If some readers found last week’s “Eleison Comments” a little dark for the beginning of a new year, I do apologize, and I promise that this week’s will end on a more hopeful quote. But the truth of the matter is that, as I am told, many people are still blissfully unaware of how serious is the world’s impending economic calamity. Worse, they do not grasp the pre-apocalyptic gravity of the crisis in the Church. Let us dwell for a moment on the latter.
The vision even of some priests within the Society of St Pius X is that the SSPX is a normal religious Congregation while today’s Rome is not excessively abnormal. It is true that Archbishop Lefebvre spoke very harshly of Vatican II and of the “antichrists” in the Vatican, but in the 20 years that have passed since his death, things have changed for the better. We now have a Pope, they think, who is a Traditionalist at heart, as is proved by his liberation of the Tridentine Mass and by his “remission” of the 1988 “excommunication” of the four SSPX bishops. So with just a little flexibility on each side surely Rome and the SSPX can arrive at some arrangement whereby Rome gives back to the SSPX that respectability which it should never have lost, while the SSPX can re-enter Rome in a triumphal procession on the way to the two together re-conquering the world for Christ. The Doctrinal Discussions of 2009–2011 may have highlighted an absolute doctrinal divergence, but that merely proves that the arrangement needs to be purely practical (!).
Alas, priests allowing themselves to be lulled by any such dream have either not read Pascendi or not understood what they read. In his great Encyclical Letter of 1907 St Pius X warned that Modernism represented a major threat to the Church’s existence, because Modernism is the end of the road in cutting off the soul from reality, natural or supernatural. It is the ultimate self-sealing of the mind within its God-less dreamland. Error can go no further. Here is an example of the self-sealing:—
Towards the end of the section on the Modernist theologian, Pascendi explains how the Modernist rejoices in being condemned by Church authority. Just as a garden-hose must not be separated from the tap that enables it to water, so the Church must not be cut off from its source in Tradition. The Church needs then to progress by an inter-play between Modernism and Tradition. Therefore the Modernists need authority to be Traditional, and to do the Traditional thing by condemning them as Modernists. So if the Pope does not condemn them, they will forge ahead, and if he does condemn them they will go ahead anyway because by their very condemnation he is contributing to the progress of the Church! Heads he loses, tails they win. That is self-sealing error. God cannot win.
Well, the great and good God has a surprise in store for those who think so. To save souls he washed out men’s whole wretched system in the time of Noah, and to save souls again he may this time round blast it clean. The blasting may or may not start in 2012. And the consoling quote? –
“When these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift your heads, because your redemption is at hand.” (Lk.XXI, 28). The hour is darkest, they say, just before dawn.