Tag: Lamentabili

Sarto, Siri?

Sarto, Siri? posted in Eleison Comments on September 29, 2012

In a sermon for the Feast of St Pius X I found myself uttering « almost a heresy »: I wondered aloud whether Giuseppe Sarto would have disobeyed Paul VI’s destruction of the Church, if, instead of dying as Pope Pius X in 1914, he had died as a Cardinal in, say, 1974. Within the Society of St Pius X that must sound like a heresy because how can the wisdom of the heavenly patron of the SSPX be in any way flawed? Yet the question is not idle.

In the 1970’s Archbishop Lefebvre made personal visits to a number of the Church’s best cardinals and bishops in the hope of persuading a mere handful of them to offer public resistance to the Vatican II revolution. He used to say that just half a dozen bishops resisting together could have seriously obstructed the Conciliar devastation of the Church. Alas, not even Pius XII’s choice of successor, Cardinal Siri of Genoa, would make a public move against the Church Establishment. Finally Bishop de Castro Mayer stepped forward, but only in the 1980’s, by when the Conciliar Revolution was well ensconced at the top of the Church.

So how could the best of well-trained minds have been so darkened? How could so few of the best churchmen at that time not have seen what the Archbishop was seeing, for instance that the “law” establishing the Novus Ordo Mass was no law at all, because it belongs to the very nature of law to be an ordinance of reason for the common good? How could he have been so relatively alone in not letting such a basic principle of common sense be smothered by respect for authority, when the Church’s very survival was being placed in peril by Vatican II and the New Mass? How can authority have so gained the upper hand on reality and truth?

My own answer is that for seven centuries Christendom has been sliding into apostasy. For 700 years, with noble interruptions like the Counter-Reformation, the reality of Catholicism has been slowly eaten away by the cancerous fantasy of liberalism, which is the freeing of man from God by the freeing of nature from grace, of mind from objective truth and of will from objective right and wrong. For the longest time, 650 years, the Catholic churchmen clung to and defended reality, but finally enough of the engrossing fantasy of glamorous modernity worked its way into their bones for reality to lose its grip on their minds and wills. Lacking grace, as St Thomas More said of the English bishops in his time betraying the Catholic Church, the Conciliar bishops let men’s fantasy take over from God’s reality, and authority take over from truth. There are practical lessons for clergy and laity alike.

Colleagues inside and outside the SSPX, to serve God, let us beware of reacting like Giuseppe Siri when we need to be reacting like Giuseppe Sarto, with his magnificent denunciations of the modern errors in Pascendi, Lamentabiliand the Letter on the Sillon. And to obtain the grace we need in this most tremendous crisis of all Church history, we need tremendously to pray.

Layfolk, if horrors of modern life make you “hunger and thirst after justice,” rejoice if you can that the horrors are keeping you real, and do not doubt that if you persevere in your hunger, you will “have your fill” (Mt.V, 6). Blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, and they that mourn, says Our Lord, in the same place. As for the surest protection against your minds and hearts being taken over by the fantasy, pray five, better fifteen, Mysteries a day of Our Lady’s Holy Rosary.

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.