Tag: Joseph Ratzinger

Benedict’s Ecumenism I

Benedict’s Ecumenism I posted in Eleison Comments on February 25, 2012

A valuable study of conciliar ecumenism appeared in Germany a few years ago, written by a certain Dr. Wolfgang Schüler. In “Benedict XVI and How the Church Views Itself,” he argues that the ecumenism let loose by Vatican II transformed the Church’s understanding of itself, and he proves by a series of textual quotations that Joseph Ratzinger as priest, Cardinal and Pope has consistently promoted this transformation, from the time of the Council down to today. Nor can he be ashamed of having done so.

In logical order – it will take more than one “Eleison Comments” – let us look at the true Church’s view of itself, and then with the help of Dr Schüler, at how that view was changed by the Council and how Benedict XVI has consistently promoted that change. Finally let us draw the conclusions that emerge for Catholics wishing to keep the true Faith.

The true Catholic Church has always seen itself as an organic whole, a society one, holy, catholic and apostolic, consisting of human beings united by the Faith, the sacraments and the Roman hierarchy. This Church is so much one, that no piece can be broken off or taken away without its ceasing to be Catholic (cf. Jn. XV, 4–6). For instance, that Faith which is the prime constituent of the Catholic believer cannot be held piecemeal, but must be held either altogether (at least implicitly) or not at all. This is because it is on the authority of God revealing the dogmas of Catholic Faith that I believe them, so that if I disbelieve only one amongst many dogmas, I am rejecting his authority behind them all, in which case even if I believe all the other dogmas, my belief is resting no longer on God’s authority but only on my own choice.

In fact the word “heretic” comes from the Greek word for “to choose” (hairein), so because a heretic’s belief is henceforth merely his own choice, he has lost the supernatural virtue of faith, so that even if he rejects only one dogma of Faith, he is no longer Catholic. A famous quote of Augustine runs: “In much you are with me, in little you are not with me, but because of that little in which you are not with me, the much in which you are with me is of no use to you.”

For instance a Protestant may believe in God, he may even believe in the divinity of the man Jesus of Nazareth, but if he does not believe in the Real Presence of God, body, blood, soul and divinity, beneath the appearances of bread and wine after their consecration at Mass, then he has a profoundly different and deficient concept of the love of Jesus Christ and of the God in whom he believes. Can one then say that the true Protestant and the true Catholic believe in the same God? Vatican II says one can, and on the basis of supposedly more or less shared beliefs between Catholics and all non-Catholics, it builds its ecumenism. On the contrary Dr Schüler illustrates by a series of comparisons that what may look like the same belief, when it forms part of two different creeds, is not really the same at all. Here is one illustration: oxygen molecules mixed with nitrogen are the selfsame molecules as when compounded with hydrogen, but they are as different in the two cases as the air we breathe (O + 4N) from the water we drink (H20)! Stay tuned.

Kyrie eleison.

“Greek Gifts” – III

“Greek Gifts” – III posted in Eleison Comments on September 3, 2011

Speculation is only speculation. Journalists are only journalists. But an Italian journalist claimed last month that he had the authority of a”Vatican insider” for writing that the Sept 14 meeting between Roman officials and the Superior General of the Society of St Pius X with his two Assistants may discuss a possible canonical regularization of the SSPX. Here is a summary of Andrea Tornielli’s main points (see http://​vaticaninsider.​lastampa.​it/​en/​homepage/​inquiries-and-interviews/​detail/​articolo/​lefebvriani-vaticano-tradizione-fellay-7423/​):—

The Vatican officials will submit to the SSPX (1) a clarification of Benedict XVI’s “hermeneutic of continuity” to show how it is the more authentic interpretation of the texts of Vatican II. “Only if,” says Tornielli, this clarification overcomes the doctrinal difficulties will there then be presented (2) a solution to the canonical irregularity in which the SSPX bishops and priests still find themselves: an Ordinariat such as was given to the Anglicans in May, whereby the SSPX would depend directly on the Holy See through the Ecclesia Dei Commission. This arrangement would enable the SSPX to “retain its characteristics without having to answer to the diocesan bishops.” But (3) any such agreement is not certain because “within the SSPX co-exist different sensitivities.”

From everything we know in public about Vatican-SSPX relations, Tornielli’s forecast for the Sept 14 meeting seems highly probable. But each of his three main points deserves comment:—

Firstly, as to the doctrinal gulf between today’s Vatican and Archbishop Lefebvre’s SSPX, it cannot be said that Benedict XVI’s “hermeneutic of continuity” is a solution (see EC 208–211). If Tornielli is right, it will be interesting (not edifying) to see how Rome tries once more to prove that 2+2 can be 4 or 5, 5 or 4. Catholic doctrine is as rigid, if not always as clear to us human beings, as 2+2=4.

Secondly, as to the canonical arrangement evoked by Tornielli, if – unimaginably – the SSPX were to accept any kind of doctrinal compromise, then in no way could the SSPX both come under the present Holy See (2+2=4 or 5), and still “retain its characteristics” (based on 2+2= exclusively 4). The practical agreement would exercise a constant and finally irresistible pressure to make Catholic doctrine no longer exclusive but inclusive of error, which would be to adopt the Freemasons’ ideology and to abandon the very reason for existing of Archbishop Lefebvre’s SSPX.

And thirdly, Tornielli may well be right that an agreement is not certain, but he and his “Vatican insider” are absolutely wrong if either of them thinks that the problem is one of “different sensitivities.” Sensitivities are subjective. The central problem between the Vatican and Archbishop Lefebvre’s SSPX is as objective as 2+2=4. At no point in time, reaching backwards or forwards into eternity, on no planet or star created or creatable, can 2+2 ever be anything other than, exclusively, four.

When all Archbishop Lefebvre’s efforts had failed in the negotiations of May 1988 to obtain from then Cardinal Ratzinger a secure place for the Faith within the mainstream Church, he said some famous words: “Your Eminence, even were you to give us everything we wanted, still we would have to refuse, because we are working to christianize society, whereas you are working to de-christianize it. Collaboration between us is not possible.”

Kyrie eleison.

“Greek Gifts” – I

“Greek Gifts” – I posted in Eleison Comments on August 20, 2011

On September 14 in a few weeks’ time is due to take place in Rome, so we are told, a meeting of Cardinal Levada and Roman officials with the Superior General of the Society of St Pius X and his two Assistants. Catholics who appreciate all that Archbishop Lefebvre and his Society have been given to do over the last 40 years in defence of the Faith need to be forewarned, because that Faith is ever more in danger, and “Forewarned is forearmed,” especially by prayer.

It was Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who was entrusted two years ago with overseeing the doctrinal Discussions that ran from the autumn of 2009 to April of this year, between Rome and the SSPX. It was Rome that invited the SSPX to this meeting. It seems reasonable to anticipate that the Romans on September 14 will be laying down as to future relations with the SSPX their decision emerging from the Discussions.

Now by all accounts the Discussions made clear that no doctrinal agreement is possible between the SSPX as cleaving to the age-old Church doctrine, and today’s Rome as set upon the Conciliar teaching of the Newchurch, and moreover persevering in this disorientation, as is clear from the Newbeatification of John-Paul II in May and from Assisi III due to happen this coming October. So the situation coming out of the Discussions remains exactly where it was two years ago, going into the Discussions: on the one hand, for the glory of God and for the salvation of souls, the SSPX strives to help Rome back to the true Catholic Faith, whilst for the glory of modern man and for the satisfaction of his ignoble media (as in January and February of 2009), Conciliar Rome is doing all within its power to induce the SSPX to blend into the mind- and soul-rotting ecumenism of the Newfaith.

What then can we imagine Rome imposing on September 14? Either carrot or stick, or more probably, as adjusted by their expertise in its reading of the current state of mind within the SSPX, both. The stick could be a threat of total “excommunication” for the SSPX, once and for all. But who that has the Catholic Faith could be scared by such a threat? When Archbishop Lefebvre was threatened for the first time with “excommunication” from the Newchurch, we remember his reply: “How can I be put out of a ‘church’ to which I have never belonged?”

On the other hand the cleverest carrot from Rome could be the apparently irresistible offer of “full communion with Rome” on the SSPX’s ownterms. Only there might be hidden away a little clause that would stipulate that future SSPX Superiors and Bishops might be chosen by a joint committee of Rome and the SSPX with the merest majority of members being – Romans. After all, would the SSPX be wanting to come under Rome, or not? “Make up your minds!” will be their reasonable demand, as Cardinal Ratzinger reportedly cried out in 2001.

Clear minds recall the saying of the wise – but scorned – Trojan who did not want the Greeks’ Horse to be brought into Troy: “Howsoever it be, I fear the Greeks, even when they bear gifts.” But the Trojan Horse was brought in. We all know what happened to Troy.

Kyrie eleison.

Benedict’s Thinking – IV

Benedict’s Thinking – IV posted in Eleison Comments on July 30, 2011

In the fourth and last part of this overview of Bishop Tissier’s Faith Imperilled by Reasonthe Bishop pronounces judgment upon Pope Benedict XVI’s system of re-interpreting the Catholic Faith in order to make it more accessible to modern man. Defenders of the Pope might accuse the Bishop of presenting only one side of the Pope’s thinking, but that side is there, and the Bishop is right to bring it out into the open, and to show its coherence as a system of error, because the more truth is mixed with it, the better disguised it will be, and the more damage it can do to the salvation of souls.

In Chapter IX of his tract, Bishop Tissier shows how the Pope changes what Catholics believe in, and why. True Catholics believe in the Articles of Faith as defined by the Church, which they accept because of the objective authority of God revealing them. But to Benedict this seems an abstract religion of cold definitions, so instead he will say, “Faith is a meeting with Jesus, a person, the presence of God, a presence of love.” Now belief changed in this way may feel more warm and personal, but it also risks being the vague fruit of personal experience, based on subjective feelings, which are unreliable. But who really wants a tottering bridge to Heaven, just because it feels good?

In Chapter X the Bishop goes on to show how the whole system of belief totters which emerges from this change, because Benedict’s recipe for a felt Catholicism is to purify dogmas of their non-essential past, and enrich them with a more understanding awareness drawn from the present. But the prime former of present-day awareness is the philosopher Kant, followed by Benedict, who holds that God cannot be proved, but only postulated or fabricated according to men’s needs, which take the place of objective realities. In any such world, how many people will postulate God at all? Small wonder if in 1996 Cardinal Ratzinger foresaw a dim future for the Church.

In his Afterword, Bishop Tissier concludes that the synthesis between modernity and Catholicism being subjectively sought for by Benedict’s imperative need for a reconciliation between his Catholic heart and his modern head, is impossible. For instance, the Pope wants to believe that the Rights of Man, idolized in every democracy of today, are merely the up-dating of Christianity, but they are in fact its death. Implicit in their logic is a declaration of independence from God, and of liberation from all constriction by any God-given human nature. They are in fact an atom bomb in modern man’s war on God, a keystone in the New World Order.

So the Pope, says the Bishop, must put no hopes for upholding the world in any such “mutual purification and regeneration” of religion and reason in view of their “mutual enrichment.” When it comes to religion, secularized reason has little or nothing of value to offer, and all attempts of Catholic theologians to come to terms with it will collapse like a house of cards, just like the New World Order that such theologians are hoping to serve. And the Bishop gives to St. Paul the last word – “For other foundations no man can lay, but that which is laid: which is Christ Jesus” (I Cor.III, 11).

Bishop Tissier’s complete tract has been available in French, but it may for the moment be out of print. English and Italian translations are accessible on the Internet.

Kyrie eleison.

Perillous “Sincerity”

Perillous “Sincerity” posted in Eleison Comments on August 22, 2009

If Benedict XVI is not a positive destroyer of the Church, then like John XXIII, Paul VI and John-Paul II before him, he is at least presiding over its destruction. A recent critique of Fr. Peter Scott’s excellent analysis of Benedict XVI’s latest Encyclical (accessible at angelqueen.org) raises once more the crucial question, have these Popes been aware of the destruction taking place under their responsibility? Broadly speaking, there are three main answers.

Firstly, liberals and modernists deny that any destruction has been going on, so of course the recent Popes are unaware of being or having been destroyers. They have been good Popes, they are not to be blamed, they need only be followed. Secondly on the contrary, Sedevacantists say these Popes have been responsible for a devastation of the Church, and they have all been far too well educated, they have known too well the pre-Conciliar Church (being all of them older men) and they have all sworn too often (in their younger days) the daunting Anti-Modernist Oath, for them not to have been aware of the destruction they have wrought. Not only must we blame them, but we cannot logically hold them to have been Popes, let alone fit to be followed.

Thirdly, as dawn and dusk are not contradictory or illogical simply because they mix night and day, but both are real happenings once every 24 hours, so the position of Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of St Pius X is not contradictory simply because it is more complicated, falling as it does between the relatively simple positions of the liberals and Sedevacantists. On the contrary it is more real than either, corresponding better to the complicated reality of these liberal Catholic Popes. (Archbishop Lefebvre used to say that a liberal Catholic is a walking contradiction.)

Against the liberals this third position holds that of course there has been a destruction of the Church under these Popes, who with their education, pre-Conciliar experience and solemn Oaths should certainly have known better. So all are to be blamed for failing in their grave responsibilities, even if the exact degree of blame due is known to God alone.

Against the Sedevacantists however, in our profoundly sick modern age, while blindness like that of these Popes is objectively blameworthy, it may be subjectively more or less sincere. For instance in his post-war German seminary, the young Joseph Ratzinger was exposed to brilliant and no doubt charismatic modernist professors who will have taught him that the Traditional Church needed to be, if not destroyed, at least changed beyond recognition to fit modern man. And Joseph Ratzinger has believed it ever since: the Traditional doctrine, the Tridentine Church and its solemn Oaths were all good, even excellent in their day, but that day is past! Objection: did not Pius X (“Lamentabili” #58) solemnly teach that Truth cannot evolve? Cardinal Ratzinger said that “Lamentabili” too was excellent teaching – for the past!!

Again, God alone is judge of the exact responsibility of the young Joseph and his teachers for his mind having fallen into the trap of evolving truth, but what is certain is that once a mind has fallen into that trap, it can, in today’s environment, only with supreme difficulty be pulled out again. Until a divine Warning and/or Chastisement cleanses the environment, liberals can easily be in grave error, yet sincere.

SSPX, beware of that “sincerity” which makes error feel nice! Truth first, and no lies or ambiguity, even if our sick world comes down on you like a ton of bricks!

Kyrie eleison.

Just Claims

Just Claims posted in Eleison Comments on May 30, 2009

On the assumption that the Second Vatican Council established within the Catholic Church a serious split between Catholic Truth and Catholic Authority, “Eleison Comments” three weeks ago (“Flat Contradiction”) divided today’s Catholics between those who cling to Truth and have problems with Catholic Authority, and those who cling to Catholic Authority and have problems with Catholic Truth or doctrine, for instance on religious liberty.

Setting up such a parallel between “Conciliarists” following Vatican II and “Traditionalists” following the age-old doctrine and liturgy, may well shock numbers of both, for the reasons evoked above, but let us appeal to the realities in the Church around us. Do we not observe that as Traditionalists who wholly reject present Church authorities risk losing their Catholic sense, so too Conciliarists who wholly scorn present Traditionalists (as do most German bishops) risk ceasing to be Catholics for lack of any sense of doctrinal truth?

However, the parallel only goes so far. For while outright “sedevacantism” and outright Neo-modernism are in this logical respect comparable, they are by no means equivalent, because Truth is higher than Authority, which only exists to serve Truth. If all Authority disappeared, Truth would still be there (“My words will not pass away,” says Our Lord – Mk.XXV, 35). But if all Truth were smothered in lies, as is happening today, we would see, as we are seeing, all Authority discredited with it, and being replaced by brute force. Truth and its ensuing Justice are the life-blood of Authority. Authority is merely the servant and protector of Truth and Justice.

This is why Traditionalists clinging to Truth are, as such, repeat, as such, better Catholics than Conciliarists clinging to Authority – judge by the fruits! And while Truth, by its nature of corresponding to the object and not to the subject, cannot bend to Authority, on the contrary the Church authorities, Popes and Cardinals and Bishops, must one day bend back to the Truth, and the sooner the better. Nor is saying so remotely an arrogant claim on the part of Traditionalists, as Cardinal Ratzinger once opined, because Traditionalists never invented Tradition, Tradition was a given, from being merely faithful to which they got their name. Archbishop Lefebvre had engraved on his tombstone St. Paul’s “Tradidi quod et accepi” (I Cor.XI, 23), because he was the very first to maintain that he had done no more than hand on what had been handed down to him.

This fundamental primacy of Truth over Authority applies inside and outside the Catholic Church, inside and outside any part of the Church. But modern souls have lost almost all grip on Truth. Here is the drama.

Kyrie eleison.