The Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) was a huge event in Church history, designed by its movers and shakers to deceive a mass of Catholics, clergy and laity, into replacing the true Catholic Church with their own Newchurch, adapted to modern times. But the agony for believing Catholics from then on was that the betrayal of Catholic Truth had come from the true Church authorities, whom they had learned from their Catholic cradles always to obey and never to criticise. Even Our Lord and Our Lady when they spoke to human beings would, to avoid scandalising Catholic souls, rarely criticise their own priests.
But here was the particular interest of Faith is greater than Obedience. For if these Messages which came through Fr Drexel truly came from Our Lord Himself, as they purported to do, then here was God Himself scathing in His criticism of the bishops, theologians and priests responsible for the Newchurch emerging from the Council, and obviously dispensing Catholics from their normal duty never to criticise priests. Here was God telling Catholics that a mass of their shepherds – not all – had turned into wolves. “I know what agony you faithful souls are suffering,” say the Messages, “but hold on to your faith and do not let these traitors change it. They are wrong, you are right, as time will tell, and great will be your reward if you persevere.”
Such a message was apt to solve one agony of true believers after the Council, but it was apt also to create another agony: what then of the unfaithful Church authorities? In particular, what of the Pope? The popular perception of papal infallibility goes way beyond the reach of its strict definition in 1870 with the four conditions. Then how could John XXIII have convened the Council of wolves, and how could Paul VI have guided it to its conclusion and presided over its being put into practice afterwards? This agony is such that many serious and believing Catholics from the end of the 1970’s, soon after Fr Drexel died, began resorting to sedevacantism for instance, whereby the Conciliar Popes have not been true Popes at all. The solution of Fr Drexel’s Messages is rather that Paul VI was not himself one of the wolves. He is clearly criticised (in at least two of the Messages), but he also had good intentions, he was not aware of all that his subordinates were doing, he agonised over what was happening to the Church.
Yet one must say that Paul VI’s personal responsibility for the Conciliar disaster was huge. Then some followers of Catholic Tradition will draw the conclusion that Fr Drexel’s “Our Lord” was certainly not truly Our Lord, but emerged somehow from Fr Drexel’s own “pious” reflections. In that case we would explain the leniency of the Messages towards Paul VI as being the solution of many “good” bishops and priests at the time to their agony, namely, the Conciliar bishops were terrible but not the Pope himself. On the other hand if the Messages did come from Our Lord Himself, then one might guess that Our Lord was being lenient in them towards Paul VI maybe in order to head off the reaction of Catholics being tempted more or less to despair of Our Lord’s own structural Church – He Himself was saying that he was still behind it, and He needed to say nothing untrue in order to say that.
Deo volente, this issue of these “Comments” is prelude to a second little series drawn from Faith is Greater than Obedience because of the value found by these “Comments” in the Messages given to Fr Drexel in the 1970’s. There should be three issues, on the Church Crisis, the Bishops and Paul VI, all as presented in Faith is greater than Obedience. Whether the Messages did then come from Our Lord Himself or not, readers of these “Comments” should be better able to judge. In any case it is clear that in this Church crisis they must make up their own minds.