Four weeks ago “Eleison Comments” answered the question whether liberalism is as horrible as it is supposed to be in the affirmative: implicitly, liberalism is war on God. There remained the question whether the many liberals who deny they are liberals are right to deny it. The answer is surely that all of us today are so soaked in liberalism that few of us realize how liberal we are.
Liberalism in its broadest sense is man’s liberating himself from the law of God, which a man does with every sin that he commits. Therefore in its broadest sense every sinner is a liberal, and so whoever admits he is a sinner must admit he is a liberal in this broad sense. However, it is one thing to break God’s law while still admitting that God is God and his law is his law. Such a sinner is merely a practical liberal. It is quite another to break God’s law while denying that God is God or that his law is his law. Such a liberal in principle is the liberalism of modern times.
It burst upon the scene with the French Revolution of 1789. The charter of that Revolution, the Declaration of Human Rights, was in effect a declaration of man’s independence from God. From now on, if any man obeyed God’s law, he was doing so purely by his own choice, and not as under any command or commandment of God. In that apparent obedience he would not be behaving like a liberal in practice, but underneath, in everything he did, he would be a liberal in principle. This is the modern liberalism of which Catholics today often accuse their adversaries. Are these adversaries right, almost as often to deny it? Subjectively, yes. Objectively, no.
Subjectively, yes, because ever since 1789 men have drunk more and more deeply of the false principles of the Revolution, so that if they are accused of liberating themselves from the law of God, they can sincerely reply, “What law? What God? What are you talking about?” To such an extent have God and his law been apparently wiped out. But objectively, no, because God and his law have most certainly not ceased to exist, and deep down inside themselves even modern men know it. It is “inexcusable” to say that he does not exist (Rom. I, 20), and his law is written on all men’s hearts (Rom. II, 15), whatever they may say with their mouths. The “sincerely” just mentioned needs inverted commas – it is worth only what it is worth before God’s judgment seat.
Then may those authorities of the Society of St Pius X presently seeking to blend the Society into the Conciliar Church deny that they are liberals? Subjectively they are no doubt persuaded that they are doing their best for the Church, but objectively they are unrepentedly seeking to put Archbishop Lefebvre’s anti-Revolutionary work under the control of Church officials intent upon making the liberal Revolution triumph once and for all. They say we must rejoin the visible Church because that is the Catholic Church. But the Anglican “church” is still visible, all over England. Does that make it Catholic? And the present SSPX leaders cannot be unaware of how they distort and suppress words of the Archbishop to make him fit their vision of the Church.
The sad truth is that these liberals never really understood what the Archbishop was all about. While he was alive they were spellbound, like so many of us, by his Catholic charisma, but they never grasped that faith. which was to his charisma as root is to fruit. They loved the fruit – all credit to them for that – but not long after he was gone, the fruit without the root began to wilt and die. It was inevitable that unless they understood his faith, they would change his Society into their own. That is what we have seen and are seeing. Heaven help us!