Tag: Holy Ghost

Benedict’s Ecumenism – III

Benedict’s Ecumenism – III posted in Eleison Comments on April 21, 2012

In these “Comments” two weeks ago was the promise to look at three quotes from Vatican II which have done much to dissolve the Church of Jesus Christ, which is the Catholic Church. And one week ago was the warning that the texts of Vatican II are ambiguous, so that they can always be made to look as though there is nothing wrong with them. But only one of their two possible meanings is innocent. The other meaning is deadly for the Catholic Church, as the last forty years have proved.

The first quote comes from Lumen Gentium #8. Here it is: “The one Church of Christ . . .constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by Peter and the bishops in communion with him.” Now what does that word “subsists” mean here? The ambiguity is that it can mean either that Christ’s Church exists mainly and only in the Roman Catholic Church, which is what the Church always taught up to Vatican II, or it can mean that Christ’s Church exists mainly but not only in the Catholic Church, in which case Christ’s Church also exists partly outside the Catholic Church. This opens the door to the Conciliar ecumenism which breaks down the Catholic Church’s dogmatic claim to be the exclusive ark of salvation: “Extra ecclesiam nulla salus.”

The problem here is that it is also a dogma that the Church is one. At every Sunday Mass we hear or sing that we believe in the “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.” Then how can Christ’s Church be divided amongst several more or less churchlike communities? If the Church is one, it cannot be several. If it is several, it cannot be one. In his book on Benedict XVI and How the Church Views Itself, Dr. Wolfgang Schüler gives a series of quotes of Joseph Ratzinger to show how as a theologian he enthusiastically promoted the breaking down of the Catholic Church’s exclusivity, but as a Cardinal and Pope he has struggled to maintain also the Church’s oneness.

The second quote comes from Unitatis Redintegratio #3: “Very many of the significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church itself, can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church.” Now the obvious meaning of these words is that as gold coins build up a heap but can also be found as gold coins outside the heap, so Church elements listed by the Council such as “faith, hope, charity and other gifts of the Holy Spirit” can be recognized existing as such outside the Catholic Church. But Our Lord said that branches cut off his vine wither and die (Jn. XV, 6). What is his vine if not his Church?

The third quote draws the logical conclusion, just a little further in the same document (U.R.#3):” The churches and communities separated (from the Catholic Church) have been by no means deprived of significance and importance in the mystery of salvation. For the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using them as means of salvation . . .” But as Archbishop Lefebvre said: “No community insofar as it is separated from the Catholic Church can enjoy the support of the Holy Ghost since its separation means resistance to the Holy Ghost. He can work directly only on souls, he can use directly only means, that show no sign of separation.”

Vatican II essentially misunderstood the Church. Let us next see with the help of Dr Schüler how Benedict XVI has applied both brake and accelerator to that misunderstanding.

Kyrie eleison.

Conciliar Ambiguity

Conciliar Ambiguity posted in Eleison Comments on April 14, 2012

Imagine a strong and well-armed foot-soldier who in hot pursuit of the enemy walks into a quicksand. That is what it is like for a brave Catholic armed with the truth who ventures to criticize the documents of Vatican II. They are a quicksand of ambiguity, which is what they were designed to be. Had the religion of man been openly promoted by them, the Council Fathers would have rejected them with horror. But the new religion was skilfully disguised by the documents being so drawn up that they are open to opposite interpretations. Let us take a clear and crucial example.

From section 8 of Dei Verbum comes a text on Tradition which John-Paul II used to condemn Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988: “A/ Tradition . . .comes from the Apostles and progresses in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. B/ There is a growth in insight into the realities and words that are passed on. This comes about in various ways. C/ It comes through the contemplation and study of believers who ponder these things in their hearts. D/ It comes from the intimate sense of spiritual realities which they experience. E/ And it comes from the preaching of those who have received, along with their right of succession to the apostolate, the sure charism of truth.”

Now true Catholic Tradition is radically objective. Just as common sense says that reality is objective, meaning that objects are what they are outside of us and independently of what any subject pretends that they are, so the true Church teaches that Catholic Tradition came from God, and is what he made it, so that no human being can in the least little bit change it. Here then would be the Catholic interpretation of the text just quoted: “A/ With the passage of time there is a progress in how Catholics grasp the unchanging truths of the Faith. B/ Catholics can see deeper into these truths, C/ by contemplating and studying them, D/ by penetrating more deeply into them, and E/ by the bishops preaching fresh aspects of the same truths.” This interpretation is perfectly Catholic because all the change is placed in the people who do indeed change down the ages, while no change is placed in the truths revealed that make up the Deposit of Faith, or Tradition.

But see now how the same passage from Dei Verbumcan be understood not objectively, but subjectively, making the content of the truths depend upon, and change with, the subjective Catholics: “A/ Catholic truth lives and grows with the passing of time, because B/ living Catholics have insights that past Catholics never had, as C/ they discover in their hearts, within themselves, newly grown truths, D/ the fruit of their inward spiritual experience. Also, E/ Catholic truth grows when bishops preach things unknown before, because bishops can tell no untruth (!).” (In other words, have the religion that makes you feel good, but make sure that you “pay, pray and obey” us modernists.)

Now here is the huge problem: if one accuses this text from Dei Verbum of promoting modernism, “conservative” Catholics (who conserve little but their faith in faithless churchmen) immediately reply that the real meaning of the text is the Traditional meaning first given above. However, when John-Paul II in Ecclesia Dei Adflictaused this text to condemn Archbishop Lefebvre, and therewith the Consecrations of 1988, obviously he can only have been taking the text in its modernist sense. Such actions speak far louder than words.

Dear readers, read the text itself again and again, and the two interpretations, until you grasp the diabolical ambiguity of that wretched Council.

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.

Christ’s Suffering

Christ’s Suffering posted in Eleison Comments on April 4, 2009

The eve of Palm Sunday is surely a good moment to consider with St. Thomas Aquinas (IIIa, Q46, art.5,6) how Christ’s suffering surpassed all other sufferings. Of course Christ could not suffer in his impassible divine nature, but he had chosen his perfect human nature, conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary, to provide him with an incomparably sensitive instrument of suffering, in body and soul, to redeem us all and to save us from Hell if we wish.

As for Christ’s body, every part of it, from thorn-crowned head to nailed feet, was tormented in his Passion, culminating in the excruciating pains of death on the Cross, three hours racked between cramp from pushing up on nailed feet to breathe, and breathlessness or suffocation from slumping down on nailed hands to relieve the cramp. Crucifixion was positively designed to be excruciating – both words derive from the Latin for “cross” (crux, crucis).

As for Christ’s soul with its far greater range of perception than that of mere bodily senses, however perfect, St. Thomas names three heads of suffering. Firstly, by infused knowledge, Christ saw all sins of all men of all time, and chose to pay by his self-sacrifice for all those sins in general. In other words he used his superhuman gifts not to avoid suffering but to suffer the more. Yet at the same time he wished to suffer not just by a divine reckoning according to which a mere pin-prick of the Divine Person would have been payment infinite and more than enough, but by a human reckoning, as though he alone were to undergo umpteen executions to pay for umpteen criminals!

Secondly, by normal human knowledge, Christ suffered in his soul from observing all the kinds of people contributing to his Passion: Jew and Gentile, man and woman (e.g. the serving-girl mocking Peter), leaders and people, friend and foe. In particular, says St. Thomas, Christ suffered in his soul from being hated by his own people, then still God’s Chosen People, and – worst of all – from being abandoned and betrayed by his very own Apostles. Thirdly, like any man, Christ suffered in his soul from having to die, and the more innocent and perfect his life had been, the more keenly he suffered its loss and the injustice of its loss.

Now what other human being, or mass of human beings, have lived a perfect and innocent life; have chosen to lay it down by a death anything like as terrible as crucifixion; have been able to see all sins of all men and wish to pay for them; finally have observed abandonment all around them to the point of feeling deserted even by God (“lama, lama, sabactani”)? Were there six million such men, still they could not claim that their sacrifice was motivated by anything like the charity of Christ, with his overwhelming divine and human love for every one of us poor sinners. So their sacrifice would still not be remotely comparable to His.

Kyrie eleison.