Perillous “Sincerity” posted in Eleison Comments on August 22, 2009
If Benedict XVI is not a positive destroyer of the Church, then like John XXIII, Paul VI and John-Paul II before him, he is at least presiding over its destruction. A recent critique of Fr. Peter Scott’s excellent analysis of Benedict XVI’s latest Encyclical (accessible at angelqueen.org) raises once more the crucial question, have these Popes been aware of the destruction taking place under their responsibility? Broadly speaking, there are three main answers.
Firstly, liberals and modernists deny that any destruction has been going on, so of course the recent Popes are unaware of being or having been destroyers. They have been good Popes, they are not to be blamed, they need only be followed. Secondly on the contrary, Sedevacantists say these Popes have been responsible for a devastation of the Church, and they have all been far too well educated, they have known too well the pre-Conciliar Church (being all of them older men) and they have all sworn too often (in their younger days) the daunting Anti-Modernist Oath, for them not to have been aware of the destruction they have wrought. Not only must we blame them, but we cannot logically hold them to have been Popes, let alone fit to be followed.
Thirdly, as dawn and dusk are not contradictory or illogical simply because they mix night and day, but both are real happenings once every 24 hours, so the position of Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of St Pius X is not contradictory simply because it is more complicated, falling as it does between the relatively simple positions of the liberals and Sedevacantists. On the contrary it is more real than either, corresponding better to the complicated reality of these liberal Catholic Popes. (Archbishop Lefebvre used to say that a liberal Catholic is a walking contradiction.)
Against the liberals this third position holds that of course there has been a destruction of the Church under these Popes, who with their education, pre-Conciliar experience and solemn Oaths should certainly have known better. So all are to be blamed for failing in their grave responsibilities, even if the exact degree of blame due is known to God alone.
Against the Sedevacantists however, in our profoundly sick modern age, while blindness like that of these Popes is objectively blameworthy, it may be subjectively more or less sincere. For instance in his post-war German seminary, the young Joseph Ratzinger was exposed to brilliant and no doubt charismatic modernist professors who will have taught him that the Traditional Church needed to be, if not destroyed, at least changed beyond recognition to fit modern man. And Joseph Ratzinger has believed it ever since: the Traditional doctrine, the Tridentine Church and its solemn Oaths were all good, even excellent in their day, but that day is past! Objection: did not Pius X (“Lamentabili” #58) solemnly teach that Truth cannot evolve? Cardinal Ratzinger said that “Lamentabili” too was excellent teaching – for the past!!
Again, God alone is judge of the exact responsibility of the young Joseph and his teachers for his mind having fallen into the trap of evolving truth, but what is certain is that once a mind has fallen into that trap, it can, in today’s environment, only with supreme difficulty be pulled out again. Until a divine Warning and/or Chastisement cleanses the environment, liberals can easily be in grave error, yet sincere.
SSPX, beware of that “sincerity” which makes error feel nice! Truth first, and no lies or ambiguity, even if our sick world comes down on you like a ton of bricks!