Tag: Revolution

How Discern? – I

How Discern? – I posted in Eleison Comments on November 18, 2017

A young man with a good mind is asking a good question about the crisis in the Church, and another good question about the crisis in the Society of St Pius X. Here is how Joseph frames his first question:—

On the one hand the Conciliar crisis was one is a series of crises afflicting the Church, such as Protestantism, Liberalism, and Revolutions, with two World Wars, and therefore errors made their way at the Council which were clearly condemned by the Church before Vatican II. And after the Council its novelties were applauded by classical enemies of the Church, such as Freemasons and Socialists, while the Church’s missionary spirit has clearly been extinguished. On the other hand the ideas of the Council are the work of highly intelligent and supposedly Catholic churchmen, and one cannot all the time say that the Pope is not Pope, or that the majority of modernist Bishops are invalidly consecrated. Therefore can one say that the Conciliar crisis involves shadowed areas which still make it difficult to see clear? And if we cannot arrive at definite conclusions, can we be sure we are holding onto the true Faith?

The best reply comes from Our Lord Himself, speaking in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. VII, 15–20) – “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Obviously Our Lord knew that there would be constant attacks on His Church with repeated attempts of the Devil to sow confusion in His followers’ minds. The confusion that has followed on Vatican II is not different in kind from previous crises in Church history, even if by the defection of the churchmen at Vatican II the confusion today is unprecedented in degree – never before have the mass of Catholic shepherds been so lost, nor therefore the Catholic sheep.

Nevertheless, to find one’s way out of the confusion, the same infallible principle still applies: actions speak louder than words, and the fruits of a man’s actions are the surest guide to who he is and what he really intends. Especially in the case of modernism a man can be deceiving himself as to what he wants or intends, because nobody is so deeply detached from reality as a modernist. “The end of the world will be characterised by men doing evil while thinking they are doing good,” said Fr Faber in mid-19th century. In the 21st century we are at the wrong end of this centuries-long process of mankind deceiving itself as it has turned away from God. Then would God be leaving His sheep defenceless against such unprecedented wolves in sheep’s clothing as modernists are? No, because to judge by the fruits is something that anybody can do, with a minimum of common sense and upright will.

Therefore, Joseph, you observe that today’s Church authorities are highly intelligent men and supposedly Catholic, and you quite reasonably assume that they are the valid authorities of the Church, because even if you know that their fruits are so little Catholic as to make many a Catholic dispute that validity, notwithstanding who else is there who is authorised to speak and act for the Universal Church? But at the same time you observe that their ideas are in line with grave anti-Catholic errors from the past, and that they are now applauded by classic enemies of the Church, such as Freemasons. Arguments on one side and on the other. Doubts and shadows. How do you resolve the confusion?

Answer, by your own further observation that the missionary spirit has disappeared from the Church since Vatican II. Here are the fruits. The Council preached ecumenism ( Unitatis Redintegratio ), religious liberty ( Dignitatis Humanae ) and the relative acceptability of false religions such as Hinduism, Islam and Judaism ( Nostra Aetate ) – how could the Catholic missionary spirit not collapse after the Council? And have not countless monasteries, seminaries, convents, dioceses and parishes also emptied out and closed down since Vatican II? Did new ones open anywhere? Yes, under the leadership of the one Catholic bishop worldwide who from the beginning repudiated openly the Council and all its works, Archbishop Lefebvre. Here were the selfsame fruits of the selfsame Catholic principles, faithfully applied in defiance of Vatican II. Joseph, you need look no further.

Kyrie eleison.

Blessed Cave

Blessed Cave posted in Eleison Comments on October 16, 2010

How absurd it is to separate grace from nature! The two are made for one another! How much more absurd to conceive of grace as though it makes war on nature! It makes war on the fallen-ness of our fallen nature, but not on the nature, coming from God, which underlies that fallen-ness. On the contrary, grace exists to heal that underlying nature from its fallen-ness and falls, and to elevate it to divine heights, to a partaking in the very nature of God (II Pet. I, 4).

Now nature without grace may lead to Revolution, but grace scorning nature leads to a false “spirituality,” for instance Jansenism, which also leads to Revolution. Of the gravity of this Protestantising error, which sets grace against nature instead of against sin, I was reminded on a seven-day visit to Italy which took in a visit to four mountainous sites, to which four great medieval Saints, all in the Breviary and the Missal, fled, to get close to God – in Nature. They were, in chronological order, St. Benedict (March 22, Subiaco), St. Romuald, (Feb.7, Camaldoli), St. John Gualbert (July 12, Vallombrosa), and St. Francis of Assisi (Oct.4, la Verna).

From Camaldoli and Vallumbrosa, high in the hills around Florence, two monastic Orders took their name and origin in the 11th century. In la Verna, high in the Tuscan Apennines, St Francis received the stigmata in 1224. All three locations are now reached with relative ease in bus or car, but they are still surrounded by forestland, and they are high enough above sea-level that they must be bitterly cold in winter. That is where these Saints went to commune with God, far from the comfort of cities with their “madding crowd,” still madding enough even in the rather smaller cities of those days.

Perhaps the site which struck me most was Subiaco, an hour’s car journey east of Rome, where St Benedict as a young man spent three years in a cave perched on a mountainside. Born in 580 A.D., as a young student he fled from the corruption in Rome, and took to the hills at the age of 20 or, some say, 14! – if so, what a teenager! From about 1200 A.D. a full-scale monastery began to be nested in the mountainside around the spot made sacred by this young man, but one can still guess what he found there in his search for God: clouds and sky above, the torrent rustling in the valley far below, nothing but wild woodland on the mountain-face opposite, and for company nothing but the birds wheeling to and fro off the steep cliff-face . . . alone with Nature . . . God’s Nature . . . alone with God!

Three years, alone with God . . . those three years so enabled one young Catholic to possess his soul, with Christ, in Nature, that his famous Benedictine Rule enabled the collapsed Roman empire to mutate into soaring Christendom, now in turn collapsing as “Western civilization.” Where are the young Catholics today, who will save Christendom by re-possessing their own souls by re-possessing, with Christ, their nature?

Mother of God, inspire our young men!

Kyrie eleison.