Tag: schism

Benedict’s Ecumenism – II

Benedict’s Ecumenism – II posted in Eleison Comments on April 7, 2012

As in any dispute involving the dreadful ambiguities of Vatican II, it might take long and scholarly articles to prove, or attempt to disprove, what Dr Wolfgang Schüler puts forward in his book of 2008 on “Benedict XVI and How the Church views Itself.” However, his main line of argument is clear enough, and it is well worth presenting to readers of “Eleison Comments,” to help them to see clear amidst much confusion. In this respect, comparisons have their limits, but they do help.

A whole can be composed of parts in two different ways, like a living tree, or like a pile of coins. Either the whole is primary and the parts are secondary, as with a tree, or the parts are primary and the whole is secondary, as with a pile of coins. The tree as a whole is primary because parts like branches may be cut off, but the tree continues to live its life as a tree and grows new branches, while the branches cut off lose their life and become something quite different, like a log or a chair. On the contrary each coin separated from its pile of coins remains exactly what it was in the pile, and if only enough coins are taken from the pile, it is the pile that perishes.

Now, is the Catholic Church, taken as a whole, more like the tree or the pile of coins? The Catholic Church is that special society of human beings who are united in that society by three things: the Faith, the sacraments and the hierarchy. To all three life is given by God himself. Faith is a supernatural virtue of the mind which God alone can give. The sacraments use material elements like water and oil, but what makes them sacraments is the supernatural grace they carry, that can only come from God. Likewise the hierarchy consists of natural human beings, but if these had no guidance from God, they could never succeed by themselves in leading souls towards Heaven.

Therefore the Catholic Church is much more like a living tree than like a pile of coins, even golden coins. For just as every living organism has within it a principle of life that gives it its existence and unity, so the Catholic Church has within it primarily God himself, secondarily his hierarchy, giving to it existence and unity. When what was a part of the Church cuts itself off from the hierarchy by schism, or from the Faith by heresy, it ceases to be Catholic and becomes something else, like the schismatic Orthodox or heretical Protestants. True, Orthodox believers may have kept valid sacraments, but since they are no longer united with Christ’s Vicar in Rome, nobody in his right mind calls them Catholic.

But now comes Vatican II. It changed the view of the Church, as it were, from that of a living tree or vine-plant (Our Lord’s own comparison: Jn. XV, 1–6), to that of a pile of golden coins. From the desire to open the Church to the modern world, the Conciliar churchmen began by blurring the frontiers of the Church (L.G.8). That enabled them to pretend that there are elements of the Church outside the visible bounds of the Catholic Church (U.R.3), like gold coins separated from the heap. And since a gold coin remains a gold coin, then they could further pretend (U.R.3) that what were elements of salvation inside the Catholic Church remain such outside also. From which the natural conclusion drawn by countless souls is that I no longer need to be a Catholic in order to get to Heaven. This is the disaster of Conciliar ecumenism.

We must present these texts of Vatican II in a little more detail before we pass on to Pope Benedict’s efforts to combine the ecumenism which divides the Church with the Catholic doctrine that unifies it.

Kyrie eleison.

“Mental Sickness”

“Mental Sickness” posted in Eleison Comments on January 21, 2012

A long-standing correspondent wrote to me recently with a dozen arguments to show why the SSPX should come to some agreement with Rome, even if the doctrinal Discussions of 2009–2011 showed that the Rome-SSPX doctrinal disagreement is radical. Let me dwell here on one of his arguments, because I think it opens up the full dimensions of what the SSPX is up against.

He wrote that if the SSPX does not soon “normalize” its standing with Rome, then it runs the risk of losing the sense of what it means to belong to the Church. For there are layfolk and even SSPX priests who are comfortable with their present abnormal situation and have adapted to it, because the SSPX “has all that it needs, notably bishops.” Such adaptation, wrote my colleague, tends towards a schismatic mentality and a practical, if not theoretical, sedevacantism. I replied that in my opinion a much greater risk than that of acquiring a schismatic mentality is that of contracting “the spiritual and mental sickness of today’s Romans by getting too close to them.” A scandalous reply? Let me explain.

“Mental sickness” is the phrase applied to Roman churchmen with whom a second friend recently held long conversations. He said that they are intelligent and sincere men, fully capable of grasping the arguments of Tradition put before them, but he concluded, “They are mentally sick. Only, they have the authority.” Certainly he meant no personal insult to these Romans when he called them “mentally sick.” What he was uttering was something far more serious than a mere personal insult. He was commenting on the objective state of the Romans’ minds, as confirmed by his long conversations with them. Their minds are no longer running on truth.

A third friend also in contact with Romans said the same thing in different words. I asked him, “Could you not have gone to the root of the matter and opened up with them the basic question of the mind and truth?” He replied, “No. All they would have said was that they were the authority, that they were the Catholic Church, and if we wanted to be Catholics, it was for them to tell us how.” Such minds are running not on truth but on authority. Now milk is a beautiful thing, but imagine a car-owner quite calmly insisting on filling his car’s gas-tank with milk! The gigantic problem is that almost the entire modern world has lost all sense and love of truth. For the longest time the Church resisted this loss of truth, but with Vatican II that last resistance also collapsed.

For indeed the modern world is glamorous and weighty, and so is Rome! Here is how an Italian friend senses the glamour of the Vatican offices: “To step into the Roman palaces is a daring enterprise because the very air you breathe within is irresistible. The fascination of these hallowed halls comes not so much from the charming officials (by no means all of them are charming) as from the sense the halls exude of the 2000-year duration of Church history. Is the fascination from Heaven? Is it from Hell? In any case the mere atmosphere of the Vatican seduces visitors and tames their wills.”

And the fascination of the Vatican is only a small part of the total pressure of the modern world seeping into minds to disable them, and to make us follow its current. Dear friend of mine, I would rather be a schismatic sedevacantist than a Roman apostate. With the grace of God, neither!

Kyrie eleison.

Doctrine Underestimated

Doctrine Underestimated posted in Eleison Comments on September 25, 2010

In a generally thoughtful magazine from the USA, “Culture Wars,” the Editor recently took me personally to task, together with the Society of St Pius X as a whole, for wilfully cutting ourselves off from the mainstream Catholic Church. Let me present as briefly and as fairly as possible E. Michael Jones’ argument, with its main steps lettered to facilitate the answer:—

His main point is that the problem of Vatican II is not doctrinal: “(A) The Council documents are not themselves responsible for any of the craziness following the Council in the name of its “spirit.” As for the documents themselves, they are sometimes ambiguous, but (B) God is always with His Church, which is why (C) only something Catholic can gain the assent of the world’s assembled bishops, as happened at Vatican II. (D) Therefore it can and must suffice to interpret the ambiguities in the light of Tradition, as Archbishop Lefebvre himself once proposed to do.

“Therefore (E) Vatican II is Traditional, and any problem between Rome and the SSPX cannot be doctrinal. (F) Therefore the SSPX’s real problem is that it refuses communion out of a fear of contamination, (G) proceeding from its schismatic lack of charity. (H) The ensuing guilt they cover up by pretending that the Church is in an unprecedented emergency, brought on by the anti-doctrine of Vatican II. (I) Therefore the SSPX is saying that the Church has failed in its mission, and that the SSPX is the Church. Nonsense! SSPX bishops, sign over to Rome!”

REPLY: the problem of Vatican II is ESSENTIALLY doctrinal. (A) Alas, the Vatican II documents are indeed responsible for the “spirit” of Vatican II and its crazy aftermath. Their very ambiguity, recognized by E.M.J., let the craziness loose. (B) God is indeed with His Church, but He leaves His churchmen free to choose to do it great, but never fatal, damage (cf.Lk. XVIII, 8). (C) Thus the mass of Catholic bishops He let fall in the appalling Arian crisis of the fourth century. What happened once is happening again, only worse. (D) At an early stage in the post-Conciliar fight for Tradition, it may have been reasonable to appeal for Vatican II to be interpreted in the light of Tradition, but that stage is long past. The ambiguity’s bitter fruits have long since proved that the subtly poisoned Conciliar documents cannot be salvaged.

Thus (E) the Council is not Traditional, and the Rome-SSPX clash is ESSENTIALLY doctrinal, so (F) there is good reason to fear contamination, because of Vatican II’s false doctrine – it is leading souls to Hell. (G) Nor is there a schismatic mentality amongst (non-sedevacantist) Traditionalists, even though (H) the Church is in the thick of the worst emergency of her entire history. (I) But just as in the Arian crisis the few bishops who kept the Faith proved that the Church had not absolutely failed, so today the SSPX belongs to the Church and is keeping the Faith, without remotely pretending to replace, or to be on its own, the Church.

Michael, when, in all Church history, were her assembled bishops deliberately ambiguous? You admit the ambiguity of Vatican II. When did churchmen ever resort to ambiguity unless it was to pave the way for heresy? In Our Lord’s Church, yes is to be yes, and no is to be no (Mt.V, 37).

Kyrie eleison.

Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives posted in Eleison Comments on August 29, 2009

A remarkable yet possible plan of Heaven for today’s world can be guessed at, if Orthodox Christianity is reviving within Russia in the manner described to me a few days ago in London by a Russian. His description corresponds to the impression brought away from Russia by an American friend visiting St Petersburg a few years ago – the average Russian has distinctly more spiritual substance in him then has the average spiritually wasted Westerner. Does this connect with Our Lady of Fatima . . .?

The Russian in London told me that the Orthodox Church in Russia is following rather than leading a revival of Orthodoxy amongst the people. Attendance at the Orthodox liturgy has increased by half over the last two years, and now 80% of Russians are at least calling themselves “Orthodox,” i.e. believers. New parishes are springing up everywhere. Bibles are snatched up as soon as they come on sale. Religious literature is flourishing, whilst atheistic propaganda is dying. “Holy Russia” is rising from the grave in which Communism from 1917 to 1989 strove to bury it.

For when the Communist structures of the Soviet “empire of evil” (Pres. Reagan) collapsed in 1989, the Russians turned for an ideology to replace Communism not to Western Liberalism but to their national and religious roots in Russian Orthodoxy. What indeed had the decadent West had to offer to Russia’s new needs in the 1990’s? In economics, the plundering of their wealth by capitalist vultures; in politics, the still on-going encirclement of their frontiers to ensure the United States’ permanent global hegemony by the construction of a ring of military bases which are one, if not the real, reason for the disastrous occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan never to come to an end; in religion, the attempted push eastwards into their land of Conciliar ecumenism, with which apparently the Russian churchmen want nothing to do – on the contrary, they are aware of the Traditional Catholic movement, and support it.

However, let us be under no illusion: Russian Orthodoxy welds together religion and patriotism in a not wholly godly mixture, and Orthodoxy is still schismatic by refusing the Papal Supremacy, and heretical by refusing a number of dogmas, so Russians do need to be converted to the truly Universal or Catholic Church. But if Our Lady of Fatima has singled out their country for the Consecration to her Heart, may the reason not be, not that the Russians are still wicked Communists but that the Russian people’s huge sufferings from their 70 Babylonian years of Communist captivity are calling forth from the always religious depths of “Holy Russia” an upsurge of spiritual vitality? And could this not save the true Church, presently wilting in the West, where the mainstream Church may still have large numbers but has little Faith whilst the Traditional remnant has the true Faith but negligible numbers? God knows how the Western Church also needs conversion!

May it then be Russia’s smashing of the encirclement in a Third World War leading to an occupation of Europe, which will at last drive the Latin Pope to consecrate Russia to Our Lady’s Heart, as she has so long been asking for in vain? Will at that moment the Russians’ renewed religious vigor save our languishing Catholic Tradition, whilst our Tradition will cleanse their errors? If so, then God will once again have “concluded all in unbelief, that He may have mercy on all . . .How incomprehensible are His judgments, and how unsearchable His ways . . . To Him be glory for ever” (Rom. XI, 32 . . .36).

Catholics, mainstream and of Tradition, pray your hearts out for the Consecration of Russia to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of the Mother of God, or “Theotokos” as she is known in the Eastern Church.

Kyrie eleison.