The malice of modernism is a huge subject, no less than that of a whole world turning against its Creator at the end of a process lasting several centuries, when at the height of the Middle Ages Christendom tipped over from rising to falling instead. The rise had begun in 33AD of course, when Our Incarnate Lord founded God’s one true Church by His sacrifice on the Cross. The Middle Ages might be dated from the Pontificate of Gregory the Great (590–604), lasting nearly a millennium until the outbreak of Protestantism and the onset of the modern age in 1517.
But there was a huge difference, naturally, between mankind’s attitude towards Christ and His Church before and after the Middle Ages: before the Middle Ages Christianity was proving itself steadily more and more to be the best foundation for civilisation, whereas after the Middle Ages it had amply proved itself, so that after the Middle Ages its superiority to all other religions had to be recognised even while it was being in practice refused. This means that all substitutes for Catholicism that have followed the Middle Ages are characterised by a hypocrisy that needed to be steadily more subtle in order to pass itself off as the true replacement for Catholicism.
Thus Luther brutally rejected Catholicism but still pretended that his revolution was a “Reformation,” and after the Catholic Church threw off Luther, the revolutionary Jansenists created in the 16th century a Protestant form of Catholicism. The Jansenists in turn morphed into liberals in the 18th century, pretending to have in their Freemasonry a superiorly enlightened cult to that of Protestants or Catholics, and when the true Church resolutely threw off Freemasonry from the 18th century onwards, then the liberals disguised themselves as liberal Catholics in the 19th century and as “up-dated” or superiorly Catholic liberals in the 20th century. St Pius X rapidly diagnosed and dismissed this Modernism in Pascendi, but by passing itself off still more subtly as an up-dated Catholicism, it swept almost the whole Church with it at Vatican II (1962–1965), and in the 21st century the disguise was so good that even the official Society of St Pius X, founded to resist that Neo-modernism, was essentially swept away also.
Humanly speaking, it is daunting to realise in 2020 how little Catholic resistance is left to this rise of the Devil and of his attacks against the Church, but this is what the all-wise God has chosen to allow, and without question He is still looking after His “little flock,” as Our Lord calls it: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Lk. XII, 32–34). In other words, renounce money and materialism, because Our Lord warns us that we cannot serve two gods at the same time, and if we serve Mammon, we cannot serve God (Mt. VI, 24).
And if we recognise how vulnerable we are to the subtle errors and lies and blasphemies of the Devil which have overwhelmed the world all around us, then by way of antidote let us pray the Rosary of Our Lady, preferably all 15 Mysteries a day, because She and She alone has him under her feet, as any good image of Her, picture or statue, reminds us, and so overwhelming is the evil today that 15 Mysteries are not too many, if they are at all reasonable and possible.
How it is that a humble Jewish maiden is more than a match for Satan with all his “pomps and works” is God’s secret, revealed both by Our Lord – “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to infants” (MT. XI, 25) – and by St Paul – “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (I Cor. 18–30). Next week, a closer look into the hypocrisy of modernism.