The greater God’s glory – for eyes that see!
No reader of these “Comments” has sent in theoretical questions comparable to the series of practical questions on today’s unprecedented Church crisis sent in last week (see EC 866 of February 17), but it is worth inventing such a series, and offering answers to the theoretical questions, in case just a handful of readers can get a better handle on the confusion let loose by Vatican II, as slippery as it is dangerous.
1 Then what is at the heart of that confusion? Is it what they call “modernism”? What is modernism?
Answer: modernism is the great error of modern times, by which even educated churchmen can come to believe that the Church of the past need no longer lift mankind to spiritual heights which mankind is no longer capable of reaching. Rather, mankind is so different in modern times that in order to reach it in its materialism, the Church must up-date its doctrine, morals, liturgy, everything. If men can no longer rise to the spiritual level of the Church, the Church must come down to the material level of men. Or so they say.
2 But is it not the function of the Church to reach out to men, wherever they are to be found?
Yes, but not on whatever conditions! All firemen want to put out fires, but not any liquid will do. What fireman ever used gasoline instead of water? Water and gasoline each have their unchanging nature, which is independent of the will of men. Water puts out fire (surprise, surprise!), while gasoline makes it blaze (well, whaddaya know?). In a similar way, Gregorian chant and Rock music each have their unchanging and opposed natures, with opposed and unchanging effects. Chant will draw souls to Church, Rock to the dance-hall, but Rock will not draw to Church. Some modernists mean well, but they are foolish if they think music functions differently today from how it functioned yesterday. To be drawn at any rate to God, souls need a music which is calm, not agitating.
3 But all modern life is agitating, compared with life yesterday. So how will any soul today reach God?
You said it! After 6000 years of world history one would think that men had learned by now what things have what natures, effects and consequences, but no. Our own times are, as it were, based on the principle that man can will for natures to have what effects he likes. Everything has become so denatured and so destabilised that life turns into one continual agitation, and the youngsters cannot stand any music that is too calm. But that does not mean that natures have so changed that Rock will bring them back to Church. It will not. It is not in its nature to do so. It was designed by the Devil to create ever more agitation.
4 But if that is true, how will any modern youngster – or modern soul – ever get to Heaven?
Good question! In modern times many a Saint has asked himself that question, but he has never despaired of the answer because he has known that the grace of God is always there for the asking. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” is a human way of saying it. “To whoever does what lies in him, God does not refuse His grace” is a more divine way that the Church has of saying it. In any case, when a soul, through no major fault of its own, finds itself in a situation where the odds against its salvation are to all appearances overwhelming, God can always intervene – for example in Genesis 19, the case of Lot.
5 But if God is all-powerful, why does he not eliminate all evil from the Creation which He controls?
Because His purpose in creating was to give the greatest bliss possible to souls freely accepting. Now a bliss in no way deserved by the recipient cannot possibly be as blissful as a bliss at least partly deserved by the soul itself despite all the evil by which it was surrounded in its brief life in this “valley of tears.” It would follow that the more generous God wishes to be with His gift of bliss, the more evil He will allow, but only up to the point where the evil risks swamping the good being freely chosen. That point once came to the whole world in the time of Noah. It is coming again today. God will intervene again soon. If we have the Catholic faith, let us do our part by praying His Mother’s Rosary for the salvation of souls.