Category: Eleison Comments

“Pascendi” – II

“Pascendi” – II posted in Eleison Comments on November 3, 2007

Before the centenary year of Pope St. Pius X’s great anti-modernist encyclical, “Pascendi,” closes out, let us give two examples of the light which it throws upon today’s undiminishing confusion in Church and world: the primacy of objective truth, and the non-binding nature of sedevacantism (the disbelief that recent Popes are true popes).

Over the last two centuries, the modern world has fallen more and more into the grave error of subjectivism, whereby every man (or subject) makes his own truth, so that he is free from any supposedly objective truth imposing itself upon his mind from outside. One hundred years ago this error threatened to undermine the objectivity of all Catholic dogma – hence the Encyclical. Yet one hundred years later, despite Pius X’s efforts, the mass of Catholic churchmen are awash in this error – hence Vatican II, Religious Liberty, Ecumenism, etc.

In Pascendi, Pius X nailed the unhooking of the subjective mind from objective reality as the foundation of the coherent Newfaith of the modernists’ Newchurch. What mental rest and spiritual relaxation to be able to lean on the one true religion given to us from outside and above by the one true God, without our having to pay heed to the mass of modern fantasies!

However the Conciliar fantasies have taken such a grip on many of today’s churchmen that the temptation arises to consider that none of them are churchmen at all, in particular the last few Popes. But Pascendi can offer a way out of this temptation by its same teaching that subjectivism unhooks churchmen’s minds from reality. Are they fully aware of how mad they are, when virtually everyone shares in their madness? And if they are not fully aware, do they necessarily disqualify themselves as churchmen? Pascendi suggests at least to me that sedevacantism is not binding.

By no means everyone agrees with letting the Conciliar churchmen off the hook in this way, but that is of secondary importance. Back to Pascendi – what is of primary importance is to give glory to God and to save our souls by submitting our minds to that one objective Faith which God has revealed, and without which nobody can please God (Heb XI:6).

Kyrie eleison.

Woman’s Gifts

Woman’s Gifts posted in Eleison Comments on October 27, 2007

Confronted with the proposition that women should not step forth in public in any such way as to suggest that they have authority over men, a reader of these “Comments” of two weeks ago reasonably asked, alongside what women should not do, what should they do?

The prime principle involved is that creatures of God are created to achieve their perfection by acting in accordance with their nature: Now creatures without reason cannot choose to act otherwise, but human beings have reason, and so they must choose to act in accordance with their nature. The key question then becomes, how do the observably different and complementary natures of man and woman essentially differ?

Scripture, the Word of God, tells us that woman was created to be the helpmate of man (Genesis II,10). Commenting upon this text, St. Thomas Aquinas (Ia, 92, 1) says that she was created to help him in the engendering of children, because in any other work man could be better helped by another man. St. Paul (also the Word of God) similarly says that woman will be saved by childbearing (I Tim. II,16).

Here is the key to woman´s nature as woman: she is designed to be a mother. Do we not observe, and does not St. Thomas Aquinas suggest, that in everything involved in motherhood – which is no less than the future of the human race – she is man´s superior, whereas in everything else she is his inferior?

All kinds of conclusions follow, but in answer to the reader´s question, surely whatever a woman may by today´s circumstances be enabled or obliged to do, she must, if she wishes to be happy by living in accordance with her God-given nature, somehow, intelligently, do it in a motherly way. Teaching within a private domestic framework, or true nursing, present in this respect no problem. On the contrary, making herself into a soldier, lawyer, pilot, politician, etc., etc., presents a serious problem.

Mother of God, we beg of you, inspire and protect womanhood!

Kyrie eleison.

Rome’s Mission

Rome’s Mission posted in Eleison Comments on October 20, 2007

It is moving to visit Rome, for its greatness ancient and modern. Of the ancient forum where Cicero spoke and Caesar triumphed, there remain only ruins scattered across an enclave around which swirls the modern city. Yet even the broken fragments are enough to call up Roman Virgil’s majestic lines:—

Tu regere imperio, populos, Romane, memento.

Hae tibi erunt artes, pacisque imponere morem,

Parcere subjectis, et debellare superbos.

Forget not, Roman, thy appointed way,

To hold and rule peoples beneath thy sway.

Here is thy skill, world order to impose,

On the proud, harsh war, but peace to conquered foes.

Virgil was no Christian, because he died 19 years before Our Lord was born. Yet every ancient Roman shared his sense of Rome’s great mission, to create a world order. Only little did those ancients know just what that world order would be.

Catholics know. Everywhere in Rome there are the relics, sanctuaries, churches and basilicas of the martyrs who, by redirecting their Roman virility towards dying for Christ, over the course of 250 years converted their city into the world centre of the one true religion, which it remains to this day. Mother Church has equally majestic lines to commemorate that change. For instance, from the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul –

O Roma felix! Quae duorum Principum

Es consecrata glorioso sanguine.

Horum cruore purpurata ceteras

Excellis orbis una pulchritudines.

O happy Rome! Both Princes of the Faith

Did consecrate thee with their glorious blood.

Raised above all fair cities of the earth

Art thou, the fairest by this crimson flood.

But where is the Roman virility to resist the anti-Christian New World Order which they are building today?

Kyrie eleison.

Doctoresses

Doctoresses posted in Eleison Comments on October 13, 2007

A few days ago I met in Rome a gracious Roman lady who asked me why in a sermon several years ago I had been opposed to the papal declaration of St. Catherine of Sienna as a Doctor of the Church. The problem, I replied, lies in the confusion of roles.

Recent Popes have declared three women Saints to be Doctors of the Church: Catherine of Sienna, Theresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux. Now no Catholic in his right mind would call in question either the orthodoxy or the great usefulness of all of their writings. We have only to thank God for their inspired and intuitive wisdom. Nevertheless for the Pope to declare them Doctors, i.e. teachers, is to encourage Catholic women to set up in public as teachers. St. Thomas Aquinas (IIa IIae, 177, art 2) has three reasons against this.

Firstly he quotes St. Paul (II Tim II, 12): “I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use authority over the man: but to be in silence.” St. Thomas distinguishes here public from private teaching: in the home a mother must teach her children, in a quasi-domestic setting a woman may well teach, especially girls and little boys.

Secondly, any woman set up in public view is liable to arouse unclean desire in men.

Thirdly, “women in general are not so perfect in wisdom as to be entrusted with public teaching.”

What is in question here is the whole design of God for man and woman as complementary head and heart of the family. Teaching of a public kind is a function primarily of the reason, or head, just as teaching in the home is as much a function of the heart. True, modern times are destroying home and family, leaving woman frustrated, with little alternative but to go out in public, where she does not belong and where she often – bless her! – does not want to be. But by giving to women, even Saints, the title of “Doctor,” the modern Popes are giving way to such modern times, instead of resisting them.

St. Thomas Aquinas’ three reasons may look old-fashioned, but the question is whether our new-fashioned world can survive, with women in authority, making themselves constantly as attractive as possible, and still, generally, “not perfect in wisdom.” O Lord, grant us some men!

Kyrie eleison.

Westward Ho!

Westward Ho! posted in Eleison Comments on October 6, 2007

A recent case in Northern Italy confirms that in the Church’s ongoing difficulties, hope lies rather at grassroots than with the Hierarchy. Three mainstream Italian parish priests, seminary comrades of ten to fifteen years ago, have been learning over the last several months to say the true Mass. Two of them have resolved “never again” . . . . hmm . . . . to say the Novus Ordo Mass. One of these has smashed his Newaltar facing the people. A charming reversal!

They asked their bishop if they could say the true Mass in public. He said it would be alright, if it was alright by Rome. They went down to Rome to ask. The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission said it would be alright “as long as there is no confrontation” – as though confrontation can be avoided in the war to the death between Catholicism and Conciliarism!

Sure enough. Their bishop has now written to them, requiring of them “to obey.” We all know what that means – “Shape up (Novus Ordo shape), or ship out.” Either they buckle under, or they are “suspended,” “excommunicated” etc., in any case expelled from their parishes. An old pattern.

However, in Italy the SSPX has had to send out on request 600 DVD’s, soon 700, on how to celebrate the true Mass, nine out of ten of them to priests and seminarians. This picture of a Hierarchy in darkness while light glimmers amongst humble priests and laity puts one in mind of a well-known English poem of yesteryear, accessible on the Internet under its title of “Say not the struggle nought availeth,” by Arthur Hugh Clough. Here are the last two verses:—

For while the tired waves vainly breaking

Seem here no painful inch to gain,

Far back, through creeks and inlets making,

Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,

When daylight comes, comes in the light,

In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly,

But westward, look, the land is bright.

Almighty God, of your mercy look after the three priests.

Kyrie eleison.

Agreementitis

Agreementitis posted in Eleison Comments on September 29, 2007

An argument often heard in favor of the Society of St. Pius X coming to some kind of agreement with the neo-modernists in Rome runs something like this: “You cannot expect Rome to come back to the true Faith overnight. Down all the history of the Church such returns have taken tens or hundreds of years. Do you want us to wait out our lives before we can be received back into the Church? You seem to like proverbs – how about ‘Half a loaf is better than no bread’? Souls without number are waiting for the Society to move.”

There are in fact several arguments here. Let us take them one by one:—

*What I expect Rome to do or not to do is of no importance. On the contrary the true Faith, complete, is as important as eternal salvation or damnation. The true Faith, because “Without the faith it is impossible to please God” (St. Paul to the Hebrews). Complete, because whoever denies one single Article of the Faith has lost the Faith altogether (Catholic doctrine), and Neo-modernism turns to mush every single Article of the Faith.

*It may have taken a long time for past heresies to be washed out of the Church’s system, but if Catholics faced with the Arian heresy had agreed to Semi-Arianism or even Quarter-Arianism, how would the Church have survived? The Church survived thanks to Catholics like St. Athanasius who insisted on the entire Arian heresy being washed out – see the Athanasian Creed.

*A wait of 30 or 50 years or even longer is of little importance compared with the purity of the Faith. As St. Athanasius famously said, “They have the buildings, we have the Faith.” It is for those who, by the grace of God, have the Faith to “receive back,” so to speak, those who have mushed it (nor does any SSPXer in his right mind presume that the SSPX has any kind of monopoly on that Faith).

*Half a loaf is still bread, and nothing but bread. On the contrary half a truth is necessarily accompanied by poisonous untruth, otherwise it would be nothing but truth.

*If the SSPX were ever to give souls a lead in mixing Catholic truth with error, it would be better if it had gone out of existence first. May it never come to that!

Kyrie eleison.