Two weeks ago these “Comments” stepped back onto a minefield, and defended the position that there is still something Catholic in what has become of the Catholic Church since Vatican II. That position is highly disputed. For example on the one side the present leaders of the Society of St Pius X act as though the official Church in Rome is still so Catholic that the SSPX cannot do without its official recognition. On the other side many souls that really have the Catholic faith utterly repudiate the idea that there is still anything Catholic whatsoever left in the “Church” now being led by “Pope” Francis. What follows is just one attempt to discern what truth may be on both sides.
At the heart of the problem is modernism, which was the essential disease of Vatican II. Modernism is necessarily, by its very nature, a uniquely slippery animal. This is because its basic principle is to adapt Catholicism to the intrinsically anti-Catholic modern world. Thus Conciliar Popes like Paul VI and Benedict XVI wanted both to break and not to break with Catholic Tradition. For any sane mind this is impossible, because it is contradictory. But since these Popes get elected to correspond to the modern world, then they do not have sane minds, instead they have the contradiction of reality in their bloodstream. And since they have had nearly 50 years to conform the Church to their insanity, from top to bottom, then there has emerged a Church so different from the pre-conciliar Church that it is a reality deserving the name of Newchurch.
Moreover, even where a pre-conciliar Catholic practice, like for example Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, is maintained in today’s Newchurch, the mental foundation on which it rests in the heads of those attending is liable to be anything but solid, because the doctrine of the Real Presence is now both Traditional and not Traditional, it having been consecrated by up-dated priests, who are both priests and not priests. They are priests if you want, but also and at the same time merely presiders if you want. Whatever you feel like is what is true, because the mind is unhooked from objective reality. It is swimming in nice subjective feelings, and unaware of what it is doing, because everybody (almost) is doing it. To anyone having the real Faith, such lack of objectivity is far from nice, it is nauseating. No wonder such souls can repudiate the totality of the Newchurch.
But if one respects reality, one is bound to admit that there is still faith in the Newchurch. A layman tells me that his father has faithfully attended the NOM for the last 45 years, and still has the faith. A priest tells me that he can remember a laywoman presenting to Archbishop Lefebvre himself her reasons for needing to attend the NOM, and he merely shrugged his shoulders. And I could multiply these testimonies that have come to me of the Catholic faith surviving the onslaught of all that is wrong in the NOM. The reason for these testimonies being real should be obvious. As an essential part of the subjective and ambiguous religion, the NOM can be what you make of it. A priest can celebrate it “decently,” a Catholic can attend it “devoutly.” The inverted commas are to placate the hard-liners who will insist that with the NOM there can be neither true decency nor true devotion, but when they say such things, I think that they are flying in the face of reality. Thank goodness, God is judge! No doubt the NOM as it stands is undermining and eroding Catholic decency and devotion all the time, but to say that there is by now nothing at all of these left in the “Newchurch” seems to me to be a gross exaggeration.
Not that the SSPX leaders are right to be wanting to be re-incorporated in the Newchurch, far from it. Whatever sheep therein are not yet infected by subjectivism are wide open to the terrible danger, nor are shepherds immune. Woe to the bishops who failed to keep subjectivism outside of the Catholic Church. They bear a tremendous responsibility.