man

GREC – III

GREC – III posted in Eleison Comments on April 6, 2013

Wishing to put himself in the place of God, modern man seeks to replace God’s order of the world with his own. But God’s order is real, outside of and independent of man’s mind. So modern man unhooks his mind from that reality, and selects from it only such pieces as he wishes to build into his own fantasy. Now the highest order of God’s Creation is best expressed in his Church’s doctrine. Therefore all churchmen or laymen today undergoing the influence of everything “normal” in the world around them suffer from a deep refusal or ignorance of the nature and necessity of doctrine.

Here is the essential problem of GREC, as presented in two previous issues of “Eleison Comments” (294 and 295). The Groupe de Réflexion Entre Catholiques was founded in 1997 in the salons of Paris to promote friendly meetings and exchanges between Catholics of Tradition and Catholics of the mainstream Church, in order to create a climate of mutual trust and respect which would facilitate a reconciliation between them, and an end to their unnecessary estrangement. Such a purpose gravely overlooks the importance of doctrine, not necessarily with malice aforethought, of which God is judge, but whatever foolish men may think, doctrine can no more be left out of account than can reality.

In Fr. Lelong’s book on GREC, For the Necessary Reconciliation, he tells how two Society of St Pius X priests and its Superior General “made a decisive contribution to the launching and continuance of GREC.” Even before it was launched, Fr. Du Chalard gave to Fr Lelong a friendly reception in his SSPX priory, and “in following years never ceased to support GREC in a discrete and attentive way.” At the launching of GREC, Fr. Lorans, then Rector of the SSPX Institute in Paris and exercising from Paris a decisive influence from then until now on SSPX publications, welcomed the idea of “dialogue between Catholics,” and very soon obtained from the SSPX Superior General in Switzerland approval for his participation in GREC. From then on Fr. Lorans played a leading part in all of its activities.

Those activities began on a small scale and in private. In May of 2000 was held GREC’s first public meeting to which Fr. Lorans contributed, with 150 people attending. Meetings became more and more frequent, with SSPX priests participating. Church authorities at the highest level were regularly consulted and kept informed. Fr. Lorans for his part made possible “a contact of deepening trust” and friendly exchanges with the SSPX Superior General. From 2004 GREC meetings were opened wider still to the public, and in September of that year a “theological working group” was set up with Fr. Lorans participating, and another SSPX priest and a theologian from Rome, both of whom would later be taking part in the Doctrinal Discussions between Rome and the SSPX from 2009 to 2011. GREC may well have seen in these Discussions the realization of its fondest hopes – at last the theologians were meeting in a climate which GREC had done so much to create “for the necessary reconciliation.”

Thanks be to God, the Discussions gave back to doctrine its proper primacy. They demonstrated that between Catholic and Conciliar doctrine is an unbridgeable gulf. But was GREC’s way of thinking then blocked within the SSPX? Far from it! SSPX Headquarters switched overnight from “We pursue no practical agreement without a doctrinal agreement” to “There can be no doctrinal agreement, so we pursue a practical agreement”! Alas, the springtime uprising of protest last year from within the SSPX was smothered and confused again at the General Chapter of July, but SSPX HQ’s continued pursuit of a practical agreement has hardly been smothered.

“Our help is in the name of the Lord,” in particular in the Consecration of Russia. Nowhere else.

Kyrie eleison.

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.

State Religion – II

State Religion – II posted in Eleison Comments on December 10, 2011

According to the religion of liberalism – it cannot be said too often that liberalism serves as a substitute religion – it is absolute heresy to declare that every State on earth should support and protect the Catholic religion. Yet if God exists, if Jesus Christ is God, if any natural society of human beings, such as the State, is a creature of God, and if Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church as his one and only instrument for the saving of men from the eternal fires of Hell, then unless a State wants to be an enemy of mankind, it is bound to favour and protect the Catholic Church. But there are objections to this conclusion. Let us look at three of the most common:—

First objection: Our Lord himself said to Pontius Pilate (Jn. XVIII, 36) that his Kingdom was not of this world. But the State is of this world. Therefore the State should have nothing to do with his Kingdom or his Church.

Solution: Our Lord was telling Pilate that his Kingdom and the State are distinct but he was not saying that they should be separate. A man’s soul is distinct from his body, but to separate them is the death of the man. Parents are distinct from their children, but to separate them (as Child Agencies today are liable to do) is the death of the family. Church and State are as distinct from one another as life on earth is distinct from eternal life, but to separate them is to put a gulf between the first and the second, and it is to increase greatly the number of citizens who will fall into Hell.

Second objection: The Catholic religion is true. But Truth can be left to make its own way. Therefore the Catholic religion needs no coercive power of the State to help it, such as the suppression in public of the practice of all other religions. Solution: In itself, indeed “The truth is mighty and will prevail,” as the Latins said, but amongst us men it will not prevail easily, because of original sin. Were all human beings (except Our Lord and Our Lady) not afflicted ever since the Fall with the four wounds of Ignorance, Malice, Weakness and Concupiscence , then much less would get in the way of truth prevailing, and Thomas Jefferson might be right in proclaiming that truth needs only to be exposed in the market-place to prevail. But Catholics know what the Church teaches, namely that man remains even after baptism subject to the downward drag of original sin, so that to find that truth without which he cannot save his soul, he needs all reasonable help from his State. That reasonable help excludes the State’s trying to force anyone to be Catholic, but it includes the State’s keeping dangerous anti-truths out of Jefferson’s market-place.

Third objection: Great power can be greatly misused. Now the union of Church and State is very powerful for them both. Therefore it can do great harm – just see how the Conciliar Church and the secular New World Order are empowering one another! Solution: “Misuse cannot stop use,” said the Latins. Should Our Lord not have given us the Holy Eucharist on the grounds that it can be gravely misused? The Conciliar Church re-uniting with the liberal State is a powerful misuse of the union of Church and State, but it proves the wrongness of liberalism, not the wrongness of the union of Catholic State with Catholic Church.

Kyrie eleison.

State Religion – I

State Religion – I posted in Eleison Comments on November 26, 2011

What part should the State play in protecting or promoting the Catholic religion? Any Catholic who knows that Catholicism is the one true religion of the one true God can only answer that the State, being also a creature of that God, is bound to serve as best it can his one true religion. On the other hand any liberal who believes that the State is incompetent to tell which is the true religion because, for instance, religion is in any case the individual’s business, will answer that the State must protect the right of all its citizens to practise the religion of their choice, or none at all. Let us look at the Catholic arguments.

Man comes from God. His nature comes from God. Man is by nature social, so his socialness comes from God. But the whole man, not just part of him (First Commandment), owes worship to God. So the socialness of man owes worship to God. But the State is nothing other than the society formed by the socialness of all its citizens joining together in their body politic. Therefore the State owes worship to God. But amongst all different worships necessarily contradicting one another (otherwise they would not be different), maybe all are more or less false but certainly one alone can be fully true. So if there is such a worship, fully true and recognizable as such, that is the worship which every State, as State, owes to God. But Catholicism is that worship. Therefore every State, as State, owes Catholic worship to God, including even today’s England or Israel or Saudi Arabia!

But an essential part of worship is to render to God the service of which one is capable. Of what service is the State capable? Of great service! Man being social by nature, his society has a great influence on how he feels, thinks and believes. And a State’s laws have a decisive influence on moulding its citizens’ society. For instance, if abortion or pornography are made legal, many citizens will come to think that there is little or nothing wrong with them. Therefore every State has in principle a duty by its laws to protect and promote Catholic faith and morals.

Such is the clear principle. But does that principle mean that every non-Catholic should be rounded up by the police and burnt at the stake? Obviously not, because the purpose of worshipping and serving God is to give him glory and to save souls. But inconsiderate action on the part of the State will have the opposite effect, namely of discrediting Catholicism and alienating souls. Therefore the Church teaches that even a Catholic State has the right to abstain in practice from taking action against a false religion when taking that action would cause a still greater evil, or hinder a greater good. But every State’s duty in principle to protect Catholic faith and morals remains intact.

Does that mean forcing Catholicism on the citizens? Not at all, because Catholic belief is not something that can be forced – “Nobody believes against his will” (St Augustine). What it does mean is that in a Catholic State where taking such action may or should not be counter-productive, the public practice of all religions other than Catholicism may or should be prohibited. This logical conclusion was denied by Vatican II, because Vatican II was liberal. Yet it was common practice in Catholic States before the Council, and it will have helped many souls to be saved.

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.

Tomato Stakes – I

Tomato Stakes – I posted in Eleison Comments on September 10, 2011

A little while back a family wife and mother told me she was having a hard time communicating with her husband. They could hardly talk to one another about what was going wrong without ending up mad at each other. Rightly or wrongly, I sensed that her problem was this universal, deliberate and diabolical denial of the marvellously complementary role designed by God for man and woman in marriage. Here is what I wrote for her. She said it helped her. May it help others. By the way, ladies, I do NOT think all the problem is on your side!

I am sorry to hear of a rough passage in your marriage. Rule number One: never argue with your husband in front of, or within earshot of, the children. They come first. You cannot help the family by pulling down your husband, or arguing with him in front of them. On the contrary.

Rule number Two: RESPECT your husband, even if he may not always deserve it. Women run on love, men on ego, a huge difference. That is why St Paul – WORD OF GOD – says, “Wives, obey your husbands, husbands, cherish your wives.” Huge difference! In any marriage where the husband shows love for his wife and where the wife respects her husband, normally the essence of a contented marriage is there. And if he does not show love for you, at least make yourself lovable, which you will never do by fighting with him.

Let it cost you what it may, respect your husband. He needs your respect more than he needs your love. You need his love more than you need his respect. Obey him. Never show that you are telling him what to do. Get him to decide to do what you want him to do. And for the wife to work outside the home is not a good thing, especially if she earns more than he does. If you have to earn, and do earn more, NEVER let it show. Disguise the fact. A man needs to see himself as the breadwinner, as the head of the house. You are the heart, just as necessary as the head for the family, maybe more so, but you are not the head. And if you are sometimes forced to act as the head, do not let it show, BUT DISGUISE IT.

I would be surprised if you could not make the marriage work. It usually depends on the woman to adapt herself to the man, and not the other way round. Russian proverb –“As the tomato plant is to the stake (around which it climbs),so the woman is to the man.” If he is not a stake, do all you can to make him into one. And if you cannot, then once more disguise the fact. God makes women more adaptable than men, so that they will adapt to their men.

You once said that the family needed money to educate the children. Has it occurred to you that the best and most important education of your girls is in their mother’s kitchen? Assuming that the mother is at home. You have much more to give your girls by your example than any school outside the home can give them. And give them the precious example of a wife and mother that obeys and respects her husband despite everything. Children are very observant. Your example is of crucial importance for the happiness of their future marriages and homes.

Argue with your husband if you like, but quietly, respectfully, and away from the children. And do not say, “I too have been out working all day long, I too need understanding at home.” For mothers to work outside the home is not normal, and the men sense it, even if it is their own fault. Men are what they are. This is the man that God appointed for you to marry. Give your children the example of respecting him. That is a precious gift, especially to your girls. All families today need a lot of prayer. Mother of God, help!

Kyrie eleison.