Cardinal Pie

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.

Cardinal Pie – I

Cardinal Pie – I posted in Eleison Comments on June 28, 2014

Cardinal Pie (1815–1880) was a great churchman of 19th century France, one of the great defenders of the Faith against that liberalism which was eating up the world from the French Revolution (1789) onwards. Pope Pius X kept his works by his bedside and read them constantly. No doubt the Cardinal’s profound grasp of the key ideas driving the modern world played a major part in enabling Pius X to obtain a 50-year reprieve, say from 1907 to 1958, for the doomed Catholic Church.

Doomed? But the Catholic Church cannot be doomed! True, by God’s protection it will last to the end of the world (Mt. XXVIII, 20), but at the same time by God’s Word we know that by then the Faith will scarcely be found on earth (Lk. XVIII, 8), and that it will have been given to the forces of evil to defeat the Saints (Apoc. XIII, 7). These are two important quotes to bear in mind in 2014, because everything around us today tells us that the followers of Christ must be prepared for one seeming defeat after another, e.g. the fall of the Society of St Pius X. Here is what Cardinal Pie had to say on the matter, some 150 years ago:—

“Let us fight, hoping against hope itself, which is what I wish to tell faint-hearted Christians, slaves to popularity, worshippers of success and shaken by the least advance of evil. Given how they feel, please God they will be spared the agonies of the world’s final trial. Is that trial close or is it still far off? Nobody knows, and I will not dare to make a guess. But one thing is certain, namely that the closer we come to the end of the world, the more and more it is wicked and deceitful men who will gain the upper hand. The Faith will hardly be found on earth, meaning that it will almost have disappeared from earthly institutions. Believers themselves will hardly dare to profess their belief in public, or in society.

“The splitting, separating and divorcing of States from God which was for St Paul a sign foretelling the end, will advance day by day. The Church, while remaining always a visible society, will be reduced more and more to dimensions of the individual and the home. When she started out she said she was being shut in, and she called for more room to breathe, but as she approaches her end on earth, so she will have to fight a rearguard action every inch of the way, being surrounded and hemmed in on all sides. The more widely she spread out in previous ages, the greater the effort will now be made to cut her down to size. Finally the Church will undergo what looks like a veritable defeat, and the Beast will be given to make war on the Saints and to overwhelm them. The insolence of evil will be at its peak.”

These are prophetic words, coming truer by the day, not at all pleasant to admit, but anchored in Scripture. A wise Anglican Bishop (Butler) said in the 18th century, “Things are what they are. Their consequences will be what they will be. Why then should we seek to deceive ourselves?” Notice especially how the Cardinal foresees the impossibility of defending the Faith on any larger scale than just the home. Not everybody agrees that we have already reached that point in 2014. I might wish they were right, but I have yet to be persuaded that with disintegrated people one can make an integrated society. Contrast with us democratic citizens of today the Roman centurion in the Gospel who understood a chain of command and recognized naturally the authority of Our Lord (Mt. VIII, 5–18) – how Our Lord praised him!

Patience. See next week how the Cardinal himself reacted to what he foresaw. He was no defeatist!

Kyrie eleison.

Tomato Stakes – II

Tomato Stakes – II posted in Eleison Comments on November 12, 2011

When “Eleison Comments” quoted (Sept. 10, 217) the Russian proverb likening woman and man to a tomato-plant and the stake around which that plant clings and climbs to bear fruit, it used the comparison to expound on the nature and role of woman. A woman reader then asked how it applies to men. Alas, our crazy age is trying to wipe out all these basics of human nature.

On God’s design for man and woman, profoundly different but sublimely complementary, there is of course much more to be said than a mere comparison from the garden can say. At every Catholic wedding Mass, the Epistle compares the relations between husband and wife to those between Christ and his Church. Worthy of note in this passage (Ephesians V, 22–33) is how St Paul lays out at length the consequent duties of the husband, briefly those of the wife. Already we may suspect that today’s men are greatly responsible for the loss of sanity between contemporary man and woman, but let us leave the supernatural mystery for another occasion and return to the garden, because it is above all the natural basics that are being attacked today by the enemies of God and man.

For a tomato-stake to serve a tomato-plant it needs two things: it must stand tall and it must stand firm. If it does not stand tall, the plant cannot climb, and if it does not stand firm the plant cannot cling, or wrap itself around the stake. The firmness, one might say, depends on a man’s wrapping himself around his work, while the tallness depends upon his reaching for God, no less.

As for the firmness, in all times and places where human nature has not been twisted out of all recognition, the man’s life revolves around his work while the woman’s life revolves around her family, starting with her man. If the man makes the woman the centre of his life, it is as though two tomato plants were clinging together – both will finish in the mud, unless the woman takes on the part of the man, which she was never meant to do, and which she should at least never wish to do. A wise woman chooses for husband precisely a man who has found his work and loves it, so that while he is firmly wrapped around it, she can wrap herself around him.

As for the tallness, just as the stake must point to the sky, so a man must reach for Heaven. Leaders need a vision with which to inspire and lead. Archbishop Lefebvre had a vision of the restoration of the true Church. Similarly when the faith of Cardinal Pie (1815–1880) saw unmanliness in the men of the 19th century all around him, he attributed it to their lack of faith. Where there is no faith, he said, there are no convictions. No convictions, no firmness of character. No firmness of character, no men. St Paul was thinking along the same lines when he said, “The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (I Cor.XI, 3). Therefore to recover his manliness, let a man turn to God, put himself in order beneath him, and it will be that much easier for a wife to put herself in order beneath her man, and the children beneath both of them.

But “beneath” is not to be understood as any kind of tyranny, either of husband over wife, or of parents over children. The stake is there for the tomato. It was a wise Jesuit who said that the best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother. Men do not run on love as women do, so they can easily fail to understand how women need to love and to be loved. In fact, a teaspoonful of affection, and she is good for another hundred miles. The Holy Ghost says it rather more elegantly: “Husbands, love your wives and be not bitter towards them” (Col.III, 19).

Kyrie eleison.