Those familiar with the body of my written work over the course of the last twenty-two years since the time my career as an professor and participant in academic panels (and a former candidate for lieutenant governor of New York) was supplemented by my work as a Catholic writer, starting with The Wanderer in October of 1992, know that I have been a consistent critic of the founding principles of the United States of America and how the American bishops attempted to accommodate the Catholic Faith to them.
My criticism of Americanism has earned me much scorn and revulsion among jingoistic nationalists who fail to make an important scholarly distinction between the inherent defects in the founding principles and the practical realities faced by Catholics who have had to live under the institutional structures created by the framers of the Constitution of the United States of America.
Jingoistic nationalists, many of whom rely upon texts written in the 1940s and 1950s by unrepentant apologists of the American founding principles, fail to realize our true popes had warned of the dangers facing Catholics in the United States of America as a result of the prevailing ethos of religious indifferentism, cultural pluralism, moral relativism, egalitarianism, majoritarianism and rampant Calvinist materialism.
Catholic apologists of the American founding principles repeatedly refuse to recognize and admit that it is impossible for men and their nations to realize social order over the course of a long period of time without a due submission to the Catholic Church in all that matters to the salvation of souls and that is also impossible for men to persevere in virtue without belief in, access to and cooperation with Sanctifying Grace.
If this is not so, my handful of readers, then Pope Saint Pius X must have been mistaken when he wrote the following in Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910:
The same applies to the notion of Fraternity which they found on the love of common interest or, beyond all philosophies and religions, on the mere notion of humanity, thus embracing with an equal love and tolerance all human beings and their miseries, whether these are intellectual, moral, or physical and temporal. But Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be, nor in the theoretical or practical indifference towards the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged, but in the zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being. Catholic doctrine further tells us that love for our neighbor flows from our love for God, Who is Father to all, and goal of the whole human family; and in Jesus Christ whose members we are, to the point that in doing good to others we are doing good to Jesus Christ Himself. Any other kind of love is sheer illusion, sterile and fleeting.
Indeed, we have the human experience of pagan and secular societies of ages past to show that concern for common interests or affinities of nature weigh very little against the passions and wild desires of the heart. No, Venerable Brethren, there is no genuine fraternity outside Christian charity. Through the love of God and His Son Jesus Christ Our Saviour, Christian charity embraces all men, comforts all, and leads all to the same faith and same heavenly happiness.
By separating fraternity from Christian charity thus understood, Democracy, far from being a progress, would mean a disastrous step backwards for civilization. If, as We desire with all Our heart, the highest possible peak of well being for society and its members is to be attained through fraternity or, as it is also called, universal solidarity, all minds must be united in the knowledge of Truth, all wills united in morality, and all hearts in the love of God and His Son Jesus Christ. But this union is attainable only by Catholic charity, and that is why Catholic charity alone can lead the people in the march of progress towards the ideal civilization. . . .
Here we have, founded by Catholics, an inter-denominational association that is to work for the reform of civilization, an undertaking which is above all religious in character; for there is no true civilization without a moral civilization, and no true moral civilization without the true religion: it is a proven truth, a historical fact. The new Sillonists cannot pretend that they are merely working on “the ground of practical realities” where differences of belief do not matter. Their leader is so conscious of the influence which the convictions of the mind have upon the result of the action, that he invites them, whatever religion they may belong to, “to provide on the ground of practical realities, the proof of the excellence of their personal convictions.” And with good reason: indeed, all practical results reflect the nature of one’s religious convictions, just as the limbs of a man down to his finger-tips, owe their very shape to the principle of life that dwells in his body.
This being said, what must be thought of the promiscuity in which young Catholics will be caught up with heterodox and unbelieving folk in a work of this nature? Is it not a thousand-fold more dangerous for them than a neutral association? What are we to think of this appeal to all the heterodox, and to all the unbelievers, to prove the excellence of their convictions in the social sphere in a sort of apologetic contest? Has not this contest lasted for nineteen centuries in conditions less dangerous for the faith of Catholics? And was it not all to the credit of the Catholic Church? What are we to think of this respect for all errors, and of this strange invitation made by a Catholic to all the dissidents to strengthen their convictions through study so that they may have more and more abundant sources of fresh forces? What are we to think of an association in which all religions and even Free-Thought may express themselves openly and in complete freedom? For the Sillonists who, in public lectures and elsewhere, proudly proclaim their personal faith, certainly do not intend to silence others nor do they intend to prevent a Protestant from asserting his Protestantism, and the skeptic from affirming his skepticism. Finally, what are we to think of a Catholic who, on entering his study group, leaves his Catholicism outside the door so as not to alarm his comrades who, “dreaming of disinterested social action, are not inclined to make it serve the triumph of interests, coteries and even convictions whatever they may be”? Such is the profession of faith of the New Democratic Committee for Social Action which has taken over the main objective of the previous organization and which, they say, “breaking the double meaning which surround the Greater Sillon both in reactionary and anti-clerical circles”, is now open to all men “who respect moral and religious forces and who are convinced that no genuine social emancipation is possible without the leaven of generous idealism.” (Pope Saint Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910.)
The principles of the Sillon and those of Americanism are nearly identical. Each proved to be important building blocks in the web of Modernist “doctrines” that led up to the “Second” Vatican Council and the “magisterium” of the “Second” Vatican Council.
Lest critics assert that Pope Leo XIII’s Longiqua Oceani, January 6, 1895, contained uncritical praise of the Constitution of the United States of America, it is important to note yet again that His Holiness only noted that there was no overt hostility to the Faith and that the American republic was well-ordered at that time. He was not endorsing the American scheme of religious neutrality, noting very specifically that the growth of the Catholic Church in the United States of America was the result of the working of the fecundity of the Third Person of the Most Blessed Trinity, God the Holy Ghost, not the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America:
The main factor, no doubt, in bringing things into this happy state were the ordinances and decrees of your synods, especially of those which in more recent times were convened and confirmed by the authority of the Apostolic See. But, moreover (a fact which it gives pleasure to acknowledge), thanks are due to the equity of the laws which obtain in America and to the customs of the well-ordered Republic. For the Church amongst you, unopposed by the Constitution and government of your nation, fettered by no hostile legislation, protected against violence by the common laws and the impartiality of the tribunals, is free to live and act without hindrance. Yet, though all this is true, it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the Church, or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for State and Church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced. The fact that Catholicity with you is in good condition, nay, is even enjoying a prosperous growth, is by all means to be attributed to the fecundity with which God has endowed His Church, in virtue of which unless men or circumstances interfere, she spontaneously expands and propagates herself; but she would bring forth more abundant fruits if, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favor of the laws and the patronage of the public authority. (Pope Leo XIII, Longiqua Oceani, January 6, 1895.)
The late Dr. Justin Walsh understood James Cardinal Gibbons' 1887 sermon in the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere for exactly what it was: heresy in the making. Dr. Walsh explained in an article in The Angelus magazine how Pope Leo XIII's Longiqua Oceani, January 6, 1895, was a complete repudiation of the Gibbons view of religious liberty:
It was clear by 1895 that Americanist views were incompatible with orthodox Catholicism. In the spiritual realm [Bishop John] Keane was hell-bent on fostering interdenominational congresses. In the temporal realm Ireland, and to a lesser extent Gibbons, had peculiar penchants for meddling in things better left alone by Churchmen. In such a situation action by Rome was inevitable. It came on January 6 when Leo XIII addressed Longinqua Oceani to American bishops.
The Pope began by noting that the United States had a "good Constitution" and as a result Catholicism was unhindered, protected alike by law and the impartial administration of justice. Nonetheless the Holy Father warned...:
...it would be an error to conclude that America furnishes an example of the ideal condition for the Church or that it is always lawful and expedient that civil and religious affairs should be disjoined and kept apart....
According to the Pope, in a formal letter addressed to all American bishops, it would be an error to say that religious liberty and the separation of Church and State were beneficial to the Catholic Church. In explicit refutation of Gibbons's notion that American liberty caused the Church to "blossom like a rose," the Pope asserted that if the Catholic religion "is safe among you and is even blessed with increase" it was "entirely due to the divine fruitfulness of the Church." He concluded tellingly that "the fruit would be still more abundant if the Church enjoyed not only liberty but the favor of...laws and...protection of the public power."13
Few, if any, heeded the Holy Father's warnings. They redoubled their efforts, with immediately dire consequences for Denis O'Connell and John Keane. O'Connell fell first when, in the summer of 1895, he was removed as rector of the North American College. His cohorts unsuccessfully defended him, although Gibbons did succeed in keeping him in Rome as rector of the Cardinal's titular church. From this vantage point O'Connell became "a kind of liaison officer of the American hierarchy, and more particularly its left wing" until he returned to the US in 1903. Catholic liberals claim that "the suppositious liberalism of the Catholic University" was responsible for the dismissal in 1896 of John J. Keane. In fact the liberalism of neither the CUA nor its rector was "suppositious." As the California Volksfreund noted, "It was clear enough from the beginning that Americanism was interwoven with the plan for the...University." This newspaper called instead for something that Keane could never provide: "a Catholic University with Catholic professors [where] the doctrine of the Catholic, and not of an American Church, is taught. (Dr. Justin Walsh, Heresy Blossoms Like a Rose.)
As has been noted on this site many times, whatever framework of order existed under the Constitution of the United States of America was bound to collapse over the course of time. This is especially the case as it was the Actual Graces that flowed out into the world from the Masses offered by countless thousands of true priests that upheld as much social order and comity that existed prior to the spigot of such graces being shut off as a result of the liturgical barrenness of the Protestant and Judeo-Masonic Novus Ordo liturgical service.
Moreover, Pope Leo XIII explained later in Longiqua Oceani, which contained subtle rebukes on various points, that the American bishops had to teach his encyclical letters on the civil state and human liberty that he knew were not being taught from Catholic pulpits or in Catholic schools, colleges or universities:
15. As regards civil affairs, experience has shown how important it is that the citizens should be upright and virtuous. In a free State, unless justice be generally cultivated, unless the people be repeatedly and diligently urged to observe the precepts and laws of the Gospel, liberty itself may be pernicious. Let those of the clergy, therefore, who are occupied with the instruction of the multitude, treat plainly this topic of the duties of citizens, so that all may understand and feel the necessity, in political life, of conscientiousness, self restraint, and integrity; for that cannot be lawful in public which is unlawful in private affairs. On this whole subject there are to be found, as you know, in the encyclical letters written by Us from time to time in the course of Our pontificate, many things which Catholics should attend to and observe. In these writings and expositions We have treated of human liberty, of the chief Christian duties, of civil government, and of the Christian constitution of States, drawing Our principles as well from the teaching of the Gospels as from reason. They, then, who wish to be good citizens and discharge their duties faithfully may readily learn from Our Letters the ideal of an upright life. In like manner, let the priests be persistent in keeping before the minds of the people the enactments of the Third Council of Baltimore, particularly those which inculcate the virtue of temperance, the frequent use of the sacraments and the observance of the just laws and institutions of the Republic. (Pope Leo XIII, Longiqua Oceani, January 6, 1895.)
To amplify this point, it should be pointed out again that the Governor of the State of New York, Alfred Emanuel Smith, responded as follows in 1927 when he had heard that a Protestant lawyer, Charles Marshall, who was very well-acquainted with papal encyclical letters on the civil state even though he rejected their content and authority entirety, had written an article stating that Smith, who was considering a second bid for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in 1928, was bound to obey Pope Pius XI’s encyclical letter on the Social Kingship of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Quas Primas:
“What the hell is an encyclical?” (Vatican II and American Politics.)
When informed of the teachings contained in those encyclical letters that were critical of the religiously neutral civil state and unfettered civil liberty, Smith wrote a response to Marshall’s article that was mostly the work of the decorated Catholic priest, Father Francis Duffy, who had served with valor as a military chaplain during World War I but was nonetheless a firm Americanist:
Al Smith’s response to Charles Marshall appeared in the next issue of The Atlantic Monthly under the title “Catholic and Patriot: Governor Smith Replies.” The words were Smith’s, but the ideas were Duffy’s. To be on the safe side, Judge Proskauer first showed the text to Cardinal Patrick Hayes, who read it and pronounced it “good Catholicism and good Americanism.” Marshall had raised the issue of the teaching in papal encyclicals. “By what right do you ask me to assume responsibility for any statement that may be made in any encyclical letter?” With transparent sincerity, he added: “I and all my children went to a parochial school. I never heard of any such stuff being taught or of anybody who claimed that it was.” (Vatican II and American Politics.)
Pope Leo XIII knew what he was doing when he wrote Longiqua Oceani thirty-two years before Smith’s response to Charles R. Marshall in The Atlantic Monthly, a response that was very similar to then United States Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s famous speech to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association on September 12, 1960, the Feast of the Holy Name of Mary.
Yet it is that the text of Longiqua Oceani reiterated Pope Leo XIII’s concern, expressed in Immortale Dei, on November 1, 1885, that Catholics in public life refuse to treat their Faith as a “private” matter. Moreover, Pope Leo reminded the American bishops to warn Catholics of the dangers of reading non-Catholic newspapers and journals of opinion, which today would extend as well to neoconservative columnists and commentators who combine a supposed concern for limited government with full-throated support for the murderous policies of the State of Israel. His Holiness also reiterated and applied to the United States of America the warnings he had issued to Catholic writers and journalists in Epistola Tua, June 17, 1885, and Est Sane Molestum, December 17, 1888, to obey their bishops:
Let them, however, seriously reflect that their writings, if not positively prejudicial to religion, will surely be of slight service to it unless in concord of minds they all seek the same end. They who desire to be of real service to the Church, and with their pens heartily to defend the Catholic cause, should carry on the conflict with perfect unanimity, and, as it were, with serried ranks, for they rather inflict than repel war if they waste their strength by discord. In like manner their work, instead of being profitable and fruitful, becomes injurious and disastrous whenever they presume to call before their tribunal the decisions and acts of bishops, and, casting off due reverence, cavil and find fault; not perceiving how great a disturbance of order, how many evils are thereby produced. Let them, then, be mindful of their duty, and not overstep the proper limits of moderation. The bishops, placed in the lofty position of authority, are to be obeyed, and suitable honor befitting the magnitude and sanctity of their office should be paid them. Now, this reverence, "which it is lawful to no one to neglect," should of necessity be eminently conspicuous and exemplary in Catholic journalists. For journals, naturally circulating far and wide, come daily into the hands of everybody, and exert no small influence upon the opinions and morals of the multitude. (Pope Leo XIII, Longiqua Oceani, January 6, 1895.)
In other words, the spirit of the “resist while recognize” movement has both Gallicanist and Americanist roots. To quote the late Melvin Allen Israel, better known as “Mel Allen” (even those who rooted against the incarnation of all evil in the world, the New York Yankees, respected the broadcasting skills of Mel Allen in his prime in the 1950s and early-1960s), “How ‘bout, sports fans.”
The American bishops, of course, did not take Pope Leo XIII’s subtle but nevertheless clear rebukes in Longiuqa Oceani with any degree of seriousness, which is why Pope Leo XIII wrote Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae to James Cardinal Gibbons, the Americanist Archbishop of Baltimore, Maryland, between 1877 and 1921, in Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, January 22, 1899, to explain that Catholics in this country faced dangers of a more subtle but nonetheless grave kind as those that had been faced by Catholics who lived during periods of overt persecution and martyrdom:
But, beloved son, in this present matter of which we are speaking, there is even a greater danger and a more manifest opposition to Catholic doctrine and discipline in that opinion of the lovers of novelty, according to which they hold such liberty should be allowed in the Church, that her supervision and watchfulness being in some sense lessened, allowance be granted the faithful, each one to follow out more freely the leading of his own mind and the trend of his own proper activity. They are of opinion that such liberty has its counterpart in the newly given civil freedom which is now the right and the foundation of almost every secular state. (Pope Leo XIII, Apostolical Letter to James Cardinal Gibbons, Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, January 22, 1899.)
In other words, Pope Leo XIII understood that Catholics were being converted by the ethos of Americanism to view Holy Mother Church through the eyes of the world rather than to view the world through the eyes of the Holy Faith even though they did not realize that this was the case, making the matter all the more grave to souls and even for the common temporal good of the nation itself. The Americanist bishops believed that there had to be an “accommodation” with the spirit of the world, a point, of course, that has been made on this site endless numbers of times and is the thesis of volume one of Conversion in Reverse: How the Ethos of Americanism Converted Catholics.)
Why is this relevant to Puzzled??
Well, this is relevant as it was, if you will recall, an American bishop, Albert “Cardinal” Meyer, who took to the floor to recommend that schema on Divine Revelation include a frank recognition of the belief that Holy Mother Church could fail in her interpretation of Tradition and other doctrines, whose formulation may have more to do, Meyer, believed, with the historical circumstances of the time rather than any true “connection” with sound teaching. The intervention of “Cardinal” Meyer, who continued the work of his predecessor, Samuel Cardinal Stritch, of aligning the Archdiocese of Chicago with one Saul Alinsky's Industdrial Areas Foundation (everything ties together, ladies and gentlemen), caught the attention, of course, of none other than a German peritus, Father Joseph Ratzinger, whose acceptance of the Modernist precept of the evolution of dogma has been the means by which he has sought to dispense with “past” teaching because of its supposedly historically “conditioned” nature.
As is well known, Ratzinger, acting as “Pope Benedict XVI,” relabeled Modernism’s evolution of dogma, which had been termed as “living tradition” by Albert “Cardinal” Meyer himself, as “the hermeneutic of continuity,” and it is this “hermeneutic” that “Pontifical” Commission Ecclesia Dei is imposing on the Institute of the Good Shepherd, which was “regularized” in 2006, as a condition for being able to offer the modernized version of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition.
Yes, according to the likes of apologists for the “Second” Vatican Council and the “magisterium" of the conciliar “popes” tradition is “historically conditioned” and “still developing” in order to determine “what is doctrine to be preserved and what is “historically conditioned.”
Father Francis Sullivan, S.J., explained that there was a remarkable similarity between the points about Tradition that had been made by Albert “Cardinal” Meyer, Father Joseph Alois Ratzinger and the report of the so-called “Faith and Order Commission” of the pro-abortion, pro-perversity, pro-contraception supporter of one world governance, the World Council of Churches, which has a sorry history of supporting Communist regimes around the world:
In his commentary on the way the question of tradition was handled at Vatican II, Ratzinger made a positive reference to the same way this question had been treated by the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches in a conference that took place in Montreal in July of 1963, between the first and second sessions of Vatican II. It is illuminating to see how the report of that conference anticipated the question raised by Meyer and Ratzinger about the need to distinguish between authentic and inauthentic traditions. The report began by distinguishing between different meanings of the word tradition. ‘We speak of the Tradition (with a capital T), tradition (with a small t), and traditions. By the Tradition is meant the Gospel itself, transmitted from generation to generation in and by the Church itself. Christ himself present in the life of the Church. By tradition is meant the traditionary process. The term traditions is meant in two senses, to indicate both the diversity of forms of expression and also what we call confessional traditions, for instance what we call the Lutheran tradition or the Reformed tradition.
The report gave a fuller explanation of what it meant by the Tradition in a passage that Ratzinger quoted with approval in his commentary on Dei Verbum. There the Faith and Order Commission had said: “Thus we can cay that we exist as Christians by the Tradition of the Gospel (the paradosis of the kerygma) testified in Scirpture, transmitted in and by the Church, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Tradition taken in this sense is actualized in the preaching of the Word, in the administration of the Sacraments and worship, in Christian teaching and theology, and in mission and witness to Christ by the lives of the members of the Church.
The report went on to speak of traditions and of their evaluations. It said:
“But this tradition which is the work of the Holy Spirit is embodied in traditions (in the two senses of the word, both as referring to diversity in forms of expression, and in the sense of separate communions). The traditions in Christian history are distinct from, and yet connect to, the Tradition. They are the expressions and manifestations in diverse historical forms of the one truth and reality which is Christ. The evaluation of the traditions poses serious problems. For some, questions such as these are raised. It is possible to determine more precisely what the content of the one Tradition is, and by what means? Do all traditions which claim to be Christian contain the Tradition? How can we distinguish traditions embodying the true Tradition and merely human traditions? Where do we find the genuine Tradition, and where impoverished tradition or even distortion of Tradition? Tradition can be a faithful transmission of the Gospel, but also a distortion of it. In this ambiguity the seriousness of the problem of tradition is indicated. These questions imply a search for a criterion. This has been the main concern of the Church from the beginning.”
There is a remarkable agreement between the point that Cardinal Meyer raised in his intervention at the Second Vatican Council, the commentary that Joseph Ratzinger wrote on chapter 2 of Dei Verbum, and the report of the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches. All three agree on the necessity of distinguishing between Tradition, as the whole mystery of Christ as it has been handed on in the teaching, life, and worship of the Church, and traditions, which are the particular beliefs and practices in which that mystery has been embodied in the ongoing life of the church. Obviously, such beliefs and practices must have a venerable history and be widely shared to be justified as “traditions.” But the problem is, whether the venerable history and wide diffusion of a particular tradition necessarily means that this is an authentic rather than a distorting tradition; in other words, whether it is a genuine embodiment of divine Tradition or merely human tradition. (Father Francis A. Sullivan, S.J., Catholic Tradition and Traditions. Michael J. Lacey and Francis Oakley, editors, The Crisis of Authority in Catholic Modernity, Oxford University Press, 2011, pp. 114-115. See The Crisis of Authority in Catholic Modernity.)
None other than the late Monsignor Joseph Clifford Fenton, who, of course, understood in the 1960s that it was not possible, humanly speaking, to realize the Social Reign of Christ the United States of America given the firm grip that error had on the mind of most Americans, although he was always unyielding in his defense of the Church’s true social teaching, explained that the attempt to historicize Catholic teaching did indeed have roots in Americanism, citing specifically Pope Leo XIII’s Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae in doing so.
Monsignor Fenton explained the problem in a treatise on the background of what led Pope Saint Pius X to issue The Oath Against Modernism on September 1, 1910, emphasizing the importance of the sainted pontiff’s introductory text to the Oath itself:
The Modernists and their most influential sympathizers were, in great part, drawn from the ranks of the Catholic clergy. Thus they were, in the words of the introduction to the Sacrorum antistitum, the "enemies who are all the more to be feared by reason of their very nearness to us." These Catholics who taught or favored Modernism were the men whose influence within the true Church of Jesus Christ St. Pius X sought to counter by the teaching and the directives contained in the Sacrorum antistitum.
(6) Finally, in the introduction to this famous Motu proprio, St. Pius X makes it very clear indeed that the Bishops of the Catholic Church were bound in conscience by the obligations of their office to act energetically against this teaching that contradicted the divinely revealed truth proposed as such by the true Church. The "defence of the Catholic faith" and strenuous efforts "to see to it that the integrity of the divine deposit suffers no loss" are definitely not works of supererogation. These are the duties prescribed by Our Lord Himself for the leaders of the Church, which He has purchased by His blood.
The conclusion to this document, the last of the three great anti-Modernist declarations issued by the Holy See during the reign of St. Pius X, is even more enlightening than the introduction. In this we see how St. Pius X enunciated, more clearly than in any other document, the most fundamental position of the Modernists. The text of this conclusion follows:
Moved by the seriousness of the evil that is increasing every day, an evil, which We cannot put off confronting without the most grave danger, We have decided to issue and to repeat these commands. For it is no longer a case, as it was in the beginning, of dealing with disputants who come forward in the clothing of sheep. Now we are faced with open and bitter enemies from within our own household, who, in agreement with the outstanding opponents of the Church, are working for the overthrow of the faith. They are men whose audacity against the wisdom that has come down from heaven increases daily. They arrogate to themselves the right to correct this revealed wisdom as if it were something corrupt, to renew it as if it were something that had become obsolete, to improve it and to adapt it to the dictates, the progress, and the comfort of the age as if it had been opposed to the good of society and not merely opposed to the levity of a few men.
To counter such attempts against the evangelical doctrine and the ecclesiastical tradition, there will never be sufficient vigilance or too much severity on the part of those to whom the faithful care of the sacred deposit has been entrusted. (Sacrosanctum Antistitum: The Background of The Oath Against Modernism.)
One can see very clearly that Pope Saint Pius X’s introduction to The Oath Against Modernism stands as a stinging rebuke to the “living tradition” of Albert “Cardinal” Meyer and Karol Josef Wojtyla/John Paul II and, of course, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict’s philosophically absurd and dogmatically condemned “hermeneutic of continuity” that is being imposed upon the Institute of Good Shepherd, who are duty-bound to obey the command of Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s subordinate, “Monsignor” Guido Pozzo, or to recognize that the lay Jesuit is an apostate and an antipope, not a true and legitimate Successor of Saint Peter.
Monsignor Fenton went on to explain the connection between Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae and The Oath Against Modernism:
It is interesting to note the parallel between what St. Pius X says about the intentions of the Modernists and what his great predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, had to say about the basic premise of the errors he pointed out and condemned in his famed letter, the Testem benevolentiae. St. Pius X declares that the Modernists "arrogate to themselves the right to correct this revealed wisdom as if it were something corrupt, to renew it as if it were something that had become obsolete, to improve it and to adapt it to the dictates, the progress, and the comfort of the age as if it had been opposed to the good of society and not merely opposed to the levity of a few men." And Pope Leo XIII states:
The principles on which the new opinions We have mentioned are based may be reduced to this: that in order the more easily to bring over to Catholic doctrine those who dissent from it, the Church ought to adapt herself somewhat to our advanced civilization, and, relaxing her ancient rigor, show some indulgence to modern theories and methods. Many think that this is to be understood not only with regard to the rule of life, but also to the doctrines in which the deposit of faith is contained. For they contend that it is opportune, in order to work in a more attractive way upon the wills of those who are not in accord with us, to pass over certain heads of doctrines, as if of lesser moment, or so to soften them that they may not have the same meaning which the Church has invariably held. 7
Thus, when we examine the actual texts of the Testimonium benevolentiae and of the Sacrorum antistitum, it becomes quite apparent that Pope Leo XIII and St. Pius X were engaged in combating doctrinal deviations that actually sprang from an identical principle, the fantastically erroneous assumption that the supernatural communication of the Triune God could and should be brought up to date and given a certain respectability before modern society. The men who sustained the weird teachings condemned by Pope Leo XIII, a document, which, incidentally, did not denounce any mere phantom body of doctrine, and the men who taught and protected the doctrinal monstrosities stigmatized in the Lamentabili sane exitu and in the Pascendi dominici gregis, based their errors on a common foundation. The false Americanism and the heresy of Modernism were both offshoots of doctrinal liberal Catholicism.
This belief that the meaning of the Church's dogmatic message was in some way subject to change and capable of being improved and brought up to date was definitely not an explicit part of the original or the more naive stage of the liberal Catholic movement. The first components of liberal Catholicism, during the earlier days of the unfortunate Felicite De Lamenais, were religious indifferentism, some false concepts of human freedom, and the advocacy of a separation of Church and state as the ideal situation in a nation made up of members of the true Church. But, after these teachings had been forcefully repudiated by Pope Gregory XVI in his encyclical Mirari vos arbitramur, a new set of factors entered into this system. These were inserted into the fabric of liberal Catholicism because the leaders of this movement persisted in defending as legitimate Catholic doctrine this teaching, which had been clearly and vigorously condemned by the supreme power of the Catholic magisterium. Most prominent among these newer components of liberal Catholicism were minimism, doctrinal subjectivism, and an insistence that there had been and that there had to be at least some sort of change in the objective meaning of the Church's dogmatic message over the course of the centuries. 8
The liberal Catholic since the time of Montalembert has been well aware of the fact that the basic theses he proposes as acceptable Catholic doctrine have been specifically and vehemently repudiated by the doctrinal authority of the Roman Church. If he is to continue to propose these teachings as a member of the Church, he is obliged by the very force of self-consistency to claim that the declarations of the magisterium, which condemned his favorite theses do not at this moment mean objectively what they meant at the time they were issued. And, if such a claim is advanced about the Mirari vos arbitramur, there is very little to prevent its being put forward on the subject of the Athanasian Creed. Pope Leo XIII and St. Pius X were well aware of the fact that the advocates of the false Americanism and the teachers and the protectors of the Modernist heresy were employing this same discredited tactic.
This common basis of the false doctrinal Americanism and of the Modernist heresy is, like doctrinal indifferentism itself, ultimately a rejection of Catholic dogma as a genuine supernatural message or communication from the living God Himself. It would seem impossible for anyone to be blasphemous or silly enough to be convinced, on the one hand, that the dogmatic message of the Catholic Church is actually a locutio Dei ad homines, and to imagine, on the other hand, that he, a mere creature, could in some way improve that teaching or make it more respectable. The very fact that a man would be so rash as to attempt to bring the dogma of the Church up to date, or to make it more acceptable to those who are not privileged to be members of the true Church, indicates that this individual is not actually and profoundly convinced that this dogmatic teaching of the Catholic Church is a supernatural communication from the living and Triune God, the Lord and Creator of heaven and earth. It would be the height of blasphemy knowingly to set out to improve or to bring up to date what one would seriously consider a genuine message from the First Cause of the universe.
The conclusion to the Sacrorum antistitum brings out more clearly than any other statement of the Holy See the fact that Modernism sprang from the same basic principle, as did the false Americanism pointed out and proscribed in the Testem benevolentiae of Pope Leo XIII. (Sacrosanctum Antistitum: The Background of The Oath Against Modernism.)
Anyone who cannot understand that Monsignor Fenton’s brilliant analysis lays bare the heresies of the counterfeit church of conciliarism and of the conciliar “popes,” including, Ratzinger/Benedict, the supposed “restorer of Tradition,” and his successor, Bergoglio/Francis, is not being intellectually honest.
Those who want to continue to criticize those of us who are completely unyielding in our opposition to Americanism, which was nothing other than an effort on the part of American bishops in the Nineteenth Century to “celebrate,” not merely “tolerate,” the ethos of religious liberty and separation of Church and State as harbingers of Dignitatis Humane and Gaudium et Spes, December 7, 1965, and the “social magisterium,” if you will, of the conciliar “popes,” may do so only by ignoring the fact that Monsignor Joseph Clifford Fenton himself saw the direct connection between Americanism and Modernism.
Indeed, Ratzinger/Benedict himself said nearly nine years ago now that the “hermeneutic of continuity” explained the “new teaching” of the “Second” Vatican Council on religious liberty and separation of Church and State:
Secondly, it was necessary to give a new definition to the relationship between the Church and the modern State that would make room impartially for citizens of various religions and ideologies, merely assuming responsibility for an orderly and tolerant coexistence among them and for the freedom to practise their own religion.
Thirdly, linked more generally to this was the problem of religious tolerance - a question that required a new definition of the relationship between the Christian faith and the world religions. In particular, before the recent crimes of the Nazi regime and, in general, with a retrospective look at a long and difficult history, it was necessary to evaluate and define in a new way the relationship between the Church and the faith of Israel.
These are all subjects of great importance - they were the great themes of the second part of the Council - on which it is impossible to reflect more broadly in this context. It is clear that in all these sectors, which all together form a single problem, some kind of discontinuity might emerge. Indeed, a discontinuity had been revealed but in which, after the various distinctions between concrete historical situations and their requirements had been made, the continuity of principles proved not to have been abandoned. It is easy to miss this fact at a first glance.
It is precisely in this combination of continuity and discontinuity at different levels that the very nature of true reform consists. In this process of innovation in continuity we must learn to understand more practically than before that the Church's decisions on contingent matters - for example, certain practical forms of liberalism or a free interpretation of the Bible - should necessarily be contingent themselves, precisely because they refer to a specific reality that is changeable in itself. It was necessary to learn to recognize that in these decisions it is only the principles that express the permanent aspect, since they remain as an undercurrent, motivating decisions from within.
On the other hand, not so permanent are the practical forms that depend on the historical situation and are therefore subject to change.
Basic decisions, therefore, continue to be well-grounded, whereas the way they are applied to new contexts can change. Thus, for example, if religious freedom were to be considered an expression of the human inability to discover the truth and thus become a canonization of relativism, then this social and historical necessity is raised inappropriately to the metaphysical level and thus stripped of its true meaning. Consequently, it cannot be accepted by those who believe that the human person is capable of knowing the truth about God and, on the basis of the inner dignity of the truth, is bound to this knowledge.
It is quite different, on the other hand, to perceive religious freedom as a need that derives from human coexistence, or indeed, as an intrinsic consequence of the truth that cannot be externally imposed but that the person must adopt only through the process of conviction.
The Second Vatican Council, recognizing and making its own an essential principle of the modern State with the Decree on Religious Freedom, has recovered the deepest patrimony of the Church. By so doing she can be conscious of being in full harmony with the teaching of Jesus himself (cf. Mt 22: 21), as well as with the Church of the martyrs of all time. The ancient Church naturally prayed for the emperors and political leaders out of duty (cf. I Tm 2: 2); but while she prayed for the emperors, she refused to worship them and thereby clearly rejected the religion of the State.
The martyrs of the early Church died for their faith in that God who was revealed in Jesus Christ, and for this very reason they also died for freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess one's own faith - a profession that no State can impose but which, instead, can only be claimed with God's grace in freedom of conscience. A missionary Church known for proclaiming her message to all peoples must necessarily work for the freedom of the faith. She desires to transmit the gift of the truth that exists for one and all. (Christmas greetings to the Members of the Roman Curia and Prelature, December 22, 2005.)
This address is what served as the proximate motivation for me to review once again the material that I had studied periodically in the preceding two years concerning the plausibility of sedevacantism as the only logical explanation in accord with Catholic teaching to explain such heresies against the nature of dogmatic truth and such blasphemies against the martyrs of the early Church were the work of men who had lost the Catholic Faith and thus could not hold ecclesiastical office within the ranks of Holy Mother Church. In other words, Ratzinger/Benedict’s “official” endorsement of Americanism is what led me to review the fact that the problem is not with this or that particular conciliar “pope;” the problem is with a false religion based on Modernism and the “New Theology” that the conciliar “popes” have endorsed and propagated.
I will let the late Monsignor Joseph Clifford Fenton have the final words as the analysis he provided below demonstrates very clearly that the Seine and the Potomac flowed into the Tiber at the “Second” Vatican Council just as much as the Rhine and have produced a “humanitarian,” “non-religious” “pope,” Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who is just as much the end-product of conciliarism as Barack Hussein Obama/Barry Soetoro is the ultimate end product of Americanism:
In this conclusion to the Sacrorum antistitum, St. Pius X expressly recognizes the fact that the Modernists and their sympathizers, the anti-anti-Modernists, were actually working, in agreement with the most-bitter enemies of the Catholic Church, for the destruction of the Catholic faith. It is interesting and highly important to note exactly what St. Pius X said. He definitely did not claim that these men were working directly to destroy the Church as a society. It is quite obvious that, given the intimate connection between the Church and the faith, a connection so close and perfect that the Church itself may be defined as the congregatio fidelium, the repudiation of the Catholic faith would inevitably lead to the dissolution of the Church. Yet, for the Modernists and for those who co-operated in their work, the immediate object of attack was always the faith itself. These individuals were perfectly willing that the Catholic Church should continue to exist as a religious society, as long as it did not insist upon the acceptance of that message which, all during the course of the previous centuries of its existence, it had proposed as a message supernaturally revealed by the Lord and Creator of heaven and earth. They were willing and even anxious to retain their membership in the Catholic Church, as long as they were not obliged to accept on the authority of divine faith such unfashionable dogmas as, for example, the truth that there is truly no salvation outside of the Church.
What these men were really working for was the transformation of the Catholic Church into an essentially non-doctrinal religious body. They considered that their era would be willing to accept the Church as a kind of humanitarian institution, vaguely religious, tastefully patriotic, and eminently cultural. And they definitely intended to tailor the Church to fit the needs and the tastes of their own era.
It must be understood, of course, that the Modernists and the men who aided their efforts did not expect the Catholic Church to repudiate its age-old formulas of belief. They did not want the Church to reject or to abandon the ancient creeds, or even any of those formularies in which the necessity of the faith and the necessity of the Church are so firmly and decisively stated. What they sought was a declaration on the part of the Church's magisterium to the effect that these old formulas did not, during the first decade of the twentieth century, carry the same meaning for the believing Catholic that they had carried when these formulas had first been drawn up. Or, in other words, they sought to force or to delude the teaching authority of Christ's Church into coming out with the fatally erroneous proposition that what is accepted by divine faith in this century is objectively something different from what was believed in the Catholic Church on the authority of God revealing in previous times.
Thus the basic objective of Modernism was to reject the fact that, when he sets forth Catholic dogma, the Catholic teacher is acting precisely as an ambassador of Christ. The Modernists were men who were never quite able to grasp or to accept the truth that the teaching of the Catholic Church is, as the First Vatican Council designated the content of the Constitution Dei Films, actually "the salutary doctrine of Christ," and not merely some kind of doctrine, which has developed out of that teaching. And, in the final analysis, the position of the Modernists constituted the ultimate repudiation of the Catholic faith. If the teaching proposed by the Church as dogma is not actually and really the doctrine supernaturally revealed by God through Jesus Christ Our Lord, through the Prophets of the Old Testament who were His heralds, or through the Apostles who were His witnesses, then there could be nothing more pitifully inane than the work of the Catholic magisterium. (Sacrosanctum Antistitum: The Background of The Oath Against Modernism.)
The following passage, contained in the quotation from Monsignor Fenton's article of fifty-four years ago, is an exact description of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Oscar Andres Maradiaga Rodriguez, Sean O'Malley, et al.:
What these men were really working for was the transformation of the Catholic Church into an essentially non-doctrinal religious body. They considered that their era would be willing to accept the Church as a kind of humanitarian institution, vaguely religious, tastefully patriotic, and eminently cultural. And they definitely intended to tailor the Church to fit the needs and the tastes of their own era. (Sacrosanctum Antistitum: The Background of The Oath Against Modernism.)
As the hour is late and the need for sleep beckons, I entreat one and all to pray Our Lady’s Most Holy Rosary fervently and to offer up the sufferings of the present moment with joy and gratitude as the consecrated slaves of her Divine Son, Christ the King, through her own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, remembering always that conciliarism is not Catholicism and that the counterfeit church of conciliarism is not nor can ever be the Catholic Church.
Viva Cristo Rey! Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.