The fall of the Society of St Pius X from what it was under Archbishop Lefebvre between 1970 and 1991 to what it has become over the last, say, 15 years, is little short of horrible. In a brief series let us see firstly why the horror is normal in the poor world around us, because to understand is to forgive, and we are all in need of forgiveness; secondly let us face the horror, not in order to be discouraged but on the contrary in order to gird our loins for worse almost certainly to come; and thirdly let us see what we can do to gird our loins, because beneath God’s Heaven he cannot have left us with nothing that we can do (but in this connection it is important not to pour into the sand the little water that we have). Let us begin with three fine Catholic minds taking the measure of our age, to see why horror is today the norm.
In his great Encyclical letter of 1884 on Freemasonry, Pope Leo XIII marks how its evil principles advance from (#13) disregarding to (#14) injuring to (#15) destroying the Catholic Church, and then from (#16) the ruin of all positive religions to (#17) the ruin of all natural religion to (#18) the ruin of great natural truths such as God’s Creation and Providence and the immortality of the soul. In the 21st century we have, logically, gone further still, namely to the ruin of the very notion of truth. Minds have been turned into mush, even the minds of Popes, Cardinals and Bishops.
In his great Encyclical letter of 1907 on Modernism, Pope St Pius X saw clearly the same ruin of all truth and thought by the modernists. It is beneath the dignity of Popes to shout, but in Pascendi Pius X uses the strongest expressions available to him to castigate the mind-rot by which the modernists rot out the Catholic Faith. In so many words he says that modernism is the end of the line. His dramatic warning obtained for the Church a reprieve of half a century, but with Vatican II the Faith-rot that he had flung out of the Church was by John XXIII and Paul VI made official doctrine within the Church! If Popes lose their minds, how should mere Superiors not do so?
A third Catholic mind, measuring the havoc wrought upon Catholic doctrine by Vatican II, was that of Romano Amerio, an Italian layman whose analysis of modern errors, Iota Unum, was highly praised by Archbishop Lefebvre. At one point Amerio says (could somebody find me the reference?) that if things continue on the same path as now, eventually it will become impossible to speak or write any more, all that will remain is to keep silent! This may seem unimaginable, but only recently a very good commentator in the USA, Dr Paul Craig Roberts, almost stopped writing, because it had seemed to him that there was no longer any public able or willing to think.
Truly, in this present dress rehearsal for the Antichrist, if these days were not shortened, as Our Lord says (Mt. XXIV, 22), we could all of us lose our minds and our faith. Then who may still feel inclined to throw the first stone at a Pope or Bishop today losing his mind?
However, while Our Lord forbids us to judge-condemn (Mt. VII, 1), because God alone has that perfect knowledge of all the circumstances which is necessary if one is to judge without error, at the same time Our Lord commands us to judge-discern between true shepherds and mercenaries, or between sheep and wolves in sheeps’ clothing (Mt. VII, 15). Such is our responsibility as Catholics, and that is why we will soon take another look at the horror now taking place within the Society of St Pius X.