freedom

Donoso Cortés – I

Donoso Cortés – I posted in Eleison Comments on September 6, 2014

One of the most important Catholic dogmas is that of original sin, whereby all human beings (except Our Lord and his Mother) have a nature seriously wounded from birth through our mysterious solidarity with Adam, father of all mankind, when with Eve he fell into the first of all human sins in the garden of Eden. Of course for most people today that Fall is just a fairy-tale, or mythology, and that is why they have built a Disneyworld all around us. In principle Catholics believe in original sin, but so seductive is Disneyworld that many hardly take original sin seriously in practice. After all, ith not at all nithe to believe we are all thinnerth. We are all thwimming in luv, luv, luv, ar’n’twe!

But a man who saw very clearly original sin in action was the Spanish nobleman, writer and diplomat, Donoso Cortés (1808–1853). His life spanned that first half of the 19 th century when in the wake of the French Revolution (1789), Europe was slowly but steadily replacing the old Christian order (“ancien régime”) with the Judeo-masonic New World Order. Outwardly the old order was put back in place by the Congress of Vienna (1815), but inwardly it was not at all the same as before, because men’s minds were now resting on quite different foundations, liberal foundations, notably the separation of Church and State. When Donoso entered Spanish politics at a young age, he proclaimed himself to be a liberal, but as he observed the Revolutionary ideas working out in practice, he became more and more conservative until in 1847 he converted to Spain’s ancient Catholic religion. From then on until his early death his written and spoken words carried all over Europe his prophetic Catholic analysis of the radical modern errors forging the New World Order.

At the back of all these errors he discerned two: the denial of God’s supernatural care for his creatures, and the denial of original sin. From Donoso’s Letter to Cardinal Fornari (1852) come the following two paragraphs which connect to original sin the rise of democracy and the diminution of the Church (the translation here is from a French translation):—

“If the light of men’s reason is in no way darkened, its light is enough, without need of the Faith, to discover the truth. If the Faith is not needed, then man’s reason is sovereign and independent. The progress of truth then depends on the progress of reason, which depends upon the exercise of reason; such an exercise is to be found in discussion; hence discussion constitutes the true basic law of modern societies, the matchless crucible in which by a process of melting, truths are separated from errors. From this principle of discussion flow freedom of the press, the inviolability of freedom of speech and the real sovereignty of parliaments.”

Donoso continues with a parallel diagnosis of the consequences of man’s will being supposed to be free from original sin: “If man’s will is not sick, then he needs none of the supernatural help of grace to pursue good, its attraction being enough: if he needs no grace, then he can do without prayer and the sacraments which provide it.” If prayer is not needed, it is useless, and so are contemplation and the contemplative religious Orders, which duly disappear. If man needs no sacraments, then he has no need of priests to administer them, and they are duly banned. And scorn of the priesthood results everywhere in scorn of the Church, which amounts in all places to the scorn of God.

From such false principles Donoso Cortés foresaw an unparallelled disaster in the very near future. Actually it has been delayed for over 150 years, but how much longer?

Kyrie eleison.

Two Journeys

Two Journeys posted in Eleison Comments on January 19, 2013

Journeys since mid-December, to North America and France, have enabled me to observe within the Society of St Pius X a dangerous state of indetermination. Where the District Superior is not blind, the danger is for the moment held back somewhat, so that resistance is puzzled. Where however the District Superior is a willing servant of SSPX headquarters, there the movement towards the Newchurch forges ahead, but also the Resistance is taking shape. What is at stake?

Ever since the breakout of Protestantism, the world has been sliding further and further away from God. Thanks to the Council of Trent (1545–1563), the Catholic Church held firm, but thanks to the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) the official Catholic Church joined in the slide. Then thanks mainly (but not only!) to Archbishop Lefebvre (1905–1991), relics of the Church of Trent gathered themselves together to form amidst the desert of modernity a Catholic oasis, the SSPX. But where the mighty Church had not been able to resist, it was, sure enough, merely a matter of time before the puny SSPX would be tempted in its turn to join in the slide.

However, just as at Vatican II the Church’s official leadership was obliged to pretend that it was not breaking with the Tridentine Church (such is, for instance, Benedict XVI’s “hermeneutic of continuity”), so the SSPX’s official leadership is now obliged to pretend that it is not breaking with Archbishop Lefebvre. Thus, like most politicians of the last 500 years, these SSPX leaders are talking to the right while walking to the left, because that is what a large number of people want, namely the appearance of Christianity without its substance (cf. II Tim. III, 1–5, especially verse 5). Like Descartes, such leaders “advance behind a mask,” seeking to disguise their move to the left beneath words to the right, or words clearly ambiguous.

What happened in the SSPX last spring, as Fr Chazal says, is that the mask came off, because the SSPX leadership must have calculated that the time had come for it to make its open move back into the mainstream Church. Alas for these leaders, there emerged between March and June enough resistance to block at the SSPX General Chapter in July any immediate attempt to join the Newchurch. And so from that Chapter onwards, the mask has gone back on. But liberals do not convert, short of a miracle of grace, because leftwardness is their real religion. That is why the SSPX leaders are surely waiting for the modern world, flesh and devil to continue their work of pulling SSPX clergy and laity to the left so that within a few years at most there will no longer be any significant resistance, as there was last summer, to the SSPX rejoining the Newchurch.

This leaves the SSPX betwixt and between. However, as the common sense of Archbishop Lefebvre remarked, superiors mould subjects and not the other way round. That is why, unless the present SSPX leaders are displaced by a miracle, the SSPX is doomed to be dissolved within the Newchurch. One can hardly say the punishment would not have been deserved. But let us pray to the Mother of God for some miracles of her Divine Son’s mercy.

Kyrie eleison.

Doctrine Again

Doctrine Again posted in Eleison Comments on August 18, 2012

The scorn of “doctrine” is an immense problem today. The “best” of Catholics in our 21st century pay lip-service to the importance of “doctrine,” but in their modern bones they feel instinctively that even Catholic doctrine is some kind of prison for their minds, and minds must not be imprisoned. In Washington, D.C., around the interior dome of the Jefferson Memorial, that quasi-religious temple of the United States’ champion of liberty, runs his quasi-religious quotation: I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. Surely he had Catholic doctrine in mind, amongst others. Modern man’s quasi-religion excludes having any fixed doctrine.

However, a sentence from the “Eleison Comments” of two weeks ago (EC 263, July 28) gives a different angle on the nature and importance of “doctrine.” It ran: So long as Rome believes in its Conciliar doctrine, it is bound to use any such(“non-doctrinal”) agreement to pull the SSPX in the direction of the(Second Vatican) Council.In other words what drives Rome supposedly to discount “doctrine” and at all costs to conciliarize the SSPX is their own belief in their own Conciliar doctrine. As Traditional Catholic doctrine is – one hopes – the driving force of the SSPX, so Conciliar doctrine is the driving force of Rome. The two doctrines clash, but each of them is a driving force.

In other words, “doctrine” is not just a set of ideas in a man’s head, or a mental prison. Whatever ideas a man chooses to hold in his head, his real doctrine is that set of ideas that drives his life. Now a man may change that set of ideas, but he cannot not have one. Here is how Aristotle put it: “If you want to philosophize, then you have to philosophize. If you don’t want to philosophize, you still have to philosophize. In any case a man has to philosophize.” Similarly, liberals may scorn any set of ideas as a tyranny, but to hold any set of ideas to be a tyranny is still a major idea, and it is the one idea that drives the lives of zillions of liberals today, and of all too many Catholics. These should know better, but all of us moderns have the worship of liberty in our bloodstream.

Thus doctrine in its real sense is not just an imprisoning set of ideas, but that central notion of God, man and life that directs the life of every man alive. Even if a man is committing suicide, he is being driven by the idea that life is too miserable to be worth continuing. A notion of life centred on money may drive a man to become rich; on pleasure to become a rake; on recognition to become famous, and so on. But however a man centrally conceives life, that concept is his real doctrine.

Thus conciliar Romans are driven by Vatican II as being their central notion to undo the SSPX that rejects Vatican II, and until they either succeed or change that central notion, they will continue to be driven to dissolve Archbishop Lefebvre’s SSPX. On the contrary the central drive of clergy and laity of the SSPX should be to get to Heaven, the idea being that Heaven and Hell exist, and Jesus Christ and his true Church provide the one and only sure way of getting to Heaven. This driving doctrine they know to be no fanciful invention of their own, and that is why they do not want it to be undermined or subverted or corrupted by the wretched neo-modernists of the Newchurch, driven by their false conciliar notion of God, man and life. The clash is total.

Nor can it be avoided, as liberals dream it can. If falsehoods win, eventually even the stones of the street will cry out (Lk.XIX, 40). If Truth wins, still Satan will go on raising error after error, until the world ends. But “He that perseveres to the end will be saved,” says Our Lord (Mt.XXIV, 13).

Kyrie eleison.

Doctrine Undermined

Doctrine Undermined posted in Eleison Comments on May 26, 2012

Entire books have been written on the subject of religious liberty as taught by Vatican II in its Declaration of 1965, Dignitatis Humanae. Yet the Revolutionary teaching of that document is clear: given the natural dignity of every individual human being, no State or social group or any human power may coerce or force any man or group of men to act, in private or in public, against their own religious beliefs, so long as public order is observed (D.H.#2).

On the contrary the Catholic Church always taught up until Vatican II that every State as such has the right and even duty to coerce its citizens from practising in public any of their false religions, i.e. all non-Catholic religions, so long as such coercion is helpful and not harmful to the salvation of souls. (For instance in 2012 freedom is so widely worshipped that any such coercion would scandalize the citizens of nearly all States and make them scorn, not appreciate, the Catholic religion. In that case, as the Church always used to teach, the State may abstain from using its right to coerce false religions.)

Now the precise point on which these two doctrines contradict one another may seem quite limited –whether or not a State may coerce the public practice of false religions – but the implications are enormous: is God the Lord or the servant of men? For if on the one hand man is a creature of God, and if he is social by nature (as is obvious from men’s naturally coming together in all kinds of associations, notably the State), then society and the State are also creatures of God, and they owe it to him to serve him and his one true religion by coercing false religions at any rate in the public domain (which is the State’s business), so long as that will help rather than hinder the salvation of souls.

On the other hand if human freedom is of such value that every individual must be left free to corrupt his fellow citizens by the public practice and proselytizing of any false religion he chooses (unless public order be disturbed), then false religions must be left free to flourish in the public domain (e.g. Protestant sects in Latin America today). So the difference between false religions and the one true religion is less important than human dignity. So the true religion is not so important. So the worth of God compared with the worth of man is not so important. Thus Vatican II down-grades God as it up-grades man. Ultimately Vatican II is replacing the religion of God with the religion of man. No wonder Archbishop Lefebvre founded the Society of St Pius X to uphold the transcendent dignity and worth of God, of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in a world and Church gone mad, drunk on man’s dignity.

But now comes a religious leader who pronounced in public earlier this month: “Many people have an understanding of the Council, which is a wrong understanding.” Religious liberty, he said, “is used in so many ways. And looking closer, I really have the impression that not many know what really the Council says about it. The Council is presenting a religious liberty that is a very, very limited one: very limited . . .” Asked whether Vatican II itself, i.e. as a whole, belongs to Catholic Tradition, he replied, “I would hope so.”

See for yourselves the interview, given in English and accessible on YouTube under the title, “Traditionalist leader talks about his movement, Rome.” Can anybody be surprised if “his movement” is currently going through the gravest crisis of its 42 years of existence?

Kyrie eleison.

Benedict’s Thinking – I

Benedict’s Thinking – I posted in Eleison Comments on July 9, 2011

The “Eleison Comments” of June 18 promised a series of four numbers which would show how “disoriented” is Pope Benedict XVI’s “way of believing.” They present in fact a summary of the precious tract on his thinking written a few years ago by Bishop Tissier de Mallerais, one of the four bishops of the Society of St Pius X. The Bishop’s tract, The Faith Imperilled by Reason, he calls “unpretentious,” but it does lay bare the Pope’s fundamental problem – how to believe in the Catholic Faith in such a way as not to exclude the values of the modern world. The tract shows that such a way of believing is necessarily disoriented, even if the Pope does still in some way believe.

It divides into four parts. After an important Introduction to Benedict XVI’s “Hermeneutic of Continuity,” Bishop Tissier looks briefly at the philosophical and theological roots of the Pope’s thinking. Thirdly he lays out its fruits for the Gospel, for dogma, for the Church and society, for the Kingship of Christ and for the Last Things. He concludes with a measured judgment upon the Pope’s Newfaith, highly critical but wholly respectful. Let us start with an overview of the Introduction:—

The basic problem for Benedict XVI, as for all of us, is the clash between the Catholic Faith and the modern world. For instance he sees that modern science is amoral, that modern society is secular and modern culture is multi-religious. He specifies the clash as being between Faith and Reason, between the Faith of the Church, and Reason as worked out by the 18th century Enlightenment. However, he is convinced that they can and must both be interpreted in such a way as to bring them into harmony with one another. Hence his close participation in Vatican II, a Council which attempted to reconcile the Faith with today’s world. But Traditionalists say that the Council failed, because its very principles are irreconcilable with the Faith. Hence Pope Benedict’s “Hermeneutic of Continuity,” or system of interpretation to show that there is no rupture between Catholic Tradition and Vatican II.

The principles for Benedict’s “hermeneutic” go back to a German historian of the 19th century, Wilhelm Dilthey (1833–1911). Dilthey maintained that as truths arise in history, so they can only be understood in their history, and human truths cannot be understood without the involvement of the human subject in that history. So to continue the core of past truths into the present, one needs to subtract all elements belonging to the past, now irrelevant, and replace them with elements important for the living present. Benedict applies to the Church this double process of purification and enrichment. On the one hand Reason must purify the Faith of its errors from the past, e.g. its absolutism, while on the other hand the Faith must get Reason to moderate its attacks on religion and to remember that its humanist values, liberty, equality and fraternity, all originated in the Church.

The great error here of the Pope is that the truths of the Catholic Faith on which Christian civilization was built and on which its feeble remains still rest, have their origin by no means in human history, but in the eternal bosom of the unchanging God. They are eternal truths, from eternity, for eternity. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” says Our Lord, (MtXXIV,35). Neither Dilthey nor, apparently, Benedict XVI can conceive of truths far above human history and above all its conditioning. If the Pope thinks that by making such concessions to faithless Reason, he will draw its adherents towards the Faith, let him think again. They merely despise Faith the more!

Next, the philosophical and theological roots of Benedict’s thinking.

Kyrie eleison.

Apples Rotting

Apples Rotting posted in Eleison Comments on May 14, 2011

In two ways a rotten apple may cast a little light in the darkness of today’s eclipsed Church. Firstly, we do not wait for every part of an apple to be rotten before we call it rotten as a whole, yet parts of it are still not rotten. In answer then to the question whether the apple is rotten, we must make a double distinction: as a whole, yes; in these parts, yes; in those parts, no. And secondly, while apple is not rot and rot is not apple, yet the rot is inseparable from its apple and cannot exist without it. Let us apply the first part of this common sense to the Novus Ordo Mass and the “Conciliar church,” the second part to the “Conciliar church” and the Papacy.

As for the New Mass, it is rotten as a whole by its Conciliar man-centredness, but while some parts are clearly not Catholic (e.g. the Offertory), other parts are Catholic (e.g. the

Kyrie eleison.). Because it is rotten as a whole and slowly makes Catholics into Protestants, it is not fit to be attended, but that part which is the Consecration may be Catholic and valid. So one can say of the Novus Ordo Mass neither that it is valid so it can be attended, nor that it cannot be attended so it is invalid. In truth it may be valid in its essential part, but that is not a sufficient reason to expose one’s faith to the danger of attending it as a whole.

Similarly, today’s Church is rotten as a whole insofar as Conciliarism is widespread throughout it, but that does not mean that every single part of the Church is rotten with Conciliarism. So it is as wrong to condemn any part still Catholic because of the Conciliar whole, as it is wrong to excuse the Conciliar whole because of those parts still Catholic. To fit one’s mind to the reality, one must distinguish both between the different parts, and between the whole and the parts.

And if we apply to today’s Church also the second part of the comparison with a rotten apple, we can say that it is genuinely useful to speak of two churches, the “Conciliar church” and the Catholic Church, because Conciliarism is to be found in real life all through the Church, although in their pure state Conciliarism and Catholicism exclude one another like apple and rot. But they are not in real life separable any more than are the rot from its apple or any parasite from its host. In real life there is only one Church, the Catholic Church, suffering today all over from the Conciliar rot.

Therefore as to a Conciliar Pope, it is a genuinely useful way of speaking to say that he is one head of two churches, because by his words and actions, sometimes Catholic, sometimes Conciliar, he places himself all the time at the head of both the Catholic Church and its Conciliar rot. But that is not to say that he is the head of two churches separate in reality. It is to say that he is head of both the Catholicism and the Conciliarism in the one real Catholic Church presently disfigured all over by the Conciliar rot.

And why in Heaven’s name are our Church leaders so enamoured of the Conciliar rot? Because of the modern longing for liberty. That is another story. But meanwhile we must pray with might and main for Benedict XVI that he may see once more the difference between apple and rot!

Kyrie eleison.