Pope St. Pius X

Cardinal Pie – I

Cardinal Pie – I posted in Eleison Comments on June 28, 2014

Cardinal Pie (1815–1880) was a great churchman of 19th century France, one of the great defenders of the Faith against that liberalism which was eating up the world from the French Revolution (1789) onwards. Pope Pius X kept his works by his bedside and read them constantly. No doubt the Cardinal’s profound grasp of the key ideas driving the modern world played a major part in enabling Pius X to obtain a 50-year reprieve, say from 1907 to 1958, for the doomed Catholic Church.

Doomed? But the Catholic Church cannot be doomed! True, by God’s protection it will last to the end of the world (Mt. XXVIII, 20), but at the same time by God’s Word we know that by then the Faith will scarcely be found on earth (Lk. XVIII, 8), and that it will have been given to the forces of evil to defeat the Saints (Apoc. XIII, 7). These are two important quotes to bear in mind in 2014, because everything around us today tells us that the followers of Christ must be prepared for one seeming defeat after another, e.g. the fall of the Society of St Pius X. Here is what Cardinal Pie had to say on the matter, some 150 years ago:—

“Let us fight, hoping against hope itself, which is what I wish to tell faint-hearted Christians, slaves to popularity, worshippers of success and shaken by the least advance of evil. Given how they feel, please God they will be spared the agonies of the world’s final trial. Is that trial close or is it still far off? Nobody knows, and I will not dare to make a guess. But one thing is certain, namely that the closer we come to the end of the world, the more and more it is wicked and deceitful men who will gain the upper hand. The Faith will hardly be found on earth, meaning that it will almost have disappeared from earthly institutions. Believers themselves will hardly dare to profess their belief in public, or in society.

“The splitting, separating and divorcing of States from God which was for St Paul a sign foretelling the end, will advance day by day. The Church, while remaining always a visible society, will be reduced more and more to dimensions of the individual and the home. When she started out she said she was being shut in, and she called for more room to breathe, but as she approaches her end on earth, so she will have to fight a rearguard action every inch of the way, being surrounded and hemmed in on all sides. The more widely she spread out in previous ages, the greater the effort will now be made to cut her down to size. Finally the Church will undergo what looks like a veritable defeat, and the Beast will be given to make war on the Saints and to overwhelm them. The insolence of evil will be at its peak.”

These are prophetic words, coming truer by the day, not at all pleasant to admit, but anchored in Scripture. A wise Anglican Bishop (Butler) said in the 18th century, “Things are what they are. Their consequences will be what they will be. Why then should we seek to deceive ourselves?” Notice especially how the Cardinal foresees the impossibility of defending the Faith on any larger scale than just the home. Not everybody agrees that we have already reached that point in 2014. I might wish they were right, but I have yet to be persuaded that with disintegrated people one can make an integrated society. Contrast with us democratic citizens of today the Roman centurion in the Gospel who understood a chain of command and recognized naturally the authority of Our Lord (Mt. VIII, 5–18) – how Our Lord praised him!

Patience. See next week how the Cardinal himself reacted to what he foresaw. He was no defeatist!

Kyrie eleison.

Fatima Contested

Fatima Contested posted in Eleison Comments on November 9, 2013

At the outset of the 20 th century surely God gave to the modern world two great lights: for theory, through Pius X, the Encyclical Pascendi in 1907, to denounce the key error of subjectivism; for practice, through his Mother, the apparitions of Fatima in 1917, to provide a remedy for the monstrous plague of Communism. But the Devil deflects attention from Pascendi, and raises a series of objections to discredit Fatima. Here are a few of the main objections:—

* How can we take seriously Cardinal Ottaviani’s version of the third part of the Fatima Secret when supposedly Our Lady says there that a third World war will start in the latter part of the 20 th century? The year 2000 has come and gone, and there has been no third World War. There is an interesting parallel here between the second and third parts of the Secret of Fatima. In the second part Our Lady said that a worse war than WW I would start under the reign of the next Pope, which was Pius XI. Yet Pius XI died in the spring of 1939 and WW II was only declared in the autumn when Pius XII was Pope. Did Our Lady get her calendar wrong? No, she was simply going by the reality instead of by the appearances. In reality WW II started in 1938 when Stalin was deciding to make a pact with Hitler so as to liberate Hitler to make war on his western front. See in the May, 2000, Rector’s Letter (on eleisonkommentar.blogspot,com) the whole fascinating story of this real start to WW II. Now whether or not the Ottaviani version is or is not the true “Third Secret,” may the reality not be that WW III began in the Middle East before the year 2000, for instance with the first invasion of Iraq in 1991? Things are not always how they appear.

* In WW II we saw horrific bombings of Dresden, Tokyo, Nagasaki. What will be new here? Total WW II deaths are reckoned usually at some 66 million, in the tens of millions. If one reads rightly several warnings of Our Lady, and not only in Fatima, casualties from WW III and the Chastisement will be reckoned in the thousands of millions. Of the order of 100 times worse.

* But what material Chastisement could be worse than the spiritual chastisement of our own days? True, next after the Fall of Adam and Eve, Vatican II was the worst disaster in all the history of mankind. Yet the mass of men see it as a great liberation. “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is the old saying. Spiritual punishments are in themselves much greater, but it takes material things for us men to understand (cf. Mt. IX, 6, and Jn. XX, 27).

* Our Lady of Fatima promised a period of peace if the Pope performed a certain consecration. Popes since then have performed several such consecrations, but we have had no peace. True, there have been several consecrations inspired no doubt by Our Lady of Fatima, but never yet exactly as she required: by the Pope, of Russia, to her Immaculate Heart, in union with all the bishops of the world. One or other of these four conditions has always been lacking.

* Our Lady of Fatima told us of “nations being annihilated” and of “a period of peace.” We saw nations annihilated in WW II, and a period of peace in the 1950’s. Her prophecies have happened. What nations have remained annihilated since WW II, and just how much peace was there in the Cold War of the 1950’s? Our Lady of Fatima spoke of far greater events than have yet happened.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy upon us. Immaculate Heart of Mary, intercede for us.

Kyrie eleison.

Horrible Fall – I

Horrible Fall – I posted in Eleison Comments on June 8, 2013

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.

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.

Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy Theories posted in Eleison Comments on November 5, 2011

Following on the recent “Eleison Comments” on deicide (EC 222), some readers may hope that “Eleison Comments” will often mention the part played by Jews in world affairs, but they risk being disappointed. In 225 issues that have appeared so far, I doubt whether the Jews have been mentioned by name in much more than half a dozen. For, whatever problem they may or may not represent, they are certainly not the primary problem. The primary problem is the godlessness of modern man, which I hope most readers find is the central concern of “Eleison Comments.”

Conspiracy theories, like that of the Jews conspiring to dominate the world, are plentiful, but there are two exaggerations between which it is wise but not easy to hold the right balance. Most people follow the media in holding that all conspiracy theories are nonsense and the only people who believe in them are “conspiracy nuts.” On the other hand a small minority of people, but with strong convictions, hold that all world events are to be explained by some conspiracy or other, especially a Jewish conspiracy. The essential truth was best told by a famous Church writer 1800 years ago.

Tertullian (160–220) said that the Catholic Faith and Jewish power are like the two pans of a pair of scales: as Catholic Faith goes up, so Jewish power goes down, and as Catholic Faith goes down, so Jewish power goes up. But the Faith overtops the power. That is why the primary problem is not the Jews, but the increase or decrease of the Faith amongst men. That is why conspiracies do exist, they have an important part to play and they are not to be merely scorned, but the central problem is men turning away from the true God in his one true Church. In brief – and here is the crucial point – the Gentiles have only themselves to blame if Jewish power is today so great.

Therefore whoever begins to see what notably Disraeli and Woodrow Wilson hinted at but could hardly say openly, namely that there is a dark power behind the scenes directing world events, let them not lose their balance in cursing the Illuminati or the Jews or the Freemasons or whoever, but let them realize the wisdom of the words of Pius X: “Let every man do his duty, and all will be well.” That is because our first duty is towards God, as the First Commandment indicates, so that if we all did our duty and made our way back to God, it would be mere child’s play for him to undo that present power of his various enemies which he alone let them have in the first place by not intervening to prevent it.

Thus before Our Lady appeared at Fatima in 1917, the anti-Catholics had brought the government of Portugal completely under their control, but when virtually the entire Portuguese people prayed and did penance as Our Lady had asked, then she simply dissolved the anti-Catholics’ power in a bloodless revolution. Portugal became, in the godless 20th century with Communism triumphing everywhere, the showcase of a Catholic State.

The most intelligent of God’s enemies are well aware that they are serving him as a scourge to be laid across the backs of his unfaithful people. If only God’s friends would understand how they are being scourged by his enemies to help all souls to turn to him and so get to Heaven, then conspiracy theories would all drop into place: neither more, nor less, important than they really are.

Kyrie eleison.

Benedict’s Thinking – II

Benedict’s Thinking – II posted in Eleison Comments on July 16, 2011

If one divides into four parts Bishop Tissier’s study of the thinking of Benedict XVI, then the second part presents its philosophical and theological roots. By analyzing the philosophy first, the Bishop is following Pius X’s great Encyclical “Pascendi.” If a wine bottle is dirty inside, the very best of wine poured into it will be spoiled. If a man’s mind is disconnected from reality, as it is by modern philosophy, then even the Catholic Faith filtered through it will be disoriented, because it will no longer be oriented by reality. Here is Benedict’s problem.

Like Pius X before him, the Bishop attributes the prime responsibility for this disaster of modern minds to the German Enlightenment philosopher, Immanuel KANT (1724–1804), who finalized the system of anti-thought, prevailing now everywhere, which excludes God from rational discourse. For if, as Kant claimed, the mind can know nothing of the object except what appears to the senses, then the mind is free to reconstruct the reality behind the sense appearances however it may like, objective reality is dismissed as unknowable, and the subject reigns supreme. If the subject needs God and postulates his existence, well and good. Otherwise, so to speak, God is out of luck!

Bishop Tissier then presents five modern philosophers, all grappling with the consequences of Kant’s subjective folly of putting idea over reality and subject over object. The two most important of them for this Pope’s thinking might be Heidegger (1889–1976), a father of existentialism, and Buber (1878–1965), a leading exponent of personalism. If essences are unknowable (Kant), then there remains only existence. Now the most important existent is the person, constituted for Buber by intersubjectivity, or the “I-You” relationship between subjective persons, which for Buber opens the way to God. Therefore knowledge of the objective God is going to depend on the subjective involvement of the human person. What an insecure foundation for that knowledge!

Yet involvement of the human subject will be the key to Benedict’s theological thinking, influenced firstly, writes the Bishop, by the renowned School of Tuebingen. Founded by J.S. von Drey (1777–1853), this School held that history is moved by the spirit of the age in constant movement, and this spirit is the Spirit of Christ. Therefore God’s Revelation is no longer the Deposit of Faith closed at the death of the last Apostle, and merely made more explicit as time goes on. Instead, it has a constantly evolving content to which the receiving subject contributes. So the Church of each age plays an active and not just passive part in Revelation, and it gives to past Tradition its present meaning. Is this beginning to sound familiar? Like the hermeneutic of Dilthey? See EC 208.

Thus for Benedict XVI God is not an object apart nor merely objective, he is personal, an “I” exchanging with each human “You.” Scripture or Tradition do come objectively from the divine “I,” but on the other hand the living and moving “You” must constantly re-read that Scripture, and since Scripture is the basis of Tradition, then Tradition too must become dynamic by the subject’s involvement, and not just static, like Archbishop Lefebvre’s “fixated” Tradition. Similarly theology must be subjectivized, Faith must be a personal “experiencing” of God, and even the Magisterium must stop being merely static.

“Accursed is the man that puts his trust in man” says Jeremiah (XVII, 5).

Kyrie eleison.