Tag: will

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.

Rome Insists

Rome Insists posted in Eleison Comments on December 17, 2011

At about the same time that Bishop Fellay was letting it be known that the SSPX will ask for clarification of the Doctrinal Preamble (Rome’s reaction to the doctrinal discussions running from 2009 to spring of this year), one of Rome’s four theologians taking part in those discussions, Monsignore Fernando Ocariz, published an essay “On Adhesion to the Second Vatican Council.” His timing shows that we are not out of the woods, on the contrary! But let us look at his arguments, which are at least clear.

In his introduction he argues that the “pastoral” Council was nonetheless doctrinal. What is pastoral is based on doctrine. What is pastoral seeks to save souls, which involves doctrine. The Council documents contain much doctrine. Good! The Monsignore is at least not going to dodge doctrinal accusations levelled at the Council by pretending the Council was not doctrinal, as have done many of its defenders.

Then on the Church’s Magisterium in general, he says that Vatican II consisted of the Catholic bishops who have “the charism of truth, the authority of Christ and the light of the Holy Spirit.” To deny that, he says, is to deny something of the very essence of the Church. But, Monsignore, what about the mass of Catholic bishops going along with the Arian heresy under Pope Liberius? Exceptionally, even the near unanimity of Catholic bishops can go doctrinally astray. If it happened once, it can happen again. It happened at Vatican II, as its documents show.

He proceeds to argue that the Council’s non-dogmatic and non-defined teachings nevertheless require of Catholics their assent, called “religious submission of will and intellect,” which is “an act of obedience well-rooted in confidence in the divine assistance given to the Magisterium.” Monsignore, to the Conciliar as to the Arian bishops no doubt God offered all the assistance they needed, but they refused it, as is shown by the departure of their documents from his Tradition.

Finally Monsignore Ocariz begs the question by arguing that since the Catholic Magisterium is continuous and Vatican II was the Magisterium, therefore its teachings can only be continuous with the past. And if they look like a break with the past, then the Catholic thing to do is to interpret them as though there is no such break, as does for instance Benedict XVI’s “hermeneutic of continuity.” But Monsignore, these arguments can be turned around. In fact there is a doctrinal break, as is clear from examining the Conciliar documents themselves. (For instance, is there (Vatican II), or is there not (Tradition), a human right not to be prevented from spreading error?) Therefore Vatican II was not the Church’s true Magisterium, and the Catholic thing is to show that there is indeed this break with Tradition, as did Archbishop Lefebvre, and not to pretend that there is no such break.

The Monsignore’s last word is to claim that only the Magisterium can interpret the Magisterium. Which takes us right back to Square One.

Dear readers, Rome is not by any means out of the woods. Heaven help us.

Kyrie eleison.

Accursed Liberals

Accursed Liberals posted in Eleison Comments on December 3, 2011

Liberalism is a frightful disease, consigning to eternal Hell millions upon millions of souls. It “liberates” the mind from objective truth and the heart (will and affections) from objective good. The subject reigns supreme. It is man in the place of God, with man allowing to God only as much importance as man chooses to allow him, and that is normally not much. Almighty God is put on a leash, so to speak, like an obedient little puppy dog! In fact the “God” of the liberals is a mockery of the true God. But “God is not mocked” (Gal.VI, 7). Liberals are punished already in this life by becoming false crusaders, true tyrants, and effeminate men.

A classic example of the false crusader is provided by the revolutionary priests in Latin America, according to Archbishop Lefebvre. He used to say that priests losing the Faith under the influence of the modernizing movement in the Church made the most terrible of revolutionaries, because to the false crusade of Communism they would bring all the force of the true crusade for the salvation of souls, for which they had been trained, but which they no longer believed in.

The true crusade being for God, for Jesus Christ, for eternal salvation, then when it is no longer believed in, it leaves a correspondingly huge gap in people’s lives, which they attempt to fill by crusading for anything and everything: for a ban on tobacco (but freedom for marihuana and heroin); for a ban on capital punishment (but freedom to execute efficacious right-wingers); for a ban on tyrants (but freedom to bomb any country into “democracy”); for the sacredness of man (but freedom to abort the human baby in the womb) – the list can go on and on. The contradictions just highlighted are perfectly consistent in the liberals’ crusade for a total new world order to replace the Christian world order. They pretend they are not fighting Christ, but the pretence is wearing thin.

Liberals also become, logically, true tyrants. Since they have “liberated” themselves from any God or Truth or Law above them, then there remains only the authority of their own minds and wills to impose on their fellow human beings whatever it may be. For example, having lost all sense of any Tradition limiting his authority, Paul VI forced upon the Catholic Church in 1969 his New Order of Mass, to fit the New World Order, regardless of the fact that only two years before a significant number of bishops had rejected a substantially similar experimental rite of Mass. What did he care for the opinions of anyone beneath him, unless they were liberals like himself? They did not know what was good for them. He did.

Logically again, liberals become effeminate, because they cannot help taking everything personally. Yet any sane opposition to their authoritarianism is based on that Truth or Law above all human beings which the liberals are flouting. That is how Archbishop Lefebvre resisted the liberalism of Paul VI, but Paul VI could only think that the Archbishop wanted to take his place as Pope. He was incapable of understanding that there was a far higher Authority than his own, on which the Archbishop in all tranquillity was leaning. Who needs to worry that the Lord God will ever fail?

Sacred Heart of Jesus, grant us to deserve the good leaders who can come only from you.

Kyrie eleison.

Two Repentances

Two Repentances posted in Eleison Comments on May 21, 2011

A reader of “Eleison Comments” asked me several months ago what made the difference between the repentance of Judas Iscariot flinging his 30 pieces of silver at the feet of the Temple authorities (Mt.XXVII,3), and that of Peter weeping bitterly at the crowing of the cock (Mt. XXVI,75). His question is a good excuse to quote pages from The Poem of the Man-God by Maria Valtorta (1897–1961). Our Lord (if it is indeed him – “In things uncertain, liberty”) here comments on the vision he has just granted her of the last hours of Judas Iscariot. The Italian text is slightly adapted:—

“Yes, the vision is horrendous, but not useless. Too many people think that what Judas did was not all that grave. Some even go so far as to say that it was meritorious, because without him the Redemption would not have happened and so he was justified in the eyes of God. In truth I tell you that if Hell had not already been in existence, perfectly equipped with torments, it would have been created even more horrendous in eternity for Judas, because amongst damned sinners he is the damnedest of them all, nor will his sentence ever be eased through all eternity.

“It is true that he did show remorse for his betrayal, and it could have saved him, had he turned his remorse into repentance. But he did not want to repent, and so in addition to his first crime of betrayal, on which – such is my loving weakness – I could have had mercy, he went on to blaspheme and to resist every impulse of grace which was pleading with him through each trace and memory of me that in his last desperate chase around Jerusalem he ran into, including the encounter with my Mother and her gentle words. He resisted everything. He wanted to resist. Just as he had wanted to betray me. As he wanted to curse me. As he wanted to kill himself. Where a man’s will is set – that is what counts. For good or ill.

“When somebody falls without really wanting to, I forgive him. Take Peter. He denied me. Why? He could not himself tell exactly why. Was he a coward? No. My Peter was no coward. In the Garden of Gethsemane he defied the whole pack of Temple guards to cut off Malchus’ ear in defence of me, at the risk of being killed himself for doing so. Then he fled. With no set will to do so. Then he denied me three times, but again, with no set will to do so. For the rest of his life he succeeded in staying on the blood-stained way of the Cross, my way, until he died on the cross himself. He succeeded in witnessing to me in grand style until he was killed for his unflinching faith. I defend my Peter. His running away and his denials were the last moments of his human weakness. But the set will of his higher nature was not behind those actions. Weighed down by his human weakness, it was asleep. As soon as it awoke, it did not want to remain in sin, it wanted to be perfect. I immediately forgave him. Judas’ will was set in the opposite direction . . .”

At the end of the Poem of the Man-God Our Lord (if it is him – I myself believe it is) dictates to Maria Valtorta the seven reasons for his granting this long series of visions of his life to the modern world. The first reason was to make real again in people’s minds the Church’s basic doctrines, ravaged by modernism. Sounds about right? The seventh reason was – “to make known the mystery of Judas,” how a soul so highly gifted by God could so fall.

Kyrie eleison.

Future Discussions

Future Discussions posted in Eleison Comments on March 5, 2011

To the relief of some, to the disappointment of others, it looks as though the doctrinal Discussions held over the last year and a half between theologians of Rome and representatives of the Society of St Pius X will after all come to an end this spring, because the main subjects of discussion will by then have been covered, without any real prospect of agreement opening up. Such is the conclusion tentatively to be drawn from remarks of the Society’s Superior General, Bishop Fellay, made in the course of an interview he gave on February 2.

Now let anyone disappointed be sure that there are Romans and important priests of the SSPX who will hardly give up their efforts to build a bridge between the churchmen of Vatican II and the churchmen of Catholic Tradition. But howsoever it be with such strivings to unite all Catholics of good will, strivings that ebb and flow, yesterday, today and tomorrow, Our Lord’s words are an anchorage: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Mt. XXIV, 35). For on his life the Church’s life is modelled, and in his life there was an ebb and flow of human strivings and sufferings, culminating in the dreadful crucifixion, but while he felt every human urge to shy away from the crucifying will of his Father – “Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me . . .” – still his human mind and heart were anchored in that divine will – “ . . .nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Mt.XXVI, 39).

So the same unchanging divine will that directed and anchored Our Lord’s human mind and will, must anchor also the life of his Church. So Popes, Councils, religious Congregations and Societies may come and go, but in order to be Catholic they must submit to that divine will to which Our Lord submitted, and they must tell the exact same truths that Our Lord transmitted from his Father to his Church. Like no other institution upon earth, the Catholic Church is so built around Truth that its survival is proportional to its fidelity to that Truth. It is because the Conciliar Church is putting human interests in the place of divine Truth, that it is disintegrating, and any Catholic Congregation or Society that would do the same will likewise fall apart.

It follows that whoever is faithful to the fullness of revealed Truth is in effect – not in principle, but in practice – in the driving-seat of the Church (See “Letters from the Rector” Vol. IV, p.164). Furthermore, whoever has that Truth and pretends he is not in the driving-seat would be what Our Lord would have called himself, had he denied his Father, “a liar” (Jn.VIII, 55). That is because any messenger disowning the divineness of his divine message is no true lover of his fellow-men, as he and they may like to think, but he has for his father the Father of Lies (Jn.VIII, 44).

There is a Truth, even if most people can barely recognize it. The right and ability of the Romans to govern the Church depends on their being faithful to that Truth. The right and ability of the SSPX to stand up to unfaithful Romans depends on the SSPX’s own faithfulness to the Truth. For now the SSPX has been faithful, so for now the SSPX will survive, but may Rome, by returning to the Truth, make that survival unnecessary!

Kyrie eleison.

Unthinkable Thinking

Unthinkable Thinking posted in Eleison Comments on January 1, 2011

It is difficult not to think that 2011 will be a momentous year. The world lies in darkness of mind and corruption of will. The Church which should be “light of the world” for the mind and “salt of the earth” against corruption of the will, is in eclipse. It is still there, but its light and warmth, by the fault of men, barely reach them any longer.

Such being the case, troubles of the world and from the world must come upon us. There is going to be, this year or soon after, an unimaginable sea-change in human affairs. The inexorable laws of reality are about to turn world economics upside down, yet most “economists,” professional fools, are still peddling dreamland. To help family fathers in particular to think “outside the box,” let me quote some advice from one writer and speaker on practical affairs who has rather less lost his grip on reality: Gerald Celente, from the New York area (trendsresearch.com):—

We are continually asked to provide specific trend-focused guidance on what to do to weather the financial storms . . . There are no simple or one-size-fits-all solutions. Every individual situation is different. If you are unemployed in a rural area, you will have a different set of possibilities, and a different set of problems, than people in cities or suburbs.

The key element to realize is that this is going to be a long haul. This is a time of contraction, and a time for conservation and preservation. Overall, there will be less disposable income, and fewer dollars to spend on non-essentials. What was considered an “essential” when money flows becomes “frivolity” when it dries up.

When looking for work, if your better judgment tells you the job you had is no longer an option (real estate agent, mortgage broker, publishing, construction, retail, auto worker, etc.), now may be the time, if at all practical, to live out your dream. What have you always wanted to do? Have you discovered any unique talents and abilities that set you apart from others? Look systematically at what you would most enjoy doing and what the chances are to make a living out of it. That’s a starting point. If the only work you can find is menial, be the best at it. Do it with creativity and without resentment, and higher level possibilities will present themselves. If you do what you love, you’ll never have to “work.” One definition of happiness might be: “When you wake up in the morning and what you have to do is what you would choose to do.”

“Assess your personal situation. Look for people of like mind, in similar situations with complementary skills. There is strength in numbers. A group with a goal can initiate a program that would be unthinkable and unworkable for an individual.”

The underlinings are mine. I shall be delighted if I prove to be wrong, but I do think now that action’s top priority is soon going to be survival. Gerald Celente provides here a few lines of thought. Pray, of course, that is essential, but as the old saying goes, also keep rowing to shore.

To all readers I send my blessing for the New Year.

Kyrie eleison.