neomodernists.19 As for Garrigou-Lagrange: he certainly defended the baroque scholastics as interpreters of St. Thomas more strongly than was justified, but this stance was a minor feature of his work in philosophy, which incorporated a well-informed grasp of the historical sources of the positions he discussed. His work in spiritual theology was an important recovery of St. Thomas’s own thought, demonstrating that for St. Thomas contemplation was something that all Christians were called to, rather than only a chosen few. This work was a more concrete and valuable piece of historical rediscovery than anything achieved by the nouvels théologiens. While not inferior to the nouvels théologiens in historical scholarship, Garrigou-Lagrange was greatly their superior in philosophical knowledge and ability. None of the nouvels théologiens could have given a satisfactory account of the content and importance of any of the 24 Thomistic theses, let alone provided an effective philosophical critique of them.

Garrigou-Lagrange’s scholarly knowledge and ability meant that he fully understood the nature of neomodernism and the threat it posed. Part of his understanding of this movement was based on his personal experience of history; he had experienced the original modernist crisis at first hand, attending the lectures of the leading French modernist Alfred Loisy and publishing his first book in 1908 to attack the modernist Edouard Le Roy. His response to neomodernism was the exact opposite of the propaganda caricature of Thomism.

One feature of this caricature is the claim that Garrigou-Lagrange slandered faithful Catholic theologians as heretics. Since the theologians he was discussing were in fact advancing heretical positions, there would have been no slander in his denouncing them as such. But in fact he emphasised that he was considering intellectual positions and not the faith of those who held them. He expressed his entire confidence in the personal faith of Blondel, whom he had known for many years, and asserted that Blondel would not assent to the heretical conclusions that in fact followed from some of his expressions.

Thomists were attacked as distorting and misrepresenting the views of their opponents. The centrepiece of Garrigou-Lagrange’s criticism of neomodernism was a detailed and accurate account of the neomodernist thesis itself. He focused on the expression of this thesis by Henri Bouillard, who had asserted that an immutable truth can only be expressed, as history advances, by changing the concepts that it contains. Bouillard stated that if concepts remain the same when knowledge has moved forward, a statement that was once true becomes false. Garrigou-Lagrange pointed out that Bouillard’s position was not the same as the claims that i) when the language used to express statements changes its meaning, it is necessary to use new linguistic expressions to convey the ideas once expressed by the former language, and that ii) one cannot understand what is meant by past statements without knowing the language, ways of thinking, and historical context at the time of their expression. He observes that these facts are obvious and disputed by no-one, and that they are not what Bouillard is saying. By careful and thorough examination of Bouillard’s work, he shows that Bouillard means precisely that the concepts involved in Catholic teachings must be changed.

Garrigou-Lagrange gives a clear example of a change of this sort, that was being promoted in theological circles at the time. Some theologians were claiming that although the term ‘Adam’ was used by Scripture and the Council of Trent as a proper name, referring to a single individual who was the father of the entire human race, the advance of scientific knowledge – which had allegedly disproved the existence of a single father of the human race – required the term ‘Adam’ to be reinterpreted as a collective noun, referring to the group who made up the original ancestors of humanity.

We need to be clear about the neomodernist claim being made in this case. It is not simply the claim that one meaning of the term ‘Adam’ should be replaced by another; it is the demand for this change, together with the claim that when this replacement is made and ‘Adam’ is understood as a collective noun, we are making the same assertion as was made when ‘Adam’ was understood as a proper name referring to a single individual, and we are not denying the truth of the Scriptural and conciliar statements that understood Adam to be a single individual and not a group.

Stated thus plainly, the neomodernist position is rightly seen as absurd by most people; but it was not stated plainly – for obvious reasons – in neomodernist polemics. Garrigou-Lagrange’s contribution was to see and to prove that this was what the neomodernists believed, and to disprove the philosophical basis for their position. He pointed out that their understanding of truth leads to the denial of the principle of non-contradiction, which means intellectual suicide. The idea that we can keep the same assertion while changing the concepts that make it up is senseless; an assertion just is a meaningful subject and a meaningful predicate joined together to make a claim about reality. If you change the meanings of subject or predicate, you change the assertion being made. In response to the philosophical component of historical perspectivism, Garrigou-Lagrange defended the Aristotelian realism that holds that our concepts can grasp things as they are, because the content of these concepts is provided by extra-mental realities.

The neomodernists made essential appeal to contemporary thought, which they presented as establishing the truth of their position and as demanding its adoption. Garrigou-Lagrange pointed out that the ideas of neomodernism were in no way new. In philosophy, they were based on philosophical understandings of thought that had emerged from Kant and Hume, and more remotely from nominalism. Indeed, they shared essential features with the ancient skeptics and sophists; that is why Aristotle’s positions on realism and the law of non-contradiction, which were drawn upon by Garrigou-Lagrange in his discussion, are directly relevant to the neomodernist position. In theology, Garrigou-Lagrange drew attention to the fact that the neomodernist conception of dogma revived the views of the 19th-century theologian Anton Günther, whose positions were condemned by the First Vatican Council in 1870.

By his discussion of the historical origins of neomodernism, Garrigou-Lagrange opens the door to a deeper understanding of their intellectual failure. Neomodernism is of course self-refuting, as noted above, because its assertion about the limitations of human thought is itself a universal claim of the very sort whose truth it rules out. But this assertion also rests on a basic historical failure, which belies the neomodernists’ claim to historical insight. Their historical perspectivism erases the links that exist between the thought of different historical epochs, which, for all their differences, are united by a concern for some of the same fundamental questions. Sophists, ancient skeptics, and Arian heretics held positions and advanced arguments that are found in opponents of the Catholic faith today; and the contemporary Catholics whom they oppose adhere to positions that can be found in Aristotle, Athanasius, and Augustine. The historical perspectivism of the neomodernists arose from the intellectual limitations that they falsely ascribed to Garrigou-Lagrange. It is the reaction of people unable to take on board and cope with outlooks radically different from their own; who as a result are incapable of recognising universal questions and concerns when they are embodied in alien forms of thought. The neomodernist insistence on bringing doctrine into conformity with contemporary thought is partially a consequence of these limitations. In an encounter between the Catholic faith and contemporary thought, the alternative to a surrender of this kind is attaining a deep understanding of contemporary philosophical positions, determining just how they relate to Catholic teaching, and demonstrating the intellectual superiority of the faith. The neomodernists lacked the intellectual capacity for this project; so undertaking it was out of the question for them, and the surrender option was chosen instead.

Conclusion

The success of the neomodernists in seizing power in the Church was partly due to their tactical adroitness and to the favourable conditions that existed for them in the Church. They had learned from the first modernist crisis how to deal with magisterial opposition; there was not the will at the top of the Church to take drastic steps against them of the sort that had been successfully used by St Pius X, and there was no understanding of the necessity for such steps – Pius XII seems to have believed that his now forgotten encyclical Humani Generis had dealt with the situation adequately; for reasons that are not fully understood, the clergy and bishops were much more receptive to their message than was the case 40 years earlier.

The protean character of their position was also a key to their success. The idea that doctrine should be adapted to the thought of the day does not specify what adaptations should be made. This enabled neomodernists to be all things to all men, tailoring their appeal to the particular desires of any audience. This made possible alliances with powerful elements in the Church who were attracted not to neomodernism as such, but to abandoning particular doctrines that they found inconvenient or repellent. These doctrines were all concerned in one way or another with the exclusive character of the Catholic Church as a means for salvation; the condemnation of non-Catholic Christians as heretics and schismatics, the condemnation of non-Christian religions as paths to damnation, the insistence that the state must acknowledge and support the Catholic faith as the one true religion. These alliances were what permitted the neomodernists to achieve hegemony in the Church, and it is the support of these allies that to this day prevents any move against neomodernism by ecclesiastical authorities. Such a move would require enforcing all of Catholic doctrine, which would mean an intolerable return to exclusivism; it is found preferable in the last analysis to accept and promote those who reject all of that doctrine.

The key to the neomodernist capture of power is however also the reason for their failure to sustain a religious culture. Neomodernism is not like Protestantism, which contains ideas with a positive content as well as being a rejection of Catholicism. These ideas – justification by faith, and the like – are not correct, but they say something substantial, and have an appeal that can give rise to an important movement. Neomodernism, however, on a religious level is a purely negative thesis. As a result it has no attractive force of its own, and ecclesiastical structures that fall into its grip eventually die away – a process now visible all over the world. This is one thing that on the natural level permitted the survival of Thomism, despite the drastic measures taken to uproot it from the Church; unlike neomodernism, it has something positive and substantial to say. Moreover, what it has to say is actually true. This is in no way a guarantee of broad success, but it ensures the continued existence of Thomism in the small constituency of good scholars who are concerned with the truth and in a position to discover it. Whether it will expand much beyond this constituency in the future is unknown, but there is no doubt that its future shows more promise than that of neomodernism.

NOTES:

1. http://www.hprweb.com/2013/12/looking-back-at-humani-generis/

2 .A useful list of the main manuals is given by Fr. Joseph Clifford Fenton in his ‘The Teaching Authority of the Theological Manuals’, available online at http://www.catholicapologetics.info/modernproblems/vatican2/Manuals.htm.

3. The 24 theses are given here: https://franciscan-archive.org/thomas/24theses.html.

4. For example, Yves Congar, in his article ‘Théologie’ in the Dictionnaire de théologie catholique and his La Foi et la théologie (Tournai: Desclée, 1962), rejects any modernist account of theology. The DTC article in particular is an orthodox one that is still valuable; unfortunately, this respectable achievement made Congar’s defence of the personal orthodoxy of individual neomodernist theologians all the more influential. Congar developed problematic theological positions later in his career, but he never accepted neomodernism as a general thesis. OnDaniélou’s ostracism and slandering, see Sandro Magister’s article at http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350241?eng=y.

5. Louis Charlier O.P., Essai sur le problème théologique (Thuillies: Ramgal, 1938).

6. The book was eventually printed, along with essays commenting on it, by G. Alberigo et al., Une école de théologie: le Saulchoir (Paris: Cerf, 1985); see e.g. pp. 125, 139-40, for expressions of the neomodernist position by Chenu.

7. See Henri Bouillard S.J., Conversion et grâce chez saint Thomas d’Aquin, (Paris: Aubier, 1944), and Jean Daniélou S.J., ‘Les orientations présentes de la pensée religieuse’, Études 79, April 1946, pp. 5-21.

8. Von Balthasar did this in his book Wahrheit der Welt (Einsiedeln: Benziger, 1947), which later became the first volume of his series Theo-Logik, translated into English as Theo-Logic:Theological Logical Theory vol. I, Truth of the World, tr. Adrian J. Walker (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2000). His position on neomodernism is helpfully discussed in Hans Boersma, ‘Analogy of Truth: The Sacramental Epistemology of Nouvelle Théologie’ in Ressourcement: A Movement for Renewal in Twentieth-Century Catholic Theology, Gabriel Flynn and Paul D. Murray (eds.), (Oxford: OUP, 2012). Boersma is part of a scholarly reexamination of the ‘nouvels théologiens’ that considers them as reviving modernist positions (without seeing this revival as a problem). Jurgen Mettepenningen is important in this reexamination; see his ‘L’Essai de Louis Charlier (1938). Une contribution à la nouvelle théologie’, Revue théologique de Louvain, 39(2), 211-232; Nouvelle Théologie – New Theology: Inheritor of Modernism, Precursor of Vatican II (London – New York:T&T Clark, 2010): ‘Truth, Orthodoxy, and the Nouvelle Théologie: Truth as Issue in a “Second Modernist Crisis” (1946-1950)’, in B. Becking ed., Orthodoxy, Liberalism, and Adaptation: Essays on Ways of Worldmaking in Times of Change from Biblical, Historical and Systematic Perspectives (Leiden – Boston: Brill, 2011). Mettepenningen remarks that ‘It is therefore not incorrect to consider modernism as the precursor of the nouvelle théologie and to see the latter as a renewed form of modernism’ (p. 171).

9. On Rahner’s neomodernism see John Lamont, ‘The historical conditioning of church doctrine’, The Thomist 1996, vol. 60, pp. 511-535.

10. The impact of the rediscovery of St. Thomas was felt in metaphysics, philosophical anthropology, ethics, political philosophy, philosophical logic, and jurisprudence – a wide range. A full bibliography of this impact would be enormous. Peter Geach, Elizabeth Anscombe, Alasdair Macintyre, Michel Villey, John Haldane, Gyula Klima, Philippa Foot, and Anthony Kenny are important figures in this recovery.

11. These changes have been most thoroughly explored in moral theology; see John Lamont, ‘Conscience, freedom, rights: idols of the Enlightenment religion’, The Thomist 73 (2009), for discussion and further references.

12. Bouillard stated in 1973 that Blondel was a principal inspiration for his own thought, and that Blondel’s positions had come to be recognised as correct: see H. Bouillard, ‘Ce que la théologie doit à la pensée de Maurice Blondel’, Journées d’inauguration 30-31 mars 1973. Textes des interventions (Centre d’archives Maurice Blondel), (Louvain: Éditions de l’Institut supérieur de philosophie, 1974).

13. Otto Abetz, the German ambassador to Paris, reported in 1940 that ‘Cardinal Suhard assures me that the French clergy is ready to act in collaboration with Germany’: Carmen Callil, Bad Faith (London: Vintage, 2007), p. 239.

14. See M. Labourdette, M.-J. Nicolas, R.-L. Bruckberger et al., Dialogue théologique, pièces du débat entre ‘La Revue Thomiste’ d’une part et les R.R. P.P. de Lubac, Daniélou, Bouillard, Fessard, von Balthasar, SJ, d’autre part (Saint-Maximin: Les Arcades, 1947).

15. See Limore Yagil, Chrétiens et Juifs sous Vichy, 1940–44: sauvetage et désobéissance civile (Paris: Cerf, 2005).

16. Another cause for the division between Garrigou-Lagrange and Maritain was the position on Church, state and society that Maritain began to advance in the 1930s. Garrigou-Lagrange thought that Maritain held the position that Montalembert had argued for in the 19th century – calling for a ‘free Church in a free State’ – and that had been condemned by the encyclical Quanta Cura: see Garrigou-Lagrange’s letter of Sept. 28th 1946 to Fr. Jules Meinvieille. Garrigou-Lagrange’s analysis of Maritain’s position is a plausible one, and his fidelity to papal teaching was not a fault in a Catholic and a theologian.

17. The articles are helpfully collected here: https://archive.org/details

7NouvelleThologieRefutationsInAngelicum.

18. The first open reappearance of modernism occurred in the works of Louis Charlier, Essai sur le Problème Théologique (Thuillies; Ramgal, 1938) and Marie-Dominique Chenu, Une ecole de theologie:le Saulchoir (Paris: Cerf, 1985, originally printed privately in 1937). This reappearance was denounced by Pietro Parente in ‘Nuove tendenze teologiche’, L’Osservatore Romano, February 9-10, 1942 – the article from which the term ‘nouvelle théologie’ originated – and led to Roman sanctions against these scholars. The episode is well described by Robert Guelluy in ‘Les antécédants de l’encyclique Humani Generis dans les sanctions romaines de 1942: Chenu, Charlier, Draguet’, Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique 81 (1986): 421-497. René Draguet, a professor of fundamental theology at the University of Louvain, was cited by the neomodernists in support of their views, but did not accept neomodernism (as Guelluy points out). He was removed from his teaching post in theology at Louvain as part of the Roman sanctions against neomodernism, and became a renowned specialist in Eastern patristics instead; his punishment is the one and only real case of the allegedly widespread practice of unjustly punishing faithful Catholic theologians for heresy. The advocacy of modernist theses was then taken up by Jean Daniélou and Henri Bouillard. The neomodernism of this later group was criticised by the Dominicans of Toulouse in a series of articles that have been collected in M. Labourdette, M.-J. Nicolas, R.-L. Bruckberger et al., Dialogue théologique, pièces du débat entre ‘La Revue Thomiste’ d’une part et les R.R. P.P. de Lubac, Daniélou, Bouillard, Fessard, von Balthasar, SJ, d’autre part (Saint-Maximin: Les Arcades, 1947). The Dominicans made a powerful intellectual case against neomodernism, but they were intimidated by their Jesuit opponents, and they did not dare to plainly call for magisterial condemnation of their views.

19 .For this rejection see ‘Correspondance Étienne Gilson – Michel Labourdette,’ Revue thomiste 94 (1994): 479-529.

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1974 Declaration Of Archbishop Lefebvre

1974 Declaration Of Archbishop Lefebvre

On November 21, 1974 Archbishop Lefebvre, scandalized by the opinions expressed by the two Apostolic Visitors, drew up for his seminarians “in a spirit of doubtlessly excessive indignation” this famous Declaration as his stand against Modernism.

Ten days before, two Apostolic Visitors from Rome arrived at the St. Pius X Seminary in Econe. During their brief stay, they spoke to the seminarians and professors, maintaining scandalous opinions such as, the ordination of married men will soon be a normal thing, truth changes with the times, and the traditional conception of the Resurrection of Our Lord is open to discussion.

Declaration

We hold fast, with all our heart and with all our soul, to Catholic Rome, Guardian of the Catholic Faith and of the traditions necessary to preserve this faith, to Eternal Rome, Mistress of wisdom and truth.

We refuse, on the other hand, and have always refused to follow the Rome of neo-Modernist and neo-Protestant tendencies which were clearly evident in the Second Vatican Council and, after the Council, in all the reforms which issued from it.

All these reforms, indeed, have contributed and are still contributing to the destruction of the Church, to the ruin of the priesthood, to the abolition of the Sacrifice of the Mass and of the sacraments, to the disappearance of religious life, to a naturalist and Teilhardian teaching in universities, seminaries and catechectics; a teaching derived from Liberalism and Protestantism, many times condemned by the solemn Magisterium of the Church.

No authority, not even the highest in the hierarchy, can force us to abandon or diminish our Catholic faith, so clearly expressed and professed by the Church’s Magisterium for nineteen centuries.

“But though we,” says St. Paul, “or an angel from heaven preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema” (Gal. 1:8).

Is it not this that the Holy Father is repeating to us today?  And if we can discern a certain contradiction in his words and deeds, as well as in those of the dicasteries, well we choose what was always taught and we turn a deaf ear to the novelties destroying the Church.

It is impossible to modify profoundly the lex orandi without modifying the lex credendi. To the Novus Ordo Missae correspond a new catechism, a new priesthood, new seminaries, a charismatic Pentecostal Church—all things opposed to orthodoxy and the perennial teaching of the Church.

This Reformation, born of Liberalism and Modernism, is poisoned through and through; it derives from heresy and ends in heresy, even if all its acts are not formally heretical. It is therefore impossible for any conscientious and faithful Catholic to espouse this Reformation or to submit to it in any way whatsoever.

The only attitude of faithfulness to the Church and Catholic doctrine, in view of our salvation, is a categorical refusal to accept this Reformation.

That is why, without any spirit of rebellion, bitterness or resentment, we pursue our work of forming priests, with the timeless Magisterium as our guide. We are persuaded that we can render no greater service to the Holy Catholic Church, to the Sovereign Pontiff and to posterity.

That is why we hold fast to all that has been believed and practiced in the faith, morals, liturgy, teaching of the catechism, formation of the priest and institution of the Church, by the Church of all time; to all these things as codified in those books which saw day before the Modernist influence of the Council. This we shall do until such time that the true light of Tradition dissipates the darkness obscuring the sky of Eternal Rome.

By doing this, with the grace of God and the help of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and that of St. Joseph and St. Pius X, we are assured of remaining faithful to the Roman Catholic Church and to all the successors of Peter, and of being the fideles dispensatores mysteriorum Domini Nostri Jesu Christi in Spiritu Sancto. Amen.

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Know That Prayer Can Convert Russia

 Know That Prayer Can Convert Russia
Hamish Fraser

If there is anyone who would doubt the possibility of the conversion of Russia, permit me to point out (1) that the problem of the conversion of Russia is simply the problem of the conversion of Communists, (2) that already there have been quite a few Communists converted in the Church, and (3) that since every single Communist, irrespective of his nationality, is as much a soldier of the Kremlin as though he wore the uniform of the Red Army, the conversion of every single Communist is, in effect, a token fulfillment of the promise of Fatima: proof positive that the conversion of Russia is not impossible; proof positive that it can be done.

What I wish to speak of is the means by which Communists can be converted.

Firstly, it is easy for a Communist to become disillusioned. Even Comrades Marty and Tillon – not to mention Comrade Josef Broz – have learned how difficult it is to bear the yoke of the Kremlin.

The truth is – as can be seen from the never-ending process of épuration and liquidation beyond the Iron Curtain – that Communism is such an inhuman system that it is found to be intolerable, not only by Catholics, but even by the most orthodox of Marxists. Even Tito, the most sacrilegious priest-hunter in the ranks of orthodox Marxism found the dictatorship of fully developed Soviet Communism to be insufferable; and yet, knowing as he does that only Stalin is safe from Stalinism, proclaimed himself Stalin of Yugoslavia.

Yes, it is very easy indeed for the Communist to become disillusioned – especially when forced to live in the Soviet paradise. As is indicated by the experience of my old comrade-in-arms, EL CAMPESINO, there would be few indeed among the Communists of Western Europe who would retain any of their present enthusiasm if they were forced to live for a year in Soviet Russia. For those suffering from an addiction to Marxian hallucinations such treatment would be infallible: whatever one may think of Soviet medicine in general, one branch of Soviet medicine is almost more than efficient: so efficient indeed that among Soviet citizens who believe in free speech, death from natural causes is practically unknown. That is one of the reasons why it is by no means difficult for the Communist to become disillusioned.

Two Kinds of Disillusion

Disillusionment, however, is one thing; the conversion of a disillusioned Communist to the Faith is quite another.

The very fact that a person has been a Communist means that he has lived for five, ten, twenty or thirty years in an atmosphere of undiluted materialism. So steeped is he in materialist prejudice that it is part of every fiber of his being: it is in his very bones.

To such a person the very name of God simply does not make sense. Such a person may be in full possession of his reason; but he is not free to use it for the simple reason that his prejudices will not permit him to reason except from premises which support his erroneous conclusions.

And, needless to say there is no use expecting such a person to pray for his own enlightenment. He will not. Prayer to such a person is just nonsense: a mental disorder of children and old women. Such a person is a victim of his own unbelief; and because of the nature of the spiritual malady from which he is suffering, he is unable to attend to his own spiritual needs; he is a helpless invalid in the spiritual sense.

Depends on You

Such a person is completely and entirely at YOUR mercy. Whether he becomes a Catholic or remains in the Marxist wilderness of the soul depends almost entirely on you: on your begging for him the intercession of Our Lady.

I have no time even to try to describe to you how the grace of God operated to my own advantage. The most I could do, had I the time, would be to give a few examples of the curious ways by which the grace of God slowly but surely literally forced me to my knees – against my own will.

I did not seek the Faith: Rather it would be true to say that whenever and wherever I encountered it I fought for my unbelief with all the strength of which I was capable. The last thing I wanted was to become a Catholic.

Nevertheless, I ended up by making the most willing surrender: eventually finding myself with an insatiable hunger for the truth which is Jesus Christ.

But if I received the gift of Faith without asking for it I do know now (I did not know then) that there were others who were praying on my behalf. I do not consider it illogical, therefore, to conclude that my own conversion was an answer to their prayers.

I Do Not Believe, I KNOW

As a result of my own personal experiences, therefore, I cannot say in all honesty that I believe that prayer can convert Communists. I KNOW that prayer can convert Communists.

And, because the conversion of Russia and the conversion of Communists is one and the same thing, neither do I believe that prayer can convert Russia: I know that prayer can convert Russia.

Whether or not Russia will be converted; whether or not there will be a third global war; whether or not the Church of Jesus Christ will return to the catacombs depends.

The GREAT Questions

These question are:

ARE WE PREPARED TO PRAY FOR THE CONVERSION OF RUSSIA?

ARE WE PREPARED TO OFFER UP THE FAMILY ROSARY EVERY SINGLE EVENING IN OUR OWN HOMES FOR THAT MOST LAUDABLE INTENTION?

IN OTHER WORDS, ARE WE PREPARED TO DO AS WE HAVE BEEN REQUESTED BY THE MOTHER OF GOD HERSELF?

IF WE ANSWER THAT QUESTION IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, RUSSIA WILL BE CONVERTED: THERE WILL BE PEACE: WE SHALL BE ABLE TO FACE THE FUTURE WITH CONFIDENCE.

That does not mean however, that all that is necessary is for us to mumble the family Rosary each evening as though it were a magic formula, guaranteeing our salvation.

It is necessary that we literally pray the Rosary, vowing as we pray that each of us will strive to make his family truly Christian. It is no accident that Our Lady of Fatima asked us to make the Rosary a family affair: a means to the Christianization of our families; for the family is the basic unit of society: it is also the basic unit of the Christian Apostolate: the basis without which no Catholic action is possible.

It is also necessary to remind ourselves, as we pray the family Rosary each evening, that Our Lady of Fatima not only asked us to pray the Rosary: She also asked us to do penance. But though She asked us to do penance, She did not ask us to fast unto death, to scourge ourselves or to wear hair-shirts. She asked instead the most unspectacular of all penances: to face up to the daily problems of our lives in a truly Catholic spirit. In other words the penance asked was that of obedience: she asked us to make ourselves and our families subject to Jesus Christ; She asked us that our families become strongholds of the Church Militant, Apostolic blockhouses of the Faith.

The Penance She Asked

But that does not mean that we can be Christian within the home and pagan outside the home. It does not mean that we are free outside the home to accept anti-Catholic teaching on social matters rather than the social doctrine of Mother Church.

It does not mean that, in the Trade Unions, Political Parties and in secular organizations in general, we are free to become as good Marxists as our pagan neighbors; or as contemptuous of the social teachings of the Church as the worst anti-clerical. That would not be facing the problems of our daily lives in a Christian fashion.

What in effect Our Lady of Fatima did ask was that we would become subject in all things to Jesus Christ, that we recognize His empire over all things and persons, over all our faculties as well as our members. In effect, the penance asked was that we recognize in full the Kingship of Her Divine Son.

A most significant request: for, today, even among those who recognize Our Divine Lord as High Priest there are many who refuse to recognize Him as High King: as King of Kings.

Social Obligations of Christians

There are many who, while they go to Mass without fail, believe that they can ignore altogether what the Church founded by Jesus Christ has to say on social matters. They deny His Empire over society, over political and economical affairs – and that notwithstanding that Pope Pius XI told us explicitly, in Quas Primas, that all the troubles of the present world are due precisely to the fact that the religion of Christ has been compared to false religions and ignominiously placed on the same level as them; and to the fact that “the empire of Christ over all nations has been rejected.”

Today, alas, there are many Catholics who do not place the religion founded by Jesus Christ on even the same level as false religions. There are those who place the teachings of Christ’s Church on an even lower level than that which is false.

What else in fact can we say of the person who chooses to be guided in social affairs by non-Catholic or anti-Catholic social doctrine rather than by the teachings of the Holy See? Does not such a person place the teachings of the religion founded by Jesus Christ on an even lower level than that which is false?

Far Too Many of Us Are Lax

Yet, there are some people who, when doing so, will excuse themselves saying that it is in the interests of peace. Not only do they accept what is false themselves: they do even worse: they make of the religion founded by Jesus Christ a cloak to render respectable in the eyes of others the actions of those who, in the name of peace, are crucifying the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ.

If today it is the enemies of the Faith who have the initiative it is simply because there are far too many Catholics who are in the same category as those who howled for His crucifixion at Calvary.

Those who crucified Him refused Him recognition. So also do we refuse Him the recognition His regal dignity deserves, even though His Mystical Body is being crucified before our very eyes.

If today the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ is being crucified, it is not the Communists who are primarily responsible. The very Stalinist soldiers who are driving the nails into the flesh of Christ’s Mystical Body are the agents, not of the Kremlin, but of our apathy, our lethargy, our disloyalty, and our cowardice.

Little wonder indeed that Our Lady of Fatima asked us to face up to the problems of our daily lives in a Catholic manner.

Little wonder indeed that the penance She demands is, in effect, the recognition of the Kingship of Her Divine Son; for the moment we Catholics begin to accept our full responsibilities Communism will become as irrelevant as the Aryan heresy. And the beginning of the end of Communism will come when there is a sufficient number of us who recognize our unworthiness: when there is a sufficient number of us on our knees beseeching the Mother of God to intercede for us that we may become worthy of the Faith with which we have been blessed: when enough of us beseech the Mother of God to pray for us that we may be able effectively to work and to pray that: “Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”.

If We Ignore Her …!

In my humble opinion, Fatima is the most significant event of the century, perhaps the most significant since the Reformation.

It is the first time to my knowledge that Heaven has warned the world of partial destruction since Our Lord warned Jerusalem of its impending fate.

It savors also of the warning given to Sodom and Gomorrah; two cities which were destroyed on account of the very same sins which are today being practiced on a global scale with governmental approval and encouragement.

But at the same time it is a promise that all will be well if we merely do as we have been asked by Our Lady of Fatima: who is literally begging us to save ourselves from the consequences of our own folly.

We are perfectly free to ignore Her: But if we do, when Hell bursts forth, let us not say – we were not warned.

If we ignore Her … May God have mercy on us all.

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Escape from Nihilism

Escape from Nihilism 
J. Budziszewski

Sixteen years ago I stood in the Government Department of the University of Texas to give a talk. I was fresh out of graduate school, and it was my here’s-why-you-should-hire-me lecture. I wanted to teach about ethics and politics, so as academic job seekers do everywhere, I was showing the faculty my stuff.

So what did I tell them? Two things. The first was that we human beings just make up the difference between good and evil; the second was that we aren’t responsible for what we do anyway. And I laid out a ten-year plan for rebuilding ethical and political theory on these two propositions.

Does that seem to you a good plan for getting a job teaching the young? Or does it seem a better plan for getting committed to the state mental hospital? Well, I wasn’t committed to the state mental hospital, but I did get a job teaching the young.

I’ve been asked to tell you how I became a nihilist, and I’ve been asked to tell you how I escaped from nihilism. Perhaps I should first explain just what my argument for nihilism was.

As I mentioned above, I made two claims: first that we make up the difference between good and evil, second that we aren’t responsible for what we do anyway. My argument reversed this order, because first I denied free will. The reasoning was not very original. Everything we do or think or feel, I thought, is just an effect of prior causes. It doesn’t matter that some of those prior causes are my previous deeds or thoughts or feelings, because those would be effects of still earlier causes, and if we traced the chain further and further back, sooner or later we would come to causes that are outside of me completely, such as my heredity and environment.

Second I concluded that if we don’t have free will, then good and evil can’t make sense. On the one hand I’m not responsible for my deeds, so I can’t be praised or blamed for good or evil; on the other hand I’m not responsible for my thoughts, so I can’t have any confidence that my reasoning will lead me to the truth about good and evil. So far it may seem that my argument was merely skeptical, not nihilist. But I reasoned that if the good for man cannot be known to man, then it cannot be offered to man as his good; for all practical purposes, there is no good.

This practical nihilism was linked with a practical atheism, for my arguments were couched in such a way that I thought they applied to God too. He couldn’t escape causality either, I thought; therefore He couldn’t possess confident knowledge of good and evil any more than I could. And even if He could achieve such a standard, it would make no sense for Him enforce it; trapped in causality like Him, human beings have no ultimate control over their conduct. The upshot was that although God might exist, He would be irrelevant. I couldn’t quite rule out the existence of God, but I thought I could rule out the existence of a God that mattered.

Holes Large and Numerous

The holes in the preceding arguments are so large that one can see light through them. One hole is that in order to deny free will I assumed that I understood causality. That is foolish because I didn’t know what causality really is any more than I understand what free will really is. They are equally wonderful and mysterious, so I had no business pretending to understand one in order to attack the other. Another problem is that my argument was self-referentially incoherent. If my lack of free will made my reasoning unreliable so I couldn’t find out which ideas about good and evil are true, then by the same token I shouldn’t have been able to find out which ideas about free will are true either. But in that case I had no business denying that I had free will in the first place.

At this point two things must be clearly understood. The first: One might think that my arguments for nihilism were what led me to become a nihilist, but that is not true. I was committed to nihilism already, and cooked up the arguments only to rationalize it. The second: One might think that my recognition of the holes in the arguments were what enabled me to “escape” nihilism, but that is not true either. I saw the holes in my arguments even at the time, and covered them over with elaborate nonsense like the need to take an ironic view of reality. Good and evil just had to be meaningless and personal responsibility just had to be nonexistent. The arguments were secondary. I was determined.

A friend — may he forgive me for quoting him — thinks my dismissal of my previous rationalizations as elaborate nonsense seems too pat. Is it really that simple? The answer is that yes, it really is that simple. In my present opinion (though not my opinion of sixteen years ago), modern ethics is going about matters backwards. It assumes that the problem of human sin is mainly cognitive — that it has to do with the state of our knowledge. In other words, it holds that we really don’t know what’s right and wrong and that we are trying to find out. Actually the problem is volitional — it has to do with the state of our will. In other words, by and large we do know the basics of right and wrong but wish we didn’t, and we are trying, for one reason or another, to keep ourselves in ignorance. Is this an ad hominem argument — that because my motive was bad, my nihilism must have been false? No, it is a diagnosis, with myself as case in point. My nihilism was “false” because it was self-referentially incoherent. [There may exist nihilisms which are false for reasons other than self-referential incoherency, but I am speaking only of the version I held myself.] The motive was “bad” because although I knew this to be the case, rather than give up the nihilism I embraced the incoherency. What one must do with such a fellow as I once was is not to tell him what he doesn’t know (because he really knows it), but to blow away the smokescreens by which he hides from the knowledge he has already.

The Motives Behind Nihilism

Then how did I become a nihilist? Why was I so determined? What were my real motives?

There were quite a few. One was that having been caught up in radical politics of the late ‘sixties and early ‘seventies, I had my own ideas about redeeming the world, ideas that were opposed to the Christian faith of my childhood. As I got further and further from God, I also got further and further from common sense about a lot of other things, including moral law and personal responsibility.

That first reason for nihilism led to a second. By now I had committed certain sins that I didn’t want to repent. Because the presence of God made me more and more uncomfortable, I began looking for reasons to believe that He didn’t exist. It’s a funny thing about us human beings: not many of us doubt God’s existence and then start sinning. Most of us sin and then start doubting His existence.

A third reason for being a nihilist was simply that nihilism was taught to me. I may have been raised by Christian parents, but I’d heard all through school that even the most basic ideas about good and evil are different in every society. That’s empirically false — as C.S. Lewis remarked, cultures may disagree about whether a man may have one wife or four, but all of them know about marriage; they may disagree about which actions are most courageous, but none of them rank cowardice as a virtue. But by the time I was taught the false anthropology of the times, I wanted very much to believe it.

A fourth reason, related to the last, was the very way I was taught to use language. My high school English teachers were determined to teach me the difference between what they called facts and what they called opinions, and I noticed that moral propositions were always included among the opinions. My college social science teachers were equally determined to teach me the difference between what they called facts and what they called “values,” and to much the same effect: the atomic weight of sodium was a fact, but the wrong of murder was not. I thought that to speak in this fashion was to be logical. Of course it had nothing to do with logic; it was merely nihilism itself, in disguise.

A fifth reason for nihilism was that disbelieving in God was a good way to get back at Him for the various things which predictably went wrong in my life after I had lost hold of Him. Now of course if God didn’t exist then I couldn’t get back at Him, so this may seem a strange sort of disbelief. But most disbelief is like that.

A sixth reason for nihilism was that I had come to confuse science with a certain world view, one which many science writers hold but that really has nothing to with science. I mean the view that nothing is real but matter. If nothing is real but matter, then there couldn’t be such things as minds, moral law, or God, could there? After all, none of those are matter. Of course not even the properties of matter are matter, so after while it became hard to believe in matter itself. But by that time I was so disordered that I couldn’t tell how disordered I was. I recognized that I had committed yet another incoherency, but I concluded that reality itself was incoherent, and that I was pretty clever to have figured this out — even more so, because in an incoherent world, figuring didn’t make sense either.

A seventh and reinforcing reason for nihilism was that for all of the other reasons, I had fallen under the spell of the nineteenth-century German writer Friedrich Nietzsche. I was, if anything, more Nietzschean than he was. Whereas he thought that given the meaninglessness of things, nothing was left but to laugh or be silent, I recognized that not even laughter or silence were left. One had no reason to do or not do anything at all. This is a terrible thing to believe, but like Nietzsche, I imagined myself one of the few who could believe such things — who could walk the rocky heights where the air is thin and cold.

But the main reason I was a nihilist, the reason that tied all these other reasons together, was sheer, mulish pride. I didn’t want God to be God; I wanted J. Budziszewski to be God. I see that now. But I didn’t see that then.

The Stupidity of the Intelligent

I have already said that everything goes wrong without God. This is true even of the good things He’s given us, such as our minds. One of the good things I’ve been given is a stronger than average mind. I don’t make the observation to boast; human beings are given diverse gifts to serve Him in diverse ways. The problem is that a strong mind that refuses the call to serve God has its own way of going wrong. When some people flee from God they rob and kill. When others flee from God they do a lot of drugs and have a lot of sex. When I fled from God I didn’t do any of those things; my way of fleeing was to get stupid. Though it always comes as a surprise to intellectuals, there are some forms of stupidity that one must be highly intelligent and educated to commit. God keeps them in his arsenal to pull down mulish pride, and I discovered them all. That is how I ended up doing a doctoral dissertation to prove that we make up the difference between good and evil and that we aren’t responsible for what we do. I remember now that I even taught these things to students; now that’s sin.

It was also agony. You cannot imagine what a person has to do to himself — well, if you are like I was, maybe you can — what a person has to do to himself to go on believing such nonsense. St. Paul said that the knowledge of God’s law is “written on our hearts, our consciences also bearing witness.” The way natural law thinkers put this is to say that they constitute the deep structure of our minds. That means that so long as we have minds, we can’t not know them. Well, I was unusually determined not to know them; therefore I had to destroy my mind. I resisted the temptation to believe in good with as much energy as some saints resist the temptation to neglect good. For instance, I loved my wife and children, but I was determined to regard this love as merely a subjective preference with no real and objective value. Think what this did to my very capacity to love them. After all, love is a commitment of the will to the true good of another person, and how can one’s will be committed to the true good of another person if he denies the reality of good, denies the reality of persons, and denies that his commitments are in his control?

Visualize a man opening up the access panels of his mind and pulling out all the components that have God’s image stamped on them. The problem is that they all have God’s image stamped on them, so the man can never stop. No matter how much he pulls out, there’s still more to pull. I was that man. Because I pulled out more and more, there was less and less that I could think about. But because there was less and less that I could think about, I thought I was becoming more and more focussed. Because I believed things that filled me with dread, I thought I was smarter and braver than the people who didn’t believe them. I thought I saw an emptiness at the heart of the universe that was hidden from their foolish eyes. Of course I was the fool.

Escape Through Horror

How then did God bring me back? I came, over time, to feel a greater and greater horror about myself. Not exactly a feeling of guilt, not exactly a feeling of shame, just horror: an overpowering sense that my condition was terribly wrong. Finally it occurred to me to wonder why, if there were no difference between the wonderful and the horrible, I should feel horror. In letting that thought through, my mental censors blundered. You see, in order to take the sense of horror seriously — and by now I couldn’t help doing so — I had to admit that there was a difference between the wonderful and the horrible after all. For once my philosophical training did me some good, because I knew that if there existed a horrible, there had to exist a wonderful of which the horrible was the absence. So my walls of self-deception collapsed all at once.

At this point I became aware again of the Savior whom I had deserted in my twenties. Astonishingly, though I had abandoned Him, he had never abandoned me. I now believe He was just in time. There is a point of no return, and I was almost there. I said I had been pulling out one component after another, and I had nearly got to the motherboard.

The next few years after my conversion were like being in a dark attic where I had been for a long time, but in which shutter after shutter was being thrown back so that great shafts of light began to stream in and illuminate the dusty corners. I recovered whole memories, whole feelings, whole ways of understanding that I had blocked out.

Of course I had to repudiate my dissertation. At the time I thought my career was over because I couldn’t possible retool, rethink, and get anything written and published before my tenure review came up, but by God’s grace that turned out to be untrue.

Defending What I Had Denied

As an ethical an political theorist, what I do now is poles apart from what I did sixteen years ago. What I write about now is those very moral principles I used to deny the ones we can’t not know because they are imprinted on our minds, inscribed upon our consciences, written on our hearts.

Some call these principles the “natural law.” Such as it is, my own contribution to the theory of natural law is a little different than those of some other writers. One might say that I specialize in understanding the ways that we pretend we don’t know what we really do — the ways we suppress our knowledge, the ways we hold it down, the ways we deceive ourselves and others. I do not try to “prove” the natural law as though one could prove that by which all else is proven; I do try to show that in order to get anywhere at all, the philosophies of denial must always at some point assume the very first principles they deny.

It is a matter of awe to me that God has permitted me to make any contribution at all. His promise is that if only the rebel turns to Jesus Christ in repentant faith, giving up claims of self-ownership and allowing this Christ the run of the house, He will redeem everything there is in it. Just so, it was through my rescue from self-deception that I learned about self-deception. He has redeemed even my nihilist past and put it to use.

Many of my students tell me they struggle with the same dark influences that I once did. I hope that by telling the story of my own escape I may encourage them to seek the light.

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Communism As I Know It

Communism As I Know It
Father Vladimir Kozina

The Martyrdom Of My Family

The modern martyr, Aloysius Cardinal Stepinac, Archbishop of Zagreb, declared: “Believe me, I know Communism. It is a satanic totalitarianism of terror!” I dare to say the same after witnessing the martyrdom and destruction of my own family.

We were opposed to Communism and its OF – (Liberation Front) – from its inception. We saw in Communism nothing but evil. As Catholics, we could not have cooperated with this Red plague. My brother, Frank, was among the Catholic lay leaders in our Parish. The Communists knew that and therefore they were trying to persuade him to join the Party. They promised him various worthy positions in the Party. But as soon as they realized that nothing could be achieved in a friendly way, the Communists began to threaten him.

It was April of 1942 when the Communists sent out their henchman, Abi, to visit Frank. Abi threatened him with death as the alternative if Frank refused to join the OF. My brother angrily shouted at Abi, saying, “You dare to tell me that you are fighting for the liberation of our Country? You Communists… if our Nation means something to you why, then, are you murdering our innocent people and plundering our properties?” Frank was fully aware of what he had said. He knew what to expect from this man. So also did Abi know what was going to happen to us. Our firm stand against Communism was considered a “crime against the people.” For our divergent opinions, our strong Catholic faith, the Communist Party sentenced us to death.

Friday, May 29, 1942, a Communist patrol staked out our house at Zapotok. Arti was the commanding officer. He asked for Frank. When my brother arrived, Arti began to beat Frank with a club in front of my poor parents, sisters, and brother. When Arti’s heavy blows broke the club, he continued his “liberation” action by kicking the innocent victim. Some neighbors gathered around the bloody scene. Arti turned to the crowd and said: “Shame on you having had this dung among you for such a long time. Could you not have finished with him yourselves by now? However, one of our informers in the Town was watching this dog and his anti-Communist work and reported everything to us. Now he will get his long deserved reward…”

My poor parents pleaded with Arti to release Frank as he had done no harm to anyone. Arti’s answer was: “Handcuff this devil and take him away!” The Communist patrol brought him to Sodrazica and locked him up. The “Peoples’ Court” was not certain what should be done with Frank. Should they sentence him to death? This would then be the first Communist execution in the Sodrazica Valley. What would people think of this crime? They sent Ludvik Lusin, a Communist, who knew Frank well, in order to persuade him for the last time. Ludvik Lusin later said: “I advised Frank to be reasonable. I told him to say that he was not opposed to Communism and that he was willing to cooperate with the OF. But Frank Kozina steadily affirmed that he would not do that…”

Since Frank did not accept the Communist offer, he was forced then before the torturers. They flogged and tortured him mercilessly. Then they put him into a car and transported him to Boncar, the place of his execution. They were afraid of the people so they decided to do this bloody job during the night of May 30, 1942. Frank was forced to stand on the edge of a grave. A Communist eyewitness declared that at this moment the moon shone on the scene. Frank stood quietly and looked into the place of his “rest.” Then he pulled a prayer book from his pocket and began to pray. Suddenly, a rifle shot broke the silence of the night. From point-blank range the executioner, Joseph Kovacic, from Zigmarice, sent the bullet into Frank’s head… My 33-year-old brother collapsed into the grave. The prayer book fell out of Frank’s hands. Those present threw it on his back before they covered his body with the soil.

We were fortunate to find Frank’s grave in the woods on August 19, 1942. I recognized his body at once. His head was shattered. The prayer book was still lying on his back. I lifted up his jacket and shirt from his back. Signs of terrible torture were obvious. The dorsal side was covered with black marks, signs of flogging and beating. We placed Frank’s corpse in a coffin and transported it to the Cemetery of St. Mark’s. During the funeral procession – a journey of 10 miles from the place of execution to St. Mark’s Cemetery – the good people of the Sodrazica Valley threw flowers on the hearse.

Dead, Frank was receiving recognition among the people for his unselfish deed and still more, for his martyr’s death. The Communists thought that they had rid themselves of their dangerous opponent. They did not think at that time that his blood would make a hundred more enemies. The Communists wanted to eradicate his Catholic belief but they did not realize that Frank’s spirit would live on. They were convinced that they had won when he was dead. The majestic funeral procession of the martyr was proof of their moral defeat. The Communists saw that the people whom they confidently thought were on their side spoke now, without words, against them. But if they could not keep the minds of the people in check, they would run dangerously on and lose the game. What was to be done?

Night Of Horror

Our family went about its normal business on that fateful evening of August 26, 1942. It was just one week after my brother’s internment. As on any other evening, we said the Family Rosary. Who would have ever thought that this evening’s prayer was going to be the last for us as a family …

I bid my parents, my brother, John, and my three teenage sisters goodnight and went upstairs to my bedroom. I had not been sleeping for an hour when, suddenly, the barking of our watch-dog woke me up. Through the window I saw a group of armed Communists approaching our house. I knew right away the meaning of this night visit. Something horrible was going to happen to us tonight!

I ran to the next room where there was a door into the attic. I grabbed the ladder, opened the door, climbed up, pulled up the ladder after me and shut the door. Meanwhile, the pane in the hall window was broken. The Communist brigands forced their way into the hall through the window. At the same time, mother and father came out from their bedroom. Frightened, they started to call for help. But the Communists silenced them. One of them knocked my mother on the head with the butt of his rifle so that she staggered. Then he pushed her and father into the living room where my lame brother John, and my three sisters were already under the supervision of the Communist guard, Vinko Lusin, from Kot.

Upon the arrival of my parents into the living room, my father began to say loudly the Act of Contrition. But, when the family started with the Rosary, the Communist guard forbade them to pray! Frightened and severely injured from the blow, my mother asked for a glass of water. The brute snubbed her with a shameful remark and refused to allow her to take some water. The Communists were constantly asking my mother for my whereabouts. They knew I was at home; my bed and my clothes in my bedroom were proof of that. They did not see me escape from the house … I must be somewhere in the house … but where?

In the meantime, the Communist mob plundered our property. They actually “freed” us from everything – I mean everything! When the plundering was finished, I heard someone asking: “Ronko, what should we do now?” Ronko, the Commanding Officer, answered: “Just this, and then…” He did not finish his sentence. A Communist then entered the living room and started to berate my parents and lame John in a manner as only the devil could.

When this Red beast finished his speech, he commanded the other guards to separate my father from the rest of the family. My mother, sisters, and John pleaded with the Communists to release our father. But a stone, I think, would have shown more mercy than a Communist! They forced my father to leave the living room. One more glimpse at his beloved wife, one last look at his children, whom he loved so much, and he went to his slaughter.

While he was on his “death march” to the basement, my father prayed loudly. My sisters heard him say: “Jesus, I have lived for Thee, Jesus, I die for Thee. Jesus, alive or dead I am Thine…”

Perhaps father did not finish his prayer when, upon reaching the basement, a Communist knocked him on the head with the butt end of a rifle. My father, 63 years old, a fine Catholic layman, collapsed, dead, on the concrete floor.

Death Of John, My Paralyzed Brother

John was the second one born to our family of 11 children. When still a little child, he caught a severe cold. After a prolonged and costly illness, he became paralyzed for life. In spite of, and perhaps because of this physical defect, John was an extremely gifted young man.

During this night of horror, John was thinking … Father is gone … he must be dead by now. Who was going to be the next victim? And, should he also be numbered among those to be murdered, how would the Communists be able to explain this crime to the people? After all, what damage could a crippled, paralyzed man do to the Communists?

John was soon to find out the Communist logic. The same two henchmen who took father away, returned to the living room. They picked up the bed with lame John and carried him down to the basement. Up in my hiding place, I heard a rattling of dishes and tins coming from the cellar. I could not understand what this meant. I hadn’t the slightest idea that with this rattling the Communist executioners deadened the shot from a pistol which fired a bullet into John’s forehead.

After making certain that John and his father were no longer among the living, the Communists rushed back to the living room. Their bloody job was not yet finished. There was one more person on their death roll call tonight… Who? My mother.

Days Of Tears And Mourning

The two hands of the big clock hanging on the wall in the living room were slowly approaching the midnight point. The whole atmosphere in the room was wrapped in a dead silence. Even the Communist guard’s face seemed to be disturbed. No one was talking. My mother and my three little sisters, clinging to her body, were waiting for the grand finale of this bloody drama. Before the clock hammered the last strike, the two Communist murderers returned from the basement. They had to use force in order to separate my sisters from the embrace of their mother.

On the threshold, mother slipped her Rosary beads into my sister’s hand. By this, I am sure, my mother wanted to say: “Take these rosary beads from me. The rosary will help you as it helped me on my way to Calvary … May the Blessed Mother, Mary, be watching over you as I used to while with you …”

And mother, the dearest a child could have in this world, went heroine-like to her martyr death. While my mother was led to her death in the basement, my three sisters were taken away from the living room and locked up in one of the storerooms. It remains a mystery why the Communists spared their lives. The original plan, I found out later, was to liquidate the whole family that night.

Shortly after the rattling of the tins, I heard my mother’s shrill weeping. Then everything became dead silent except for the three strong blows which sounded as if someone were beating a door with a hard club. I got the impression that the Communist bandits had left the house and taken the rest of my family with them.

At last, the long hours of the terrible night were finally over. Through the little windows in the attic, I saw some of our neighbors walking around the house. Since I did not see any Communist guard, I ventured to step down from the place of my agony. In the door of the storeroom outside the house, I spotted the key in the keyhole. I quickly turned the key, opened the door and, after the frightful night, a faint gleam of hope and happiness shone in my eyes: I saw my three little sisters – alive! They could not understand how I stood before them alive…

But where were John, and father, and mother…? Suddenly a neighbor came running from the house and said that there was a frightful scene in the basement. We hurried into the cellar. A most horrifying sight met our eyes! Father, mother, John … all dead! There was blood, a lot of blood, on the basement floor. Father was lying behind the door, his body stretched out. There were two large wounds on his head. His skull was split in two above the right ear. The cheekbone on the right side was wide open.

John’s bed, in which he was resting, was placed beside father. His eyes were open and his mouth as well. His face looked as if he were smiling. Coagulated blood was on his forehead, nose and ears.

The body of my mother was lying on the cement floor about a pace away. She was in a prostrate position, her face much swollen. The crown of her skull was broken. From the posture, it could be seen that mother must have been battling with death for a long time and that she had died only after much suffering. Kneeling at my mother’s body, I then understood the crying which I had heard up in the attic. When she entered the basement, she saw a most terrifying picture: husband killed, her paralyzed child perhaps breathing his last, and the same fate awaiting her…

At least one of her life-wishes was fulfilled in this night of horror. My mother always feared for her crippled son, John. What would happen to him when she died? Who would take care of him? Often, I remember having heard my mother say: “If John could die at least one minute before I go, my heart would be at peace.”

What a mysterious answer to her prayer! Her dream came true on the very night of horror. And I am sure that this made her death agony a little bit easier …

Two of our neighbors were courageous enough to help my sisters and me with the washing of the corpses, dressing them, and placing them in the coffins.

On the following day, August 28, 1942, at about 10:00 in the morning, three coffins were slowly moving up to St. Mark’s Cemetery. After the Requiem Mass, two men and I had to carry the coffins from the Church and lower them into the graves. The people were afraid to show sympathy. They read the sign which the Communist murderers posted on the front of our house: “Thus shall happen to everyone who is against us! Death to the traitors! Long live the Communist Party!”

Of course, the Communists did not forget to engrave the sign of death on the wall of our house – sickle and hammer.

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“We’ve Had Enough”

“We’ve Had Enough”
Father Paul Crane, S.J.
Published in London, England.

Spoken or unspoken, these words are in the minds of a growing number of Catholics in the Church today. Not a few are near breaking point. How much longer can they take what far too many of them are forced to take at the hands of today’s “New Churchman”, both high and low?

The steady erosion of all we Catholics hold dear has been going on now for years. And, so far as we can see, it has been going on largely without redress. That is the bitterness of it. The Shepherds are silent at the very time they should be standing up in defense of their flocks, lending their support fearlessly to so many lay men and women who are doing precisely that with courage and without thought for themselves. It is because for some time I had witnessed the growth of this mood amidst the Catholic laity that I wrote as I did last month of the tide having turned in favor of the increasing number of Catholics in this country and elsewhere who were making clear by word and by deed, often at great cost to themselves, their support for the true and traditional doctrines of the Catholic Church, not only in this country, but elsewhere. It is these splendidly courageous lay men and women who are saving the day for the Faith, not only in this country, but elsewhere in the Church Universal.

For their courage I salute them.

Let these never be discouraged no matter how heavy the burdens they have been constrained to bear – not merely the virtual disintegration of churches they have known and loved since childhood but, far worse, the destruction in so many cases of the Faith of their children at the hands of so-called “Catholic” teachers in so-called “Catholic” schools.

Only today, I received news from an anguished mother that one of her children, victimized by what passes for Religious Instruction in so many Catholic Schools, had lost the Faith. She concluded our phone conversation with the words, “They have driven Our Lady out.” She never specified who “they” were. Presumably the ruling authority of the Catholic school or parish relevant to this tragic situation. Let that Authority realize that it will have to answer to God for its action.

It is important to recall here the words of St. Paul when he found his own faith on edge, battered as it was by temptation from right, left and center to the point of despair. It was not the “soft” Christ of too many supposed Catholic teachers and would-be theologians who came to St. Paul on this occasion, suggesting compromise as the best way out of the mess he was in. No, it was the strong Christ who went to His death for the sins of the world, Who gave St. Paul, when very near the end of his tether, the only true message that could be given him under the pressure loaded on him at the time: “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Simply that.

That is the message that we should make our own today. It is for us to stand firm now in the Faith for which our Fathers, the English and Welsh Martyrs, died. Conveniently forgotten by today’s New Churchmen, we should hold to them more tightly than ever, constantly making it our own prayer that they should give us the strength in these dark days to hold fast to the Catholic Faith for which they died. This way the Faith will triumph. Under God and only under God, shall we win in the end. Let this be the silver lining that underlies the dark clouds of oppression that over hang the Catholic Church in this country, and indeed elsewhere in this increasingly pagan world.

The present is no time for manipulation, for the kind of compromise that skips the Truth in the hope of ultimate advantage. This is the road that leads not to Heaven, but to Hell. It can never be our road. Indeed, it is true that the one way we choose – that of faithfulness to Christ Our Lord and His Truth, may prove a veritable way of the cross. So be it: the servant is not above his Master. The way trod by Christ brought Redemption to mankind. As Catholics, we can want no less than His way at no matter what cost to ourselves.

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Vatican Council II: The Great New Approach

Vatican Council II: The Great New Approach

Translated by Graham Harrison from Courrier de Rome, May 1998, for the Society of Saint Pius X’s quarterly review in Ireland, St.John’s Bulletin.

A Kind Of Mutiny

It has been common knowledge for a long time that Pius XII (who died on Oct. 9, 1958) had already considered the possibility of summoning an ecumenical council. He was succeeded by John XXIII who, at the time, was regarded as a transitional pope (transitional from what to what?). Hardly three months after being elected, he announced his intention of convoking a council. The Curia and the Preparatory Commissions began their preparation and, after 18 months’ work, presented 73 “schemas” which were either rejected or profoundly modified by the Council itself. The magazine La Croix, in a special issue in December, 1975, carried an interview with the Dominican Fr. Yves Congar (who was subsequently made a cardinal and was one of the Council’s “experts”). In this article, Fr. Congar openly ridiculed these “schemas”: “Seventy-three of them! Many of them reflected the theology of Pius XII and re-affirmed counter-reformation doctrine…” It could not be clearer: those who pulled the strings of the Council did not want to hear any talk either of “Catholic theology” (for there is no such thing as a personal theology of Pius XII) or of the council of Trent.

It was at that point that Pope John XXIII played a part which reminds one of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. The fact is that he was suddenly overtaken by events, giving the impression that he was no longer capable of governing. According to the reports of Fr. Congar (and others), the Pope “had something simple in mind, a kind of kerygmatic1 theology of the Faith, with a very detailed adaptation of Canon Law.” In the event, this Council, which Pope John XXIII intended to last for two months and be completed by Christmas, continued for four years.

The Council had hardly begun, Fr. Congar tells us in the same interview, when “the bishops became more confident and very quickly, from October 1962, a certain number of bishops had simply decided to reject the doctrinal schemas which had already been prepared.”

Carried along by this tidal wave, it is reported that Pope John XXIII said to several cardinals (from whom Fr. Congar got his information): “They didn’t understand me.” If this is so, it implies that he never regained control of the situation. Archbishop Lefebvre, in one of his first addresses on this subject (1969), referring to events which in many ways resembled a mutiny, said:

The whole drama of this situation is this…and I am not the only one to think so: from the very first days, the Council was under siege by the forces of progressivism….We were convinced that something abnormal was happening in the Council. It was scandalous how people were trying to turn the Council from its purpose by attacking the Roman Curia and, thereby, Rome herself and the successor of Peter.

The “Spirit Of The Council” 

All the preceding councils, with the exception of the 4th (Chalcedon) and the 13th (Lyons), exhibit a rigorous pattern; the true doctrine is set forth and the opposite errors are condemned. This is carried out in a logical sequence which means that these two parts are inseparable: the second flows necessarily and logically from the first. By contrast, the acts of Vatican II are in the form of a series of addresses followed by recommendations, exhortations and vague suggestions, which are thus capable of being turned and applied in the particular sense desired by the Council’s manipulators. To understand Vatican II, one must bear in mind that the particular approach adopted in each area discussed in its documents follows, in its turn, from a certain general approach which could be called the “Spirit of the Council”…astray and evasive like the spirit of modernity, twisting and slippery as an eel. Accordingly, if one manages to catch a thread, one must follow it and not let it go. Such a thread might be, for instance, the special supplement of La Croix of Dec. 1975, ten years after the Council, dedicated specifically to the “great new approach” of the Council. What we have here is a very interesting analysis of the conciliar documents, followed by an even more interesting interview with Fr. Congar who, in the meantime, had been raised to the dignity of the Cardinalate…which gives his words the weight and value of approval on the part of the Curia and the Sovereign Pontiff.

The “Most Fundamental” Text 

Fr. Congar, while he has no great opinion of the Declaration on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis Humanae) which he regards as a banal document with no other merit than having “contradicted the Syllabus,” exalts the merits of the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum) and regrets that this text did not have a greater impact.

We too admit that this document is of great importance but for reasons very different from those of Fr. Congar.

Passing over his laudatory commentaries on things he approves of, we shall concentrate on his statement that this constitution had “a considerable influence”:

Although it is one of the shortest texts of the Council, this constitution is perhaps the most fundamental. By making Scripture the basis of preaching and theology, it has indicated the direction to be taken by all the other texts of the Council. It has presided over the liturgical reform by allowing Christians to have access to a wider choice of scriptural passages, both in the Mass and in the other sacraments. By refusing to ratify the theory of the two sources of revelation (Scripture and Tradition), it permitted a rapprochement with Protestants [who evidently admit only scripture, not tradition – Ed.] and had a considerable ecumenical influence. Fr. Congar was able to say that this constitution had put an end to the Counter-Reformation (i.e., the Council of Trent).

Alignment With Lutheranism 

In other words, this conciliar constitution, which claims to be “dogmatic” and which has set the direction for all the other conciliar texts, which has presided over the liturgical reform, which has had a considerable ecumenical influence, intends to impose – as a dogma – the liquidation of the Tridentine Counter-Reformation. Thus it prescribes alignment with the Protestant Reformation, which the Council of Trent was (we must suppose) mistaken in opposing!

The new “pastoral” approach which the Council wanted to impose dogmatically (Dei Verbum is a “dogmatic constitution”) is an invitation to ignore the Council of Trent, to act as if it no longer exists, as if it no longer has any validity. This is the return to the Protestant principle of “sola Scriptura” – Scripture alone is the source of revelation -which explains (and here Fr. Congar is right) the ecumenical strategy of the Council and the total reform of the liturgy, not only of the ritual but of the entire temporal cycle. This explains the pre-eminent place given to the “Liturgy of the Word” and to biblical texts (sola Scriptura), going hand-in-hand with the disappearance of the systematic teaching of religion according to a true Catechism (which is the Catechism of the Council of Trent, which formed the basis of the diocesan catechisms until 30 years ago). This explains the return to the Memorial of the Last Supper, which does not need a true altar but only a simple table, and the de-natured function of the priest, who no longer sacrifices but has become the president of the assembly.

The Ecumenical Approach 

We are very well aware that the liturgical reform has been following scarcely camouflaged ecumenical objectives. The reformers, working together with well-known Protestants, played on the ambivalence of the new rite and, by means of this subterfuge, toyed with the idea that the reformed missal could be used by both Catholics and Protestants, together or separately.

This is intellectual dishonesty, which has created and maintained ambiguity in the hope of attracting Protestants. There is something in this which recalls Pascal’s famous “wager,” in the sense that the catholic invites the non-Catholic to have some experience of Catholic religious practice, by substituting habit for faith. This is why, by the way, certain philosophers consider Pascal a modernist before his time. The “experience” of Catholicism as a source of Faith is very close to modernist immanentism, if not identical with it.

It is permissible to see similarities between Pascal’s “wager” and what is called” communio in sacris,” which the Council’s Decree on Ecumenism, far from excluding, considers positively as something to be “sometimes desirable” as a way of re-establishing Christian unity, a method to be used with ” discernment,” prudently, according to the judgment of episcopal authority such precautions are more in the nature of a pious hope.

Communio in sacris” means participation by non-Catholics in the sacred action, i. e., the liturgy, not only in prayer. There is more than a simple analogy between this practice, which is growing more and more, and Pascal’s “wager.” The latter invites the non-believer, whom he would like to lead to the Faith by means of religious practice, to “wager” on the existence or non-existence of God and then, on the basis of belief in God’s existence, to draw the practical consequences for his life. After this, Pascal indicates what he believes to be the “system” already followed by others:

Begin where they have begun, that is, by doing everything as if they were already believers, taking holy water, having Masses said, etc…. Naturally, that will bring you to believe and help you to become accustomed (Pensées, No.233).

The justified objection to this method is that it has substituted external gestures for the internal act of faith and has given the non-believer license to perform sacred acts in virtue of “experience,” whereas these acts are reserved by the Church to those who have the Faith and the necessary purity of heart. Thus it has authorized the non-believer to perform sacrilegious and gravely culpable acts). Applied to Ecumenism, this process consists, neither more nor less, in inviting Protestants and Orthodox to “act as if they were Catholics,” in Pascal’s terms and to join in (communicatio) the Church’s liturgy (in sacris) after having accommodated it in order to make it easier for them to take this step. In other words, the liturgical reformers have lowered the threshold of orthodoxy so that the invited guests should not stumble at the first step.

The practical result, which is growing more and more evident, is that there are no conversions, while among Catholics, the view is more and more widespread that all the Christian denominations and all the religions are of equal value. Thus, what people believe they can gain in the name of a misconceived charity, is lost at the level of Faith. Is this a coincidence? The effect is contained potentially in the cause, and the cause can be correctly identified in what La Croix called “the Council’s great new approach.”

The “Anthropological” Approach

A second current which has determined the reflections and acts of the Council Fathers is the so-called Theological Anthropology or Anthropological Theology, which has transformed theology into sociology. The most authoritative witness to this approach is Pope Paul VI himself. On December 7, 1965, addressing the Council in its final session, he said:

Secular humanism has finally appeared in its terrible dimensions and, in a certain sense, has defied the Council. The religion of God Who becomes Man has confronted the religion of Man who becomes God! What was the result? A shock, a struggle, an anathema? It would have been possible but it did not happen….It is the discovery of human needs…that has absorbed the attention of our Synod……

Has all this, and everything we could say about the human value of the Council, perhaps deflected the spirit of the Church in the Council towards the anthropocentric thrust of modem culture? Not deflected, but given it an orientation. No one observing this predominant interest on the part of the Council, in human and temporal values, can deny that this interest is due to the pastoral character which the Council has chosen as its program. Such an observer would have to recognize that this same interest has never been separated from the most authentic religious interest, either by the charity which is its sole inspiration, or by the close link, constantly affirmed and promoted by the Council, between human and temporal values and those properly called spiritual, religious and eternal: we yield to man, to the earth, but we raise them up to the Kingdom of God (Homily, Dec. 7, 1965, Osservatore Romano, Dec. 8, 1965).

This is a confession of considerable weight: the Church has turned towards man.

Are we to understand that the Church has turned towards man by turning its back on God? Pope Paul VI says no; the hierarchy will certainly say no. But when, 30 years after the end of the Council, we see that the bishops and their clergy have become sociologists and, in fact, no longer teach religion, one can and must wonder if, after all the discussions and statements, this is not the reality of the situation: the Church, in the person of her ministers, has turned towards man by turning away from God.

The “Christian” philanthropy has infiltrated everywhere. It is even found in the Decree on Ecumenism, in the second chapter which deals with the practice of Ecumenism. Here we find a section devoted to “collaboration with our separated brethren,” who are invited to join in the crusade “against the afflictions of our times, such as famine and natural disasters, illiteracy and poverty, lack of housing and the unequal distribution of wealth,” all objectives within the competence of states and public authorities and not of the Church.

So there is no surprise when we see the Pope calling the heads of the principal world religions together at Assisi to promote peace by common prayer. Projects of this kind are perfectly in line with the approach set forth by the Council.

The “Spirit of Independence” 

A third factor, which is more a mentality than a deliberate approach but which played its part at the Council and goes a long way towards explaining what happened “after the Council,” is the spirit of independence – which is at the root of Protestantism.

The first manifestation of the spirit of rebellion was the mutiny of an important segment of the episcopate at the start of the Council Immediately thereafter the modernists took charge of the direction the Council was to take. Thanks to this initial revolt against authority, the bishops became infatuated with independence and “freedom.” It was at this time that one impertinent individual, having said that after Vatican I, the Church had had some great Popes, like Leo XIII, Pius X, Pius XI and Pius XII, dared to add that, with the passage of time, the Roman Curia had become a perfectly effective…omnipotent…instrument of government and study...in other words, it had become tyrannical.

During the Council, Pope Paul VI seemed to share this blind opposition to supreme power.  In the interview already mentioned,  Fr. Congar gives this testimony:

When he (Pope Paul VI) intervened, he did so with great discretion. As he said several times, he would have preferred not to intervene at all but to leave the Council free. But several times, he reminded us that he was at least one of the Council fathers. There is something unsatisfactory about the way the pope, with his primacy, is related to the Council, of which the pope is a member. We lack a good theological and practical relationship between these two realities (and yet there has been an excellent relationship between them for 2,000 years. One only has to remember that the pope is not a member of the Council but its head, and that he is indispensable to the Council’s validity.) Pope Paul VI intervened discreetly in some Commissions; he sent “modi” (modifications) to the Theological Commission several times, but left it free whether to adopt them or not. Sometimes the Commission rejected these “modi“: He also intervened to have 19 “modi” inserted into the Decree on Ecumenism, which provoked a stir because the text had already been voted on by the whole Council. Of these 19 “modi, ” only three or four were really concerned with the text. Pope Paul VI had no idea that his intervention would give rise to such a storm of protest. Finally, he did not want to have to repeat his action and asked that the texts should be given to him in good time, so that he could make his observations on them.

Here we must recall the episode of the Nota Praevia (Preliminary Explanatory Note) which was imposed by Pope Paul VI to make it clear in the traditional sense the term “collegiality” was to be understood. The very existence of this Nota Praevia (see following page), quite independently of what it contains, is one proof among many of the lack of intellectual rigor on the part of the Council’s artisans. The most worrying thing, however, is the incoherent position of the Pope vis-a-vis the Council, as underlined by Fr. Congar. This is the attitude of a Head who has no awareness of his authority and who dares not intervene. At all events, he does not intervene very much, nor does he do so in a precise manner. We find an incoherent theological attitude here. On the one hand, from time to time, he is obliged to remind the fathers that he has the primacy, while on the other hand it seems that, with his “discreet” interventions, he is trying to win acceptance as one Council father among others (which he is not).

Is not this attitude an implicit avowal of that “conciliarism” – an ancient heresy going back to the 12th century – which affirmed that the Council is superior to the pope and which was condemned by Vatican I? Pope Paul VI has thus given the impression that he would be content with a simple primacy of honor: “primus in16 ter pares.” This is precisely what the Orthodox schism claims. In any case, this strange Council leaves us with the question: was Pope Paul VI in charge of it, or was it in charge of him?

The Modernist Tyranny 

The sequel is in line with this desire for emancipation on the part of the bishops. They demand that the Roman Curia be “internationalized”: it is granted. They demand the reform of the Curia and of Church government: the reform was initiated on August 15, 1967, with the constitution Regimini Ecclesiae Universae, which satisfies those who were complaining of the “tyranny” of Rome. The Holy Office, whose essential task was to guard the integrity of the doctrine of Faith – which was why it was feared by the modernists – is liquidated to make room for a kind of Theologians’ Academy without any coercive powers. The case of Hans Küng amply demonstrated this. The Consistory, a disciplinary congregation (a kind of council of the Episcopal Order), was also liquidated and replaced by a Congregation for Bishops without coercive powers. Moreover, all the congregations lose their autonomy and are now dependent on the Secretariat of State, which thus becomes the central organ of Church government, whereas the pope is reduced to a figurehead, like the sovereign of a modern state where the king reigns but does not govern. From 1967 on, a reign of inverse tyranny begins in the Church. The tyranny of the modernists, who have taken over all controls.

One beneficial effect of the new constitution Pastor Bonus of June 28, 1988, has been to restore to the Roman congregations a part of the autonomy which had been removed from them by the constitution Regimini Ecclesiae Universae, but that does not mean that the Church is safe. The evil has been done and the damage has not been repaired. Thirty years after Vatican II, the Church is 90% Protestant.

Attempts To Protestantize The Church 

Once the boundaries were thrown down and the Roman guardianship shaken, the bishops, in their turn, saw their diocesan clergy adopting the same attitude towards them. Then the faithful did the same towards their parish clergy, thanks to the bad example set by those above them. We must even say that it was the clergy themselves who pushed the faithful to act in this way.

Thinking that they were doing well to adulate the laity, who were now invited to become “adult Christians,” bishops and clergy sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind. In turn, the faithful made themselves independent. Who cannot see the enormous difference between “adult Christians” and Christian adults? In the wake of the Council, Christians who foolishly had been taught that henceforth they were “adults” grasped that this implied that they were to reject all tutelage, doctrinal and disciplinary, on the part of their pastors. That is how the mentality of the Protestant “freedom of conscience” has been insinuated into people’s minds, without the need -as Luther did long ago, at Wittenberg – to nail a series of theses to the Church doors, declaring the break with Rome. Luther’s Protestantism was doctrinal; that of the modernists, for 30 years, has been practical. It is a Protestantism of deeds, it is concrete, but the result is the same. Why should we be surprised at the attempts to rehabilitate Luther? And what is the purpose of this rehabilitation? Perhaps to facilitate the return of Lutherans to the Catholic Church? …Let’s be serious for once!

And why should we be amazed at the demands made in the petition circulated last year in Germany by the group calling itself “We are Church”? The one thing follows directly from the other!

Insofar as these faithful – though it must be questioned whether they belong to the Church – regard themselves as liberated from hierarchical tutelage, and insofar as their thinking is unconsciously influenced by the democratic principles of modern society, they are only imitating the kind of false demands made by trade-unions in the economic and social sphere. To show them that they are in error, one would have to go right up to the top of the ladder of ideas and there one would arrive at the testimony of Fr. Congar:

One day John XXIII said that he wanted to open wide the Church’s doors and windows: de facto the power of speech had been given to the Church, whereas under Pius XII, people were restricted to repeating the Pope’s words.

In the world of ideas, there are some things as dangerous as grenades; when they are man-handled, they explode and the damage sometimes far exceeds all prediction.

But It’s Yesterday’s Popes Who Are To Blame

Would the hierarchy have the courage, 30 years after Vatican II, to draw up the balance-sheet? Will it still say that, as some people have said, one has to distinguish between the Council and what came after it?

On this matter, Fr. Congar gave an astonishing answer to the readers of La Croix in 1976: those responsible for the post-conciliar confusion, he suggested, were Gregory XVI, Pius IX, Pius X and Pius XII, whose qualities as a very great pope he is quick to acknowledge, only to go on to attack him in what follows:

Many people have failed to take account of the radical change brought about by Vatican II. The Church of the period of Pius XII, who was a very great pope with extraordinary prestige and influence, was submissive in a way that the youngest people of today have not the least idea. Rome then exercised an extremely effective and rigorous control in all areas, based in part on a theology – Roman Scholasticism – but also on a canonical, ethical and cultural systems…The whole drama of the post-conciliar period is due to the fact that things that had been blocked and kept at bay for too long by a Church which kept its doors and windows closed, are now violently – and somewhat blindly – forcing their way in. A kind of vast thaw seems to be carrying everything away with it. To put it more precisely, the 18th and 19th centuries produced some noble values and achievements: confidence in human effort, in science, in progress, in the desire for freedom and the democratic awareness, in equality and social justice, in historical criticism…including that applied to the Bible. All this came about in a climate in which Man was exalted, and clearly the Church could not approve of this. Some people, it is true, began to distinguish between what was true and what was unacceptable, but in general, and particularly on the part of popes like Gregory XVI, Pius IX and, to some extent, Pius X, the Church’s attitude was one of rejection – it was the mentality of a city under siege. Today doors and windows are open. It is impossible to rehabilitate two centuries of history within the space of 20 or 30 years. What we must do is acknowledge and accept things that have been forgotten for too long, while keeping in touch with the Faith. And here the Council gives us good guidance. It is not the Council which is the cause of the crisis but rather the fact that people ignore the crisis or fail to respond to it.

Clearly, then, the distant origin of the post-conciliar disorder and confusion must be sought in the narrow mentality of the popes of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Pius XII.

However, when one takes the trouble to analyze the “great new approach” of the Council, and when one has understood that this fundamental approach of rejecting Tradition, the substitution of sociology for theology, and all-round emancipation explains both the Council and what came after the Council, one has also grasped the intellectual continuity between them and the common cause they share.

Conclusions

It will be remembered that Fr. Congar was influential at the Council as a theologian, as one of its “experts.” This is widely known. He himself was not slow to mention the fact and the journalists who interviewed him were happy to underline it, in order to give importance and authority to his utterances. What he said on the approach adopted by the Council, which is presented as a huge enterprise with a pastoral aim, and that had broken with the Counter-Reformation, cannot be neglected. The fact is that his observations on the achievement of Vatican II have not been rectified by the French episcopate nor by Rome. Not only has Fr. Congar not been disavowed, he was conferred with the cardinalitial dignity. This has given to his views, declarations, writings and publications, the highest guarantee he could have hoped for. Elevating him to the cardinalate, Pope John Paul II and the cardinals of the Curia have ratified Congar’s views and commentaries on the Council’s whole approach, giving them an official certificate of authority. From the simple religious he was in 1960, Cardinal Congar has thus become the Council’s authorized interpreter, in the name of the hierarchy.

Having taken note of this, it will be easy to draw the following consequences – indeed, they are dazzlingly self-evident:

1.    In pursuing a “pastoral” aim which breaks with the Counter-Reformation, the artisans of Vatican II have first of all put themselves out of range of the assistance of the Holy Ghost. It follows from this that Vatican II is merely a human work, a work of Churchmen. Its declarations must, therefore, be evaluated by reference to traditional doctrine.

2.   Everything in the Council texts (constitutions, decrees, declarations) which calls for the faith and assent of the faithful would not be there had there not been 20 previous, authentic, infallible and irreformable councils. In other words, the Faith and adherence of the faithful has for its object, beyond Vatican II, all the doctrine formulated previously and which is found scattered here and there, in fragmentary allusions, in the Council texts.  This means that the Council, as a point of reference, is not only incomplete and therefore superfluous, but it is furthermore harmful insofar as it is contaminated by the modernist vein, which is a spiritual poison.

Here it is appropriate to recall that the dogmatic constitution Dei Verbum, which deals with Divine Revelation and replaced the original schema entitled De Fontibus Revelationis, is considered to be the most important document since it gave the direction for the other conciliar texts. It directed the liturgical reform and, by refusing to ratify the theory of the two sources of revelation (Scripture and Tradition), it permitted – as they claim – a rapprochement with Protestants and exercised a considerable ecumenical influence…This is the constitution which, according to Fr. Congar, has put an end to the Counter- Reformation.

3.   In spite of appearances, therefore, Vatican II is a pseudo-council. From a totally different point of view, one could say that it was useful in the life and health of the Church in the way that, in the field of medicine, an abscess can be regarded as useful since it concentrates and localizes the organism’s infection. Sooner or later, the “conciliar” men, identified with the modernists, will be eliminated from the Church.

No true progress, no ecclesial development, can be accomplished outside of Tradition, let alone where it is rejected. Yet that is what the artisans of Vatican II wanted and that is what they did. In this matter, Cardinal Congar has given us a formal, irrefutable testimony.

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The Unholy Trinity And the New World Order

The Unholy Trinity And the New World Order
Robert J. Siscoe

“The claim to withdraw the public life of States and Nations from the subjection to God and His Law is the dominant error and the capital crime of this [19th] Century”. (Cardinal Pie)

Last month (1) we examined the errors of “the Unholy Trinity” – Naturalism, Rationalism and Liberalism.  We saw that Naturalism is “the system that seeks systematically to eliminate God and His supreme sovereignty over the order of things in the world called ‘nature’.” (2) This is accomplished either by denying the very existence of the supernatural order, or at least denying that man can know anything about this higher order, even by Divine Revelation. Rationalism is the application of Naturalism to human reason.  Rejecting Divine Revelation, Rationalism maintains that human reason is the sole principle and source of truth, and the exclusive judge of what is true and false, good and evil. Liberalism is the application of Naturalism to the human will, both individual and collective, by denying that man is subject to God and morally bound to obey His Law. The seeds of these errors are clearly found in the teaching of the early Protestants, and were further developed in the dark workshops of the Masonic Lodges, with the aid of the occult forces that brought about the so-called Enlightenment.

“Liberalism is a recent name for the old heresies of Protestantism, Naturalism and Rationalism (…) The ‘Societies of Thought’, the Masonic Lodges, were the factories where the formulas for the Naturalistic and Rationalistic cult were produced”. (3)

In the encyclical Humanum Genus, Pope Leo XIII instructed the Bishops of the world to “tear away the mask of Freemasonry, and let it be seen as it really is”, explaining that the ultimate aim of the Masonic sect is “the utter overthrow of that whole religious and political order of the world which the Christian teaching has produced, and the substitution of a new state of things in accordance with their ideas, of which the foundations and laws shall be drawn from mere Naturalism”.

In this article we will contrast the Divine Plan for Order, which is founded upon the Rights of God and ordered to man’s eternal salvation, with the Masonic plan of disorder, which is founded upon the doctrines of the Unholy Trinity – doctrines that serve as a positive obstacle for man in obtaining the end for which he was created, namely, supernatural life in this world, and the beatific vision in the world to come.

Christendom

In the Divine Plan for order, the Rights of God and the Social Kingship of Christ are acknowledged by both the temporal and spiritual rulers, and there is an ordered harmony between the two powers, civil and ecclesiastical. Although the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world – that is, it does not originate from this world – nevertheless, due to the Incarnation, the heavenly Kingdom of Our Lord extends to this world.

“The Kingdom of God on earth” wrote Fr. Fahey, “consists… essentially and principally in the supernatural society of the Catholic Church, secondarily and as a consequence of the influence of the Catholic Church, in an organization of the social life of States, political and economic, in accordance with the Divine Plan for order. God in Three Divine Persons is Subsistence Love of order.  Accordingly, as there is no opposition and separation between invisible grace and visible organization… the social organization of men, called upon to share in the Inner Life of God through membership of Christ, will reflect the Divine Love of order (…) Christian civilization is the overflow of the Kingdom of heaven. It is the impress of the Mystical body of Christ on man’s social organization.” (4)

In Christendom, the State publicly embraces and professes the true religion and protects it from the attacks of heretics and other unbelievers; civil law is subordinate to the Revealed Law of Christ, and the authority of the Church is acknowledged in all matters relating in any way to conscience. (5) This subordination of the temporal order to spiritual order and the Law of Christ, results in the teachings and Life of Christ permeating society, informing politics, morality, the economy, and social institutions.

Since the Magisterium is the divinely established teacher and interpreter of Revealed truth, the Church possesses supreme authority on matters of faith and morals, and indirect authority over temporal matters when the salvation of souls is at stake.  Although the temporal and spiritual orders are distinct in their own sphere, there must be an ordered subordination of the one to the other, in such a way that the temporal order does not in any way hinder man in the attainment of his supernatural end, but instead serve as an aid for its attainment.  Since there is no proportion between the temporal and supernatural end of man, the subordination is only indirect, as Fr. Fahey explains:

“As there is order in all God’s work, there must be a subordination of the lower to the higher. Now, the very excellence of the spiritual end of man over the temporal end precludes the possibility of direct subordination of the temporal to the spiritual.  Direct subordination is required where the inferior is a means to the superior; that is, where it is proportionate to the superior or higher end, for whatever is a means must be proportionate to the end. Bodily well-being, food, worldly possessions have no proportionate relation to Eternal Life in union with God in Three Divine Persons, so they cannot be direct means thereto. But they must be indirectly subordinate to the future life; the temporal end of man, earthly felicity, must be sought in such a way as to be not only not a hindrance to the spiritual end of, but, on the contrary, a help to its attainment.” (6)

Although the temporal end is only indirectly subordinate to the spiritual end for which man was created, nevertheless, both the temporal and spiritual orders are directly subordinate to Christ the King, the Redeemer of mankind and “the lawgiver to whom obedience is due” (Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas). Temporal rulers have a duty to acknowledge the Kingship of Christ no less than spiritual rulers, since both are equally subject to Christ and participate in His Kingship. The Pope and Bishops participate in the Spiritual Kingship of Christ, while the civil rulers participate in His Temporal Kingship.  Therefore all rulers, whether spiritual or temporal, must acknowledge Christ the King, from Whom their authority is derived, and must govern in accord with His law, always remembering that “a greater punishment is ready for the more mighty.” (Wisdom 6:9)

Men must render to God the things that are God’s, and to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; but Caesar himself is a man. Therefore, as Fr. Fahey notes, “Caesar, too, that is, organized States and rulers of nations as such, must give to God the things that are God’s.  Cesar is bound to worship God in the supernatural way in which He has declared that He wants to be worshiped.” (7) The State, no less than individuals, has a duty to acknowledge its Creator and publicly profess the religion He established, “for men living together in society are under the power of God no less than individuals are” wrote Pope Leo XIII, “and society, no less than individuals, owes gratitude to God who gave it being and maintains it, and whose ever-bounteous goodness enriches it with countless blessings. Since … the chief duty of all men is to cling to religion in both its teaching and practice … it is a public crime to act as though there were no God. So, too, is it a sin for the State not to have concern for religion as a something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit; or out of many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in with the fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which He has shown to be His will.” (Immortale Dei)

In the encyclical Libertas, the same holy Pontiff teaches that the union of Church and State is analogous to the union of soul and body, “the separation of which brings irremediable harm to the body, since it extinguishes its very life”. If the State is not for Christ, it will turn against Christ (Mt. 12:30), and persecute the members of His Mystical Body. Having rejecting the Source of all life, the State will produce fruits of death, eventually bringing forth a culture of death.

The contrary results from the Divine Plan for order, in which the teaching and supernatural Life of Christ permeates all aspects of society, thereby producing a truly Christian culture. It is this order that all Catholics should desire and seek to bring about.

The New World Order

In the Masonic plan of disorder, the Rights of God and the Kingship of Christ are ignored, the Godless State is separated from the Church, the spiritual order is subordinated to the temporal order, and the true religion is placed on the same plane as false religions and heretical sects. In this Naturalistic world order, Divine Revelation is denied, religion is considered a private matter, and civil law is based on sand – that is, on the easily manipulated and ever-changing “will of the people”. The seeds of this Masonic world order are found in the Protestant errors of Martin Luther.

The idea that the State owes no public worship to God stems from Luther’s heretical ecclesiology, which denies that Christ founded a visible Church to “teach all nations” (Mt 28:19), and instead maintained that the Church of Christ was an invisible community of scattered believers known to God alone. This is the “invisible Church” of Luther’s imagination, in which each man’s beliefs are based on his private interpretation of the Bible. The division caused by this error resulted in religious belief becoming subjective, a personal opinion, which eventually developed into an unnatural dualism within the same subject being (man) – a dualism between the internal man and the external man; between the private man and the public man. According to Luther, there should be a profound separation, and even opposition, between a Christian ruler and the way in which he rules.   This dualism expressed in the following quote:

“You are a prince or judge” wrote Luther, “you have people under you and you wish to know what to do.  It is not Christ you are to question concerning this matter but the law of your country… Between the Christian and the ruler, a profound separation must be made … Assuredly, a prince can be a Christian, but it is not as a Christian that he ought to govern. The man is Christian, but his function does not concern religion… Though they are founded in the same man, the two states or functions are perfectly marked off, one from another, and really opposed.” (8)

For Luther, a Christian governor should not allow his Christian beliefs to affect the way in which he governs. Is this not what we see in our own day with those misguided politicians who “personally oppose” this or that moral evil, yet “do not want to force their beliefs on others”, thereby ignoring God’s Law and relegating an objective evil to the category of a subjective opinion?

The clear-cut separation between the Christian and the citizen is not at odds with Luther’s false idea of justification, since for him sinful acts were not a hindrance to salvation.  Luther taught that as long as a person had what he called “faith” (by which he meant trust in the merits of Christ), God would no longer look upon his sins (past, present or future), but only on the merits of Christ, which covered his sins “like a dung hill covered with snow”.

“God only obliges you to believe and to confess (the faith)” wrote Luther. “In all other things He leaves you free, Lord and master to do whatever you will without any danger to your conscience; on the contrary, it is certain that, as far as He is concerned, it makes no difference whether you leave your wife, flee from your lord, or are unfaithful to every obligation. What is it to Him if you do or do not do such things? (Werke XXI p. 131) “During this life we have to sin. It is sufficient that, by the mercy of God, we know the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Sin will not separate us from Him, even though we were to commit a thousand murders and a thousand adulteries per day.” (Franca, 9.439) (9)

Luther’s heretical idea of justification and salvation reinforced the dualism within the one subject being by allowing a person to profess to be a follower of Christ, yet live as an Atheist.

The separation between the Christian and the citizen led to the separation between the Church and the State, which resulted in the supremacy of the State, with the Church relegated to a department within the State, and consequently subject to the State.

This unnatural dualism eventually developed into Liberalism, which attempts to separate the creature from its Creator by “liberating” man from the obedience he owes to God.

“Lutheranism initiated that dualism” wrote Fr. Fahey, “which separates life into two halves so independent that they have only accidental relations with each other, and thus prepared the way for Liberalism.  This is the application of Naturalism to morality, politics and economics.”  (10)

Naturalism denies the existence of divinely revealed truth. Liberalism applies this speculative error to the practical level by maintaining that the individual reason (man), and the social reason (civil society), owe no obedience to God’s Law, and instead are absolutely sovereign in their own sphere. Just as each individual is to be guided in solely by his own reason and will, without reference to God and His revealed Law, so too the collective reason of the multitude is the exclusive guide of the community, and the source of all public law. Consequently, God’s Revealed Law and even Natural Law are replaced by human law, which is derived from “the will of the people”. The end result is that human will usurps the Divine Will, thereby putting man– at least man collectively – in the place of God.  In his magnificent encyclical Libertas, Pope Leo XIII explains this Liberal error as follows:

“What Naturalists or Rationalists aim at in philosophy, that the supporters of Liberalism… are attempting in the domain of morality and politics. The fundamental doctrine of Rationalism is the supremacy of the human reason, which, refusing due submission to the divine and Eternal Reason, proclaims its own independence, and constitutes itself the supreme principle and source and judge of truth. Hence, these followers of Liberalism deny the existence of any divine authority to which obedience is due, and proclaim that every man is the law to himself; from which arises that ethical system which they style independent morality, and which, under the guise of liberty, exonerates man from any obedience to the commands of God, and substitutes a boundless license. (…) just as every man’s individual reason is his only rule of life, so the collective reason of the community should be the supreme guide in the management of all public affairs. Hence the doctrine of the supremacy of the greater number, and that all right and all duty reside in the majority.”

Today the principles of Liberalism are applied, not only to politics and morality, but also to the economy. Those who maintain that it should be left to “the market” to decide this or that, without considering whether this or that is at variance with God’s Law, are simply applying the false notion of “the will of the people” to the economic sphere; for what is the “the market” if not the collective will of man – the buyers and sellers? Man is a moral agent, and all moral actions, including those dealing with economics, must be governed by God’s Law. “By what things a man sinneth” said the Holy Ghost, “by the same also he is tormented.” (Wisdom 11:17)  There’s no doubt that the economic problems we are experiencing today are a punishment from God for man’s refusal to acknowledge His sovereignty, by subordinating economic matters to the teachings of the Gospel – which includes the prohibition of usury.  Continuing with the encyclical Libertas, Pope Leo XIII wrote:

“A doctrine of such character is most hurtful both to individuals and to the State. For, once ascribe to human reason the only authority to decide what is true and what is good, the real distinction between good and evil is destroyed; honor and dishonor differ not in their nature, but in the opinion and judgment of each one; pleasure is the measure of what is lawful; and, given a code of morality which can have little or no power to restrain or quiet the unruly propensities of man, a way is naturally opened to universal corruption.”

The devil knows well placing truth and error, good and evil, on the same level will result in confusion.  The end result, as the Pope warned, is that pleasure – the gratification of human desires – will be the measure of what is lawful.  The issue of “gay marriage”, which is rapidly becoming the law of the land, is another fruit of this error (see the encyclical Arcanum by Leo XIII), for when God and His Laws are excluded, and the will of man is declared supreme, there is nothing to stop marriage itself from violating the laws of nature and being brought into accord with man’s vicious inclinations. The intellectual confusion and moral degradation produced by Liberalism eventually leads to tyranny.  Continuing with Libertas:

“With reference also to public affairs: authority is severed from the true and natural principle whence it derives all its efficacy for the common good; and the law determining what it is right to do and avoid doing is at the mercy of a majority. Now, this is simply a road leading straight to tyranny.”

When man rejects the Divine Plan for order and instead seek to organize society as if God and His Law did not exist, the result will be a two-fold tyranny: first the internal tyranny of vice and moral corruption, which will soon be followed by the external tyranny of the vicious rulers. Today, even the most sanguine of the New Springtime crowd is forced to acknowledge the corruption of society and the tyranny that is rapidly descending upon us, both of which are natural fruits of Liberalism.

Following in the footsteps of Lucifer who said to God non-Serviam – “I will not serve” – and the unbelieving Jews who said “we will not have this man to reign over us… give unto us Barabbas…we have no King but Caesar”, modern man is now suffering from what Cardinal Pie called the “absolute theocracy of Caesar, head and arbiter of religion, supreme oracle of doctrine and law.” Having rejected the sweet yoke of Christ, the universal the King of all creation, and instead chosen the murder and thief Barabbas (who signifies the Godless United Nations, which Pope Paul VI called “man’s last hope for concord and peace” (11)), man is now facing the monstrous tyranny of a global Caesar–Barabbas. With an estimated 262 million (12) innocent people murdered by Atheistic governments during the previous century fresh in mind, many fear what is coming; but when man rejects the Social Reign of Christ the King, he should not be surprised when he is justly punished for his crime by a tyrannical Caesar. “God will reign” wrote Cardinal Pie, “and if he does not reign by the benefits inseparable from his presence, he will reign by calamities inseparable from his absence.”

The unbelieving Jews – the “natural branches” (Romans 11:17-20) – have paid for their crime of rejecting Christ the King for the past 2000 years. God only know what is in store for the unbelieving Gentiles – the “wild olive branches” – who have repeated their crime.  “Never to have known Jesus Christ is the greatest of misfortunes… But, after having known Him, to reject or forget Him, is a crime so foul and so insane that it seems impossible for any man to be guilty of it.” (Tematsi)

In Luke, Chapter 19, Our Lord speaks of Himself in the parable of the nobleman who “went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom.” Then, referring to the unbelieving Jews, He said: “but His citizens hated Him: and they sent an embassage after Him, saying: we will not have this man to reign over us.” (vs. 14) Later in the parable, in words that apply to both the unbelieving Jews and the Liberals of today, Our Lord said: “But as for those My enemies, who would not have me reign over them, bring them hither, and kill them before me.” (vs. 27) It is not enough to accept Christ as our Savior who frees us from our sins; we must also accept him as King and Lawgiver to Whom obedience is due.  “If we do not love Christ’s social reign” said Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, “we will fall under the social reign of the devil.”

Seeing the tyranny of an antichristian government descending upon them, many mistakenly believe the solution is more “liberty”. What they don’t realize is that the false notion of “liberty” (freedom from God’s Law and from submission to the Christ the King) is what has brought us to our present misfortune. To borrow a modern phrase: 1776 is not the answer to 1984; it is the cause.  Over 100 years ago, Pope St. Pius X warned:

“Abandonment of God and apostasy is the disease which is eating into the vitals of Society much more than in past time, and is daily growing worse … the cry of the enemies of God: ‘Depart from us’ (Job. xxi.14) has become almost universal … with appalling rashness, man has usurped the place of God, raising himself above all that is called God, showing forth the characteristics which is the distinguishing mark of Antichrist.” (E-Supreme)

The real answer to 1984 is, as Pope St. Pius X never tired of saying, to “restore all things in Christ” (Eph. 1:10), which means to lead man back to submission to God. “To restore all things in Christ”, wrote Pius X, “and to lead men back to submission to God is one and the same aim.” (E-Supreme)

There is no baptizing the Masonic errors which have brought society to the brink of destruction, and simply trying to be a leaven in a Masonic Society is not enough. Unless Christ reigns over nations, all efforts to convert the world and build a Christian civilization will be sterile for the end proposed.

“So long as Christ does not reign over nations”, wrote Cardinal Pie, “His influence over individuals remains superficial and precarious. …If the environment is non-Catholic, it prevents him from embracing the faith or, if he has the faith, it tends to root out of his heart every vestige of belief. …try to convert individuals without Catholicizing the social institutions and your work is without stability. The structure you erect in the morning will be torn down by others in the evening.”

Fatima is the Answer

Admittedly, at the present time the conversion of nations to the Social Reign of Christ the King looks, humanly speaking, hopeless, while the tyrannical suppression of Christianity by an Atheistic and Antichrist global Caesar-Barabbas looks quite promising. But God foresaw the seemingly hopeless situation we are now in and provided a remedy – a remedy that does not require the cooperation of the forces of Antichrist who now run the world.  The remedy is completely at odds with the errors of the Unholy Trinity, and its religious offspring, Modernism, which has invaded the Church and infected the vast majority of the members of the hierarch.  The solution is not of this world, and will not be brought about by pan-religious ecumenical “prayer meetings” in which members of false religions are invited by the Vicar of Christ to invoke their false gods for peace. Such actions will only bring further destruction as God punishes the Church for placing the true religion on the same plane as false religions and heretical sects. The solution to our modern ills was provided by heaven, and consists in a simple act of obedience in faith to the requests of Our Lady of Fatima, who has promised that an era of peace will be granted to the world when the Pope, together with the Bishops, performs the collegial Consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart.

It is interesting to note that four centuries ago this promise of Fatima was revealed, in part, to Ven. Mary of Agreda. The following is taken from The Mystical City of God:

“I have been informed of a great mystery, which affords us consolation in this conflict of the holy Church against her wicked enemies. Namely, that on account of this triumph of most holy Mary [discusses previously in the chapter] and on account of another, which She gained over the demons after the Ascension of our Lord (Part III, 528), the Almighty, in reward of her battles, decreed, that through her intercession and virtue all heresies and sects of the world against holy Church were to be destroyed and extinguished. The time appointed for this blessing was not made known to me; probably, the fulfillment of this decree is dependent upon some tacit and unknown condition.” (Vol. 2, pg 290)

We now know what that condition is: the collegial Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Unfortunately, even though the last eight Popes have acknowledged the authenticity of the message of Fatima, which now enjoys a Feast Day on the universal calendar, none have performed the requested act. In 1942, Pope Pius XII consecrated the world to the Immaculate Heart in union with the other Bishops; in 1984, John Paul II also consecrated the world, but without the other Bishops. In 1952, Pope Pius XII personally consecrated Russia by name to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as did Paul VI in 1964, but neither of these performed the consecration with the other Bishops, as requested. To date, all of the Papal consecrations have fallen short of the simple request of Fatima.

Today the world stands on the brink of disaster, and almost everyone, believer and unbeliever alike, can sense it. Will our new Pope at last fulfill the simple requested by Heaven, or will he continue down the path of his predecessors, which will end in “the annihilated of many nations”?  Time will tell. For our part let us perform our daily duties, make the First Saturdays as requested at Fatima, and continue to publicly proclaim the Kingship of Christ, for, as Our Lord told St. Margaret Mary Alacoque: “I will reign in spite of My enemies.”

We will end with the words of Bishop Tissier De Mallarias:

“We should all be resolved as much as lies in us, to fight this satanic plan, which God may deign to dissipate with the breath of His mouth. Sons of the Catholic Church, adhering to the indefectible voice of the Spouse of Christ, we proclaim the absolute Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ over the human affairs, over societies and over nations.”

Footnotes:

1) See The Unholy Trinity of Modern Errors, June 2013 issue of CFN
2) Liberalism and Catholicism, pg.13
3) Ibid, pgs 21,17
4) Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World, pg. 245
5) Liberalism and Catholicism, pg. 21, 17
6) Pius X, Fermo Proposito
7) Secret Societies and the Kingship of Christ, pg. 12
8) The Kingship of Christ, pg. 98, 139
9) Citations taken from The Facts About Luther, TAN books
10) Secret Societies and the Kingship of Christ, pg. 17
11) Speech to the U.N on 10/4/1965
12) Estimates by Dr. Rummel, Professor at the University of Hawaii

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The Communist Control Of The Mind

The Communist Control Of The Mind 
Jerzy (George) Zubrzycki

The Communist Control of the Mind

The international Communist movement is committed to world revolution. To attain this most fundamental objective the Communists adopt a variety of weapons: political, military and psychological. The last weapon is basic to the first two, for the Communists insist that a political or military conquest will not be complete unless it is accompanied by the conquest of the mind.

To establish absolute control of the mind the Communists pursue two related tasks. First, in the words of Stalin, they aim at “organizing, mobilizing and transforming” the world of ideas ranging from religious beliefs to the sciences and arts. But they do not stop at the transformation of the intellectual outlook alone. Their second aim is to remold man’s total personality, to redirect the functioning of the will, and to channel the emotions into direction of value of the Party.

Everything that the Communists do in the time of war and peace, rests on the fundamental assumptions relating to the control of the mind and the total personality. Unless this point is completely understood it becomes impossible to perceive that what goes on in the Moscow Institute for Training of Party Cadres, a Chinese village commune, a secret Party cell in an American city or in a POW camp in Korea — is exactly the same thing.

The object of this paper is to answer three basic questions:

First, why do the Communists attempt thought control?
Second, how do they do it?
Third, who are the people who are particularly susceptible to the Communist thought control?

1. Why do the Communists control thought?

The Communists believe that man can be refashioned in a new image, since Communist society will be one in which the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labour and therefore also the antithesis between mental and physical labour has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want . . . the productive forces have also increased with the all-round development of the individual . . . all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly . . . and society inscribes on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!

This vision, seen by Marx in 1875 implies a radical change in human nature. But how is it to be brought about? Marxism gives a paradoxical answer. For the change in human nature is seen both as a consequence and as a condition of the alternation of the economic basis of society.

On the one hand there is the original determinist tradition of Marx’ historical materialism: on this showing, man is conditioned by his social environment and the new society will produce the new man as the old produced the old. On the other hand, as Lenin clearly saw, the new society presupposes the new man, who must therefore, it would seem, be created artificially. The apparatus of Communist-controlled education and thought control has this creation as its ultimate ostensible purpose. But the very existence of the apparatus for mass indoctrination and thought control has involved a substantial shift in Marxist theory; for it implies that the Communist leaders in the Soviet Union, China, and all over the world attribute great importance to the influence of ideas and ideology in the life of man.

The shift in theory involved new emphasis on religious, political and social ideologies — or (as Marx called them) “forms of consciousness.” All such ideas, according to Marx were part of the “superstructure” of society which in turn was determined by the “base” consisting of economic relationships. “The economic structure of society”, wrote Marx in the Preface to the Critique of Political Economy, “is the real foundation on which legal and political superstructures arise and to which definite forms of social consciousness correspond. The mode of production of material life conditions the general character of the social, political and spiritual process of life”.

It was Lenin who discovered that political activity involves the use of ideology and that, consequently, the superstructure is not necessarily of secondary importance in the Marxist scheme of historical materialism. In 1917, shortly before the Bolshevik seizure of power, Lenin wrote:

“Ideas become a force when they get hold of the masses. And particularly now, when the Bolsheviks . . . have embodied in their policy the ideas which move the innumerable toiling masses in the whole world.”

These remarks by Lenin, suggesting a definite positive role for ideas were given a new twist by Stalin who distinguished between old social ideas “which hamper the development, the progress of society” and the new “advanced” ideas which “facilitate the development, the progress of society”. These new ideas according to Stalin become a most potent force which facilitates the carrying out of the new tasks set by the development of the material life of society, a force which facilitates the progress of society. It is precisely here that the tremendous organizing, mobilizing and transforming value of new ideas, new theories, new political views and new political institutions manifests itself.

“Organizing, mobilizing and transforming”: this description (which Stalin repeated several times) of the role of the superstructure represented a considerable departure from the original spirit of Marxism. It is not surprising that the only test from Marx which Stalin found to support it was the familiar Obiter dictum:

“Theory becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses.”

No significant revision of the theory of base and superstructure has taken place since these statements: in spite of all the developments in other fields since Stalin’s death. [Written in 1967.] They continue to provide the basis for the official line on the subject. The crucial part played by religion, political ideologies, literature, Press and such academic disciplines as philosophy, economics and history in what the official Soviet Short Philosophical Dictionary (1955) describes as “the struggle with survivals of Capitalism in the minds of men” is seen especially in the countries that have recently fallen under Communist domination. North Vietnam and Cuba provide examples of societies in which control of thought is the most important objective of the Communist leaders. They realize that in the long run they will not succeed unless they “educate the toiling masses in the spirit of Communism.” In plain language this means the most vigorous mobilization not only of manpower and natural resources but of thought itself.

2. The use of subversive techniques in the moulding of Communist mentality.

Certain techniques have been perfected by Marxist-Leninists to win over men’s minds and, in Communist jargon, conquer the masses.

These techniques involve the utilization of
a) man’s fundamental instincts and
b) of conditioned reflexes.

(a) The utilization of instincts.

As materialistic psychologists see the human spirit merely as a product of matter, they approach the problem of the conquest of the masses on the physiological and neurological level. Hence, they reduce the ‘psychic’ motivations of man to three fundamental instincts — or “pulsations” — the aggressive, the nutritive, and the parental. Communist indoctrination and thought control at all levels and in all situations will thus aim first and foremost at rousing these “pulsations” and making them operate as desired in order to remold man’s will and total personality.

The aggressive “pulsation”, an interest towards domination, must be roused by confronting the masses with the real or alleged injustices which scandalize them to the depths of their conscience. Hence, according to circumstances it will be the “reactionaries”, foreigners, whites, the Army or the Church which will be accused of the most abominable crimes. The aggressive instinct will then operate in support of “justice” — that is, in a manner hostile to the institution which is to be destroyed.

The nutritive “pulsation” is no less violent. It is bound up with the instinct of self-preservation. Propaganda and advertising can appeal to it. The Communist slogan at the French General Elections of 1936 which elected the Popular Front Government, was summed up in three words: “Bread, Peace, Liberty.” The first word struck home at the psychology of the appetites. Every time passers-by saw the word “Bread” on the boardings or every time the crowds chanted the slogan, something of a pleasure of eating, a kind of subconscious anticipation of the attraction of food was organically identified with support of the Communist election program.

Finally, the Communists utilize the parental “pulsation”. This is concerned with the instinct for the preservation of the species which is more precociously developed in women than in men. “Peace” propaganda in the Marxist sense is often associated with posters depicting children beside the corpses of their parents who have been killed in bombing raids.

(b) The Utilization of conditioned reflexes.

This may, of itself, not be contrary to human dignity. The teaching of the multiplication table or of piano finger exercises for example, results from the conditioning of the reflexes. The characteristic of subversive technique is not the utilization of conditioned reflexes but making them operate against nature.

This is the fundamental aim of Marxist-Leninist method. It consists in acting on men’s bodies and appetites to obtain a conditioning of thought which prevents the force of truth from working on the intelligence.

The experience of the American POW’s in Korea, [in the war of 1950-1953,] and the success of the Communist “Peace” movement and other “front” organizations in many uncommitted countries are examples of whole groups that have been thus conditioned. They have, at one time or another, registered an immediate and quasi-automatic equivalence between religion and exploitation, Communism and peace, conflicts and progress.

The essential element of the psychological aggression which is being forever waged against our societies resides in the process by which Communism substitutes, in place of the logic of intelligence and knowledge, an artificial logic which is conducive to mental attitudes that lead the indoctrinated to adopt the appropriate Communist reaction to all problems as they arise.

An anecdote which is utilized by the most classical Communist teaching makes it possible to understand how Marxist-Leninist technique operates on men’s passions and appetites almost inescapably for the furtherance of error and deceit.

The following problem is set in Communist training schools as an exercise: “How can one succeed in making a cat eat pepper?” The first answer is to hold the cat’s mouth open by force. The answer is wrong — for the acquiescence of the cat is lacking. The second answer is to hide the pepper in a fish. This is also wrong, for the cat will spit out the fish when it discovers the pepper.

The Marxist-Leninist reply is as follows; one must scatter the pepper on the cat’s usual rug. When the cat lies on the pepper to sleep it will be made uncomfortable and burned, and as a result will begin licking itself to alleviate the burning.

The result thus achieved is that:

(1) the cat eats
(2) of its own free will
(3) (which has been completely conditioned)
(4) the pepper which it detests in the natural course of things.

The cat has not seen or felt in any way that some outside will was impelling it to an act contrary to its nature. So it performs that act spontaneously and naturally — when it has been conditioned.

This example is profoundly significant. The fact that it concerns an animal is perfectly in pattern, for the psycho-social action of Communism introduces a new logic of behavior not at the intellectual level but at the physiological level of the nervous circuits.

In the same way (once they are conditioned) a Catholic will oppose the Pope, the Bishops and the unity of the Church because of his Catholicism; citizens will oppose the common good of their country from a sense of citizenship; militant labour unionists will oppose social reforms from a desire of social progress.

And thus we see Christians who habitually defend the actions of persecutors of the Church; prisoners of war who believe that for patriotic reasons they should denounce their country as “imperialist aggressor”; workers who habitually support the systematic aggravation of social conflicts and men who in the name of social justice refuse to reveal or seek to conceal the existence of a slave world in the USSR or the ‘Peoples’ Republic’ of China. And so “the cat eats the pepper” and the Communist psychological warfare wins battle after battle without the losers being aware of the fact.

The psycho-social action of Communism operates either at the individual level (brain washing) or at the collective level (propaganda, utilization of “pulsations”, disintegration of enemy morale). It employs terror, threats, promises, but only as a powerful auxiliary element and not as the main constituent of its method. We have not yet realized the true nature of Communism if we blind ourselves to the classical methods of psycho-social strategy which it uses.

3. Susceptibility to Communism.

Not all the people exposed to Communist thought control are equally susceptible to the ideology of Marxism-Leninism or become collaborators and fellow travelers. When we speak of susceptibility in this context we do not necessarily mean complete acceptance and espousal of Communism. To serve the world Communist movement a person need not be a member of the Party. A “fellow traveller” in the ranks of a democratic political party or a labour union, a prisoner of war who broadcasts peace appeals to his country or a college student who joins an organization that pledges itself to promote unconditional nuclear disarmament by the United States — are performing vital duties in the furtherance of the Communist cause without necessarily embracing the doctrines of Communism.

In many situations amongst the people who, over a period of time, are exposed to the same kind of thought-conditioning, some become militant collaborators or even Party members while others successfully resist the appeals of Communism.

Why is it for example that the Polish and Hungarian writers and intellectuals were in the forefront of revolt that swept Eastern Europe in 1956?

Why did Boris Pasternak write Dr. Zhivago?

It could be argued that these intellectuals would become corrupted by the insidious methods which the Communist masters of Poland, Hungary, and Russia have used to capture the minds of the people. Yet, the writers, the journalists, the scholars resisted and maintained their critical faculties intact and ready to challenge Communism.

Similarly, why did none of the Turkish and only an insignificant proportion of the British, the American Marine Corps and Air Force POW’s collaborate with their captors in Korea while one of every three members of the United States Army was guilty of some sort of collaboration?

And yet the treatment afforded to all groups of prisoners in Korea was about equal and the horrible conditions under which they lived did not differ substantially from one camp to another.

In our search for factors that explain why some people can successfully resist the onslaught of their mind while others surrender, and allow their personality to be moulded according to the needs of the Party or even voluntarily espouse Communism — we must turn to psycho-social characteristics that account for the different levels and types of susceptibility.

The example of the intellectuals in Eastern Europe suggests that a conscious rejection of Marxism-Leninism as a scientific method is a key to successful resistance. One of the positive features of Communist policy in Eastern Europe under Communist rule has been that, since 1945, opportunities of education for children of workers and peasants have been greatly extended in comparison with the pre-war regimes. The Communists hoped that this new intellectual elite, of worker and peasant origin, would be a strong support for their regime, would act as the brains of the totalitarian system. But their hopes were disappointed. The workers’ and peasants’ children made good use of their education and thought for themselves. In spite of a powerful apparatus that was set up to indoctrinate them, they were not deceived by official hypocrisy, they rebelled against the crushing of critical thought, the disarrangement of their national cultures and the abject adulation of all things Soviet. They rejected the new regime and became the most active element in resistance of it.

In Russia, Pasternak, perhaps the most important literary figure to emerge during soviet rule, succeeded in preserving his integrity, independence, and reputation even during the worst periods of Stalinist rule. And when he was finally forced to renounce the Nobel Prize he had the courage to say this in an interview with the British newspaper Daily Mail on October 24, 1958: “Actually the demands of the hierarchy are very slight. There is only one thing they really want. You should hate what you like and love what you abhor.”

The experience of the American POW’s in Korea points to the sociological factors at work. The units of the Army that had relatively large number of collaborators in their midst and those that suffered considerable losses through illness and death, were the ones where there was little or no semblance of internal discipline and solidarity. These included the very young, many relatively new recruits, the under-trained, and probably found among them would be those who had little or no solid value or religious orientation. The Communists of course, encourage the chaos and the quarrels among the wounded, the sick, the naive, the ill-formed, and the ideologically unstable. The breakdown of discipline and the disintegration of social controls in whole units enabled them to single out the men who lost all self respect and were therefore ready to be moulded to the design of their captors. By contrast those who successfully resisted, like the Marines and the Air Force prisoners, together with the Turkish and the British soldiers, were not only better prepared to exist without the daily comforts to which an average American infantryman had become accustomed. As the subsequent investigations revealed these prisoners never ceased to think of themselves as members of a military organization. Although their actual units might have disintegrated they continued to act as if the social controls of their battalions, companies and squadrons were maintained. Because their chain of command and discipline remained unbroken — they were able to present a completely united front to pressure of indoctrination.

Conclusion.

The foregoing analysis of Communist thought control has barely touched on two important types of susceptability to Communism, namely the neurotic and the ideological types. It is not denied here that the feelings of confusion, disturbances of personal relationships occurring in conjunction with certain moral and intellectual patterns, as much as real or perceived ideological interests, may account for the decision to espouse the cause of Communism. These types of susceptability are important in situations other than the ones discussed in this paper. Both the neurotic and the ideological susceptability have to be taken into account in an analysis of membership of the Communist Party in say, Italy or France. These factors, however, play a lesser part in the situations of stress experienced by an individual who is physically present in a communist country.

The aim of the Communists to remould not only the intellectual outlook but the total personality is, however, identical on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

Bibliography.

Almond, Gabriel, The Appeals of Communism, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 1954.
Conquest Robert, Courage of Genius: The Pasternak Affair, London, Collins, 1961.
Kinkead, Eugene, Why They Collaborated, London, Longmans, 1960.
Marks, K. and Engels, F., Selected Works, London, Lawrence and Wishart, 1950.
Meyer, Frank S., The Moulding of Communists, New York, Harcourt, Brace, and Co., 1961.
Milosz, Czeslaw, The Captive Mind, New York, Knopf, 1953.
Sargant, William, Battle of the Mind, London, Penguin Books, 1962.
Hunter, E., Brainwashing in Red China, Vanguard Press, New York.
Lifton, Robert, J., Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism, Gollancz.
Brown, J. A. C., Techniques of Persuasion, Penguin Books.

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“Conciliar or Catholic”

“Conciliar or Catholic”
by Fr. Gomer de Pauw

Professor of Theology and Doctor of Canon Law
A Lecture given in Chicago, 1967

Ladies and gentlemen,

Two years ago, I had the privilege of speaking in your fair city for the first time and I had the privilege of addressing the Catholic people on the topic: “What in the name of God is happening to our Catholic Church?” And a year ago, I came back and I spoke on the topic: “How much more do we have to expect and do we have to take?” Today I am no longer asking, “What in the name of the God is happening to our Catholic Church,” because it is clear to anyone by now what’s happening to our Catholic Church.  Neither am I asking anymore how much more do we have to take, how much more do we have to expect…because there isn’t much more to expect since the destruction of our Catholic Church, humanly speaking, is just about accomplished.

Today my topic is: “Are we going to become conciliar church members or are we going to remain Catholic Church members?” This is the problem which every Catholic has to solve today: Conciliar or Catholic.

Conciliar is a name I did not invent. It is a name which they gave themselves. One of their active tools of brain-washing is the regular publication sent mainly to priests and nuns. I must admit that the editors of that brain-washing sheet at least have the decency not to refer to themselves anymore as Catholics. They call it information from the “Conciliar Church.”

This is what we have to decide today: Conciliar or Catholic. And since the establishment of our once Catholic Church has banned me from exercising my chosen career, or my appointed career I should say, of the priest professor (they say there is no room anymore in any so-called Catholic seminary for a conservative theologian and Canon Lawyer as I am), I still try to keep in the practice of teaching. Maybe someday there will be room for people such as I.

So I’m going to bother you this afternoon with a little lecture in Church history – just a matter of keeping up the practice. But the main reason why I would like to ask you to go back down a few centuries is simply this: You cannot understand the Church of today, and you certainly cannot brace yourself properly for the Church of tomorrow, unless you really are acquainted with the Church of yesterday.  So as briefly as I can – but once I am going, and I do get going – I usually take full advantage of my captive audience, as the cliché goes.  At the same time, I feel there are some people here who have to catch a train, so don’t feel hesitant about it.  If you really feel that train is calling you, just walk out…and if there are a few spies in the audience – as there always are – maybe they can write about them next week in the Catholic paper that some people walked out in protest.

So these points I would like to go over with you, ladies and gentlemen: the Church yesterday, the Church today, and the Church tomorrow.

Now the Church yesterday. We traditionalist Catholics, we still believe – and proudly so – that we are the only Church that can trace its origin as far back as Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Incarnate Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the only person ever to walk this earth who could say: “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.” We also believe that He founded one, true Church.  We believe that this mandate still holds true today – the mandate that sounded “Go ye into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized is saved.  But he that does not believe shall be condemned.” Almost sounds like extremist, radical language, doesn’t it?

Before ascending into Heaven, after His Resurrection, which we Catholic traditionalists also still believe, He left His Church here on earth.  He left it to be guided by the Holy Ghost, but also to be attacked by the UN-holy spirit, the spirit of wickedness, until the final day of reckoning.  All through the history of our Church, generation after generation had to decide the simple action, the simple dilemma – simple but agonizingly acute: for Christ or against Christ?  And so to close the door once and for all for all the neutralizers of the “middle of the road,” Christ made it clear that “he who is not with Me, is against Me.” And He also made it clear that those who are with Him will have Him on their side forever: “I am with you till the end of time.” And words of Our Lord, they are still echoing through Palestine. Then St. Paul was nearly the first one to put out an official God-inspired warning against the infiltrators that were already there in the ranks of the early Christians, when he wrote the Ephesians: “Brethren, be strengthened in the Lord and the might of his power. Put you on the armor of God that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil. For our fight,” he continues, “is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.” And so that no one would make an appeal to a misunderstood law of obedience and listen to those who are sitting in the high chair of authority, St. Paul gave us an excellent, an extremely valuable guideline to go by, when he wrote to the Galatians: “Even if an angel from heaven should preach a gospel to you other than that which we have preached to you, let him be damned.”

Then the next stage in our history that carries some worthwhile implications for our present-day, were the centuries of the persecutions – the bloody persecutions from without. They ended when the Emperor Constantine gave the world what became known as the Edict of Milan, when the enemy from without was beaten and beaten good.  But the enemy from within was not.

And then came the 4th century to bring us the first truly organized heretical schism in our Church, named after the bishop Arius. Arianism, of which the central, practical idea must sound quite familiar to you today, because basically what they were saying is this: that Christ is not our God, but our brother; that the Church and the world should not fight each other; that the Church should open its arms and live happily forever with the powers that be of the world. And the politicians of those days joined the powers that were in the Church. And so we have the spectacle of the first attempt, which would later on be known as “aggiornamento.” Eighty percent of the bishops became apostates and the other twenty percent didn’t want to rock the boat. But now St. Jerome wrote later on: “One morning, the Christian world woke up and it was all heretical and schismatic. It was all Arian.”  And the pope in those days, by the name of Pope Liberius, first kept quiet, tried to reconcile things that could not be reconciled – Truth and Error, Water and Fire.  And then for about three years he even joined the apostate bishops and closed his eyes, his heart and his conscience, when the sole, lonely voice of a bishop – a man named Athanasius – stood alone and fought the powers of the establishment of his days.

And it was the laity of the 4th century, the ordinary, so-called layman and laywoman, together with a few priests, that saved the true traditional Catholic faith.  And three years later, after three years of agony for all those Traditional Catholics of those days, Pope Liberius changed his course of action and joined whatever was left of the true traditional Christian views. The Traditional Catholic Faith had been kept alive, through sacrifice and through persecution, by a handful of Catholic laypeople and even a smaller handful of priests.  And it is quite interesting that in the long list of popes, beginning with St. Peter, you can start right there: St. Peter, St. Linus, St. Cletus…saint, saint, saint, saint.  Until all of a sudden you hit Liberius. And there is no “S.” in front of his name – the first pope who didn’t make it on the list, he didn’t make it to the list of canonized popes. And it is also quite interesting that the one who was excommunicated by Pope Liberius – Athanasius – is now Saint Athanasius, Doctor of the Church.  I’ve heard of nice Horatio Alger, but from excommunication to sainthood – that beats it all in my book.

What is the conclusion of this, ladies and gentlemen? The conclusion is an extremely practical one. That even a pope and bishops lose their spiritual authority when they cut themselves off from the teachings of their predecessors.

And then came the 7th century, and again, we have an extremely interesting situation which I believe, at least in my days, was always very carefully kept hidden in the church history books, even up to college.  But obviously they didn’t hide it during the three years, of a post-graduate church history course which I took 20 years ago and what was then the Catholic University of Louvain (later on I also ended up in what was then the public university of America in Washington, D.C.).  Now the 7th century had the first temporary schism between the eastern and the western church.  So in the 7th century the heresy, which basically had to do with the divinity of Christ, brought us another pope by the name of Honorius, who was pope from 625 to 638.  And I’ll come back to that later because the schism didn’t go too far, but 40 years later, Pope Honorius I, was solemnly anathematized by the 6th Ecumenical Council of Constantinople – unbelievable – anathematizing that person. That’s the other equivalent of a canonization. And the reason was because Pope Honorius I kept quiet when he should have spoken. He himself, the historians tell us, was not at all a heretic. He knew where the truth was, but he did nothing to stop the heretics who were destroying the church.  Again I guess you guessed it. Pope Honorius I never got an “S.” before his name.

In the 11th century we really have the first big schism – the Eastern Schism, which basically came down to this: is the Pope in Rome the supreme pontiff, with authority over all Catholics (Bishops and Cardinals and Patriarchs included), or is he some chairman of the board, the first among equals? And in those days, the Popes stood up – not for their own personal rights, or for their own personal privileges, but for the Papacy. And he told the Eastern Patriarchs that if they did not want to recognize the Pope of Rome as the Supreme Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ, the one person with authority over all Catholics, that there was no room for them in the Catholic Church. And there was only one way out. In those days, Popes were not going to sell out their authority.

And then in the 16th century, we have the “Protestant Reformation,” of which they are celebrating – and it is still going on – the 450th Anniversary. The Protestant Reformation started by attacking the heart of the Catholic religion – the Liturgy. It was Cardinal Neumann who once wrote, “If you want to destroy the liturgy, destroy its central liturgy.” And so that you won’t think that I am giving you a biased version of the history of those days, I’ll read from a magazine which is usually not too favorably inclined to what I am doing – TIME magazine. But I understand that they gave an excellent description of what happened during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.  And you just try to compare that to what’s happening today. I’m reading here from one of my favorite magazines – TIME. At least they spelled my name right.

“Luther tried to put into effect a spiritual reform that became the model for much of Germany.  He started by revising the Latin liturgy, and translated it into German, allowing the laity to receive the consecrated wine as well as the host, substituting a new, popular and vernacular type of religious songs for the traditional Latin Gregorian chant. And Christian worship changed from the celebration of the sacrificial Mass to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. The sacraments were reduced from seven to two – Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Meanwhile the revolt against Rome spread in town after town. Priests removed statues from the churches, and abandoned the Mass. Clerical celibacy was also abandoned, and in 1525 Luther married a former nun, Catherine Vembola.” They don’t say what kind of uniform she was wearing at the time.  Since there are some good Sisters in the audience, I won’t say anything more about the uniforms, because believe it or not, ladies and gentlemen, there are even Sisters walking around even today in the new Greek uniform who detest it as much as you do. And it’s a big sacrifice for them to give up the traditional uniform that was so expressive of their dedication to the Church. So let’s not all condemn them. Maybe someday they’ll be still having the heart, might still prevail.

Then later when an investigating committee reported to Edward VI that 90% of the English people were still clinging to the Catholic Faith of their Fathers, and they were still hoping that the old Catholic religion would be restored – it is then that King Edward VI decided to abolish the Mass.  And then we have the famous decision of the King’s “Reformation Commission” of 1547.  And that is the decree, ladies and gentlemen, where the tables that are now disgracing our sanctuaries originated. Oh, yes, now your new Greek clergymen, they tell you that that was all authored by the “Constitution on the Liturgy” in the Second Vatican Council. Now, believe it or not, if I may just say that, as I was an advisor, an attendant at the Second Vatican Council sessions, maybe I know a little more about it than your new Greek clergy in the parishes that are now trying to contradict me. And while I’m not exactly a Rockefeller at this moment, I’ll give them any nickel I still have left if they can show me WHERE in the Constitution on the Liturgy it says that our altars must be replaced with tables. It doesn’t say so in the Constitution on the Liturgy, the Constitution that passed in 1962.  But it says it in 1547 all right – yes!

“All altars in every church or chapel must be taken down, and instead of them a table must be set up to move the people from the superstitions of the popish Mass and to the right use of the Lord’s Supper.  The use of an altar is to sacrifice upon; and the use of a table is to eat upon. Altars were erected for the sacrifice, which, being now ceased, the form of an altar must cease together with it.”  And that still didn’t go over too well with the good believing people in Great Britain, and 5 years later, in 1552, it was necessary to enforce – and literally do so – the second act of the uniformity, “so that the sinful people may form from the old superstition of the Sacrifice of the Mass to the right use of the Lord’s Supper, all altars shall be replaced with tables.  The presiding minister must stand, not as in the old Mass with his back to the congregation, but facing the congregation so that the people can see. The use of all English text must also be imposed for the same reason – to emphasize the change in the view taken of the Sacrifice.” And all Catholic bishops but one, went down the drain and sold out their responsibility and their beliefs – except one. And that’s the only one whose name we still remember – Saint John Fisher.

And then came Modernism in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It all started – oh, all these things start in Europe. That’s why even today, the desecration of your churches, ladies and gentlemen, wasn’t born in an American dream. That was born in the evil brain of modernistic, unbelieving theologians in Western Europe. I should know; I studied with some of them.

Modernism started in 1816 with an apostate French priest named Lammenais. And here we have the second attempt to “aggiornamento.” Again the same chestnut they’re now selling in our churches: the Church should stop fighting the world, update itself, and get involved with the world.  There were no bigots or riots in those days, otherwise Lammenais would have been there.  In 1834 he was honest enough to make it public that he was no longer believing in the Mass and consequently was no longer going through the motions. That brought him immediate support from some interesting friends – the Freemasons, who supported him quite comfortably and made sure that he was in a position to gather around him a lot of young clergymen who would be very comfortably kept and very well trained to wait for the day of the open-attack on the Church.

One of his quotations, which sounds as if it were taken out of a modern-day Catholic newspaper, is: “The highest virtue today is not faith; it doesn’t matter what you believe. Just love.”  – 1834.

Another statement: “All religions are basically the same, so let’s all get together and form a one-world religion.” – 1834.

And Rome really worked slowly, but there comes a time when the Pope gets fed up with things.

And in 1864, on December 8th, Pius IX came up with an encyclical and a Syllabus of Errors, condemning modernism and every form for all time to come! But the modernists did not leave the Church while some like Luther had the decency to quit and leave the Church, and make it clear that he wanted nothing to do with the Catholic Church. Yet the Modernists (as a whole) didn’t have that basic honesty. They were condemned as severely as any heresy ever was – but they didn’t leave the Church. They stayed right behind the lines, waiting for an opening to attack the modern Church from within.  And that is why seven years after this solemn condemnation, Pius IX still had to say: “The real scourge of our Church is not the one who uses violence and bodily persecution to do the devil’s work on earth. The real scourge of our Church is the liberal Catholic.”  Seven years later, Pius IX died and was succeeded by – what would be described by today’s terms – “Liberal Pope Leo XIII.” As an act of charity we will bypass his pontificate as far as doctrine is concerned, although the man should be remembered as one of the popes who gave us excellent documents in social doctrine, as you know particularly his “Rerum Novarum.” But maybe he was a little too much interested in the social aspect of things, and maybe that explains why under his pontificate the Modernists solidified their positions at an alarming rate.

When Pope Leo XIII died in 1903, the man was 93 years old. You can figure out yourselves how easy it is to abuse an old man who is in his late eighties and early nineties.  And when he died, the evil spirit behind the throne of Leo XIII was Cardinal Rampolla. History clearly states that man’s strange connections with anything but religious interests.  That man was elected pope, mind you, but God uses strange ways to keep his church on the right track. In 1903 Christ stepped in to block the election of Rampolla to become successor of Peter. And the means, the instrument God used to block the election was, believe it or not, the Emperor of Austria, who still had somewhere an old legal privilege – the “veto” privilege – to veto the election of any pope. And the good Commission of Catholic Cardinals, left with no other human means to block the election of this ungodly Cardinal, the good cardinals appealed to the secular power to block the election, and the Emperor of Austria used his veto power to veto that election. The cardinals elected another pope and obviously the Holy Ghost, who must have been relieved after having been heading in the direction of Rampolla, made sure that He took over this time in the election. And an unknown cardinal was elected – a cardinal by the name of Sarto, who became somewhat better known later on as Saint Pius X.  It was he, who in 1907, solemnly and even more strongly, condemned Modernism in terms which our present-day Catholic press tries to ignore and tries to deny.

The Modernists again did not leave the Church – oh no, they stayed right in! – and joined the same forces they joined before. Freemasonry within the Catholic Church was the vehicle to undermine the Church from within. And then the next new movement to hit the scene to come on the scene was communism in 1914 St. Pius X died and World War I just started. He died 16 days after the beginning of World War 1.

In 1917 – exactly 50 years ago, as you know – the Communist Revolution took place. In 1917, something maybe of even greater importance took place – the Blessed Mother of God appeared in Fatima. All in the same year. And Communism, joined with modern techniques and modern money and to all the traditionally used tactics of the devil, started to work for his goal of world domination.  And the Christians of all denominations – Catholics as well as Protestants – slept while the enemy was not at all sleeping.

In 1931, the Lenin school of political warfare sent out its secret instructions to its elite of workers, making it clear that in 20 or 30 years – now 31 – that would make it 1961+. Within about 30 years the day would come, that international Communism would gradually take over the entire world.  Communism couldn’t do that unless it destroyed religion, and it started to work immediately on our best Protestant denominations, which, with the help of Freemasonry, were infiltrated to the bone. I have been warned not to say that in public, if I know what’s good for me. And that’s why I’m saying it again.

When in 1933, Hitler took over in Germany, Communism found a good excuse to gain respectability.  Anyone who was against Hitler at the time was supposed to be “respectable.”  Well there were a few fools like I was who believed that both Nazism and Communism were just two diseases, and we tried to fight both at the same time.  But in 1933, it became evident that the Protestant denominations had been very successfully infiltrated, but that the Roman Catholic Church was still standing there alone as the big opponent of international communistic atheism.  And it is in 1933, that Moscow ordered the infiltration of the Catholic Church because, since the priests did not become communists, communists would now become priests. And the instructions left no doubt that some of the most promising young men in communist ranks would be sent to our seminaries to go through all the motions of training for the priesthood and be ordained and try to get up as high as they could in the Catholic Church. This was in 1933, and by the law of average, some of them should have succeeded quite well by now. When those directives reached the Vatican, which at that time had an excellent detection service (it’s not so good these day, they tell me), when Pius XI became aware of this infiltration of atheistic communism, he composed personally (he didn’t use ghost writers – he personally composed this encyclical) Divini Redemptoris, in which he condemned Communism once and for all as intrinsically evil and warned the Catholic bishops of the world against infiltrators of the Church. But all the bishops sort of smiled and told the man in Rome he was getting a little hysterical.

Then came World War II, and Communism became a world power with infiltration its greatest weapon. Still quite successfully, the subversive forces continued to work to bring Catholicism down to the lowest level of the Protestant Reformation, and to bring the Protestant “reformed” churches down to the lowest level of the DE-formation, where we have now Christian theologians advocating a “God is dead” theology. And, by undermining all Christian denominations, hoped to create an emptiness in which atheistic Communism would nicely step in someday, as the old gentleman Khrushchev told us point-blank when we were dumb enough to be his host here in the United States: “Total unremitting warfare until the complete rule and every soul is controlled completely by the force known as Communism remains our goal today. Whether you like it or not, history is on our side,” he said. “We will bury you.”

Well they had the numbers to say that before, but just to show that we know what we are talking about, ladies and gentlemen. And again, when Pope Pius XII occupied the Chair of St. Peter – the Pope who was maybe one of the best informed Supreme Pontiffs ever to rule over our Church – he knew that the first attack, the first frontal attack, against the Catholic Church would be directed at the liturgy of the Mass. It was in 1947 already that Pope Pius XII warned the bishops against the fanatics of the liturgical and theological left who were already then beginning to agitate for some of the liturgical abuses and monstrosities which are now hailed as great accomplishments of the “revitalized liturgy,” but which the saintly Pope in his encyclical Mediator Dei called “insidious and very damaging extremes.”

“Wicked innovations they are preparing,” he warned the bishops. “Poisonous fruits,” he called them. And the advocates of that so-called “Liturgical Renewal” were condemned already then as “Men leaving the path of sound doctrine. Men who claim to promote the liturgical renaissance, but in reality contaminate the liturgy with errors regarding the Catholic doctrine.” I’m still quoting the saintly Pius XII: “Men,” he warned, “who propose wicked innovations and are WRONG in appealing to the social nature of the Holy Eucharist. Men who are unsound Catholics, who want to revive customs long eliminated as abuses. Men who want to falsify the people with new ways of doing things – new ways that are like poisoned fruits or like infected branches on a healthy tree.”

“Infected branches,” he calls them, “that should be cut off.” And knowing how these, already in 1947, were preparing their first counter-attack on the Latin language in the Church (because it was a symbol of our universality with Catholics all over the world and it was our symbol of our link with Rome), knowing that their first attack would be as Luther’s attack was, against the Latin language of the Church, Pope Pius XII told the bishops then: KEEP YOUR COTTON-PICKING FINGERS OFF THE LATIN!  He didn’t use those words really, but this is what he said: “Use of Latin must continue in our Church because it is a clear and beautiful sign of unity, and more importantly, an effective remedy against corruptions of true doctrine.” And also knowing that the next attack would be against the altars to have them replaced with the monstrosities of ironing boards and tables, in 1947 already – some people think half of these things were happening overnight – it wasn’t happening overnight! These Modernists have prepared this for years and years! In 1947, Pius XII told the bishops to keep the altars in the churches because “he wanders from the right path who wishes to restore to the altar the ancient form of the table.”

And then came 1962, with Pope John XXIII occupying the Chair of Peter. “Good Pope John.”  Never has the church known a Pope who was more traditional in his doctrine and in his liturgical outlook than the good Pope John XXIII, who is now being abused to justify the monstrosities which he detested and which he never authorized. Because when good Pope John XXIII convoked the Ecumenical Council for October 11, he was told by some of his advisors that he made a mistake in convoking a council which would not be a “happy meeting of a couple of weeks” where bishops from all parts of the world would get together and change a few niceties and then jointly make a declaration to the world that the Catholic Church, unchanged in its fundamental doctrines, was now willing to make a few adaptations in some non-essential, external things. When he was told, for instance, that the first attack of the Modernists would be against the traditional Latin liturgy, Pope John XXIII, who took responsibility when there was need for it, convoked all the Cardinals living in Rome and all those within reasonable traveling distance, and ordered them to come to Rome on February 22nd of 1962 – eight months before the opening of the Vatican Council. And most solemnly, personally leaving the Vatican to go and stand on top of the grave of St. Peter in Rome with all the Cardinals standing next to him and a score of bishops right underneath him, Pope John, in the form of an apostolic constitution, which is the highest form of papal intervention next to an infallible dogmatic definition, declared that there was nothing – no council or no bishop – that could touch the traditional Latin liturgy. He came out and on February 22nd, the Feast of St. Peter’s Chair (he selected just for that) with the constitution “Vitrum Sapientia,” made it clear that this wasn’t just a quick talk from the pope.

“In the full awareness of Our office and of Our authority, We decree and order ad Perpetuam Rei memoriam – in perpetuity,” he said. “We will and command that this Our constitution remain firmly established and ratified notwithstanding anything to the contrary…” And that constitution said that Latin had to stay in the liturgy and that the bishops had the obligation to see to it that no one under their authority works for the elimination of the Latin from either the liturgy or the studies for the priesthood in our seminaries. That was 8 months before the Vatican Council opened. And the Pope made it clear that this was ad Perpetuam Rei memoriam “for all perpetuity, this must remain in the fullness of Our authority We make this decision,” he said. And he made it quite clear why:  “A universal religion needs a universal language.”

And it was in that year, 1962, that a schismatic heretical, Conciliar sect of the Church in the United States of America was born. Why? Because regardless of the clear, solemn oath of Pope John XXIII, the majority of our American bishops refused to obey. I should know because I was there on the faculty at the time. And I had instructions from our Bishop in Baltimore NOT to implement the constitution from Rome. That’s when I resigned.

And it is that day that the majority of our bishops automatically excommunicated themselves from our Roman Catholic Church! Now they try to threaten me with excommunication. I would consider it a high honor to be illegally excommunicated by men who were excommunicated 5 years ago. Why? Because the instruction they sent out to people such as I was: “Pay no attention to that old…” – I won’t quote what they called good, old Pope John. “Pay no attention. We will wait until the council convenes and we will get rid of that Latin liturgy fast.  So just wait.”

Now, ladies and gentlemen, we are still living in a Church that believes in its Code of Canon Law. And, if you believe Pope Paul VI, and we still do, than Canon 2,332 of our Code of Canon Law makes it so clear.

“Each and everyone, of whatsoever position or rank, whether king, bishop or cardinal, who appeals from the laws, decrees or mandates of the reigning Roman pontiff to an ecumenical council is suspected of heresy and incurs automatic excommunication.” And the following Canon: “Persons who directly or indirectly prevent the implementation of acts issued by the Apostolic See incur automatic excommunication.”  – Canon 2,333. And you don’t have to be a Doctor of Canon Law to understand that language.

1962 was the first step in the establishment of the schismatic, heretical, Conciliar sect which is now posing as the Catholic Church establishment in the United States. Because now we are faced with Conciliarism. Pope John XXIII convoked his Vatican Council – and ladies and gentlemen, let no one tell you that I personally, or the Traditional Catholic movement, are fighting the decisions of the Ecumenical Council. Oh no, we are not!  No Catholic could! What we are fighting today are the false interpretations of the Second Vatican Council and it is high time for the present Holy Father to declare that the Vatican Council was BIG MISTAKE, and that it is now completely eradicated from the record. He could do it!  He is the pope! And it isn’t just to the credit of Pope John XXIII, because it is much more to the credit of the Holy Ghost, that John XXIII made it crystal clear from the very beginning when he convoked that council. And I should know; I heard him say it! Yes, he said it in Latin, but I still understand a little Latin. He made it clear that, unlike all previous Ecumenical Councils, the Second Vatican Council was to be, not a Doctrinal Council, but a pastoral one, leaving the door open for any subsequent pope to just say “BUSTA!!”

When it became clear that the Second Vatican Council was heading, humanly speaking, for destruction, God stepped in and closed the Vatican Council. When I returned to the United States after the first session, I told my friends I had seen Pope John the day before I left Rome. I said, “That pope will not open any other sessions; that man is dying.” For once my predictions came true, though I have made a few others which have also come true incidentally.

But the man died – an act of God ended the Second Vatican Council, which had at that time, not made any decisions, any decrees whatsoever. The first session in 1962 ended, and no second session came because Pope John died. Now with the existing law of our Church, an Ecumenical Council is automatically ended when the reigning Supreme Pontiff dies.  An act of God closed the Ecumenical Council. And many a church observer was hoping that, when the new pope was elected, he would not re-open the council which had been closed by an outspoken, unmistakably clear act of God. But after listening to some of his advisors, Pope Paul VI did not convoke a Third Vatican Council, which would have been more in line with the traditions, but he RE-opened the Second Vatican Council which had been closed. And I was not the only one to be a little bit uncomfortable when witnessing within a month or two: a Council closed by an act of God, re-opened by an act of Man.

But nevertheless, when the final session closed of the Second Vatican Council, every decision and every decree that officially was promulgated by it contained nothing but the traditional, sound doctrine of our Church. Oh, yes, I had heard proposals there you wouldn’t believe.  Bishops proposing there, as acceptable Catholic doctrine, HERESIES – dogmatic and moral heresies – which had been condemned centuries ago! But these were not made law – oh no! Christ was still with His Church and the Holy Ghost still steered part of Peter and did not permit those proposals to be accepted. But what we are witnessing today, ladies and gentlemen, are precisely those defeated proposals which are now being forced down the throats of our Catholic people. The Modernists couldn’t get it done legally in Rome; now they are trying to do it illegally. And that’s why we’re attacking them!

Today we have the exact carbon copy of the situation St. Pius X described in 1903 where he made it clear that the promoters of error today are not found among our declared enemies – the promoters of error today are found in the very ranks of our own Church! Today we are witnessing that exact situation. We are also witnessing the very thing which was predicted in Fatima in 1917. And I could see right up, it’s not exactly making that public – but I don’t pretend to have the text of that message of Our Blessed Mother in Fatima, but the text I received in Rome has a few paragraphs there which are still very much of interest.  It was predicted then and it is happening now.

“A time of severe trial is coming for the Church.  Not today, nor tomorrow,” the Blessed Mother said in 1917, “but in the second half of the 20th century. Humanity will not develop as God desires it. Mankind will become sacrilegious and trample underfoot the gift it has received. No longer will order reign anywhere. Even in the high places,” the Blessed Mother predicted, “Satan will reign and direct the course of things. He will even succeed in infiltrating into the highest positions in the Church. Cardinals will oppose cardinals and bishops will oppose bishops. Satan will enter into their very midst. The Church will be obscured and all the world will be thrown into confusion.”  It is the Mother of God who gave us such a description, ladies and gentlemen. And that is why we hold to the Holy Father – not attacking the pope as the false brethren of the so-called Catholic press have tried to make its readers believe. We did not attack the Pope in our letter to him. There isn’t a priest in the whole world who has more loyalty and more affection to the present Pope than I do. Because, if for no other reason, Pope Paul VI didn’t have to give me the personal attention and the personal affection he showed me when he gave me a personal audience and blessed the work I had been doing the last two weeks. I cannot forget that, unhappy as I am about some of the things his advisors made me do today. What we ask the Holy Father in my letter of August 15 (and if you are interested in the full text, just leave your name and we’ll gladly send you a copy) we ask the Holy Father to PLEASE be a Pope, to act like a Pope, to stand on his own two feet, and to give us loyal traditionalist Catholics the satisfaction of being able once more to say: “Rome has spoken and all Catholics will obey!” That’s what we asked him to do.

We are not trying to start a new schismatic church, ladies and gentlemen. This I have been accused of by the phony conservative Catholic press, which is now wandering around in all directions, and which is now sending out all sorts of splinter groups – some of whom are even exposing themselves to dangerous legal action by twisting Catholic traditionalists around. Where are the bishops who might still come out of the woods someday? The actual establishment of the so-called Catholic is no longer in line with the traditions of the church that go back to St. Peter and Our Lord Himself because the Conciliar Church of today has been one that has brought to the world nothing but the systematic destruction of the Catholic Church that every priest swore to defend.

We have witnessed the last 5 years in public what was prepared for the last 50 years – the systematic destruction of the Church in three stages. First, our liturgy had to be destroyed. Then, our dogmas had to be destroyed. And then, our morals had to be destroyed. And the enemy has done a good job doing all of these, ladies and gentlemen.

First, they have destroyed our liturgy. A year ago, I warned you of the ten steps you would be witnessing in your church. I told you that the first thing you would witness was the total destruction of Latin. I knew that was what they were shooting for. The second thing you would witness was Mass on a real altar, but facing the people. The third step, I told you, would be the altar replaced with a table – not to implement the Second Vatican Council, but in perfect conformity with the decrees of the Anglican Reformation of the 16th century. The fourth step, I warned you, would be the…on the altar would be destroyed and the tabernacle removed to some sort of a shoebox down the side. The fifth step, I warned you, would be the communion rail would be removed and you would be forced to stand while receiving the one, whom the Bible tells us, all should bend their knees for, even if His name is only mentioned. The sixth step, in the systematic destruction of our liturgy, I warned you, would be people would start selecting their own altar breads and bring them to the table.

First traditional looking hosts; later ordinary bread. The seventh step, I warned, you would be witnessing “special” masses now for select groups.  “Hootenanny Masses” for teenagers because the teenagers asked for it! They don’t, ladies and gentlemen! A few nitwits among the teenagers may, but the liberals are insulting our teenagers by really making us “old-folks” believe that our teenagers are really going for that kind of degraded liturgy. They go not for that, ladies and gentlemen, and I’m extremely happy to say that one of my next talks will be in Arizona – organized by a group of teenagers! Special groups, hootenanny masses – of which the latest was a Mass in the cathedral, mind you, with dancing girls and boys together on the floor.  Just as hootenanny masses will become available to teenagers – agape “Love Masses” would be made available for what they call a “select group” of adults. The eighth step I told you in the systematic destruction of our liturgy would be that everyone would be able to touch and handle the “Bread of Love,” as they call it. First they would permit some nuns to touch it.

Sure, even among the nuns you can find a few nitwits, just as you can find them among the priests (though I would say the nuns are in a wee more favorable position than we are now).  First they would find a few nuns to break the ice. Then they would let the children help themselves to communion.  Then the next step – everyone helps himself. When I was speaking like that once, some people said, “Well, he is exaggerating.” Ladies and gentlemen, I can take you to places where this is taking place! I also warned you about some of the sacrilegious abuses that would result from that destruction, and the picture I got was a picture of a former tabernacle, which is now being used as a dog house – they had a cocker-spaniel in what used to be the tabernacle, ladies and gentlemen. The ninth step, I warned you a year ago, would be no more obligatory Sunday Masses in churches, but voluntary “love masses” in homes – preferably on Saturday, the Sabbath. The tenth step, I told you, God knows what that would be.  But a year ago we didn’t know what the tenth step would be, but today we do. The tenth step in the systematic destruction of our traditional Latin liturgy, was formalized two weeks ago on Oct. 22nd, 1967.

That was the day the counterfeit Mass was forced upon our people. That was the day when you went to the church establishment buildings where you witnessed your priests turning into ministers. That was the day the heretical, schismatic, Conciliar Church was formally established in the U.S. of America, as was proposed formally a year ago.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, I hesitated before I came here, whether I should tell you this or not.  I hesitated before I came here to your city. But I decided, bad news as it is, I must give it to you.  What you are attending today in the churches of our once Catholic Church establishment – what you are witnessing, ladies and gentlemen, is no longer a valid Sacrifice of the Mass. That’s a tremendous statement to make. So I have to prove it, and I owe it to you to give you the reasons.

Here in the city of Chicago between April 10 and April 13 of this year, our American bishops met in a luxury hotel and decided among other things that they would appeal to Rome (they still felt like going through that motion) for permission to use an all-English Mass, including the Canon of the Mass, including the most solemn part of the Canon, the Consecration. Twenty-one bishops fought against it and voted against it. Out of more than 250 American bishops, 21 were still Catholic enough to warn their fellow bishops not to destroy the Latin Traditional Mass altogether – particularly, not to fool around with the “form” of Consecration, which affects the validity of the Mass. I received the information of that exact number (which was supposed to be kept secret) two weeks ago from the Cardinal Office of our Bishop in Washington, who told me that he was one of the three Cardinals who fought against it. The other two were Cardinal Spelmann and Cardinal Macintyre, and 18 other bishops. They voted “no” because they knew it was wrong. I expected the next sentence to be: “…and that’s why at least in 21 dioceses you will still have a valid Mass available.” But no. That is not what I heard next. What I heard next was: “…but once the majority of the American bishops decided to go for an all-English Mass, we, who voted against it, decided not to break ranks and to go along with them.”

Those are the kind of leaders we have today, ladies and gentlemen. Now if they had only proposed an English translation of the Latin Canon, it would have been bad enough. They would have still gone directly contrary to the excommunication threat of the Council of Trent and Articles 36 and 54 of the Second Vatican Council’s “Constitution on the Liturgy.” But if it had been a literal translation, as much as I would hate to see the Latin go, you couldn’t really question the validity of the Mass.

Last night I spoke at a hall graciously placed at our disposal by a fellow priest of the Lebanese Rite. He certainly doesn’t use Latin, but I know it’s a valid Mass and that’s why I would rather see you go to a valid Mass in Aramaic in his Lebanese Church than to a phony Communion service in our so-called Latin Churches.

What our American bishops proposed to Rome was an entirely new (English version) Canon of the Mass – a version which was totally heretical, a version in which three infallibly defined dogmas were eliminated. The dogma of the Divine Maternity of the Virgin Mary, defined in 431 by the Council of Ephesus – OUT. The dogma of the Perpetual Virginity of the Virgin Mary, defined at the Lateran Council of 649 – OUT. The dogma of the Divinity of Our Lord and Savior Himself, defined at the Council of Nicæa in 325 – OUT. Needless to say, that the answer that came back from Rome last September, was “no.” Twice…“no.”

“We in Rome cannot possibly permit you American bishops to use this kind of Mass formula.”

Not to forget that the word “blessed” has also been eliminated and so has the actual blessing. The ministers today in our Church no longer bless the bread and the wine. I will explain to you later on why they don’t – they are consistent. Needless to say, Rome’s answer was “you cannot use this form in the Mass!”

Now, ladies and gentlemen, at one time that would have been the final decision and any Catholic bishop would have submitted immediately. No longer. The answer given by our American, so-called “Catholic” bishops, given in the person of Archbishop Deardon, the president of the American Bishops Conference (in Rome itself of all places), where he was to attend that same afternoon the opening Council of the Synod of Bishops last September 29, Archbishop Deardon of Detroit, in his capacity as president of the American Catholic Bishops, publicly announced that, even though Rome had rejected this English text of the Canon, we in the United States make it now mandatory in all public Masses and we will not even wait until December 3, the day we had originally planned. We will do it immediately, as soon as the printing can be done. And that’s why they made it mandatory on October 22nd. Now, ladies and gentlemen, if that isn’t an open schism, then I don’t know what a schism is.

And until four days ago, I personally still had doubts as to the validity of this new English ceremony in our churches. See, I’m not really as extreme as my opponents describe me to be.  Some of my fellow theologians told me from the very beginning that, in their opinion, there was not the slightest doubt that this New Mass was invalid. I still had doubts…but no more. To me it was doubtful, but still, according to the Traditional teaching of Catholic moral theology, when the validity is at stake of a sacrament, a priest cannot follow the system of what they call “probabalism.” He must follow the system of “tutiorism,” meaning he must follow the more safe course.  That means that, until Rome clearly defines that the new formula is technically valid, the priest must stick with the old formula which was established as “valid” until now. But three days ago, the latest issue of a magazine called “Worship,” which is the unofficial mouthpiece of American liturgical “experts,” and which is published with ecclesiastical approval – there are instructions directed to the priests explaining to them how to understand the new English Canon which they are now to use in their Masses. And if you read that, ladies and gentlemen, then there is not the slightest doubt that the valid Sacrifice of the Mass has vanished from our churches. I’m quoting here from that article where it says: “the new Canon is not just a change of words, but a development in Eucharistic theology. One can only do justice to the Canon of the Mass by interpreting it in the light of current writing on Eucharistic theology.” And then it explains what it means by the new “Eucharistic theology.”

The first element of this Eucharistic theology, which is now forced down your throats, is: “There is no more room for a sacrificial priesthood. The priest is now one of many ministers. He is no longer the one who sacrifices, who offers, sacrifices, and consecrates. He is now one of many ministers.” All through that article of instructions directed to the priests he is described as the “presiding minister” and to make it short they even invented a new word which is probably even making Webster turn around. They call it continuously now the “presider.” Now when I was ordained 25 years ago, I was not ordained a minister; I was ordained a priest. And with all due respect to some of my friends’ ministers, we consider ourselves in a different category. We were priests to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass and to forgive sins, and all the rest was accidental. I was never told that I was ordained a “presider”; yet, that is what I am now. And they describe the function of the presider – and watch it now, for there is not the slightest reference to the priestly powers of consecrating – as: “The one who preaches, who sums up the prayers of the faithful, who proclaims the Canon of the Mass (that is, the Eucharistic prayer), who initiates the peace greeting and makes sure that all the faithful present are served at the Holy Table.” Now that is not what I was ordained for, ladies and gentlemen. Now if that’s who is presiding over your so-called “Masses” on Sundays, then you may as well get yours snacks somewhere else to put it bluntly, tragic as it is.

And a new element enters the picture here. They make it clear that the presider’s job is essentially temporary. Any Catholic layman could become presider for awhile and, in a little footnote there, it says that we should make provisions to permit not only our priests, but even our bishops to look for another job if they get fed up with their present one. Unbelievable, ladies and gentlemen. We are already used now to see priests run away and break their vows publicly, but for the first time we are now gradually conditioned to face the fact that some of our previously esteemed bishops might now appear on our televisions screens with a tie on. I guess some would wear a red one, too.

To give you the exact proof, because I see a few persons there who are taking notes, on page 515 of that article it says: “We simply must provide, and soon, less arduous and less incriminating methods of resigning from the Episcopal and priestly functions.” There is no room anymore for a priest in what’s going on Sunday morning!  He is the one who preaches, who sums up the prayers of the faithful, who proclaims the Eucharistic prayer, initiates the peace greeting, and makes sure that everyone is served at the table. You eliminate the priesthood, you have no sacrifice; you eliminate the sacrifice, you have no Mass. You have a 3rd class congregational Protestant service.

But worse.

That same article goes on by making it clear that there is no more room for a consecration in the new “Eucharistic Service,” as they call it. The transubstantiation is eliminated. No more change of bread and wine into the real living Christ – no. They explain now that the consecration consists in this: the presider proclaims that the bread and wine are consecrated, and this is accepted by God as our offerings.  This is not a consecration, ladies and gentlemen!  Bread and wine are only transformed, not transubstantiated into the sacramental Body of Christ – not the real Body of Christ.  And then they explain what they mean by what they still say: “This is My Body.”  They say the consecration is “a processive offering to the Father of Christ’s Body which is the assembly in front of us.” Christ’s Body is the assembly – no, ladies and gentlemen. Then they also explain that the words “Do ye this in commemoration of Me” mean the Eucharistic prayer is a proclamation of the Word of God. It is not! The Eucharistic sacrifice is the MAKING PRESENT of the living God – that’s what the Mass is!

When a Catholic entered his Church, he wasn’t entering just another prayer hall. He wasn’t just entering a spiritual dining room. He was entering the residence of the living God, Jesus Christ, who became present there as real as you and I through the words of the consecration of a priest.  Now the “real presence” is the assembly, and that of course explains why the presider should face the assembly and the people! They make it clear that there is no more room for priests and, consequently, it says, “the priest should stop wearing ecclesiastical vestments.” The liturgical vestments should be rejected as “symbols of waste and superfluity.” There is no more living Christ; therefore the only living thing are the people present. And that’s why the presider must address himself to the living persons there. “To attend to anything else but the assembly, even the book or the bread and wine, is the opposite of the style we seek.” At least they had the decency to call it “bread and wine.” They also give the priest instructions to avoid, by all means, looking up to heaven, as he was directed to do during the Offertory, during Consecration and many other parts of the Mass. No more…because it says, “The heavenward gaze belongs to a few of the universe no longer with us.”

Do you blame me, ladies and gentlemen, for cabling a message to Rome immediately asking for instructions as to what I am to do now? I am not telling you a secret when I make it clear that what I have been doing the last few years was actually – in plain vernacular – I have been doing the dirty work for Rome here in the United States and in Europe. And I have followed my instructions to the letter and I haven’t doubted them. They told me I was in enemy territory when I left Rome.  They said you are behind enemy lines now; whatever you do, you have our confidence, but don’t expect us to come out with public statements every month. But when there is an emergency, you send us a telegram, worded this way, and you will get your answer the same evening. I sent the telegram to Cardinal Brown on September 29th asking for instructions as to the validity of this Mass, which in my opinion, was at that time questionable, and which is now in my opinion, clearly invalid. I received no answer from Rome. When I had to address a public meeting 2 weeks ago, on October 22nd in Garden City, Long Island, I sent another telegram, begging for an answer before 6pm. The next day I had to address the people so that I could give them clear instructions as to what to do.  Knowing my protectors in Rome – my bosses, I might say – I knew that they would not break their agreement. I knew they would send me a telegram one way or another before I had to address the public. Yet when I addressed the public at 6pm (I actually waited until 6:45), no telegram had arrived. Three days later, I did receive a letter [a telegram] from Cardinal Brown, who was the one appointed by the Pope to deal with these things, and the first words of the letter, written that day, were: “Dear Fr. de Pauw, you will have received my telegram of this morning…”

We started an investigation and at this point, the conclusion is that the telegram that the Vatican sent me was intercepted. But I fortunately got the letter then. Sad news, ladies and gentlemen, in which Cardinal Brown – the No.3 man in the Church there…the Pope, Cardinal Ottoviani, Cardinal Brown – informed me that, even a person in his position can no longer exercise his influence over the American bishops. All he could do, he said, is to present the question of the validity of the New Mass before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which he has done.  But meanwhile, I’m on my own. He also informed me that the power of the Church is now completely in the hands of the Secretary of State which is, as you know, the political arm of the Vatican. And it was an ominous little news item in yesterday’s paper that the only persons who did see the Holy Father before he was to undergo surgery, were three representatives of the Secretary of State, the political arm of the Vatican.

And that brings us, ladies and gentlemen, to this extremely practical and tragic question: “What do we do now? What do we do tomorrow?” We know that our bishops, except for a very few you can count on the fingers of your one hand, we know that they have betrayed us, and betrayed the Holy Father. We know that the great majority of our priests, in their heart, agree in what I am saying and doing. But they are not willing to fight. We know that our enemies in our church establishment are no longer even interested in organizing an independent American Catholic Church. They are no more “American” than they are Catholic. They are simply interested in establishing, with the help of money and with the help of Freemasonry (and they have done so already now) the United States Division of the One World Church, controlled by a One World Government, hopefully controlled someday by a Communist United Nations. And that’s as simple as it is, ladies and gentlemen. And, once in a while, our opponents are so stupid that they even prove radically what I am trying to say. You would not believe it yourself, but there is already a monthly “Missalette” making the rounds in some churches. The picture on the front page is a man, supposedly like Christ, blessing the flags of all the different countries which are gathered around the table of the community meal. And it is true that, among those flags he is blessing, is still the U.S. “stars & stripes,” but also there is among those flags not only the Soviet Union’s hammer and sickle but also the flag of Red China. That is taken from a pew in a church in New York City of all places, ladies and gentlemen.

What can we really do, ladies and gentlemen?

PRAY.

Pray and pray. There are still some churches where they have the real Blessed Sacrament – the living God. Look them up and go on your knees and pray and pray. Because, humanly speaking, we are in a mess we can’t get out of. Right now we must ask God, Jesus Christ, to wake up. The situation of our Church today is very much like the situation the Apostles found themselves in when Christ was sleeping in the little boat during the big storm. We must storm Christ and ask him: “Lord, we perish!  Save us!”  With one hand extended, He calmed the seas then. Maybe He will calm them now. But, humanly speaking, there is no way out, ladies and gentlemen…except to hold on – we, the small group of Traditionalist Catholics – to the little flame of the traditional faith which is still burning just a little. But as long as we keep it burning, that flame of God’s help will someday go higher and higher again. But right now, it’s mighty, mighty low.

Also pray to the Blessed Mother. She predicted the mess we are in – in Fatima! Let’s pray to her that she gets us out of it.

Then, ladies and gentlemen, work on yourself. Get rid of that brainwashed idea of blind obedience! Ladies and gentlemen, there is no room for blind obedience in the Catholic Church!  Blind obedience leads to nothing but tyranny, whether political, military or spiritual. The true Catholic teaching of obedience is the one I have said all over the country and in a few parts of the rest of the world.

As Catholics our first obedience is to God, Our Savior Jesus Christ. Our second obedience is to our Church – the one, true Church of Christ, the Catholic Church. Our third obedience is to our Pope. Our fourth obedience is to our bishop. And only your fifth obedience is to your priest. But our obedience to priests and bishops and even the Pope ends if, God forbid, any of them would be disobedient to either Church or God!

Work on yourself and convince yourself that you are not disobeying anyone who should be obeyed when you fight the establishment of the Conciliar Church. You are not disobeying anyone who should be obeyed. Work also on some of your neighbors, to join with you to form an elite minority. There are some of our Catholic people that are not worth discussing the situation with.  If they haven’t seen by now what’s happening to the Church, don’t waste your time on them!  Let them go to where they are heading – and it ain’t “heaven” (in the vernacular)! That doesn’t mean, ladies and gentlemen, that I’m not interested in the salvation of even one soul; I’ll fly to Timbuktu tonight if they assured me I can save a soul there. But the fact is that for almost 3 years now I have been traveling all over the world and over the country. I have been warning the people.  There isn’t a soul anymore who has an excuse to say “well we didn’t know it!” We have made available printed things, records, tapes – you name it! They know we are right!  Priests come to me daily and say, “You know, you are absolutely right, but I don’t want to lose my job.” That’s what they tell me. My answer is: “I LOST my job! But I don’t want to lose my soul!!”

Work on an elite group. All through history, anything of importance has been accomplished by a small minority, for good or for bad. You, ladies and gentlemen, you are that minority. A small minority – oh, yes, in their hearts 85% or 95% of the Catholics agree with what I am saying, but there aren’t 10% who are willing to fight for it! Ninety-five percent of the priests know that I am right, but they don’t want to lose their salary every month! Ninety-five percent of the nuns know that I am right, but they are bound by the system – they can’t do anything! And that’s why I forgive them. But you, ladies and gentlemen, you can still do something! Work together, share your views with others, work within the Catholic Traditionalist movement – the only organized force that has done something these last three years! And all the Johnny-come-lately, what are they asking now? A Latin Mass? The issue is no longer a Latin Mass – the issue is now OUR CATHOLIC FAITH!

What can you do, and what must you do? You must try to save whatever can be saved, just as in the 4th century. The flame of traditional Catholic beliefs was kept burning by a small group of people – lay people – and a few religious and a few priests. Now YOU have to do the same thing! You must BREAK with the Conciliar Church in order to save the true Catholic Church!

How can you do it?

Number one, refuse financial support to any priest turned minister whose Church now only offers a “last supper commemorative communion service” without the Good Friday sacrifice of the substantially present living God! Refuse to support financially schools where the Conciliar religion has replaced the Catholic religion! And, in turn, support financially and spiritually and morally those few priests and those few nuns who are holding out as best they can in their own positions! Look for churches where real Catholic priests are still validly consecrating. If you can’t find it in your own parish, make the sacrifice to travel a few miles. Your grandparents did it, driving horses or walking on their own legs. They built the churches years ago here in this country. Travel around and look for a church.  here are a few left that still have the real Mass.  Look for schools where the faith and morals of your children are not being ruined by sacrilegious and immoral so-called “religion books.” If you cannot find such churches, stop going to the establishment buildings where the true sacrifice is no longer available. And God knows that I carefully selected my words when I said that. No one who has been ordained 25 years a priest as I have been, no one who has trained priests for the last 15 years, is going to make a statement as I just made without carefully and prayerfully watching his language. Stop going to those sacrilegious services which are now being forced on you. Go on the weekday if you can, to a Church where a priest is still offering a real Mass – and IF you cannot find such churches anymore, then build NEW churches and NEW schools! You build the buildings and I will give you the priests and the teachers! And if you run into financial or technical difficulties – and I know you will because four days ago I was in the state of New Jersey, looking over the piece of property which was offered me to offer Mass the next Sunday with all sorts of privileges, building regulations, zoning regulations, and what have you.

That is why right now, ladies and gentlemen, build altars in your own homes, and invite priests to come there and offer the Sacrifice of the Mass! I’m going to send out all over the country the simple measurements – 65” wide, 20” deep, 41” high. Build an altar and I will give you the names of priests who are willing to come there for you and your neighbors and your children…to offer the REAL sacrifice.

Let there be a modern version of the catacombs! It is better to have the real Mass on an altar in your home than a phony, community service in what used to be Catholic churches. And if you cannot find any priests, if the 120 plus, who gave me their assurance that they would do it with me – if they all chicken out, then I will alone travel all over the country and say Mass instead of speaking to the people. Because the days are over for speeches, the days are over for publications, the days are over for pamphlets – the days of ACTION are here! We must now save nothing less than the real presence of God among us.  Right now what we need is altars to offer Masses on. If we cannot have them anymore in our church buildings, YOU must have them in your homes! And I, for one, will go anyplace in the United States to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass and teach your children the old beliefs of your forefathers.

And I do hope that some priests, if they witness me doing it, might still have the GUTS to do the same. Do not fear the wrath of the bishops who today form the established, heretical, schismatic Church. Let us be prepared, ladies and gentlemen, to join the saints who were illegally excommunicated by the phony establishments and bishops of their days. I’m referring to Saint Athanasius, Saint Cyril, Saint Philip Neri, Saint Louis de Montfort, Saint Joan of Arc – just to name a few.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am not asking you or anyone else to become one of my followers. I’m not asking you to follow me! I am inviting you to walk with me and together we will follow, not any human being, but Jesus Christ alone. I have personally already given up all of my material possessions and the professional comforts that once were mine and I’m not asking for your sympathy, believe you me, I have never been happier than in the last three years of my life. But I have given everything I could and I’m still ready to give today my life and my all to lead those Catholics who are ready to fight the pseudo-bishops and priests of the Conciliar Church in order to stay within the Catholic Church.

Those of you, ladies and gentlemen, who are willing to join me in this fight for truth and tradition, to those of you who are willing to join me, I can only promise for the immediate future abuse, ridicule, smears and all forms of persecution – that persecution which Christ said would be the principle mark of his true Church. For the immediate future, all you can expect if you fight with me is abuse and ridicule and smears.  But, for the distant future, ladies and gentlemen, I can promise you, not only the eternal salvation of your soul (and that’s what I’m still interested in), not only the eternal salvation of your soul in the world to come, but also the everlasting gratitude of your children and your grandchildren and your great-grandchildren who will bless YOUR name in generations to come for having preserved for them the burning fire of the Faith of your Fathers – the Faith you were born in or the faith you selected yourself as an adult when you joined the true Church of Christ.

Ladies and gentlemen, you mothers and fathers in particular, you must now become another Mathathias. I refer here to the example of Mathathias, who defended the faith of his Fathers against the establishment of his days for the benefit of his children. And I’d like to read for you that beautiful, eternal play in three acts, taken from the first book of the Machabees:

Act I

“In those days arose Mathathias the son of John…and he had five sons…these saw the evils that were done in the people…and Mathathias said: Woe, woe is me, wherefore was I born to see the ruin of my people, and the ruin of the holy city, and to dwell there, when it is given into the hands of the enemies? The holy places have fallen into the hands of strangers: the temple has become as a man without honor…and the vessels of her glory have been carried away captive. All her ornaments are taken away…and behold our sanctuary, and our beauty, and our glory is laid waste.  To what end then should we live any longer? And they that were sent from king Antiochus came thither, to compel them to depart from the law of their Fathers. And many of the people consented: but Mathathias and his sons stood firm. And they that were sent from Antiochus, said to Mathathias: Obey, as all the others are doing, and thou and thy sons shall be our friends, and you shall be enriched with gold and silver and many presents. But Mathathias answered, and said with a loud voice: even if the whole world would obey your orders, and every other man would depart from the law of his Fathers, I and my sons and my brethren will obey the law of our Fathers. So help us God, we will never abandon the law and the traditions of our Fathers.”

Act II

“And every man said to his neighbor: If we shall all do as our brethren have done, and not fight against those people: they will quickly root us out of the earth.  And they determined in that day, saying: Whosoever shall come up against us to fight, we will fight back. Then was assembled to them the stoutest of the people [you – the Traditionalists] and all they that fled from the evils, joined themselves to them, and were a support to them.  And Mathathias and his friends went around and they threw down the false altar tables: and they did violently. And the work prospered in their hands: and they recovered the law out of the hands of the sinners.”

Act III

“Now the days drew near that Mathathias should die, and he said to his sons: Now, my sons, be ye zealous for the law and give your lives for the traditions of your Fathers. Remember the works of your forefathers which they have done in their generations: and you, too, shall receive great glory, and an everlasting name. And he blessed them, and was joined to his forefathers…and he was buried by his sons and all the people mourned for him with great mourning.”

Ladies and gentlemen, the future of our Church, humanly speaking, now rests with us. The small, elite group of Traditionalist Catholic lay people, and a few priests and religious. The larger part of our bishops, priests and nuns have betrayed us. The big question today is: on what side is Pope Paul VI?

I refuse to believe that what is going on today has the approval of the Holy Father. I cannot believe it. The pope who blessed me, who crossed my hands, encouraged me to do what I am doing, the pope who agreed with every word I said to him – that pope couldn’t possibly be in his right mind now when he approves of artificial birth control or priests advocating the public breaking of their vows, of the eliminating of the Ten Commandments, of playing ball with atheists, communists, and what have you. This pope couldn’t possibly approve of new Greek theologians who deny the Divinity of Christ, who make fun of the Resurrection of Christ, who ridicule the Virginity of the Blessed Mother, who now produce a counterfeit Mass for the people.  The Pope that I met couldn’t do this!  And that’s why I just can’t speak against Pope Paul VI! I know that he has been a weak pope and God knows I told him so in my letter to him!  But I can’t believe he is a bad pope – I just can’t! True, it’s possible. But I still hope that Paul VI, when he recovers – and I pray for that – when he recovers from his surgery, that he will turn out to be, if not a new St. Pius X, who condemned Modernism (and he, too, waited seven years before he condemned it), than I still hope that he will be a new Liberius – a pope who also was a weak Pope the first three to four years of his pontificate, but THEN joined what was left of the true Catholic Church. I still cannot believe that, 40 years from now, a new Ecumenical Council will condemn Pope Paul VI as the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople condemned Pope Honorius I, with these words:

“We anathematize Honorius, who did not attempt to sanctify his Apostolic Church with the teaching of Apostolic Tradition, but by profound treachery permitted the teachings of the Church to be polluted.”

That’s how one Pope was condemned forty years later. And in 683 – three years later – Saint Pope Leo II confirmed the condemnation of his predecessor Honorius by adding this explanation: “Honorius…” he didn’t even call him Pope. He said:

“Honorius did not extinguish the flame of heretical doctrine from the beginning, but rather fanned the flame by his negligence.”

Some people say that the same thing will happen to Pope Paul VI. I can believe it, ladies and gentlemen. I hope and pray that this is not true.

The latest information I got from Rome a week ago – this past week – was bad. I give it to you as I received it. The latest information I got was that Pope Paul VI will be resigning after he recuperates from his surgery, that he is throwing in the towel and inviting the cardinals to elect a new pope. This is not a rumor made-up by some ecclesiastic somewhere; this is information which I received from – to use the cliché – usually very reliable sources in the Vatican.

If that is true, where do we go from there, if that would be true right now for the next month, that the Holy Father would be powerless, physically and maybe even mentally? What have they done to him? I don’t know, but I for one, ladies and gentlemen, I just cannot condemn him. I can only pray for him as I said in my letter and beg him to be a Pope and let the enemies of the Church go outside. We can do better without them! At the same time, ladies and gentlemen, I know enough Theology and enough Canon Law and enough Church History to realize that tremendous possibility. But as it is now, my loyalty – and even more than that – my affection, because a priest can’t forget the honor received as I did from a Pope. He didn’t have to receive me personally before I came back here to fight for truth and tradition. He didn’t have to do it, and his advisors did everything they could to convince him he shouldn’t do it. If, for no other reason, you can forget the face-to-face encounter with the person I still respect and love as the Supreme Pontiff of our Church…I KNOW he has been a weak pope and I DETEST some of the things his advisors have made him do, and my letter to him makes that clear!

“But,” as I wrote to him, “we Traditionalist Catholics – we still have pent up in the reserve of our hearts enthusiastic loyalty, which we Traditionalist Catholics have exclusively set apart for our Supreme Pontiff. And we would like nothing better than to forget the past four years and shower our loyalty on a Paul VI turned into a new St. Pius X, who had the courage to face the reality of enemies within our own ranks, and the integrity to condemn them.”

At the moment, we are practically abandoned, ladies and gentlemen. Our Holy Father is suffering more than the newspapers tell you. Physically, he is worse off than the newspapers tell us.  Mentally, he is suffering tremendously. And if I would tell you one cent of the information I have received from Rome, you would think that I was writing horror stories for Alfred Hitchcock.

Let us pray for the Church and also for the Holy Father, ladies and gentlemen. Right now we true Catholics, we are like children abandoned by our spiritually leaders. We can only now fight as I explained it to you and pray for the day, that our now suffering Supreme Pontiff, will open his arms again and put the tiara back on his head – not the bishop’s mitre – but the tiara and let us have the satisfaction of once again shouting to the whole world: “Thank God, we have a Pope again!”

And I hope and pray that it will be Paul VI turned into a new Pius X. I have seen him; I think it could be done, ladies and gentlemen. But if it doesn’t happen, then we will have temporarily to carry on for the pope, and against the bishops who have betrayed us.

Do not hesitate, ladies and gentlemen, to ask me right now how do I possibly justify such a position for myself and advice others to do likewise. I can see your eyes. That question is right there. “How can you justify what you have told us here?” The question is there and you have a perfect right, you have a duty to ask me: “How do you justify it?” Ladies and gentlemen, here is my answer: the position I have taken is justified on only one ground.

This one…. exactly 25 years ago, the evening before my ordination to the priesthood, I placed my hand on God’s holy Gospel. And standing before my God – my living God – the exposed Blessed Sacrament, with the nearby statue of His Immaculate Mother glancing down on me, I solemnly stated: “This Catholic Faith, which I now freely profess and to which I truly adhere, the same I promise vow and swear to maintain and profess with the help of God, entire, inviolate and with firm constancy until the last breath of life. And I shall strive with the best of my ability that this same faith shall be helped, taught and publicly professed by all those entrusted to me.”

This profession of faith, ladies and gentlemen, I promised, vowed, and swore as a young priest 25 years ago. That same profession of faith, I promised, vowed and swore when the Church in the academic world promoted me to Doctor of Canon Law. That same profession of faith, I promised, vowed and swore for 13 consecutive school years when the Church appointed me Professor of Theology and Canon Law to train its young priests. That same profession of faith, I promised, vowed and swore when the Church selected me to participate in its latest Ecumenical Council.

Ladies and gentlemen, what my Church made me promise, vow and swear yesterday, she cannot ask me to deny today. I promised, vowed and swore it yesterday, I promise, vow and swear it today, and tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow, and the last day I’ll be here.

I hope and pray that the Holy Father will give us the leadership soon where we will have no longer to make the choice between the establishment of the Conciliar Church and the true, real Catholic Church. But, forced to choose between the official Conciliar Church and the real Catholic Church, I have already made my decision, ladies and gentlemen.

Against the official Conciliar Church and for the official Catholic Church! And I have not the slightest doubt, before God and the world, that in making that decision, I simultaneously decided for Christ and against Anti-Christ – so help us God.

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The Path To Restoration Of The Faith

The Path To Restoration Of The Faith
Hilaire Belloc
Essays of a Catholic Layman in England (1931) Excerpts:

Now, an ingrained habit of the defensive is a prime condition of defeat. There is no such thing as a defensive battle or a defensive campaign, save in the sense that one may begin on the defensive, but only with the fixed object of turning to the offensive at the right moment. It was not the learning, still less the logic, of our enemies, which gave them such strength; it was the defensive mood into which Catholic apologists allowed themselves to be maneuvered.

Details must be dealt with; exposure of our opponents’ ignorance on details is valuable to obtain. But allowing ourselves to be pinned to details involves a loss of power and is not the way to conduct a struggle. Through entanglement in detail we suffer the further weakness of allowing much to go by default. We are so much occupied with special points that false statements on others escapes attention and is let pass. A mass of such runs through all attacks in detail. If the habit f the defensive involves us in all this weakness, the lesson is that the counteroffensive should now be our policy. We have every reason for undertaking it.

We have a campaign to win – a decisive result to achieve, and with the foe’s good faith we are not concerned. We have two weapons only, but invincible – we possess the truth, we use our reason. Our opponents support falsehood, however consciously. Having a false theology they do not reason clearly. We must use these weapons unsparingly, without troubling ourselves over the good or bad faith of those against whom e use them. The struggle is arduous, and unless we use our full strength we shall not succeed.

It is in the nature of things that the advance of the Catholic Church, now as at all other times, must be effected, ultimately, by individual conversions; so was the Church originally founded, so did it recover it’s loss in the sixteenth century, and, indeed, conversion can never be anything but individual by definition; to call it anything else in its essence would be a contradiction in terms. The process of individual conversions will be the constant and inevitable process of Catholicism wherever it has sufficient vitality to advance at all. There is not, in any new method, wherever it has sufficient vitality to advance at all. There is not, in any new method, room for slackening here; the appeal to the individual, the revelation of reality to the individual, remains the cell and unit of effort. If that were not present no mass effect could develop. But I say that “supplementary to it” must be a new conception of the way in which we should set to work.

To undermine the crude false philosophy opposed to us, to loosen its hold on the masses by ridicule of its ignorance, exposure of its errors, satire of its pompous self assurance and isolation, is a task open to any man. The method is easily available. But it involves very unpleasant consequences to the agent. We need agents, none the less. Without them we shall do nothing. We need Tertullians.

We must be militant. Our society has become a mob. The mob loves a scrap, and it is right. We must attack the enemy. We must analyze and expose his hidden false postulates, so that individuals who hold those postulates shall be brought to shame. We must expose the confusion of thought in the opposing camp; its ignorance of the world and of the past, its absurd idols. And in dong so we must face, not only ideas – which is easy – but men, defenders of those ideas – which is difficult. We must wound and destroy.

Remember that the reaction of men against what they dislike is exactly proportioned to its activity. Now, activity is the condition of success. When lord Salisbury said “First find out what particularly annoys your enemy and then do it as often as ever you can”, he proposed a sound rule of combat. That is the spirit in which victories are achieved. Nor is it blameworthy. On the contrary, it is glorious. It is indeed blameworthy to attack with the mere object of irritation; it is also futile and vulgar; but to challenge active hate as the proper means to a good end – excellent!

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What’s So New About The “New Age Movement”?

What’s So New About The “New Age Movement”? 
Reverend Dr. L. Rumble, M.S.C. 

I recently had put into my hands a most attractively produced and fascinating booklet entitled, “Who and What Are the Rosicrucians?” In a sub-title, the booklet offers to place “Facts at Your Fingertips.” And, on the inside of the cover, we are told, “This Is a Reference Work for Editors, Authors, Publishers, and Research Workers.” Additional authority is lent to this little work by the statement that it was printed by the “Rosicrucian Press, Inc., San Jose, California,” and that it is “Issued by Permission of the Department of Publications, Supreme Grand Lodge, A.M.O.R.C.” [ the so-called „Ancient Mystical Order of the Rosy Cross‟, or Rosicrucians.]

A first glance through the pamphlet left me deeply impressed by the quality of the production. I was filled with admiration of the orderly and telling way in which Rosicrucians introduce themselves to all its readers. And I was duly astonished by the profuse and beautiful illustrations of their plant and its many departments at their San Jose Headquarters, in California.

It was impossible not to feel the appeal such a booklet would have for multitudes of people, quite apart from the lavish promises and reassurances contained in the text itself.

Astounding Statistics 

How widespread has been the success of that appeal is evident from the really remarkable statistics, showing the extent of the Rosicrucian Foundation‟s activities.

We are told that “the number of readers of magazines and newspapers in which AMORC advertisements appear monthly equals the entire population of Turkey, or over 17,500,000 persons.”

As a result, incoming letters provide 7,000,000 words to be carefully scrutinized by the Reading Mail Department; bring more foreign money orders than are received “by any other institution between San Francisco and Los Angeles”; require in reply “7,120,000 sheets of letter-size stationery” which, if laid end to end, “would form a path of paper from New York City to Kansas City, or 1,236 miles”; involve a “postage expenditure amounting to more than $50,000 annually.” Moreover, “AMORC forwards a greater number of packages, via Railway Express, than any other organization in Santa Clara Valley,” whilst “over 6,000,000 pieces of literature are mailed to all parts of the world annually.”

All that is both arresting and stimulating. The figures are almost astronomical. One may not think that references to “the entire population of Turkey,” or to “a path of paper from New York City to Kansas City, or 1,236 miles,” afford any particular reason for confidence in Rosicrucianism. But they do impress the imagination, and suggest that it might be worth one‟s while to look into the teachings, and the claims, and the promises of so remarkable an organization.

“See Life As It Is!”

Before looking more closely at the “Who and What” pamphlet, let us glance at some samples of the Rosicrucian advertisements which appear in magazines and newspapers read by “over 17,500,000 people monthly.”

In Sydney, Australia, where the writer of this booklet lives, the prominent headlines “SEE LIFE AS IT IS” appeared in one of the Sunday newspapers.

Cleverly, the advertisement began by hinting that the reader of it had hitherto been deprived of information which should have been his. “The popular teachings of schools and churches colour your vision. The truth is concealed.” To suggest hunger is to create an appetite! Then an appeal is made to every man‟s innate desire of privilege and superiority. “Real possibilities for your advancement in life are kept for the few. A power great enough to change your whole life is available, if you find the key.”

Who, on reading that, would not wish to find the key? But no intense and prolonged search is necessary. “The Rosicrucian secret writings will give you the true picture of life, and the mysterious forces that await your command.” It is difficult to assess the concentrated allurement of those few words. To be spared all effort, to be let into a great and precious secret, to be granted access to mysterious realms where there are hitherto unknown forces which will be at your command as surely as if you had been presented with Aladdin‟s Lamp must prove irresistible to multitudes of readers. Think of what it means. “You will find a different key to your personal problems, and a simple way to more abundant realization of your desires.” Is it all a dream? No. “For many centuries the Rosicrucian system has created a new life with new possibilities for multitudes who are now happy and contented.”
These last words may leave a little uneasy those who vaguely remember the declaration of the Divine Master, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Are the Rosicrucians, with their offer of a new life, offering a new religion? Be reassured! The advertisement concludes with the emphatic assertion, “The Rosicrucians are NOT a religious organization.” It is all perfectly good, and perfectly harmless – granted its truth.

Unseen Powers

In a rival Sunday newspaper there was another advertisement, with a picture of the heavens and the planets, and the challenging question, “Do Unseen Powers Direct Our Lives?”

This advertisement is an appeal to our sense of the weird and of the uncanny. There are queer things that do make one wonder. So the Rosicrucians offer us a few leading questions along the lines of the occult and mysterious forces which seem to shape our lives, yet baffle us. “Are the tales of strange human powers false? Can the mysterious feats performed by the mystics of the Orient be explained away as only illusions? Is there an intangible bond with the universe beyond, which draws mankind on? Does a mighty Cosmic intelligence from the reaches of space ebb and flow through the deep recesses of the mind, forming a river of wisdom which can carry men and women to the heights of personal achievement?”

The answer being taken for granted, the reader is asked forthwith, “Have You Had These Experiences . . . that unmistakable feeling that you have taken the wrong course of action; that you have violated some inner, unexpressed, better judgement the sudden realization that the silent whisperings of self are cautioning you to keep your own counsel – not to speak words on the tip of your tongue in the presence of others that something which pushes you forward when you hesitate, or restrains you when you are apt to make a wrong move. . . ?”

Now is there anyone who has not had such experiences? The diagnosis fits everybody. The symptoms are such that all can recognize them. They are the common lot of every mutable, sensitive, thinking human being. Any movements of doubt or hesitancy, any vague fears, regrets, or impulses will enable you to admit that your case is exactly that!

Listen, then, to the startling revelation. “These urges are the subtle influence which, when understood and directed, has made thousands of men and women masters of their lives. There IS a source of intelligence within you as natural as your senses of sight and hearing, and more dependable, which you are NOT using now!”

But surely every human being knows that, over and above the senses of sight and hearing, he has an intelligence! And one is using his intelligence whilst reading this very advertisement of the Rosicrucians, or the words themselves would be meaningless. But more than that is intended.

Cosmic Mind

“Challenge This Statement!” we are urged. “Dare the Rosicrucians to reveal the functions of this Cosmic mind and its great possibilities to you. Take this infinite power into your partnership. You can use it in a rational and practical way without interference with your religious beliefs or personal affairs.”

So the Rosicrucians believe in a “Cosmic mind of infinite power” . . . a “mighty Cosmic intelligence from the reaches of space which ebbs and flows through the deep recesses of the human mind, forming a wisdom which can carry men and women to the heights of personal achievement!” That‟s pantheism, or it‟s nothing. It implies a god to be identified with the universe, occupying space. and reduced to an ebbing and flowing physical or psychic force on a level with all other forces of natural creation.

Yet again we are assured that we can be put in touch with this pantheistic god of the Rosicrucians without any interference with our present religious beliefs! But what if we believe in the One True God? What if we are

Christians? The Rosicrucians must surely hope that we won‟t think of that; or that we are so ignorant of our own religion that we don‟t know what it means! One thing is certain. No one who is really a Christian could possibly accept Rosicrucianism. To do so is to abandon Christianity for another and different religion altogether. That will become clear beyond doubt from a study of the Rosicrucian Movement in itself.

What Are The Rosicrucians?

The Rosicrucians describe themselves as “The Ancient Mystical Order of the Rosy Cross,” of which the initial letters A.M.O.R.C. are used as an abbreviation.

They claim to be a world-wide fraternal organization, devoted to the exposition of “a system of mystical and metaphysical philosophy, intended to guide the development of the inner consciousness.”

One who becomes a member is taught “the significance and application of the Cosmic and natural laws in the universe around him, and in himself. It unites into one liveable philosophy, metaphysical idealism, and such practical sciences as physics, chemistry, biology, physiology, and psychology. It also seeks, by its educational campaigns to rid society of the enslaving influence of superstition.”

So we are told in the splendidly produced prospectus, “Who and What Are the Rosicrucians.” But the claims are preposterous. and calculated to appeal only to the credulous; whilst the professed aim to eliminate superstition is brazen insincerity in an organization which would collapse completely were it not for the superstition of those who adopt and support its teachings.

On a par with its repudiation of superstition is its claim to be non-religious, and to conflict in no way with the principles of the Christian religion. No one who has an elementary knowledge of either Rosicrucianism or of the Christian religion could possibly be so deceived. Rosicrucianism is essentially religious, as we shall see. And it is utterly opposed to the Christian religion.

Egyptian Background

The official brochure tells us that “Traditionally, the Rosicrucian Order traces its origin to the Mystery Schools, or secret schools of learning established during the reign of Thutmose III, about 1500 B.C., in Egypt. Though he devoted himself to an investigation of „the mysteries‟ – in other words, natural phenomena – Thutmose III still clung to the ancient religions of the period. His descendant, Amenhotep IV, 1355, B.C., known as the heretic king, also became leader of the mystery schools; but, being extremely progressive, he abolished the polytheistic religions of the time to advance in their stead the world‟s first doctrine of monotheism. The Rosicrucians look upon Amenhotep IV as their traditional Grand Master.” p. 8.

Now all that is not historically accurate. The ancient Egyptian “mysteries” were not merely a study of natural phenomena. Nor did the world‟s first devotion to a doctrine of monotheism originate with Amenhotep IV. But that is by the way. The important thing is the admission that Rosicrucianism claims to trace its teachings back to the ancient mystery schools, which were the product of Egypt‟s pagan mythology.

“From Egypt,” continues our prospectus, “the secret teachings of the brotherhood spread into Greece, and thence into Rome. During the Middle Ages they were concealed under a variety of different names.”

It is true, of course, that the pagan mystery religions of ancient Greece and Rome absorbed and incorporated many ideas from the mythologies of both Persia and Egypt. And it is significant that the Rosicrucians have to admit that, in Christian times, those who held to such pagan superstitions had to conceal their opinions, and practise their fantastic and un-Christian rites in secret. If, therefore, these are the “secret mysteries” Rosicrucians want to revive in these modern times, they stand self-condemned in the sight of all who retain any Christian beliefs at all!

But let us leave this remote source of their teachings, and turn to the historical origin of the Rosicrucian Order.

Historical Origin

“Chronologically,” the “Who and What” booklet tells us, “the Order is mentioned as far back as A.D. 1115, in a book of the collection of Brother „Omnis Mariar‟ in Germany. It rose to considerable prominence during the sixteenth century when, following the invention of the printing press, a small pamphlet entitled „The Fama Fraternitatis‟ [‟the

Fama (or Tradition of the) Fraternity or Brotherhood‟] was issued, and given wide circulation. It was said to have been written by a (Lutheran) theologian, Johann Valentine Andrea (1586-1654). The pamphlets were part of a campaign for its revival.”

Now in every age there have been secret societies. But the Rosicrucian Brotherhood cannot be traced back historically beyond Johann Valentine Andrea, even nominally. I say even nominally, for the modern Rosicrucian Order has no continuity as an organization with Andrea‟s Fraternity. It is an independent Society, founded centuries later, and claiming only to possess similar secret and mysterious teachings.

There is a legend that a certain German nobleman named Christian Rosenkreuz (1378-1484), when travelling in the Middle East, was there initiated into Arabian magic and other Oriental mysteries, which he determined to blend with the Christian religion. On his return to Germany, he is said to have founded in 1408 a “Fraternity of the Rosy Cross,” the members of which were to devote themselves to the study of the deepest forces of nature in profound secrecy. All that is sheer legend. There is no proof that Christian Rosenkreuz ever existed. All we know is that, in 1614, a pamphlet entitled “Fama Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis” was published at Cassel, in Germany, by Johann Valentine Andrea. He claimed that the secret wisdom of Christian Rosenkreuz had been transmitted by an anonymous Fraternity or Brotherhood for some two hundred years, and that he was the first to make the Fraternity known by his pamphlet. The Rose and the Cross were chosen as symbols because they were ancient symbols of occult societies, and because they were included in the family arms of the Andrea household.

The publication of the “Fama” was an open invitation to chosen souls to join the Fraternity, but under the penalty of death for any disclosure of its secrets and activities. The morbid propensity of the age for magic, weird and mysterious rituals, and secret societies led to an extensive membership, and the influence of Andrea‟s Fraternity became very considerable. Andrea himself ultimately renounced Rosicrucianism, and frequently denounced it as ridiculous comedy and folly. But he had started something which he could not stop. When Freemasonry was founded as another secret society in 1717, it borrowed much from the Rosicrucians, above all from their ritual; and to this day there is, in the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, a symbolic degree known as the “Rosicrucian Degree.” But what is known as the “Rosicrucian Order” has no connection with Freemasonry. It is a modern, independent organization, having a secret philosophy and ritual of its own, modelled on those of Andrea‟s Fraternity. AMORC itself was founded in 1915.

The Foundation at Rosicrucian Park, San Jose, California, claims that the Order was first introduced into America in 1694, with a location at what is now Fairmount Park, Philadelphia.

Is It A Religion? 

Under the above heading, the “Who and What” booklet says, “The Rosicrucian Order is absolutely NOT a religious movement or sect. It is non-sectarian in every respect. As its membership is world-wide, it of course includes persons of every creed and denomination, as does any other world-wide fraternity of a cultural nature. Many leading clergymen of Protestant denominations, rabbis, and priests are members; but the Order itself, in the past and at present, is free of religious alliances. Although its ethics adhere to the principles of Christianity, it must not be considered a religious movement or a Christian sect. The teachings and philosophical doctrines of the Order do not interfere with the religious freedom of its members.” p. 5.

So it is that people with religious scruples are disarmed, and the simple deceived. For the truth is far otherwise than stated. The Rosicrucian Order is a religious movement. It is not non-sectarian in every respect, for it is itself a sect, thriving like a parasite on a membership drawn from other sects. It is sheer pretence to suggest that it is no more than a fraternity of a merely cultural nature; and whilst it may be true that Protestant clergymen and Jewish rabbis have been deceived into becoming Rosicrucians, it is certainly not true that any Catholic priests in good standing with their Church are in any way associated with them.

As for its being “free of religious alliances,” that merely means that it is an independent religious organization. If it does not ask its recruits to break with other religious bodies to which they already belong, it is surely not unaware that eventually they will more and more lose such faith as they have in other religions as they progress in Rosicrucian teachings and practices. The claim that its ethics adhere to the principles of Christianity is negatived by its fundamental disregard of the requirements of veracity.

In the “Who and What” propaganda booklet we are told, “The Rosicrucian Order is absolutely NOT a religious movement or sect.” But in the “Encyclopaedia Britannica,” in his article on “Rosicrucianism,” the Imperator himself, Dr. H. Spencer Lewis, (the founder of AMORC in 1915) writes, “It is non-sectarian, and in a broad sense, non- religious, inasmuch as its teachings include the practical sciences to a greater extent than principles of religious thought.”

So it is not non-religious after all, save only in a “broad sense”; and that, not because it omits religious teachings, but only because it includes other matter in addition to such teachings! Why this modification of the Rosicrucian attitude to religion? Is it that the “Facts Put at Our Fingertips” by the propaganda booklet are not sufficiently reliable for inclusion in the “Encyclopaedia Britannica”? If so, how can such dishonesty be reconciled with the ethics of Christianity?

The truth is that Rosicrucianism is the revival of an ancient heresy against which the early Christian Church fought for its very life. This was the heresy of the Gnostics, who also sought to blend pagan mythology with Christian doctrines, under the pretence of attaining to a higher, secret, and mysterious wisdom, not to be gained from the ordinary teachings of the Church. But the Church knew that their system meant the corruption of the Christian revelation. Let us consider this aspect of the subject a little more deeply.

An Ancient Heresy

The pagan world, into which Christianity was born, was rife with all kinds of superstitious cults, philosophies, and mythologies. And there was in existence a “secret confraternity of knowing ones,” called the “Gnostics,” who had built up a mysterious system of doctrines selected from all the current religions and philosophical theories of the East, ranging from the Mazdeism of Persia and the legends of the gods of Greece and Rome, through to the astrology and necromancy of Egypt.

There was an incessant groping and research into the chaotic wilderness of “ancient wisdom,” to find the real secrets of the universe; and the Gnostics claimed to have discovered the treasure, and to be in possession of a secret knowledge and understanding of mysteries hidden from the ignorant. Their system consisted of all kinds of abstruse and fantastic notions concerning the nature of the universe, and the destiny of the human soul; and, on the practical side, of mysterious spells and rites of magic by which they said that the initiated could win power and immortality. Astrology, necromancy, occultism, superstitious incantations, and all the other sorry products of the immature mind were included in the Gnostic programme.

They were, of course, right in declaring their doctrines to be hidden and mysterious, for their doctrines were undoubtedly incomprehensible to people with no more than sound common sense in their heads. But there was a fascination in the secrecy, and a subtle appeal to the overweening pride of intellectuals in the claim to higher enlightenment. As a result, most intelligent pagans yielded to the Gnostic delusion, and loved to hint, in cryptic ways, that they knew more than they could say.

When Christianity came on the scene, the Gnostics relished the prospect of delving into yet another religion, which talked of God and man, and of a world beyond this. Who knows what new treasures of knowledge they might not gain from this Christian system, to add to their store of hidden knowledge? Many of them, therefore, became Christians. But their conversion could not be called more than nominal. From the moment of their baptism, they claimed to know more about Christ than the Christians whose ranks they had joined. They scoffed at the idea that He had been a real man in Galilee. He had been, and was still a god, they claimed; but at most He had taken on the semblance of a man. He had staged a series of apparitions solely in order to manifest the hidden mysteries of the Beyond; and once this purpose was accomplished, He had ceased to manifest Himself on earth.

So these Gnostics turned the Master‟s sayings inside out, seeking ever deeper and more startling secrets within them. They read into them whatever their fertile imaginations wished to find in them, and ridiculed the ordinary teachings of the Christian Church. They formed inner circles within the Church to cherish and preserve the “secrets” they claimed to have discovered, and allowed a chosen elite to be initiated very solemnly into small esoteric groups, and to take part in conferences and mysterious rites, concerning which only faint rumours reached the outside world.

Within these groups there were degrees and passwords and signs and emblems – all the trappings which fascinate the ungrown mind to this day.

Christian Opposition

The Church was not slow to detect the danger of the Gnostic movement within the ranks of Christians themselves. From the very beginning Christianity had inculcated a horror of pagan religions, and the Apostles had refused to allow anyone associating with pagan religious rites to go on partaking of the Table of the Lord. There was felt to be an immeasurable gulf between the doctrines, liturgy, worship, secrets, and ceremonies of occult mythologies, and the religion of Christ.

Moreover, Christ came to offer, not secrets and esoteric doctrines for a select few, but a Gospel to be preached and taught to all nations in its full integrity, just as He had taught it to the Apostles. He had bidden them to go, and to teach all nations “all things whatsoever I have made known to you.” So the Church, from the very beginning, condemned and excommunicated the Gnostics, branding them as heretics, corrupters of the revealed truth, and enemies of Christ.

Yet, writes Lewis Browne, in his book “Since Calvary,” “one finds such things still being taught with flamboyant secretiveness by people who call themselves Rosicrucians, or Speculative Freemasons, or even Theosophists. Usually there is a queer gleam in the eyes of such people, a gleam which is said to be the light of esoteric wisdom, though it may really be the glint of paranoia. In our day, however, it requires a somewhat maimed intelligence to believe that some secret fraternity of illuminati is in possession of an ancient and mysterious „inner Knowledge‟ as to the Beyond.” p. 63.

Rosicrucian Teachings

The official, but deceptive booklet we have been considering tells us that, as regards the teachings of Rosicrucianism, “An individual listing of the subjects included in the membership curriculum would be too lengthy for the space provided here.”

But it generously gives some clue to them. “In the main,” it continues, “it includes such topics as the mysteries of time and space; the human consciousness; the nature of matter; perfecting the physical body; the effect of light, colour, and sound upon the mind; the ancient philosophies; the development of will; human emotions, instincts, and their relation to personality; important discoveries in Rosicrucian chemistry and physics; explanation of the phenomena of intuition, etc.”

No hint is given that the treatment of this galaxy of subjects must necessarily trespass on the field of religion, and colour or even distort one‟s understanding of Christian doctrines. But. aware of the high-sounding nature of such extravagant claims, the booklet contents itself with saying, “Highly speculative, fantastic, or improbable matter is not included in the teachings of the Rosicrucians.”

One can‟t help feeling that a guilty conscience dictated that last sentence. For it is very difficult to believe that the Rosicrucian officials do not know their doctrine to be just what they have pretended to exclude, “highly speculative, fantastic, and improbable” guesswork. What reputable scientist would incorporate in any text-book the “important discoveries of Rosicrucian chemistry and physics?”

But let us turn to the impact of Rosicrucianism upon religious teachings, an aspect of the subject which this booklet, “Who and What” omits to mention.

I have before me a book entitled, “The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception,” or “Mystic Christianity.” It is described in a sub-title as, “An Elementary Treatise upon Man‟s Past Evolution, Present Constitution, and Future Development.” The author is Max Heindel; and the book was published in 1920 by the International Headquarters of the Rosicrucian Fellowship at Mount Ecclesia, Oceanside, California.

It may be, of course, that the Mount Ecclesia Rosicrucians are a rival body to the San Jose Rosicrucians. AMORC may regard Max Heindel (1865-1919) as a schismatic because he won‟t throw in his lot with them; or even perhaps as a heretic (since his group traces its origins to 1908). But that is not very important for the purposes of this discussion. The point is that both organizations claim possession of the Rosicrucian “Secrets”; and Max Heindel has been led by Rosicrucian principles to an interpretation of Christianity which is utterly un-Christian.

Mythical Nonsense 

In dealing with God, Max Heindel speaks of a “Cosmic Root Substance,” and tells us that “From the Root of Existence -The Absolute – proceeds the Supreme Being, at the dawn of manifestation. This is THE ONE.” p. 181. Apart from the innate absurdities of such a statement, it involves sheer pantheism. It makes God an evolving part of the created universe. In fact, earlier, on p. 180, we are told, “God is found in the highest division of the seventh Cosmic Plane!” No Christian for a moment could accept such teaching.

When discussing “Christ and His Mission,” Max Heindel says, “In the Christian Creed occurs this sentence: „Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God.‟ This is generally understood to mean that a certain person who appeared in Palestine about 2,000 years ago, who is spoken of as Jesus Christ – one separate individual – was the only-begotten Son of God. This is a great mistake.” p. 374.

Max Heindel then gives us as the truth the strange doctrine that Christ and Jesus were separate and distinct individuals; that Jesus was an ordinary man who had lived in different circumstances, under various names, in different embodiments. In his present stage, he had been educated by the Essenes. But the great Sun-spirit, Christ, entered into the then body of Jesus with the latter‟s full and free consent, in order to make initiation into the Rosicrucian mysteries possible for all men! On the death of Jesus, the great Sun-spirit, Christ, secured admission to the earth itself, and since that moment has been its Regent! pp. 367-410.

This is no mystical interpretation of Christianity. It is mythical nonsense which, in the eyes of all well-instructed Christians, amounts to sheer blasphemy.

On p. 403, Max Heindel refers to “Christ‟s younger brothers, the Archangels”; and elsewhere tells us that “Angels are highly evolved human beings!”

Human beings themselves he declares to be subject to the “Law of Consequence.” This law arranges that “a man is born at the time when the position of the bodies in the solar system will give the conditions necessary to his experience and advancement in the school of life.” p. 161. “The stars may therefore be called the „Clock of Destiny‟.” p. 163. We are even told that the twelve signs of the Zodiac are “twelve Creative Hierarchies!”

After this excursion into astrology, we are introduced to the old re-incarnation theories of Indian philosophy; improved, of course, by Rosicrucian wisdom. There is no transmigration of human souls into animals. The “Rosicrucian” Law of Rebirth means that we become re-incarnated only as better men, progressing always towards our final evolution into Angels; when we, too, shall become “creators.”

On p. 400 we are told that no human beings need redemption and salvation by the precious blood of Christ, as Christians have been led to believe; and, on p. 402, that not all men need salvation, even in the Rosicrucian sense of the word.

Such is “Mystic Christianity” according to “Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conceptions.” But what a travesty it all is! On p. 520 of his book, Max Heindel says frankly, “The Order of Rosicrucians is not merely a secret society; it is one of the mystery schools, and the Brothers are Hierophants of the lesser Mysteries.” Would it not be better if they contented themselves with the claim to be “Hierophants,” dropping all pretence to be Christians?

“Not Astrology” 

Despite Max Heindel‟s description of the stars as the “Clock of Destiny,” and his open support of astrology as a branch of Rosicrucian “science,” AMORC‟s “Who and What” propaganda booklet insists on p. 7 that “The Rosicrucian Order does not teach, endorse, or practise astrology, fortune-telling, crystal-gazing, numerology, or any of the other past or present superstitions, or similar popular pseudo-scientific practices. Furthermore, it neither teaches, practises, nor recommends spiritualism or hypnotism.” In the “Encyclopaedia Britannica,” the Imperator, Dr. H. Spencer Lewis, gives the same assurance in his article on Rosicrucianism. He declares that “it has consistently tabooed the superstitious arts of the Orient, and does not include fortune-telling, necromancy, or spiritualism.”

Yet, on p. 10, some of the facts placed at our fingertips in the “Who and What” brochure concern the Planetarium. “The Rosicrucian Planetarium, located in Rosicrucian Park, San Jose, California, and built at considerable cost, is one of the six planetariums in the United States. It is the only one entirely built and designed in America. It is called „The Theatre of the Sky,‟ because it presents the greatest drama of all the ages, the mythological traditions and Cosmic roles of the planets and stars, revealing their surprising astronomical mysteries, and giving young and old a clearer conception of the wonders of the heavens.”

No one can object to the study of astronomy, nor to any scientific aids towards obtaining a clearer conception of the wonders of the heavens. But scientific astronomy is left far behind in a Planetarium designed to “present the greatest drama of all the ages, the mythological traditions and Cosmic roles of the planets and stars.” Mythological traditions cannot have for Christians the value Rosicrucians attribute to them. And what becomes of the Rosicrucian repudiation of astrology, in the light of statements about the “Cosmic roles” of planets and stars? Planets and stars have no more a “Cosmic role” than have cabbages or camels.

And can any Christians admit that the “mythological traditions and Cosmic roles of the planets and stars” constitute “the greatest drama of all the ages”? For a Christian, the Greatest Drama of all the ages was the life on earth of the Incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ, and His redemptive death for the Salvation of mankind.

But the effort to deceive credulous people into the adoption and support of Rosicrucianism does not stop there.

“No Strange Practices Or Rites”

The “Who and What” booklet, in its effort to disarm suspicions concerning the true nature of Rosicrucianism, declares that it has “no strange practices or rites.”

“Rosicrucianism,” it says, “makes no demands upon its members that would oblige them to conduct themselves in any manner that would bring them into public ridicule or condemnation. The members are not required to dress, eat or act any differently than would be expected of any intelligent and morally responsible man or woman in the conduct of his or her ordinary affairs. The members resort to no practices or rites which in any sense are injurious to health, family relationships, or morals.”

The first thing that occurs to one on reading these words is astonishment that such an assurance should be needed. What is there, in Rosicrucianism, which would lead one to suspect that members might be expected to behave differently from ordinary people who rejoice in intelligence and moral responsibility? The very protestation is an admission of something queer about the whole system.

But secondly, the explanation strangely fails to cover the proposed objection. It makes no reference to the superstitious religious rites, against which Christians must be particularly on their guard. The general statement that there is nothing which could bring members into “public ridicule or condemnation” is not enough. That would follow from the very nature of the Rosicrucian Order as a secret society. Are there any strange practices or rites in secret? That is the vital question.

Now, on p. 19 of the official handbook, there is an illustration of “The Supreme Temple, Rosicrucian Order, A.M.O.R.C.” But the very description of a building as a “temple” connotes worship. And the interior design of the building is obviously one of religious significance. There is a central sanctuary, with a Mithraic-looking altar encompassed by four decorated pillars, the whole set-up intended to create a mystic atmosphere. The official booklet describes it as a “lodge-room,” but goes on to say that in it “are conducted the impressive and symbolic ritualistic convocations of the Grand Lodge.” No matter how they may wrap it up in words, however, the fact remains that the ceremonies conducted in this “Supreme Temple” are religious in character. They are “impressive” because strange. And what are “symbolic ritualistic convocations,” if not “rites”? Yet we are seriously asked to believe that Rosicrucianism involves “no strange practices or rites!”

Again, on p. 17 of the official booklet, there is the picture of “The Shrine of Amenhotep IV, Pharaoh of Egypt.” It is built as a square-cut archway, leading to a colonnade of pillars bordering an open sun-lit pathway which is possibly meant to suggest the road to wisdom. The arch itself is covered with Egyptian hieroglyphics, in honour of the mystic teachings of Amenhotep IV, upon whom the Rosicrucians have conferred the privileged title of “traditional first Grand Master.”

Once more, however, a “shrine” is a religious term, implying a hallowed centre of devotion and worship. It at once awakens the thought of prayers and of pilgrimages. Nor are our misgivings allayed by the description accompanying the illustration. “This artistic structure, erected on the grounds of Rosicrucian Park, commemorates the Initiation held by approximately a hundred Rosicrucian men and women in Karnak Temple, Egypt, in 1929.”

Such admissions of ritual and worship in the midst of ancient symbols of pagan mythology make it astounding that, on an earlier page in the same booklet, the categorical statement could be made, “The Rosicrucian Order is absolutely NOT a religious movement or sect.” p. 5. Have the compilers of this brochure no idea of the meaning of words? Or do they hope that at least the readers of the booklet will miss the real significance of the movement they have been invited to join?

Christian Verdict

What is the truth about Rosicrucianism? It is a modern revival of, or at least an imitation of the ancient pagan mystery religions. It is precisely what it so emphatically denies itself to be, an occult, semi-theosophical, superstitious, thinly disguised form of astrology, blended with strange practices and rites which do constitute it a religious movement or sect.

It may, not very innocently, describe itself as an innocent “system of mystical and metaphysical philosophy, intended to guide the development of the inner consciousness.”

But Christians have all the religious and spiritual guidance they need in the teachings of Christ, Our Lord. One who understands the Gospels, who meditates their teachings, who has at his disposal the wisdom, experience, and advice of the Church Christ established to safeguard His doctrines and precepts, one who sincerely tries to put into practice the prescriptions of the Gospels and of the Church of the centuries – such a one has no temptation to look elsewhere for religious truth and spiritual guidance.

Certainly, no one who has any real understanding of the Christian religion, and loves Christ above all things, could have anything to do with Rosicrucianism. It is a system which hopes to secure recruits from amongst the ranks of Christians who have drifted from any clear knowledge and realization of what the Christian religion really means.

In conclusion, it must be said that, far from resulting in a more enlightened interpretation of Christianity, Rosicrucianism can result only in its perversion. It appeals to imagination, not to reason; to credulity, and not to any genuine spirit of faith; to pride, and not to humility; to self-assertion, not to reliance upon divine grace. In a word, it is utterly un-Christian. And only one conclusion is possible. St. Paul‟s horror of the ancient heathen mystery religions is the only attitude a true Christian can adopt towards the Rosicrucian System, and similar out-breaks of humanity‟s morbid propensity towards esoteric magic, secret so-called mystical societies, and pagan mythology.

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Modern Secularism: Faith And Unfaith In The Modern Age

Modern Secularism: Faith And Unfaith In The Modern Age
G. M. Jackson, M. A. 

Chapter I

Faith And Unfaith In The Modern Age

From the earliest ages, men have differed from one another in their conceptions of Divinity, their notions varying according to the degree of their intelligence and the level of their culture, and being affected by manifold other factors in their lives and circumstances. The overwhelming consensus of mankind, however, has been that a spiritual order existed, and interpenetrated our visible world: that the establishment of a right relationship with that order was a matter of overwhelming importance, both to individuals and to the community. Man could not live well – or be safe from disaster of varied kinds – unless he rendered this due to the hidden Powers which overshadowed his life, and exercised their secret control over the material world, which was commonly regarded as “the garment of the living Spirit.”

All the controversies of yesterday were between men who agreed, at least, upon the existence and importance of this Divine Order. This belief formed a basis of unity for Christians of every kind; and it linked Christendom with Judaism and Islam, and with the Platonist and Aristotelian philosophies, as well as with the pagan world of the Gentiles in Asia, Africa and America. To be sure, there were to be found a handful of disbelievers here and there – especially among highly civilized peoples: while there were a larger number of “worldlings” whose lives were conducted with small regard for anything but mundane motives and expediency. But one of the features of the modern world which seems to be new in the history of mankind is the systematic attempt which has been, and still is being made to expel or exclude the “spiritual idea” and its implications from the whole body of a civilization; an attempt which has, actually, achieved a very substantial degree of success.

Not only is full and clear belief in God more frequently absent from human lives than ever before, but the whole background of thought in which that belief is found is now very commonly rejected. It has become a basic assumption in our Western world that the temporal and material order is the only one of which we need to take practical account in our way of life, whether as individuals or as communities.

This assumption, it must be emphasized, is not peculiar to avowedly atheistic systems of thought like Communism: it underlies all the principal “ideologies” which have been contending for world power during the present 20 century: Fascism, Communism, Socialism and Democratic Liberalism as understood by many of its adherents. True, the “materialism” of these movements conceals an undercurrent of idealism whose origin is spiritual – and which gives them their driving force: but this force tends to grow weaker as the “perfume of the empty jar” of the rejected religious tradition gradually fades away, and the implications of a purely “space-and-time” view of man as a planetary social animal are realized in thought, and made the basis of action.

About the ultimate results of this process I shall have some reflections to make shortly: meanwhile I must re-emphasize the rampant fact of materialism of which any man of vivid and realistic supernatural faith must be aware in the world surrounding him – both in “new lands” like Australia and the United States, and in the older Western communities of Europe. Its outlook and values are reflected in our political and social life, in our press, radio, television, literature and cultural institutions, and in the day-to-day life of millions of our fellow-men. Just as the Western culture of the Middle Ages was Christian and Catholic, so the culture of our modern era is “secularist,” treating religious truth, in effect, as non-existent.

The Two Worlds 

The life of Faith, of course, continues to survive in the midst of this secularist civilization. We have – as Rosalind Murray has well said – “Two separate mental worlds, each self-contained” which exist side by side, intersecting and overlapping, though no more fusing than oil and water. Those who belong to one or the other are, in general, externally indistinguishable. They live side by side: they work together in office or bench or field: sometimes they are members of one family, or even sharers of one marriage-bed. Yet, spiritually, they remain poles apart: and it is becoming harder than ever to establish spiritual contact between one side and the other.

The Christian warriors and “Paynim” Moslems of the crusading era were far nearer akin to one another than many who dwell in constant and apparently intimate association in our own world.

We have said that the man of real faith cannot fail to be aware of this secret division between belief and non-belief. It is, however, largely ignored or treated as unimportant by public opinion and the organs through which that opinion is formed and expressed. Moreover, the attitude of “those who profess and call themselves Christians” reveals too often the unconscious infection of their thought by the prevailing tone of the world.

They are, it seems, reconciled to this anomalous situation as though it were normal: and they, too, are accustomed to talk, act and think about everyday affairs as though the differences of basic attitude to life were of no particular account. It is taken for granted that political views, nationality, social class, intellect, taste, differences of technical knowledge and skill are important in classifying human beings: but classification according to “religious opinion” is regarded as giving undue importance to a purely private matter which has – or ought to have – no social significance. In the case of teachers, for instance, it is commonly assumed that “religious tests” are not only objectionable, but unnecessary – the official Catholic view to the contrary is regarded as reactionary bigotry.

To the secular world it does not matter whether these people believe in God or not, so long as they can do their job without making life uncomfortable by insisting on their personal views about its meaning and purpose.

The Secularist Mind and Religious Persecution 

Indeed, the typical secular-minded “Modern Man” has become so profoundly alienated from religion that it is incomprehensible to him that anyone can truly regard the order of things with which believers are concerned as real and of ultimate importance. When the fact of religious persecution or conflict is presented to him in the modern world, his first reaction is one of sheer disbelief. The stories are “propaganda,” invented to discredit the movements accused of intolerance. When the mass of evidence presented makes it impossible for him to hold this opinion any longer, he tries to interpret the conflict in terms of secularist “realism.” The Christian is a victim because he is suspected of Fascism, or “reactionary associations”; the militant “anti-God” atheism of the U.S.S.R. and Red Peking is a party-gesture which he deplores but explains away, treating it as without fundamental human or social significance, and therefore unfit for more than passing attention.

The “real” issue – as seen by most of the foes as well as the friends of Communism in this country – has no relation to this side of Red activity: it is concerned rather with questions like whether Soviet planning works efficiently or not, and whether the new “world order” which the Marxist-Leninist Revolution proposes to establish will be comfortable from the point of view of man’s peace and social well-being, and will help or hinder his “progress” in the sciences. Again, there is vivid interest in the possibilities of a compromise which will enable the Communist and Democratic-“Capitalist” ways of life to flourish side by side: or in that of a modification of the Communist ideology so that its adherents may pursue their objectives in a humane and efficient way, without resorting to the nastiness of police-terrorism, servile labour and armed blackmail and aggression.

If some change of this sort could be accomplished, the great multitude of our people, as well as their leaders, would be perfectly satisfied. They are entirely uninterested in the tragedy of the mass- destruction of spiritual belief and religious tradition by deliberate, organized pressure on the part of atheistic authorities: and – generally speaking – they regard the improvement of “living standards” and literacy as more than compensating for the destruction of human faith and hope and the vision of spiritual truth. And this multitude of secularist-minded people includes a large body of those who would profess themselves “believers” in God, and even in the Christian religion.

Tolerance and Intolerance 

The secular assumption of the unimportance and unreality of religion is behind all the current smooth language about “agreeing to differ,” “living and letting live” and the rest of it. In effect, the believer is told that no one will interfere with his religion if he will conform in his actions and words to the secular convention that God is of no account. But if he ventures to challenge openly the current local standards of secularism, he is soon made to feel that he is a “peculiar” person, and that his sort of views are repugnant to the ruling influences of his world.

For example, while Catholic beliefs about the Virgin Birth, Purgatory, the Assumption, Holy Images and so forth, are widely regarded with good-natured indifference, tinged with romantic sympathy or “scientific” contempt, it is different with the rulings of the Church about such things as divorce, “mixed” marriages, contraception, sterilization, abortion, difficult cases in childbirth, or euthanasia, in which the law of God is asserted dogmatically in fields which “modern thought” regards as governed solely by social expediency.

Here, the reactions to Catholic views are frequently violent: and it is made clear that the intrusion of God as a Reality into the sphere of public policy and social life is regarded as intolerable. For the rest, the secularist “standard pattern” has been imposed on the free public education systems of this country and others, which is based on the implicit assumption of the unimportance of religion in the sphere of culture and general knowledge: and those who will not conform to this principle of secularist orthodoxy are obliged to pay a part of the expense for the secular school system based on it, as well as bearing the whole burden of their own “dissident” Christian educational structures (so sadly the position of Catholic schools in the Australia of the 1950s).

There are, in fact, no terms of reconciliation between the worlds of those who believe that Theism is an “opinion” of no account socially, and those who believe that “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever,” and that He is the Supreme Reality upon which all mundane things depend. This is already realized by the more radical secularists on the one side and the Catholic Church on the other: and as our civilized world moves on from one crisis to the next, the terms of man’s choice will become clearer, and the irrepressible conflict may be expected to grow more bitter in one social sphere after another.

Chapter II

The Secularist Looks At The World  

Let us take a closer look, now, at the “way of thought” which has replaced the Christian faith of our ancestors. We must remember, of course, that secularism is not a definite, thought-out philosophy except in the case of the few, and that there is considerable variation in the detail of the opinions of those who stand by it. In general, the design here set forth is implied in the actions and attitudes of most men, rather than systematized in their minds.

(1) The “Real World” is conceived as the visible, tangible order in which man lives, as a denizen of the planet Earth: everything beyond this is, more or less, “Gas and gaiters.” Nothing certain can be known about it, so that it can and must be treated as non-existent for the ordinary purposes of practical life. The discussions of “supernatural truth” in which religious controversialists engage are, in effect, discussions about the government of fairyland: their dogmatic statements are no more valid than the fantastic utterances of astrology. And with these go all the assumptions about “sacred authorities” and other sanctities in the sphere of social life.

(2) The universe is a sort of machine, working according to natural laws which are unalterable: these laws govern all life, both physical and psychological. They can be observed and described by human science, and are actually being so observed and described more and more.

(3) The stories of “miraculous” events and revelations in human history are, therefore, “legends”: they can sometimes be explained as due to natural causes, or symbolical interpretations of natural phenomena; but many must be dismissed as purely mythical. Some of these myths may have moral value for children – or for simple-minded people who need their aid for good living and happiness: but the growth of man’s mind to its full stature involves the progressive rejection of “all that nonsense” and the “facing of facts” as revealed by “scientific modern thought.”

(4) The laws which govern ethical conduct are not based in a “Higher Law” either implanted in the minds and hearts of men by God, or positively revealed by Him (e.g., through Moses, or Zoroaster, or Mohammed, or Jesus Christ). They are simply based on the agreement of men to follow certain customs in order to live peacefully together, and develop their higher faculties. The practical standard of ethics is that of “good citizenship,” and good neighbourhood, the observance of the customary code of “decency, kindness and tolerance” in private relationships, and so on.

(5) The idea of “revealed” Truth is commonly felt to be somehow degrading to human reason: “We can work things out for ourselves and save ourselves.” Belief in immortality and justice in the “after-life” is sneered at as “escapism,” and regarded as “anti-social,” on the ground that it leads men to neglect social reform here on earth, and to endure tyranny and injustice in hopes that all will be eventually made right in Heaven. Men should have the courage, we are told, to face the grim truth about personal mortality without this sort of “wishful thinking,” and to work for an earthly consummation of communal happiness through enlightened goodwill. The Christian way of thought is condemned as undemocratic as well as cowardly since it derives human authority and justice from a Divine Despot rather than from the creative powers of ascendant man himself.

(6) Unlike revelation from above, however, revelation from below – through the subconscious animal instincts – is to be taken very seriously. These must not be “repressed,” but their demands met – especially in regard to sex: a “healthy frankness” about the body and its functions is to replace the “unnatural” reticence of the past, caused by religious superstitions concerning “purity.”

(7) Since the authority of Government comes from man alone, the only legitimate form is that in which rules are regarded as delegated by the people to carry out their will and serve their material well-being. No Power “by the grace of God” is to be admitted as real. Hence the power of Church dignitaries is regarded as a spiritual tyranny exercised over superstitious minds: while monarchy, in its traditional form, is held intolerable if the King exercises real political power. It is only to be endured, when politically inactive, as a concession to the irrational “romantic” instinct of the people, and their desire for a symbol of the nation’s unity.

(8) The “churches” are regarded as having real “value” only in virtue of their social function as agencies of humanitarian reform and of education and moral supervision – especially for the young. The criterion by which their activities are measured has nothing to do with sanctity: the “fruits” looked for are those of earthly well-being: and comparison is made between their activities in this respect and those of the State and other human organizations, without regard to the primary religious aims of teaching the Truth of Christ and drawing men to a higher life of grace through His Love.

The Decline of Liberal Humanism 

At the end of the progress of four centuries from a fully “Christian” order to that of modern secularism the general mind has been stamped with a view of man which sees the animal side of human nature as fundamental, and regards him as “of the earth, earthy” in the strictest and fullest sense. But this descent did not take place all at once: nor is it yet complete. There was a long “middle period” in which the leaders of Western thought dreamed of an “ideal humanism” which would retain a sense of the high value and perfectibility of the human person, while denying the foundation of Christian thought and belief upon which that idea had formerly rested.

But once the conception of man as wholly mortal was accepted, it was seen before very long that the short individual life could only have value and significance in relation to the larger, permanent life of the community, and the “human process” of which that community itself was a part.

This meant the doom of the “middle way” of liberal-humanism. The ideas of “human happiness” and “human well-being” could only be considered realistically in relation to a pattern of life planned by men for masses of men: the individual being a mere temporary “nexus” of social relationships. Secular intellectual interest shifted, therefore, from humanist philosophy and rational ethics to politics and social planning. The “new order” – the secularist substitute for “salvation” – must be set up by external organized action: the applied scientists and social technicians – not the pure scientific inquirers after truth – became the “significant men” of the new age to whom the communities of the world must look for the enhancement of human power and the new designs for well-being – even for the making of a new race by eugenic breeding and educational “conditioning.”

Culture was no longer the perfection of the individual understanding, wisdom and sense of beauty, but the training and tailoring of the individual “social cell” for social purposes, so that he would “fit in” with the new organized pattern of communal living. For the new secularists, moral virtue and “social usefulness” are precisely equivalent. The “good” man is the active, trained collaborator in the tasks of the social hive, obedient to the directives of those who speak in the people’s name, living smoothly and easily with his fellowmen so as to avoid every kind of social friction. He is, in fact, the perfect “yes-man” conforming to the pattern of the hive in thought, word and deed.

Towards “Insectification” 

In a word, in “emancipating” man from Divine Authority, modern secularism has begun a process towards what has been well called the “insectification” of the human community – the total absorption of the life of the person in the life and activities of the hive within which alone it can have “meaning.” “Modern thought” moves already in the direction of giving the State full control of its members’ bodies and minds.

First, the “unfit” are to be eliminated by scientific eugenics – including marriages “planned” under medical supervision, enforced sterilization or contraception in certain cases, and “euthanasia” – so-called ‘mercy killing’ – for the hopelessly sick, insane or deformed.

Secondly, the public communal authority of the State is to be substituted gradually for the family in the moulding of citizens. Little ones are to be cared for in crèches; the young are to be fed and receive medical attention at school; and their educational “conditioning” is to be handed over to vocational experts, who will decide upon their training and placing according to the requirements of planned social construction.

Finally, “humane” social pressure is to be used to eliminate recalcitrant groups and organizations from the field of culture, and to oblige all to submit to the planned secular pattern of thought and life.

Once again, let me emphasize that I am describing the trend of secularist “modern thought,” rather than setting forth a doctrine accepted by secularist-minded people generally in Australia at the present time. Among these, there are still wide differences as to what their way of thought implies, and most still cling to the illogical outlook of liberal humanism. But the process of “materialization” goes on apace, and is very widespread: and a vivid sense of non-material truth and sanctity as affecting the whole life of man and the community is already comparatively rare, even among Christians.

Chapter III

The Phenomenon Of Disintegration

The ordinary modern man – whether nominally infidel or “Christian” or even Catholic – is “disintegrated” in the sense that he is found to be holding simultaneously opinions which are logically incompatible with one another. In the case of the Christian, this means that his thought is “dashed” with materialism, national idolatry and national blood feuds, the politics of class hate and envy, false secular “humanism” and so on.

On the other hand, the thought of the actual materialist is “dashed” with all kinds of remnants of Christian idealism and “personalism” which have no proper place in the materialistic system of thought at all. People who deny all real value to individual life and personality except in relation to the “social mass” are nevertheless shocked, sometimes even more than Christians, at the infliction of indignities and cruelties upon their fellow-men, or the ruthless “social engineering,” “conditioning” and liquidation carried out by the Nazis or Communists, who accept the full consequences of their philosophy of man and the universe.

This mingling of a secularized Christianity with a secularism tinged with Christian sentiment has the effect of producing a general common level of social conduct and standards, such as prevails in communities such as our own at the present time. It tends, also, to foster the illusion of the insignificance of religious thought and belief in relation to practical conduct.

The materialist’s outlook logically leads to the view that the word “should” has no true meaning, since a man’s conduct is determined by the social pattern in which he finds himself, together with his physical structure and the laws which govern his psychological life. Yet he usually continues to talk and act as if he, and he and other men were morally responsible beings: and his designs for secular living – the very idea that such living can be consciously designed – are still based on that assumption. He is horrified, as I have noted, at social cruelty and injustice; on the contrary, he approves humanity, virtue, heroism and zeal for the cause of liberty.

Exhausting Moral Capital 

It should hardly be necessary to point out the danger of the prevalence of this state of mind. The man who practises virtue only because of his instinctive habitual attachment to values which in terms of his philosophy he must hold to be irrational has a moral foundation for his life which is essentially unstable. A society of such men is living on its moral capital without replacing it from one generation to another. Faith and the rational morality based on theism no longer has a firm hold over the desires of rulers and peoples: their concentration on material achievement and wealth and power means that their control of nature through applied science becomes increased, while they also become progressively less fit to exercise such control.

That is why we find that natural science, in our own secularist age, is prodigal of promises for human betterment which remain largely unfulfilled: while its development for purposes of destruction have reached sinister heights under the guidance of the “will-to-power.” That is why the highly-developed techniques of large-scale organization which we have mastered are used so much to create engines of oppression and falsehood and human de-formation of which the devilish imaginations of our ancestors never dreamed.

Secularism, then, would appear to be essentially a destructive and parasitic way of thought and life, since it can only survive by making use of values which are constantly eroded by its own action. Having noticed this feature – reflected in the instability and inconsistency of individual lives, and the growth of destructive forces in the social sphere, let us look more closely at certain common secularist assumptions, and see how far they are coherent from the standpoint of the common-sense idea that human thought has some relation to real life.

Chapter IV

The Suicide Of Thought

We will begin with a common “line” set forth by secularist “modern minds” at the present day. “I don’t” they will say “maintain the position that everything can be explained in terms of matter and energy, because I don’t know enough for that. But I intend to continue trying to explain everything in this way until I can find something for which other assumptions are required.”

Now that sounds a fair enough proposition: so let us offer one fundamental problem for our secularist to explain in terms of matter and energy if he possibly can: namely, the fact that he is thinking. He will answer, no doubt, that the study of the mind itself is by no means excluded from the world view of modern secular science: and point to the results of psychological research, the work of Freud, Jung and others, in order to show that the process of thought is increasingly being explained in terms of matter and energy. Actually, what the new psychologists are concerned with is the results of mind: they classify the way people behave, giving an exterior view of their mental life: and the results they have attained by this research are very valuable indeed.

It would not, however, be of any value at all if the minds of those engaged in the research were no more than a mass of “complexes” produced by a material process. If we argue (with the Freudian) that “thoughts” are merely due to a process of this sort: or (with the Marxist) that they are due to “class conditioning” we have to make an exception of the particular thought-process we are using in our argument.

True or False? 

The dilemma may be expressed more simply in this way. We have two propositions, based on two arrangements of thoughts, which, on materialist principles, are reducible to terms of matter and energy. One is “The moon is made of green cheese, and is eaten slowly by the sky-giant every month.” The other is “The moon is a satellite attached to our planet earth, and the monthly ‘phases’ we observe are caused by the variation of its position in relation to the earth and the sun.” How is it that one of these propositions comes to be qualified as objectively “False” and the other as “True,” if they are no more than different arrangements of “matter and energy,” in the human thinking organ? What is the basis of this valuation, and how can it have any meaning? And if it has no meaning, how can we reach any conclusion about life or reality by any process of thinking whatever?

This argument has been set forth in brief by Professor J. B. S. Haldane – himself, strangely enough, a zealous Marxian – who says, “If any mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose my beliefs are true . . . and hence, I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.”

To sum up, materialistic logic has no explanation of the function of the human mind as a truth-finding organ: a function which must be assumed, in some fashion, in order to relate thought to objective reality. If the psychologists cannot tell us truth, they can’t tell us the truth about how our minds work! All knowledge and therefore all science, has become impossible: all language unmeaning.

A way of thought which is reduced to this idiotic incoherence in its attempt to describe the nature of thought itself, and which finds it necessary to doubt or deny the freewill which is assumed as a fact in every human relationship of our lives, can only be described as a road to the suicide of thought. This suicide, in fact, is the inevitable consequence of the view that man’s thought and action is simply part of the process of nature, determined in the same way as other physical phenomena.

The Rational Approach to Faith 

The difficulties involved in accepting a non-materialistic philosophy or faith are real and serious: but, in tackling them, we are not brought to the same kind of impasse. The method of argument which leads to such conclusions as God’s existence, the possibility of Divine Revelation, and the probability of the survival of the human soul after the death of the body, is a rigorously rational one: and where there are problems – such as those of evil and pain – they are faced up to by the great philosophers of Christian Theism in an honest and realistic fashion, even though their conclusions remain tentative and imperfect. The trouble is not that the secularist “modern man” cannot find an answer to the questions he asks: but that he either does not ask the questions at all, or refuses, like Pilate, to “stay for an answer,” on the dogmatic assumption that there is none of any worth to be given. He will say, “I don’t know: no one can know: and, anyhow, it doesn’t signify.”

The first word (or sentence) is, no doubt, true: the second he has not tested: the third is both false and foolish – since it ought to be clear that enormous practical consequences are involved in the great questions about what man is and to what destiny the human race is moving, individually and collectively.

Chapter V 

The Revolt Against Truth 

The startling truth about the world in which we live is that most of those who guide its thinking are not really interested in objective truth at all. The rebellion against religious “dogma” is, in fact, a far more profound revolt than most of us realize. It is not – as its maintainers seriously and sincerely contend – simply an impulse to slough off inessential and “unreal” ideas which have cribbed, cabined and confined the rational mind. Rather, it is a fundamental revolt against the laws of man’s being – a refusal to accept objective truth. If we look at the points of our faith most generally attacked by modern thinkers, it will be realized that they are those which embody the basic truths about man’s position in the universe and real nature.

Thus, the Divinity of Christ is rejected as a incomprehensible fantasy: and we substitute the myth of a “higher human” raised by his own power and acquired social virtues to a sort of earthly divinity. The initiative in redemption is transferred from God to man: man replaces God as the focus of adoration. The process from material being to rationality, from rationality to the new higher humanity, is a process which takes place in defiance of all the laws of thought perceived by reason – it involves adding two and two to make five at each stage. But it is pleasing to man’s self-assertion: it makes him a master, a self-creator – not a created being saved by the descending love of his Maker. The whole concept of secularist “progress,” in fact, is a mass of “wishful thinking”: the materialization of the idea of “salvation” has turned it into an erection of nonsense built on pride.

Again, denial of eternal punishment is represented as a humane reaction to the primitive conception of a vindictive Divinity – those indignant about the doctrine of hell almost invariably conceive it in crude and childish imaginative terms, and refuse to trouble themselves to examine the careful statements of Christian philosophers and theologians. In reality, at the back of it there lies something very different: a refusal to accept the principle of retribution which runs through actual life. Once again, the secularist will not have the nature of the universe, in which inexorable consequences result from the misuse of free-will. “Don’t worry: it won’t really happen” “It does not really matter.” This is the other facet of the rejection of religious dogma to the impulse to self-assertion. The serpent, you may remember, told our first parents that they would not die, by their disobedience, but would become as gods.

The Habit of Self-Deception 

Of course, our attitude does not affect the truths we are running away from: but they do not seem so near and so menacing if we can manage to pretend that they are not there. This gesture of “non-recognition,” therefore, has become a characteristic feature of our world even in lesser matters than those of the foundations of life and thought. We have a powerful school of politicians and “intellectuals” who hold that the way to peace is to pretend that the aggressor-powers are sincere in their desire for an accommodation; that they do not hold by their Marxist principles, but by others less uncomfortable in their implications: that they are not really guilty of the crimes against religion and humanity of which overwhelming evidence exists: or that those crimes are not related as they really are to the fundamental aims and beliefs of those who have ordered them. They invent new smooth names to describe ancient evils, and deem that they have thereby exorcised them: they propose solutions to bitter, menacing problems by doing the comfortable thing and “wishing upon a star.” Communism is to be “cured” by social well-being without arming to repel the Red totalitarian power-machine: Asia is to be reconciled without any real concessions to inter-racial justice . . . and so the dream-story goes on.

Science and the New Thought 

Even the Laws of Science – hitherto assumed to be the immutable and authoritative ultimate basis of existence in our secularist world, as those of faith were in Christian ages – are no longer immune from the subjective erosion which has undermined the idea of “Truth” in other spheres. Thus in a Scientific Charter of Scientific Principles, drawn up during the recent Second World War, by the British Association we find the statement: “That the basic principles of science rely on independence combined with co-operation, and are influenced by the progressive needs of humanity.”

A letter of 13 October 1941 to the British Daily Telegraph draws attention to the implications of this oracle. “Men apparently do not rely on the basic principles of science, but the basic principles rely on man! The law of gravitation, the principle of the conservation of energy, the theory of relativity, depend for their validity on the proceedings of men, and are influenced by their progressive needs. Newton’s apple would have acted quite differently if men had been less independent and co-operative, or if their progressive needs had been different!”

So, the “truth of the senses” which secularism alone admits, faces the denouement of its own dethronement. Scientific propositions themselves are mere “conventions,” expedient for the operation of this or that individual or group. Scientists are even found contending that they are not concerned with reality, but formulate their schemes “as if they corresponded with reality.” But if science is not concerned with reality, what is it concerned with? And if its sages talk in these terms, what can we expect of political and social ideologues except a “truth” which is conceived purely in terms of temporary expediency; a criterion according to which Hitler’s and Stalin’s dogmas have precisely the same validity as those of the civilized democratic world! And, with the downfall of truth, man tumbles from the lofty pedestal upon which he was set by liberal-secularism as a “seeker after truth” to the level of an animal intent on the exaltation of his greed, his appetites and his egoism by means of “rationalizations” of various kinds.

Chapter VI

The Moral Challenge To Men Of Faith  

One of the commonest answers of the secularist to the Christian who speaks to him of the merits of his faith is, “If the difference between your way of life and mine is as great as you claim, why is it that Christians are in practice so difficult to distinguish from us pagans in the fashion of their actual behaviour?” He will go on to cite examples of Catholic drunkards and lechers, Catholics who are uncharitable and grossly dishonest, cruel and narrow-minded . . . and so on.

I have already answered this challenge in part by pointing out that our world is not composed of all-out Catholics living in the light of Catholic truth, and all-out secularists living in accordance with their own philosophy, but of Catholics infected by the values of the secularist world around them, and secularists who have inherited Christian habits of thought which raise their conduct above the level of their philosophy. Hence the tendency towards a certain common level of practical standards.

The reply, however, is not one which we Christians can accept as in any way satisfactory in answer to the challenge regarding our own inadequacy. The man who makes it is, often enough, really in quest of truth: and he is puzzled by the paradox of the elevation of Catholic principles and beliefs, and the contrasting insufficiency of the people who have received the new “Life of Faith” but show small sign of having been transformed by it, or by the torrents of grace to which they have access through the Sacraments.

The Christian of today, living in the world, carries a grave responsibility: for, willy-nilly, he stands for those who do not share his faith as representing the Church of God in action. “What has it done for you, anyhow?”

We may as well begin by admitting, with shame, that both as a community and individually we have failed lamentably to “Come up to scratch.” Don’t let us minimize a truth which is very patent to our critics, but rather make it clear that we realize it a good deal more fully than they can possibly do. Indeed, it belongs to our position that we should see our defects better than any outsiders can: and the degree to which we do so is actually the measure of our progress in the spiritual life. It is not without significance that St. Francis of Assisi, whose life was, in the opinion of some, more completely Christ-like than any in Christian history, should have cried out upon himself constantly as utterly degraded: “the chief of sinners.” The ordinary Christian lives on an immeasurably lower level, yet he operates in the same medium: and is capable, therefore, of understanding that he is very far from what he ought to be.

We do not claim to be better as individuals than very many non-believers: but we do claim that the way is open to us, through Divine grace, to a level of goodness, even sanctity, to which those without the life of faith cannot aspire. We have been privileged to see further into the meaning of life: the scope of what we mean by good and evil has been infinitely extended for us, and with this extension of our understanding an immeasurable source of strength has been offered to us.

Through faith we see truth: through grace we can act upon it, by responding to the Divine Gift offered to us: but neither faith nor grace can make the Christian life an easy one. It is a “way of the Cross,” and neither Christ nor His disciples have ever pretended that it was anything else. No mechanical transformation, no automatic moral regeneration is effected by faith. If we assent in a merely nominal and external fashion to the truths of religion, they will not be sufficient to transform our lives: if our reception of the Sacraments is automatic and superficial, we are failing to make use of the graces given to us . The force and dynamism of the gift is not affected: but our souls are deprived of the full benefit inherent in it.

The Half-Christian 

That is the trouble with most “ordinary Catholics.” Their faith is only half-alive: and it is because it lacks vitality that they become infected with secularism in their practical life, as an ill-nourished child “picks up” germs. That there should be so many “so-called Christians” who fail to appreciate and live by their faith may be a “cause of scandal” to secularist inquirers: but it is explained by the general tendency of human nature to turn away from the “hard and rare” in every field of activity. All higher religions and philosophies have been confronted with the same problem: in proportion to their demands has been the natural man’s reaction to them.

But no other religion makes so complete and “totalitarian” a demand on the whole nature of man as Christianity – which presents him with a goal to which his unaided efforts are incapable of attaining. This being the case, there is no ground for surprise that man being man, and in a fallen world, so few Christians do attain perfection, and “Christian civilization” has always been a patchy business, even in days when the Church’s beliefs and standards were almost universally accepted in Europe, at least officially.

We Catholic Christians cannot avoid a large part of responsibility for the process which, beginning with the revolt of the Renaissance and Reformation eras, has ended in the nightmare of secularist nihilism in which our modern Western world now groans and tosses unrestfully. What are we going to do about it?

Showing the Flag 

To begin with, it is necessary for the ordinary lay Christian to lay hold on the “Life of Faith” with something of the new zeal of converts in the ancient world of paganism, and in the mission-fields of our own day. He must do his utmost to grasp something of the pattern of Christian thought and make it his own, so that all the corners of his personal life and values may be “Christianized.” He must not be content to carry the faith around in a bag as a sort of jigsaw puzzle of dogmas and cultural traditions which he has inherited: but he must open the bag, put the picture together and look at it himself, before showing it to others.

In a world of disinterested and confused thinking, men who “know their own minds” and have a clear-cut philosophy of life by which they actually live are certain to create an impression if they show their flag so that others can see it, and read the image and superscription upon it. That is one reason for the impressive success of the Communists – though there are others far less creditable to them.

But while Catholics in their public lives and social relations are concerned simply to see how far they can go along with this or that secular movement, or approve this or that secular initiative; while the effect of their faith appears in nothing but a certain number of negations and criticisms concerning the details of secular organizations and policies; while they keep Christ and the Cross, and the Law of God, out of sight as though they were a sort of secret or even something a little indelicate, the destructive process of the secular system will not be reversed in our favour: there will be no return of our world to the sanities of Christian thought and the Christian order.

The Need for Holiness 

The temptation of the “good Christian” today is to despair of the salvation of a society which is “non- conducting” to the Christian current. He withdraws into his shell, shrinking from anticipated rebuffs. He “hides his light under a bushel” and is content to remain unnoticed and unmolested. Even, however, if he does all that in him lies, he finds his action “insulated” by the character of his environment. He must choose between an inertia which belies his whole position, or an activity which is alien and distasteful to the social group in which he moves.

If he chooses activity, however – as he must – there is still another danger to be avoided: that of accepting the secularist standard which regards external visible action as the real action. The essential activity of the Christian is spiritual: holiness as distinct from social action – being as the most potent kind of doing. And the more we find our world idolizing external energy, force and “output,” the more we ourselves need to cultivate contemplation, prayer, the “Life of the Spirit.” It is only in proportion as it is a flowering of this interior life that our visible action can be effective against the hostile “principalities and powers” which lie behind the secularist revolt against God: it is only if our lamps are filled with the sacred oil of Divine love that they can “shine before men” in the sort of personal service which wins souls and transforms societies.

The Sign of Contradiction 

But if hostile reaction is the chief effect of mere outward Christian action taken against the general secular opinion, it is not to be supposed that a spiritual contradiction will be more endurable to those who deny or ignore spiritual Reality. The contrary is the case. External opposition can be countered by methods which the secular world understands very well indeed: and it arouses correspondingly less fear among those who command the machinery of power and propaganda. It is precisely when it becomes apparent that the Catholic community really “lives by the spirit” and accepts its standards of value as the only real ones, that it provokes the deepest opposition: because this challenges the entire structure of the secularism which is today’s orthodoxy.

The easygoing, low-tension quality of both Faith and the reaction to it has concealed from most observers in Australia the extent of the divergence between the believer and non-believer. But if there were to be an awakening: if Catholicism were to come alive, not as a “social action” or political pressure movement, but as a spiritual force permeating the community, we should find a corresponding strong anti-religious movement. We have to reckon with a positive non-religious standard of value held – however illogically – by many people in this country, varying from “anti-God” bigotry to cultivated “social-humanism”: but wherever this standard is confronted with positive, dynamic Faith, it reacts with violence, as against a visible enemy.

The position of the rebel heretic – the Voltaire or Diderot – challenging an officially Christian society is often recalled today by secularists with sympathy and admiration: but, it is the opposite situation which now confronts us increasingly everywhere – involving the much older question of the Christian’s position as citizen of a non-Christian state.

We usually think of this problem as being peculiar to the “totalitarian” States – Nazi or Communist – where it has appeared in an obvious and drastic form. But it concerns this country also, since in Australia

Christians are in a minority in a community whose real standards, ideals and principles of action are based on a different principle from theirs. Our conception of our country’s well-being will not be that of most of them if it is based on Christian concepts: the good we want for her is not what they conceive as “the good.”

In time of crisis such differences of underlying standards tend to become intensified. The Christian, in so far as he is true to his own values, becomes to some extent suspect, as in but not of the community. Thus it was with the first Christians. They obeyed Caesar in all lawful things – they did not even resist active persecution: yet they were held to be dangerous, because they testified by their conduct and way of life the strength of their “other-worldly” loyalty. The diluted Christo-secularist is not feared; he is innocuous and “sterilized” by his conformity to the world. It is the “total” Christian, the apostle, who is a permanent challenge to the world’s Caesars, whether they are styled emperors, or leaders, or “Sovereign People’s Representatives.”

Victory Through the Cross 

The life of faith must be an apostolate, or it will perish: and its very nature makes it a sign of contradiction in relation to secularism. It requires that we give all we have, ourselves, our lives, in the service of Christ our Lord. This is costly: but there is no cheap and easy substitute. The Christian in our secularist world must choose between his faith and that world’s “works and pomps.” He cannot serve two masters – or combine “the best of both worlds” by some kind of tour de force. We have to save our world, it seems, if we are to save ourselves: but we have to begin by Christianizing ourselves. And we must face up to the fact that those who do the work of Christ must be prepared to pay the price He paid for victory. We, too, must be lifted up on the Cross, so that the peoples of the world may see and understand, and its valleys of dry bones may be filled with the hosts of a new Christendom, raised out of their death by the power of the renewing Spirit.

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Papacy and Freemasonry

Papacy and Freemasonry
Monseigneur Jouin
December 8, 1930

Papacy and Freemasonry, those are the two powers active throughout the world and each is seeking to dominate it. The solution of the struggle taking place between them is, at the present moment of the utmost importance; for we are face to face not only with the crossroads of history but also with a radical transformation of humanity itself. Either Romam Catholicism will lift us up again to the level of Christian civilization or else Judeo-Masonry will drag us down the path of barbarism and decadent paganism. The whole world oscillates between the two: Christianism and Paganism. On December 8th, 1892, Pope Leo XIII wrote to the Italian Episcopal Hierarchy: “It is necessary to fight Freemasonry with those weapons of divine faith which in past ages vanquished paganism.”

Moreover the Papacy and Judeo-Masonry are both so fully conscious of the diametrically opposed parts that they are playing that they assume that from it must issue the political, economic, intellectual and religious future of individuals as well as of nations. It is a fact and the better proof of it is their irreducible antagonism toward each other.

What is, indeed, Judeo-Masonry today if not the concentration and mobilization of all evil forces? This Sect with its threefold claim of being Counter-Church (against the Church), Counter-State (against the State) and Counter-Morality (against traditional morality) takes pride in being above all and for all times the enemy of the Catholic Church; one of its rallying calls is that of Tigrotto, one of the Alta Vendita chiefs who, in 1822, proclaimed: “Catholicism must be destroyed throughout the whole world.” With Tigrotto also the anti-Catholic plan is expressed thus: “Let us conspire only against Rome.” Is this not expressed in an identical manner in the German “Los Von Rom” or in the English: “No Popery?”

Monseigneur Gay, having been assigned by the Council of the Vatican the duty of writing “A Memorandum on Secret Societies,” gave the following striking definition of Freemasonry: “It is evident that in a general way, this doctrine of Freemasonry is not only a heresy, nor even the totality of all heresies, which find in it a haven; it is a fact that Masonry goes beyond the limits of what constitutes what is generally ascribed to the word ‘heresy,’ for it allows full play to the commission of outrageous perversion. Freemasonry is indeed the abyss of all errors, the well of perdition.”

This abyss of all errors (Abyssus Errorum) is justly compared to the “abysmal well’ mentioned in Revelation (abyssus putei, ix, 1-3 ), whose emanations darken the light of the sun and poison the air. It is this accursed Sect whose perversion was stigmatized by Pope Pius IX when he named it: “The Synagogue of Satan.” Due to its enormous extension and its nowadays very visible collusion with International Jewish Finance, Freemasonry has indeed become the “Synagogue of Satan.” As such it provided funds for the Russian revolution, installed in Moscow; it carried Communism from East to West, took up the leadership of States of their governments, their various administration departments or ministries, and of their parliaments and, in consequence, it is such a world power that for any discerning mind, it seems as though, today, there are on earth only two great powers, viz.: Judeo-Masonry in the service of World Jewry and the Church in the hands of Peter’s successor. Those two powers are at war, face to face as though fighting an endless duel, as is clearly expressed in the stone inscription of the Masonic Grand Orient and Supreme Council of France: “The fight taking place between Catholicism and Freemasonry is a fight to the very death, ceaseless and merciless.” (Bulletin of the Grand Orient of France P. 183. 1892 and in memorandum of the Supreme Council No. 85, page 48. )

With such a rallying definite line of action, one can positively affirm that Judeo-Masonry is the unique enemy of the Church. It can be detected in all anti-Catholic attacks against clergy or laity led either by Freemasons or by even Catholics whose faith has decreased due to either fear, passion or self-interest.

In his encyclical “Humanum Genus” Pope Leo XIII wrote: “There exists in the world a certain number of sects which although seemingly different one from another as to name, ritual, form and origin are, however, similar due to the analogy of their aim and chief principles. Indeed, they are identical to Freemasonry which is, for them all, the central point from which they proceed and toward which they converge.” Further, in his letter to the Italian people dated December 8, 1892, Pope Leo XIII writes: “Let us remember that Christianity and Freemasonry are essentially incompatible, to such an extent, that to become united with one means being divorced from the other. Let us, therefore, expose Freemasonry as the enemy of God, of the Church and of our Motherland ”

At the present moment (1930) it is a fact that St. Augustine’s two cities, the City of Good and The City of Evil are separate, each seeking to rule in the world. The City of Evil ruled by Satan is named Judeo-Masonry; insistently it proclaims to all, Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, to Freethinkers, Communists and Pagans, in fact to the whole world that: “To fight against papacy is a social necessity and constitutes the constant duty of Freemasonry.” (Masonic International Congress held in Brussels 1904, page 132 of the report. ) The City of Good and of Jesus Christ is the Catholic Church; for over 19 centuries, according to the teaching of the Roman Pontiff, She repeats to the world Her immutable creed: I believe in the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Such is the subject of my conference. From an over-all viewpoint, there should issue a solid appreciation of the work of a number of Popes done on the subject of the Sect of Freemasonry from the time it made its appearance in the 18th century. It showed its anti-religious and anti-social activities as well as its licentiousness and its aims which, from the very beginning, were susceptible of excommunication. It showed also its prodigious development leading to the situation which I already sketched, namely, the duality of forces: one, the forces of evil concentrating in Judeo-Masonry and the other the forces of good, concentrated in one flock under the staff of the one shepherd; (representative of Jesus Christ) who, since 1738 has constantly renewed the appeal for the defense of the Church against Her mortal enemy — even though in many instances the appeal was useless. Surrounded by Ghettos and Masonic Lodges, in the course of a fight which has become universal, Popes have reiterated their appeal for defense and have clearly shown the place and the duty of Catholics — all too frequently the place has been left deserted and the duty has been betrayed in a shameful manner. However, even if in our day we are witnessing the terrific confirmation of these truths, it is necessary to remember that they were proclaimed by several Popes.

Pope Clement XII 1730-1740

Founded in 1717, modern speculative Masonry took on its actual form following the publication by Anderson, a clergyman, of the “Constitutions” in 1723. Fifteen years later, on April 28, 1738, Pope Clement XII in his Pontifical Constitution “In Eminenti” condemned Freemasonry as being Counter-Church and Counter-State. It was the Pontifical reply. Failure to heed it, whether partial or general, by the Church and the State of those days, seems to us as the primordial cause of all our political and religious present day turmoil.

Thus said Pope Clement XII:

“Let us meditate upon the serious evils which are usually the result of those kinds of Societies or centers, not only concerning the peace of temporal States, but still more as regards the salvation of souls. Those Societies are not in agreement with the civil and economic laws of the States.”

“In order to close the widely open road to iniquities which might be committed with impunity and also for other reasons, just and reasonable, that have come to our knowledge . . . We have resolved and decreed to condemn and forbid such Societies, assemblies, reunions, conventions, aggregations or meetings called either Freemasonic or known under some other denomination. We condemn and forbid them by this, our present constitution, which is to be considered valid for ever.”

However, not only is the condemnation by Pope Clement XII extended to Masonic Sects, but it applies also to all the laymen who, although they are not members of Societies called Freemasonic, favor them, in any manner, thus: “We command to the faithful to abstain from intercourse with those societies . . . in order to avoid excommunication, which will be the penalty imposed upon all those contravening to this, our order. None, except at the point of death, could be absolved of this son except by us or the then existing Roman Pontiff.”

The Constitution “In Eminenti” was extended throughout all the Papal States by Cardinal Ferrao’s Edict of January 14th, 1739.

Pope Benedict XIV 1740-1758

Pope Benedict XIV, on March 16, 1751 published the Constitution “Providas” in which he inserted in full In Eminenti, the Bull which had been written by his predecessor, Clement XII, in order to make it very evident that the condemnation of Freemasonry was irrevocable and was to be applied to the future as well as to the present.

As a matter of fact, Benedict XIV, had already denounced Masonry as being Counter-Morality in connection with the Order of Felicity of Avignon, a Secret Society of debauchers; among themselves the members of this Society spoke only in a kind of slangy language usually used by sailors. The Pope mentions it twice in his correspondence. I am here transcribing a few lines from his letter of March 25th, 1744, addressed to the Cardinal de Tencin, who was the Pontifical Ambassador at the Court of King Louis XV: “We have received from Avignon the news that in Nimes and also at Montpellier the Freemasons gave a great entertainment in order to gain proselytes. Women and men from the Avignon Society went to it, and, doubtless, upon their return they will organize a Freemasonic Lodge as they once had already attempted to do under the name of Society of Felicity; they might have succeeded had it not been for the zeal of the Archbishop. We wish you to protest, in Our name, to His most Christian Majesty. so that He Will not authorize in His States, the Sect of Freemasons which other Princes have extirpated from their own country.” (From the correspondence of Pope Benedict XIV by Gmile de Heckeren. )

Furthermore, in his Constitution, “Providas,” Benedict XIV enumerates six reasons which drove Pope Clement XII to strike Secret Societies; they are 1) the Interconfessonalism (or Interfaith) of Freemasons; 2) their secret; 3) their oath; 4) their opposition to Church and State; 5) the interdiction pronounced against them in several States by the Heads of such countries; and, 6) their immorality which the Pope characterizes thus: “Those Societies, according to men who are prudent and honest, are ill-famed, and to become a member thereof, would lead to evil and perversion.”

From the outset, before the 18th century, under the efforts of Masonry which sank us into the horrors of the French Revolution, the Sect had been unmasked by the Popes and exposed before the eyes of the Catholics with its odious triple shame of Counter-Morality, Counter-State, and above all, Counter-Church. Let a Freemason, F. Limousin, in his first number of the Masonic Review called “L’ACACIA,” of October, 1902, using the pen-name of Hiram, gives the following characteristic definition: “Freemasonry is an association . . . an institution . . . so it is said . . . but it is not that at all. Let us lift up all the veils, risking even to evoke numberless protestations.

Freemasonry is a church: It is the Counter-Church, Counter-Catholicism: It is the other church — the church of heresy, of Freethought; The Catholic Church is considered as the arch-type church, the first church, church of dogmatism and of orthodoxy.”

Pope Clement XIII 1758-1769

I wish to add that during the 18th century Pope Clement XIII condemned highly placed Masons in an ordinance of January, 1759, against the work of Helvetius and this Pope published on Sept. 3rd, 1759, his constitution “Ut Primum” directed against the “Encyclopedie” of Diderot and d’Alembert .

Finally, in his Encyclical of November 25th, 1766, “Christianae Republicae Salus,” Pope Clement XIII denounced the peril incurred by Church and State through the published works of so-called philosophers. It meant that all Voltairian and Masonic works were being anathemized in the following terms:

“The enemy of all Good,” said the Pope, “has sown the evil seed in the field of the Lord and the evil grain has grown rapidly, to such an extent, that it threatens to destroy the harvest. It is time to cut it down.”

“In our days nothing is free from the attacks of those who are impious. God Himself becomes the object of their insolent audacity, they represent Him as a being who is mute, inert, devoid of a sense of providence or justice; they lower Him down to the level of animals. As far as they are concerned, matter is all or at least dominates everything. Even those among them who are opposed to such gross errors, but too frequently in our days, are not afraid, in their pride, to scrutinize our mysteries and to submit everything to nothing but their own reasoning power.”

Clement XIII exposes all the sores of Masonry which at the time of the French Revolution had reached the state of gangrene, such as Materialism, Nationalism, Deism and even Atheism which is most imperfectly veiled by the “Grand Architect of the Universe,” a notion which, after all, is only the spontaneous evolution of the universal religion promised in the “Constitutions” of Anderson.

In a last but anxious appeal the Pope entreats all the Bishops in the Catholic world to link their efforts with his own and to beseech all Christian Princes to take in hand the defense of the Sorrowing Church, “Gementis Ecclesiae Causam Exposcite.” Listen attentively, 23 years before 1789 (year of the French Revolution) the Church was in tears, due to the threats held out by Freemasonry; who can vouch for the assumption that 23 years remain to us before the Judeo-Masonry of the 20th century will add to the tears being shed by the Church — blood tears similar to those shed during 1793? But this time it will not be in France only, but throughout the whole world. Is this not the time to speak again of the Sorrowing Church?

Pope Pius VI 1795-1799

During the last quarter of this 18th century during which Masonry had spent 72 years to prepare for 1789 and the bloodshed which was to last many years, Peter’s Seat had been occupied by Pius VI, who was destined to die in exile. His first Encyclical of December 25, 1775, is the acknowledgment of the tears he has shed, “Nostrarum Vim Pacrymarum Exquirit,” those tears caused by the so-called philosophers, fanatical enemies of the Church, professors of lies. “Magistros Mendacissimos,” leaders of sects of perdition who, with their erroneous beliefs, penetrate into the seats of the Academies, in the houses of the notables, in the Courts of Kings, and what is still more horrible, even penetrate in the Lord’s Sanctuary, “Etiam in sanctuarium insinuant.

Alas! Those “Sects of Perdition” at the hour of the Revolution dragged along too many members of the regular and secular Clergy whose names appear on the lists of Masonic lodges: “Corruptio optimi pessima.” What of the situation today?

Pope Pius VII 1800-1823

Let us now enter into the 19th century. The wars of the French Revolution and of the Empire spread and favored the creation of Masonic lodges (mostly Military lodges ) and the rapid European expansion of Masonic subversive ideas.

Pope Pius VII became one of its glorious victims. It was therefore, in full knowledge of the subject, that on September, 1821, in his Encyclical “Ecclesiam a Jesu-Cristo the Pope applied to the Carbonari the following text: “They come under the guise of sheep although they are, in truth, none but ravening wolves.” Thus, the Pope reiterated against the Freemasons the condemnations pronounced by Clement XII and Benedict XIV because they propagandize “religious indifference which is, of all, the most pernicious”; They also grant to everyone full liberty to inaugurate for himself his own religion according to his ideas and inclinations; to also profane and sully Our Savior’s Passion in some of their odious ceremonies; to hold in contempt the Sacraments of the Church to which in a horrible sacrilegious manner they substitute sacraments of their own invention and they treat with derision the Mysteries of the Catholic Religion. Lastly, urged by a particular hatred toward the Apostolic See, because of its supremacy, Freemasons form conspiracies of the darkest and most sinister kind, in order to overthrow it.

To what does Pope Pius VII refer when he makes use of the words “they hold in contempt the Sacraments of the Church”; if not to the Masonic 180 degree of the Rose Croix, which is an odious parody of the Sacrament of the Eucharist? What is it that the Pontiff stigmatises when he alludes to the substitution of Masonic sacraments to those of the Church and its ensuing horrible sacrileges if not to the “black mass” and the theft of consecrated hosts which Masons of the highest grades carry on their person as “Sacred Deposit” during the ceremony which precedes the orgy in the course of which they will profane It in the lowest, voluptuous ignominy?

Why should we thus administer such blows to this “Anti Papism”? It is because it is the unbroken chain of Freemasonry and because the Pope is, on earth, the representative of Jesus Christ whose Cross is trampled upon by Masons, and because in the course of their rites, at the 300 initiation grade, they throw upside down the Pope’s tiara and figuratively pierce his heart. Such things occur at the initiation of the degree of Knight Kadosh. Pope Pius VII was well informed.

Pope Leo XII 1823-1829

Soon after his election as Pope on March 13, 1825, Leo XII published his Encyclical “Quo Graviora” condemning the Society called Freemasonry, as well as all other Secret Societies. In this Encyclical he first of all, republished the Constitutions of Popes Clement XII, Benedict XIV and Pius VII. Their appeal had remained fruitless as far as the various governments were concerned and Pope Leo XII wrote:

“We have endeavored to discover the state, number and influence of secret societies and We easily have been able to acknowledge that, if only due to the number of new sects which have joined them, their audacity has increased. The Sect known under the name of “L’universitaire” has especially drawn Our attention: It has established a center in several Universities where young men, instead of receiving the correct teaching are perverted by a few teachers who are initiates of certain Mysteries which might be called Mysteries of Iniquity and are trained to commit crimes.”

Let us note that Pope Leo XII was afraid of the masonic penetration in public school teaching and seemed to foresee the devastation that the “One School” would rapidly inflict upon both the Church and society at large.

Leo XII, in summing up the harm caused by clandestine sects, so evident in works written by their members, wrote:

“They have dared publish works on Religion and Affairs of State, they have exposed their contempt for authority, their hatred of Sovereignty, their attacks against the Divinity of Jesus Christ and the very existence of God: They openly vaunt their materialism as well as their codes and statutes which explain their plans and efforts in order to overthrow the legitimate Heads of State and completely destroy the Church.

“What is definitely ascertained is that those different sects, despite the diversity of their names, are all united and linked by the similarity of their infamous plans.”

Thus speaking, Pope Leo XII, considered he was accomplishing his duty as Supreme Pontiff and he wrote further, this page, which thoroughly throws light on our actual situation:

“Let us use the words of our predecessor, Pope Clement XIII, in his Encyclical Letter of September 14, 1758, addressed to all Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops and Bishops of the Catholic Church, in which he said:

‘I entreat you to become penetrated of the Strength of the Spirit of God, His Intelligence and His Virtue, in order to escape being likened to the mute dogs who, unable to bark, leave Our flocks exposed to the voracity of beasts roaming the fields. Let nothing stop Us, in the fulfillment of Our duty which enjoins Us to suffer all kinds of combats for the Glory of God and the salvation of souls. Let Us constantly keep before Our eyes the picture of HIM who, during HIS lifetime, was also exposed to the opposition of sinners. If we allow ourselves to be shaken by the audacity of evildoers it will be the end of eposcopal strength, the end also of the sublime and divine authority of the Church: moreover, let us abandon even the thought of being Christians if we have reached the point of trembling before the threats or the traps laid for us by perverts’.”

Leo XII ends this magnificent Encyclical anathematizing Freemasons and writing:

“Those men are like those to whom, according to Saint John, the Apostle, hospitality and greetings should be denied. (Second Epistle of St. John, V. 10). They are the same men whom our Fathers, without hesitation, termed the first-born of the devil.”

Pope Pius VIII 1829-1830

Successor of Leo XII, Pope Pius VIII, in his Encyclical “Traditi“, published at the time of his advent on May 21, 1829 renewed all the condemnations of his predecessors, repeating as I showed above, that all Masonic Sects are issued from the “Well of Perdition.” It was under his short reign as Pontiff that a new Lodge of “Alta Vendita” was discovered in Rome, having been formed in 1828 and headed by Joseph Picilli as Grand Master. Following Leo XII, Pius VIII most particularly mentions the Sect called “Unitsersitaire,” saying:

“Its aim is to corrupt youth in schools.”

and he applies to Masons those words of Saint Leo the Great:

“Their law is untruth: their god is the devil and their cult is turpitude.”

Pope Gregory XVI 1831-1846

On August 15, 1832, Gregory XVI, addressing all the Episcopal Hierarchy of the Catholic world, in his Encyclical: “Mirari Vos” wrote:

“Truly indeed we can say that this is the hour granted to the power of darkness to grind the elect as wheat.”

“Evil comes out of Secret Societies, bottomless abyss of misery, which those conspiring societies have dug and in which heresies and sects have, as may be said, vomited as in a privy all they hold of licentiousness, sacrilege and blasphemy.

Just 18 days before his death, on may 13, 1846, Pope Gregory XVI put in the hands of Cretineau Joly, the documents of the Italian Alta Vendita which this author published in 1858 in his book: “L’Eglise Romaine en face de la Revolution” ( the Roman Church facing the Revolution). It would indeed be of the highest kind of interest to have a faithful and complete copy of those manuscripts which are, doubtless, in the Vatican.

Pope Pius IX 1848-1878

Let us proceed further. The chief work of Judeo-Masonry planned by Cavour, Mazzini and Garibaldi was reaching its goal under the Pontificate of Pope Pius IX, with the downfall of Papal temporal power. According to the theories of those sectarians of Masonry, such a loss was sure to entail also that of spiritual power; accordingly the new Pope fixed the responsibility for the conspiracy upon the Secret Societies when, in the Encyclical following his advent, he wrote on November 9, 1846:

“Venerable Brethren, you also are fully aware of the monstrous errors and devices employed by the children of this century to pursue a merciless war against the Catholic Religion, the Divine Authority of the Church and its laws in order to trample upon the rights of both the Ecclesiastical and Civil power: such is the aim of the guilty machinations against Saint Peter’s Roman See, upon which Christ established the inexpugnable foundation of His Church. Such is the aim of those Secret Societies issuing from darkness for the eventual ruin of Religion and States, and which, on several occasions, have already been anathemized by preceding Roman Pontiffs in their Apostolical Letters. We confirm the importance of such Letters and wish them to be followed with great care.”

Moreover, from Gaete, the place of his exile, in his allocution: “Quibus Quantisque” addressed to the Consistory of April, 1849, Pope Pius IX renewed the identical condemnation in the following terms:

“Those abominable sects of perdition which are as fatally destructive of the salvation of souls as of the welfare and peace of secular society have been condemned by Roman Pontiffs, Our predecessors; We have also personally condemned them Ourselves in Our Encyclical Letter of November 9, 1846, addressed to all the Bishops of the Catholic Church, yet today in virtue of Our Supreme Catholic Authority – We, once again, condemn, forbid and anathematize them.”

The Constitution against Freemasonry and the Secret Societies of which Pope Pius IX speaks are those of Popes Clement XII, Benedict XIV, Leo XII and Pius VIII; he adds his own of November 9, 1846 (Qui Pluribus) in his letter to Monseigneur Darboy, October 26, 1865, concerning the funeral service of Marshall Magnan, Supreme Master of the Order of Freemasons; he adds also, his communication to the Bishop of Olinda (Brazil) of May 29, 1873.

The renewed sentences of anathema by Pope Pius IX strike most particularly the satanism of secret societies. In his Encyclical of November 2l, 1873, the Pope writes of them as the synagogue of satan, and addressing its members he had already castigated them (Consistory of December 9, 1854) using to this effect, the words of Christ:

“You are of your father the devil and the works of your father you will do.”

What are those works? Satan is a liar and a murderer from the beginning of the world, Our Lord tells us. Pope Pius IX denounced the great lie of the so-called White Freemasonry, in his Allocution of September 15, 1865 “Multiplices inter” when he says:

“And now, in order to satisfy the desire and solicitude of Our Fatherly Heart, there remains for US only to warn and exhort the Faithful who might have associated themselves to Sects of this kind to obey wiser inspirations and to leave those evil assemblies so as to avoid being dragged in the abyss of eternal ruin.

“As to all the other faithful, being full of solicitude for their souls, WE strongly exhort them to beware of the perfidious discourses of sectarians who, under a disguise of honesty, are inflamed by an ardent hatred of the Religion of Christ and of all legitimate authority: they have but one thought with the sole aim of exterminating, all Divine and human rights. Let them all be fully conscious of the fact that the affiliates of such sects are as the wolves who, as Our Lord predicted, come disguised with sheeps hide to devour the whole flock: Let the faithful know that such affiliates must be numbered among those with whom the Apostle forbade us to associate, telling us also to even avoid greeting them.”

Pope Pius IX equally denounced the satanic homicide of Red Masonry in a letter to the Bishop of Olinda (Brazil) in the following words:

“The Satanic spirit of the Sect was particularly evidenced, in the past century, during the course of the Revolutions of France which shook the entire world. Such upheavals proved that the total dissolution of human society could be expected unless the forces of this ultra criminal Sect were crushed.”

That letter was dated May 29, 1873; the latest Masonic and Satanic Revolution at that time was that which in Italy had resulted in making Pope Pius IX “the prisoner of the Vatican.” It seems as though the Holy Pontiff was foreseeing such an issue when he uttered his complaint concerning the dual failure of the previous Pontifical condemnations of Masonry. (September 15, 1865).

First he referred to the failure of the anti-Masonic endeavor thus:

“However, the Apostolic See’s efforts have not been crowned with the success that might have been expected. The Masonic Sect of which we speak has been neither defeated nor overthrown: just the reverse, the Sect has developed to such an extent that, in these days of great difficulty, it shows itself everywhere and with impunity and raises a more audacious countenance.”

Secondly, the Pope outlined the failure of the Catholic side, thus:

“Venerable Brethren, We feel deep sorrow and bitterness, when We see that when, according to the Constitutions of Our Predecessors, action is necessary to condemn this Masonic Sect, many of those whose functions and sacerdotal duty should make them ultra vigilant and ardent over such an important cause have, alas! shown themselves indifferent and as though asleep. If some among them believe that the Apsotolic Constitutions, published under sentence of anathema against the Occult Sects and their adepts and initiates carry no strength in those countries where civil authorities tolerate them, they are most assuredly laboring under a serious mistake.”

“As you well know, Venerable Brethren, We have prohibited and We again today prohibit and condemn this false evil doctrine. In fact let Us ask whether the Sovereign power ‘To feed and lead the universal flock’ which was vested in Saint Peter by Jesus and through which the Roman Pontiffs received the Supreme Authority that they must exercise in the Church depends from civil power — can such civil power constrain and restrain them in anything whatever? Due to those circumstances and fearing that injudicious people and above all, youth, might be led astray, and in order that silence on Our part might induce anyone to lend protection to error, We have resolved, Venerable Brethren, to raise Our Apostolic Voice — therefore, We hereby confirm before you the Constitutions of Our Predecessors and in virtue of Our Apostolic Authority We hold up to reprobation and We condemn this Masonic Society and all other societies of the same order which, although different in appearance, but pursuing the same aim against the Church or legitimate Civil Power are constantly being formed. It is Our order that all Christians of any standing whatsoever, of any rank or high appointment and over all the earth should be informed that the said Societies are forbidden and reproved by US, and incur the same sentences and condemnations as those that are specified in the former constitutions of our predecessors.”

Among the reproved societies must be included such Leagues as: the League of Human Rights (Ligue des Droits de L’homme) and the League for Education (Ligue de l’Enseistnement ).

Pope Leo XIII 1878-1903

Pope Leo XIII, successor of Pius IX, upon instructions from the Holy Office, dealt, first of all, with the Brazilian Masonic question on July 2nd, 1878. Then later, addressing the whole Church, on April 20, 1884, Pope Leo XIII published his magnificent Encyclical “Humanum Genus.” Taking up once again Saint Augustine’s pages concerning the two cities which, on earth, constitute the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan, the Pontiff reviews the considerable development which Freemasonry has taken and writes:

“Today evil doers all seem allied in a tremendous effort inspired by and with the help of a society powerfully organized and widely spread over the world, it is the Society of Freemasons. In fact those people no longer even try to dissimulate their intentions, but they actually challenge each other’s audacity in order to assail God’s August Majesty.

“It is now publicly and overtly that they undertake to ruin the Holy Church, so as to succeed, if it is possible, in the complete dispossession of Christian nations of all the gifts they owe to Our Savior Jesus Christ.

“As a result, in the space of a century and a half, the sect of the Freemasons has made incredible progress. Making use at the same time of audacity and cunning, Masonry has invaded all the ranks of social hierarchy, and in the modern States it has begun to seize a power which is almost equivalent to Sovereignty.

In order to strengthen those enlightened observations, Leo XIII refers to his predecessors and writes:

“This peril was denounced for the first time by Pope Clement XII in 1738, and the Constitution promulgated by that Pope was renewed and confirmed by Benedict XIV; Pius VII followed in the footsteps of those Pontiffs, and Pope Leo XII including in his Apostolical Constitution ‘Quo Graviora‘ all the deeds and decrees of the preceding Popes on that subject, ratified and confirmed them for ever. Popes Pius VIII, Gregory XVI and on several occasions Pope Pius IX spoke in the same manner.”

Whereas he approved and confirmed all the Pontifical condemnations issued against Freemasonry from those of Clement XII in 1738, Leo XIII moreover more amply exposed the reason for such actions and gives as his motive for acting thus:

“It is because of the fundamental aim and spirit of the Masonic sect which has been exposed in full light through the evident manifestation of its deeds, the acquired knowledge of its principles, its rules, its rites and its commentaries to which have been added the testimonies of its own adepts . . .

“It is exceedingly important to bring to the notice of all peoples to what extent events confirmed the wisdom of our predecessors. Their foresight and paternal soticitude did not always attain the desired success. This failure must be ascribed on the one hand either to the dissimulation and cunning of men members of this pernicious sect or, on the other hand, to the imprudent lightness of character of those who should, however, have been highly interested in watching it attentively”

Leo XIII refers frequently to the hypocrisy which is the basis of “White Freemasonry” and mentions the fatal evolution of its revolutionary aims which turns it into “Red Masonry.”

Upon being attentively studied this Encyclical most strikingly reveals the triple Masonic character, namely that its aims are:

1. Counter-Morality
2. Counter-State
3. Counter-Church

1. Counter Morality

The Pope defines the Masonic point of view on morality thus:

“The only thing which has found grace before the members of the Masonic sect and in which they request that youth should receive the proper teaching is what they call ‘Civic Morality’, independent morality, free morality, in other words a morality in which religious beliefs find no room. This morality is insufficient and its effects are its own condemnation.

“Furthermore there have been found in Freemasonry several sectarians who have maintained that all means are to be systematically used, in order, to saturate the multitudes with licentiousness and vices; because in their opinion peoples would naturally fall into their hands and become the instruments needed for the accomplishment of their most audacious evil projects. Such counter-morality is that of civil marriage, of divorce, of free love and of irreligious education for youth.

“It aims at the complete destruction of the main foundations of justice and honesty. In this way Freemasons make themselves the auxiliaries of those who wish that, like an animal, man had no other rule of conduct than his own desires — Such a scheme can only dishonor human kind and ignominiously cast him into perdition.”

2. Counter State

On this subject Pope Leo XIII foresaw that Freemasonry, “the power which is almost equivalent to sovereignty,” and which already occupied the place of “State within the State,” would soon form the Super State. It is from such a situation that there was issued the Masonic dogma of separation of Church and State; thence, issued also the anti-religious laws which Brother Bethmont, member of Parliament of the department of Charente Inf’erieure and former President of the Cour Des Comptes, in 1878 was explaining to Monseigneur Pie, Bishop of Poitiers. The prelate then said to him:

“Sir, I believe you want to inaugurate anew the fight against the Church; have you any hope of succeeding there, where Nero, Julian the Apostate and your great ancestors of the 1793 French Revolution failed? — He replied:

“Your Eminence, at the risk of seeming too bold, I will say that those ,you have mentioned did not quite know how to act. We shall do much better. Violence against the Church leads nowhere, we shall use other means. We shall organize a persecution which shall be both clever and legal; we shall surround the Church with a network of laws, decrees and ordinances which will stifle it without shedding one drop of blood.”

Who, may I ask, is making those closely woven nets of laws, decrees and ordinances? The State, of course, but it is a Masonic State, an irreligious State under the power of a Super State which at the present moment is the Ruler of the World.

When Leo XIII adjures his Venerable Brethren to unite their zeal to his own efforts in order, “to annihilate the impure contagion of the poison which flows in the veins of human society and causes a state of total infection,” it is with a feeling of fear that one brings to mind the death sentence pronounced against humanity in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”

“When we introduced into the State organism the poison of Liberalism its whole political complexion underwent a change. States have been seized with a mortal illness — bloodpoisoning. All that remains is to await the end of their death agony.”

Thus, while States are gravitating toward a Universal Republic, the Super-State becomes an infrangible dictature, which according to its will grinds them down or else thoroughly infects them; that Super State is called Judeo-Masonry.

3. Counter Church

Hence the supreme aim of the Sect, as it has been pointed out by the Popes, is none other than the complete destruction of the Church and the Papacy. Pope Leo XIII persistently underscores this rigorous consequence and says:

“Since the proper and very special mission of the Catholic Church consists in the safeguarding of the incorruptible purity of the doctrines revealed by God, as well as that of established authority for their teaching and other God given help for the salvation of mankind; it is inevitable that the major antagonism and most violent attacks of the Sect should be directed against the Church . . .Therefore, even at the cost of a lengthy and opinionated labor the Sect’s purpose is to reduce to naught the teaching, and authority of the Church among the civilian population. . .

“The enmity of the sectarians against the Apostolic See of the Roman Pontiff has increased its intensity . . .until now the evil doers have reached the aim which had, for a long time that of their evil designs, namely, their proclamation that the moment has come to suppress the Roman Pontiff’s sacred power and to completely destroy this Papacy which was divinely instituted.”

Lastly, Leo XIII concludes in unmasking the Satanism of Judeo-Masonry:

“The facts which we have reviewed throw sufficient light upon inner constitution of Freemasons and show clearly the road they are following in order to reach their goal. Their chief dogmas are so completely and manifestly opposed to sane reason that it is difficult to imagine deeper perversion. In reality is it not the peak of madness and of the most audacious impiety to be so presumptuous as to want to destroy the religion and the Church created by God Himself: and assured of His perpetual protection; and after 18 centuries to want to replace it with the customs and institutions of pagans?

“Still no less horrible nor easy to bear to witness the repudiation of those gifts which, in His mercy, Jesus Christ bestowed first on individuals, then to human beings grouped both in families and in nations. Even the enemies of Christianism acknowledge the supreme value of those gifts.

“There is no denying that in this foolish and criminal plan it is easy to understand the implacable hatred and passion for revenge which animate Satan toward Jesus Christ. We refuse to follow the dictates of such iniquitous masters that bear the names of Satan and of all evil passions.”

Pope Pius X 1903-1914

Pope Pius X, successor of Pope Leo XIII, gave his greater attention to Sillonisme and to Modernism, but, nevertheless he did not forget the destructive work of Freemasonry. He requested the Polish people to abstain from joining any conspiracy schemed by the malevolent Sects.

Later he extended words of consolation to the faithful of France in the following words:

“And now it is to you, Catholics of France, that We speak; may Our words reach you as a testimony of the tender feeling of Our love for your country and as a consolation in the midst of the terrible calamities through which you must pass. You are well aware of the self-assigned aim of the impious sectarians who hare subjugated you under their yoke. With cynic audacity they themselves proclaimed their aim which was ‘Uproot Catholicism in France.’ They want to extirpate from your hearts, namely its last root, the Faith which covered your ancestors with glory; the Faith which brought prosperity and greatness to your Fatherland amidst all other nations; the Faith which will be your support in the hours of your tribulation, which maintains calm and peace in your homes and opens for you the way toward eternal happiness. It is this Faith which you yourselves feel has to be defended.”

Lastly, Pius X loudly affirms that as he has lifted his voice:

“It is not the Church who first raised the standard, she did so only because war had been declared against her.

“For the last 25 years she has only had to bear the struggle. Such is the Truth. Declarations, a thousand times published and republished in the Press, in congresses, in Masonic conventions, in the very halls of Parliament, are proof in themselves that attacks against the Church have been led progressively and systematically. Such facts cannot be denied and agai