It is to the unfaithfulness of Catholic Authority to Catholic Truth at the Second Vatican Council that these “Comments” last week (DCLV, Feb.1) attributed the unprecedented crisis of the Catholic Church, now well over 50 years old. The logical conclusion was that the crisis will only come to an end when Catholic Authority comes back to the Truth, because the Truth does not change, and so it cannot move to rejoin the Pope and bishops who are meant to be defending it. Moreover it was stated that the Pope must restore the bishops, and that Almighty God alone can restore the Pope, and that God will put the Pope back on his feet only “when we have learned our lesson.” That is because if God lifted us back up the mud-slide too soon, we naughty human beings would profit merely to slide down once more. God cannot afford to be too generous with our perverse generation. So what lesson or lessons do we need to be taught?
Amongst others, that the world cannot do without a sane Church, and the Church to be sane must have a sane Pope, and the sane Pope must be obeyed. For example, by the time Vatican II came to an end at the end of 1965, the churchmen were in full-blooded apostasy. Yet still God gave mankind another chance. In front of Paul VI was the pressing question of artificial means of birth control, contraception for short. Conditions in modern cities were persuading a mass of bishops, priests and lay-folk that the Church’s strict and ancient condemnation had to be relaxed, that the modern city was right and that the unchanging rule of the Church, in other words God, was wrong. Paul VI too wanted to make the rule easier.
However, when the commission of experts which he had appointed to study the question made their report, he himself saw that the rule could not be relaxed. His final arguments for maintaining the rule have not the force of the old arguments based on the immutable natural law, but nevertheless Paul VI did uphold the essential law in his Encyclical “Humanae Vitae” of 1968. But when he published it, all hell promptly broke loose in the Church. And in 1969 he imposed on the entire Church the Novus Ordo Mass. Is it idle speculation that if the bishops and priests had obeyed the Pope, instead of rejecting God’s unchanging law, God might have spared them the New Mass? As it was, disobeying the Pope when he was faithful to God’s law, they all contributed to the breakdown of Authority in the Church. All bets were then off, and chaos took over inside the Church.
Here is a classic example of Truth needing Authority, of the world needing the Church and of the Church needing the Pope. Especially in today’s big city, men cannot see what is wrong with contraception, on the contrary, it seems to be mere common sense. Thus if there is no divine Authority to forbid contraception, nothing and nobody else will stand up to the human passions which drive towards it. In this way Vatican II (Gaudium et Spes # 48) suggested that in the act of marriage recreation comes before procreation, and it opened the flood-gates to divorce, adultery, pre-birth then post-birth abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, gender change, and horrors yet unknown, but all implicit in the breakdown of the subordination of recreation to procreation. Mother Church always knew that to smash the act of marriage is to smash successively marriage, the individual person, the family, society, the nation and the world. This chaos is where we are today. Such is the need of Authority.
And the most important Authority is that of the Church, to impose upon men’s erring minds God’s infallible Truth, and upon their wayward wills God’s eternal Law, so that they can get to His Heaven and avoid their Hell. And to embody that Authority and to project it before men, the Incarnate God instituted His One Catholic Church as a monarchy of which the single ruler is the Roman Pope, who alone has the mission and the grace to govern and to hold together, in the Catholic Truth, all members of the Church. It follows that when he quits the Truth, as with Vatican II, then the sheep are necessarily scattered, because nobody other than the Pope has from God the mission or the grace to unite them (cf. Lk. XXII, 32).