Perillous “Sincerity”

Perillous “Sincerity” posted in Eleison Comments on August 22, 2009

If Benedict XVI is not a positive destroyer of the Church, then like John XXIII, Paul VI and John-Paul II before him, he is at least presiding over its destruction. A recent critique of Fr. Peter Scott’s excellent analysis of Benedict XVI’s latest Encyclical (accessible at raises once more the crucial question, have these Popes been aware of the destruction taking place under their responsibility? Broadly speaking, there are three main answers.

Firstly, liberals and modernists deny that any destruction has been going on, so of course the recent Popes are unaware of being or having been destroyers. They have been good Popes, they are not to be blamed, they need only be followed. Secondly on the contrary, Sedevacantists say these Popes have been responsible for a devastation of the Church, and they have all been far too well educated, they have known too well the pre-Conciliar Church (being all of them older men) and they have all sworn too often (in their younger days) the daunting Anti-Modernist Oath, for them not to have been aware of the destruction they have wrought. Not only must we blame them, but we cannot logically hold them to have been Popes, let alone fit to be followed.

Thirdly, as dawn and dusk are not contradictory or illogical simply because they mix night and day, but both are real happenings once every 24 hours, so the position of Archbishop Lefebvre and the Society of St Pius X is not contradictory simply because it is more complicated, falling as it does between the relatively simple positions of the liberals and Sedevacantists. On the contrary it is more real than either, corresponding better to the complicated reality of these liberal Catholic Popes. (Archbishop Lefebvre used to say that a liberal Catholic is a walking contradiction.)

Against the liberals this third position holds that of course there has been a destruction of the Church under these Popes, who with their education, pre-Conciliar experience and solemn Oaths should certainly have known better. So all are to be blamed for failing in their grave responsibilities, even if the exact degree of blame due is known to God alone.

Against the Sedevacantists however, in our profoundly sick modern age, while blindness like that of these Popes is objectively blameworthy, it may be subjectively more or less sincere. For instance in his post-war German seminary, the young Joseph Ratzinger was exposed to brilliant and no doubt charismatic modernist professors who will have taught him that the Traditional Church needed to be, if not destroyed, at least changed beyond recognition to fit modern man. And Joseph Ratzinger has believed it ever since: the Traditional doctrine, the Tridentine Church and its solemn Oaths were all good, even excellent in their day, but that day is past! Objection: did not Pius X (“Lamentabili” #58) solemnly teach that Truth cannot evolve? Cardinal Ratzinger said that “Lamentabili” too was excellent teaching – for the past!!

Again, God alone is judge of the exact responsibility of the young Joseph and his teachers for his mind having fallen into the trap of evolving truth, but what is certain is that once a mind has fallen into that trap, it can, in today’s environment, only with supreme difficulty be pulled out again. Until a divine Warning and/or Chastisement cleanses the environment, liberals can easily be in grave error, yet sincere.

SSPX, beware of that “sincerity” which makes error feel nice! Truth first, and no lies or ambiguity, even if our sick world comes down on you like a ton of bricks!

Kyrie eleison.

Just Claims

Just Claims posted in Eleison Comments on May 30, 2009

On the assumption that the Second Vatican Council established within the Catholic Church a serious split between Catholic Truth and Catholic Authority, “Eleison Comments” three weeks ago (“Flat Contradiction”) divided today’s Catholics between those who cling to Truth and have problems with Catholic Authority, and those who cling to Catholic Authority and have problems with Catholic Truth or doctrine, for instance on religious liberty.

Setting up such a parallel between “Conciliarists” following Vatican II and “Traditionalists” following the age-old doctrine and liturgy, may well shock numbers of both, for the reasons evoked above, but let us appeal to the realities in the Church around us. Do we not observe that as Traditionalists who wholly reject present Church authorities risk losing their Catholic sense, so too Conciliarists who wholly scorn present Traditionalists (as do most German bishops) risk ceasing to be Catholics for lack of any sense of doctrinal truth?

However, the parallel only goes so far. For while outright “sedevacantism” and outright Neo-modernism are in this logical respect comparable, they are by no means equivalent, because Truth is higher than Authority, which only exists to serve Truth. If all Authority disappeared, Truth would still be there (“My words will not pass away,” says Our Lord – Mk.XXV, 35). But if all Truth were smothered in lies, as is happening today, we would see, as we are seeing, all Authority discredited with it, and being replaced by brute force. Truth and its ensuing Justice are the life-blood of Authority. Authority is merely the servant and protector of Truth and Justice.

This is why Traditionalists clinging to Truth are, as such, repeat, as such, better Catholics than Conciliarists clinging to Authority – judge by the fruits! And while Truth, by its nature of corresponding to the object and not to the subject, cannot bend to Authority, on the contrary the Church authorities, Popes and Cardinals and Bishops, must one day bend back to the Truth, and the sooner the better. Nor is saying so remotely an arrogant claim on the part of Traditionalists, as Cardinal Ratzinger once opined, because Traditionalists never invented Tradition, Tradition was a given, from being merely faithful to which they got their name. Archbishop Lefebvre had engraved on his tombstone St. Paul’s “Tradidi quod et accepi” (I Cor.XI, 23), because he was the very first to maintain that he had done no more than hand on what had been handed down to him.

This fundamental primacy of Truth over Authority applies inside and outside the Catholic Church, inside and outside any part of the Church. But modern souls have lost almost all grip on Truth. Here is the drama.

Kyrie eleison.

John XXIII Missal

John XXIII Missal posted in Eleison Comments on October 25, 2008

The Society of St. Pius X gets attacked, but so long as it is attacked about equally from modernist left and from sedevacantizing right, it need not worry too much – it is probably doing something right. However, equality here is not to be measured by quantity alone – attacks from the right make up in venom for what they lack in numbers! Presently the SSPX is again being attacked for its use of the Tridentine Missal of 1962, as opposed to that of 1955, or 1945, or 1905 – you name it! Three comments:

Firstly, as Archbishop always used to explain, the “Missal of John XXIII,” so called because it was promulgated under his reign in 1962, was actually fully prepared before 1958, under Pope Pius XII, no darling of modernists. Moreover the Archbishop personally knew the Benedictine liturgist who did the preparing, and the Archbishop testified that the Benedictine he knew was no modernist either.

Secondly, as always needs to be repeated, if the Archbishop chose the 1962 Missal for his Society of St. Pius X, it was because on the one hand that Missal contains nothing against the Faith, whereas the Novus Ordo Missal of 1969 is heavily protestantized and the 1967 missal was already being de-catholicized; on the other hand the Pope is master of the liturgy in the Catholic Church, which is why the 1962 missal was the last fully orthodox rite of Mass to have been also lawfully promulgated by a reigning pope, and as such the Archbishop chose it, by a reasoned judgment and not by personal taste. Previous rites were superseded. Following rites were not Catholic.

Thirdly, the difference between, let us say, the “John XXIII” and the Pius X missals lies in the former’s omission of many a detail from the latter, but in essence the two missals are the same – otherwise how could it be so easy to celebrate a “John XXIII” Mass from a Pius X missal? Now in no situation can I overestimate the importance of detail without underestimating that of essentials. If then by my furious refusal of the “John XXIII Missal” I declare that in the details omitted by “John XXXII” the essence of the Tridentine Missal has been betrayed, I am in actions, not words, albeit unawares, so downgrading the essence of the Tridentine missal, for instance the unchanged Canon and Consecration, that by my exaggeration of the relative importance of details, I am, funnily enough, paving the way for souls to lose sight of the absolute importance of essentials, and I am helping souls to quit the Tridentine Mass altogether! It will not have been the first time that unbalanced exaggerations on the right have driven souls to the left!

Divine Lord, please bring soon your lawful Vicar back to his fully Catholic senses!

Kyrie eleison.

Deadly Mush

Deadly Mush posted in Eleison Comments on April 19, 2008

I have never believed any of the Conciliar Popes not to be truly popes. Modern thinking turns minds into mush, and I have always held the Conciliar Popes to be too modern to be capable of the clear firm thinking in matters of Faith necessary to make them such clear firm heretics as could no longer hold their high office in the Church.

By no means everybody agrees with me when I say this, but I do believe Archbishop Lefebvre was making the same point in a different way when he said that these popes were liberals, but being liberals did not necessarily put them out of the Church. Here for example is what he said in an interview he gave in 1987:

“I think we must judge of today’s churchmen in Rome, and of all churchmen and bishops coming under their influence, in the same way that Popes Pius IX and Pius X judged of liberals and modernists. Pius IX condemned liberal Catholics, going so far as to say that they were “the Church’s worst enemies.” What worse could he say of them? Yet he did not say that all liberal Catholics were excommunicated, or were out of the Church or had to be refused Communion . . . Pius X in ‘Pascendi’ was just as severe on modernism, saying it was “where all heresies come together.” Could any movement be more severely condemned? Yet he never said that henceforth all modernists were excommunicated, out of the Church and to be refused Communion. In fact he only excommunicated a few of them. So, following Pius IX and Pius X, I think we should judge of these churchmen in Rome severely, but without concluding that they are necessarily out of the Church.”

Two objections immediately come to mind. Firstly, how can a liberal Catholic be worse than the formal heretic who flatly refuses the Faith which is the foundation of Catholic living and of eternal salvation? Answer, the enemy without can never do so much damage as the enemy within. Whereas the heretic puts himself out of the Church, the liberal Catholic stays within, from where the higher his office, the more he can harm the Church. Is not the very havoc wrought upon the Church by recent popes better accounted for by their being the enemy within rather than, as “sedevacantists” would have it, the enemy without?

But then – second objection – if the Church cannot excommunicate such damaging enemies within, what means does she still have to her to defend herself? Answer, that is perhaps the most serious reason of all for thinking that only a divine chastisement comparable to the Flood can clean out the present corruption in Church and world. Catholic Tradition is today’s Ark.

Kyrie eleison.

“Pascendi” – II

“Pascendi” – II posted in Eleison Comments on November 3, 2007

Before the centenary year of Pope St. Pius X’s great anti-modernist encyclical, “Pascendi,” closes out, let us give two examples of the light which it throws upon today’s undiminishing confusion in Church and world: the primacy of objective truth, and the non-binding nature of sedevacantism (the disbelief that recent Popes are true popes).

Over the last two centuries, the modern world has fallen more and more into the grave error of subjectivism, whereby every man (or subject) makes his own truth, so that he is free from any supposedly objective truth imposing itself upon his mind from outside. One hundred years ago this error threatened to undermine the objectivity of all Catholic dogma – hence the Encyclical. Yet one hundred years later, despite Pius X’s efforts, the mass of Catholic churchmen are awash in this error – hence Vatican II, Religious Liberty, Ecumenism, etc.

In Pascendi, Pius X nailed the unhooking of the subjective mind from objective reality as the foundation of the coherent Newfaith of the modernists’ Newchurch. What mental rest and spiritual relaxation to be able to lean on the one true religion given to us from outside and above by the one true God, without our having to pay heed to the mass of modern fantasies!

However the Conciliar fantasies have taken such a grip on many of today’s churchmen that the temptation arises to consider that none of them are churchmen at all, in particular the last few Popes. But Pascendi can offer a way out of this temptation by its same teaching that subjectivism unhooks churchmen’s minds from reality. Are they fully aware of how mad they are, when virtually everyone shares in their madness? And if they are not fully aware, do they necessarily disqualify themselves as churchmen? Pascendi suggests at least to me that sedevacantism is not binding.

By no means everyone agrees with letting the Conciliar churchmen off the hook in this way, but that is of secondary importance. Back to Pascendi – what is of primary importance is to give glory to God and to save our souls by submitting our minds to that one objective Faith which God has revealed, and without which nobody can please God (Heb XI:6).

Kyrie eleison.