Tag: indifferentism

Fiftiesism Returns

Fiftiesism Returns posted in Eleison Comments on January 12, 2013

Burning question: how could the leaders of the Society of St Pius X, which was founded by Archbishop Lefebvre to resist the Newchurch, now be seeking its favours in order to rejoin it? One answer is that they never fully understood the Archbishop. After the disaster of Vatican II in the 1960’s, they saw in him the best continuation of the pre-disaster Church of the 1950’s. In reality he was much more than that, but once he died, all they wanted was to go back to the cosy Catholicism of the 1950’s. And they were not alone in preferring Christ without his Cross. It is a very popular formula.

For was not the Catholicism of the 1950’s like a man standing on the edge of a tall and dangerous cliff? On the one hand it was still standing at a great height, otherwise Vatican II would not have been such a fall. On the other hand it was dangerously close to the edge of the cliff, otherwise again it could not have fallen so precipitously in the 1960’s. By no means everything was bad in the Church of the 1950’s, but it was too close to disaster. Why?

Because Catholics in general in the 1950’s were outwardly maintaining the appearances of the true religion, but inwardly too many were flirting with the godless errors of the modern world: liberalism (what matters most in life is freedom), subjectivism (so man’s mind and will are free of any objective truth or law), indifferentism (so it does not matter what religion a man has), and so on. So Catholics having the faith and not wanting to lose it, gradually adapted it to these erors. They would attend Mass on Sundays, they might still go to confession, but they would be feeding their minds on the vile media, and their hearts would be chafing at certain laws of the Church, on marriage for the laity, on celibacy for the clergy. So they might be keeping the faith, but they wanted less and less to swim against the powerful current of the glamorous and irreligious world all around them. They were getting closer and closer to the edge of the cliff.

Now the Archbishop had his failings, which one may think are reflected in the present difficulties of the Society. Let us not idolize him. Nevertheless he was in the 1950’s a bishop who had both the appearances of Catholicism and, deep inside him, its substance, as proved by the rich fruits of his apostolic ministry in Africa. Thus when Vatican II succeeded in crippling or paralyzing nearly all of his fellow bishops, he managed to recreate, almost alone, a pre-Vatican II seminary and Congregation. The appearances of his Catholic oasis amidst the Conciliar desert dazzled many a good young man. Vocationa were also attracted by the Archbishop’s personal charisma. But from ten to 20 years after his death in 1991 the substance of his heritage came to seem heavier and heavier to push against the ever stronger current of the modern world.

So, disinclined to go on bearing the Cross of being scorned by the mainstream Church and the world, the SSPX leaders began to dream of being once more officially recognized. And the dream took hold, because after all dreams are so much nicer than reality. We must pray for these leaders of the SSPX. The 1950’s are gone, gone for ever, and it is sheer dreaming to wish for their return.

Kyrie eleison.

Traditional Infection

Traditional Infection posted in Eleison Comments on January 29, 2011

Liberalism is an unbelievable disease, capable of rotting out the best hearts and minds. If we define it, most briefly, as the liberation of man from God, it is as old as the hills, but never has it been so deep or widespread or seemingly normal, as it is today. Now religious liberty is at the heart of liberalism – what use is it to be free from everything else and everybody else if I am not free from God? So if Benedict XVI lamented three weeks ago that “religious freedom is threatened all over the world,” he is certainly infected. Nor let even followers of Catholic Tradition be confident that they have immunity from the disease. Here is an e-mail I received a few days ago from a layman in Continental Europe:—

“For the longest time, about 20 years, I was moulded by liberalism. It is through the grace of God that I underwent a conversion with the Society of St Pius X. To my shock I have found liberal behaviour even in the ranks of Tradition. People are still saying that one should not exaggerate how bad things are at present. Freemasonry is hardly mentioned as being an enemy of the Church, because to do so might damage one’s personal interests, so people go on reacting as though, overall, the world is still in good shape.

“Some Traditionalists even recommend psycho-drugs to deal with the stress that goes with being a Traditional Catholic, and if you are looking for happiness, they say, you should go to a medical doctor to make life easier.

“The consequence of such behaviour is an indifferentism which is the seed-bed of liberalism. All of a sudden it is no longer so bad to attend the Novus Ordo Mass, to make common cause with modernists, to change one’s principles from one day to the next, to give up showing one’s faith in public, to study at a State university, to trust the State, and to act on the assumption that everybody does after all mean well.

“Our Lord has harsh words for this sort of indifferentism: the lukewarm he will “begin to spit out of his mouth” (Rev. III, 16). It may sound paradoxical, but the greatest enemies of the Church are liberal Catholics. There is even a liberal Traditionalism!!!” (end of layman’s quote).

What then is the antidote for this poison that threatens every one of us? Sanctifying grace, no doubt (Rom.VII, 25), which can clear the mind of confusion, and strengthen the will to do what the mind sees to be right. And how do I make sure of sanctifying grace? That is a little like asking, how can I guarantee my final perseverance? The Church teaches that one cannot guarantee it, because it is a gift – or the gift – of God. But what I can always do is pray the Holy Rosary, an average of five Mysteries a day – better, if reasonably possible, fifteen. Whosoever does that is doing what the Mother of God asks all of us to do, and she has a virtually unlimited maternal power over her Son, Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ.

Kyrie eleison.