Tag: Apocalypse

Cardinal Pie

Cardinal Pie posted in Eleison Comments on July 5, 2014

The quote last week from Cardinal Pie (cf. EC 362) continued directly as follows:—

“In such an extremity, in such a desperate state of affairs, where evil has taken over a world soon to be consumed in flames, what are all the true Christians to do, all good men, all Saints, all men with any faith and courage? Grappling with a situation more clearly impossible than ever, with a redoubled energy by their ardent prayer, by their active works and by their fearless struggles they will say, O God, O Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name on earth as it is in Heaven, thy kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. On earth as it is in Heaven!And they will still be murmuring these words while the very earth is giving way beneath their feet.

“And just as once upon a time, following upon an appalling military disaster the whole Roman Senate and State officials of all ranks could be seen going out to meet the defeated consul and to congratulate him on not having despaired of the Roman Republic; so likewise the senate of Heaven, all the Choirs of angels, all ranks of the Blessed will come out to meet the generous athletes of the Faith who will have fought to the bitter end, hoping against hope itself.

“And then that impossible ideal that the elect of all ages had obstinately pursued will become a reality. In his Second and final Coming the Son will hand over the Kingdom of this world to God his Father, the power of evil will have been cast out for ever into the depths of the abyss; whatever has refused to be assimilated and incorporated into God through Jesus Christ by faith, love and observance of the law will be flung into the sewer of everlasting filth. And God will live and reign for ever and ever, not only in the oneness of his nature and in the society of the three divine Persons, but also in the fullness of the Mystical Body of his Incarnate Son and in the fulfilment of the Communion of Saints!”

Dear readers, it should be obvious by now that Cardinal Pie, for all the darkness of his vision of the future, was no defeatist. Even while seeing with an absolute clarity the humanly hopeless situation into which mankind was getting itself, with an equal clarity he distinguished the human from the divine point of view: a mass of men might in the 19thcentury have been defying Almighty God and turning themselves into pawns of Satan and fodder for his horrible Hell, nevertheless God’s sublime purpose for the souls of the elect who would choose to love and serve him was at the same time being achieved for God’s Heaven. Truly, “to them that love God, all things work together unto good” (Rom. VIII, 28).

In 2014 we can easily lose sight of God’s purpose by thinking in too human a way of the evil advancing all around us. But God’s purpose is not to save civilisation if men wish to destroy it. His purpose is to bring souls to Heaven through his Son Jesus Christ, and for this purpose the collapse of civilisation and of all earthly ambitions and hopes may well serve to force men’s minds and hearts to rise above worldly considerations. God did not create us only for this short life, nor for this corrupt world. “We have not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come” (Heb. XIII, 14).

Kyrie eleison.

Sedevacantist Anxiety – I

Sedevacantist Anxiety – I posted in Eleison Comments on January 25, 2014

The words and deeds of Pope Francis since his election earlier last year have been so little Catholic and so outrageous, that the idea that recent popes have not really been Popes (“sedevacantism”) has been given a new lease of life. Notice that Pope Francis merely expresses more blatantly than his five predecessors the madness of Vatican II. The question remains whether any of the six Conciliar Popes (with the possible exception of John-Paul I) can really have been Vicars of Christ.

The question is not of prime importance. If they have not been Popes, still the Catholic Faith and morals by which I must “work out my salvation in fear and trembling” (Phil. II, 12) have not changed one iota. And if they have been Popes, still I cannot obey them whenever they have departed from that Faith and those morals, because “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts, V, 29). However I believe in offering answers to some of the sedevacantists’ arguments, because there are sedevacantists who seem to wish to make the vacant See of Rome into a dogma which Catholics must believe. In my opinion it is no such thing. “In things doubtful, liberty” (Augustine).

I think that the key to the problem of which sedevacantism is merely one expression is that Vatican II was a disaster without precedent in all the history of the Church of Jesus Christ, while at the same time it was the logical conclusion of a long decadence of the Catholic churchmen reaching back to the late Middle Ages. On the one hand the divine nature of the Catholic Church and the principles governing any of its crises, including the Conciliar crisis, cannot change. On the other hand the application of those principles must take into account the ever changing human circumstances within which those principles operate. The degree of human corruption today has no precedent.

Now two of the unchanging principles are that on the one hand the Church is indefectible because Our Lord promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against it (Mt.XVI, 18). On the other hand Our Lord also asked if he would find faith on earth at his Second Coming (Lk. XVIII, 8), an important quotation because it clearly suggests that the Church will almost completely have defected at the end of the world, just as it seems to be almost completely defecting in 2014. For indeed if we are not today living through the end of the world, we are surely living through the dress rehearsal for that end of the world, as Our Lady of La Salette, the Venerable Holzhauser and Cardinal Billot all suggest.

Therefore today, as at world’s end, the defection can go very far. It cannot reach beyond the power of Almighty God to guarantee that his Church will never altogether disappear or fail, but it can reach as far as God will allow, in other words nothing need stop his Church from defecting almost completely. And just how far is that “almost completely”? God alone knows, and so time alone can tell, because none of us men are in the mind of God, and only the facts can reveal to us after the event the contents of the divine mind. But God does partly reveal his mind in Scripture.

Now as to the end of the world, many interpreters of Chapter XIII, 11–17 of the Apocalypsethink that the lamb-like Second Beast serving the Antichrist is the authorities of the Church, because if those authorities resisted the Antichrist he could never prevail, as Scripture says he will. Then is it so extraordinary if in the dress rehearsal for the end of the world the Vicars of Christ talk and behave like enemies of Christ? Against this necessary background, next week’s “Comments” will propose answers to some of the sedevacantists’ main arguments.

Kyrie eleison.

Billot – II

Billot – II posted in Eleison Comments on December 28, 2013

It is not only by the names of the seven Churches of Asia (cf. “Comments”#) but also by the contents of the seven Letters addressed to them (Apoc. II and III) that Cardinal Billot establishes the connection between the Letters and seven main periods of Church history. Especially interesting in this respect is the Letter to the church of Sardis (Apoc. III, 1–6) which would correspond to our own Age, the fifth, the Age of Apostasy. After evoking the wealth, luxury and material prosperity associated with Croesus, famous ruler of Sardis, Billot writes:—

“As one might expect, this church seems to be in a state of spiritual decline. Apostasy and falling away are on all sides, but while the majority of souls abandon religion, there are a few who remain faithful to Christ. The angel says, ‘Thou hast a few names in Sardis which have not defiled their garments.’ But: ‘Thou hast the name of being alive: and thou art dead!’ The name (but not the reality) of life, knowledge, freedom, civilization, progress; and thou art dead, sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, because the light of life, which is Our Lord Jesus Christ, has been rejected. Hence the bishop of Sardis is told, ‘Be watchful and strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die.’ And he is above all recommended to cleave unfailingly to all the traditions of the holy Apostles, without in the least way departing from the meaning they held for the Church Fathers, with the excuse or under the appearance of a deeper understanding: ‘Have in mind therefore what thou hast received and heard: and observe, and do penance.’ So much for the Fifth Age. But what follows is a little more rejoicing.” And the Cardinal goes on to the Sixth and Seventh Ages.

Readers who have never read the first six verses of Apocalypse III in connection with our own times should be interested to do so. The connection is remarkable, and not co-incidental.

It is remarkable because “Strengthen the things that remain, which are ready to die” corresponds exactly to the Counter-reformation saving Catholicism from Protestantism, to the anti-liberal Popes saving what remained of the Church from the French Revolution, to Archbishop Lefebvre (and others) rescuing Tradition from Vatican II, and now to a Resistance battling to save what can be saved from his Society collapsing into liberalism. Surely Catholics may take heart from this perspective, that their long and seemingly hopeless rearguard action comes from a distant past and does fit into an ultimately triumphant future. That is why we were given the book of the Apocalypse.

Nor is the connection co-incidental. Our Lord promised his Apostles (Jn. XVI, 12–14) that his Spirit, the Holy Ghost, would be with them and with their successors down the ages to reveal to them what they would only then need to know. It was only when the Thirty Years War (1618–1648) was ravaging Germany that the Venerable Holzhauser was given his understanding of the Seven Ages hidden within the Letters to the seven churches of Asia. Similarly it was only when the Russian Revolution was just about to break out that we needed Our Lady to assure us at Fatima that in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph. True, the Church is right now being eclipsed (see on the Internet the film-clips of the public Mass celebrated recently in Brazil by the churchman in white), but there is still no need or justification for us to become liberals.

Kyrie eleison.