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August 4, 2004

Americanism: A Fundamental Error of Modernity and Modernism

by Thomas A. Droleskey

[Author’s note: There has never been a time in the history of the Church when heresies have held as much sway within the ranks of her hierarchy as today. True, the Arian heresy was vast and lasted a long time. What we are facing at present, however, is the synthesis of all heresies, Modernism, so aptly critiqued by Pope Saint Pius X in Pascendi Domenici Gregis, issued on the Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, September 8, 1907. Modernism has influenced all precincts of Catholic life, including her Sacred Liturgy in the form of the Novus Ordo Missae, the subject of my forthcoming G.I.R.M. Warfare book.

[One of the principal heresies of Modernism is Protestantism. Protestantism is a rejection of what Our Lord had entrusted to His true Church in His Deposit of Faith. It is thus no foundation whatsoever for personal sanctity or for social order. To claim, as even some traditional Catholics do, for example, that some of the states of the United States established a Protestant denominational as their confessional religion as a demonstration of the “Christian foundations” of this country, is to overlook the uncomfortable little fact that all brands of Protestantism are heretical and thus harmful to individuals and societies. To base a particular state on any brand or stripe of Protestantism is to lead that state down the road of its ultimate decay and ruin over the course of time.

[The essay that follows was published in the printed pages of Christ or Chaos in the summer of 2002 under the title of “So Wrong for So Long.” It was written to deal with the influence of Americanism on the life of the Catholic Church in this country. As Protestantism is a large part of the Americanist heresy, a review of the basic beliefs of Protestantism will reveal why American Catholics have been far more influenced by the religiously indifferentist nature of the country in which they live than they have influenced the political and cultural events of the country to the benefit of the Social Reign of Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen.

[This essay focuses particularly on Pope Leo XIII’s Testem Benevolentiae, issued as an Apostolical Letter to James Cardinal Gibbons, the long-time Americanist Archbishop of Baltimore, on January 22, 1899. A dispassionate review of this great papal letter will help one to understand why most of the current members of the American hierarchy have embraced the regime of novelty advanced by the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath. For the Second Vatican Council and the Novus Ordo Missae are but expressions of the Modernist errors that have manifested themselves differently in Europe and North American, but are nevertheless part and parcel of why Catholics worldwide do not see the world clearly through the eyes of the true Faith and why they are so receptive to the allurements and enticements of the Adversary in the form of novel ideas and practices, both ecclesiastically and culturally.

[It is hoped that this essay, which will be incorporated into a forthcoming book of my reflections on American partisan politics and the Social Teaching of the Church on the nature of the State, will help a few Catholics to realize that a Protestant cannot be a true friend of Christ or an actual advocate of the just social order, which perforce must rely upon the guidance of Holy Mother Church and upon the sacraments she administers to men for their sanctification and salvation.]

The heresy of Americanism is a species of Modernism. The Modernist spirit is what would attack the Church violently in countries where the Cross of the Divine Redeemer had been implanted firmly in the bedrock of their soil. This was true in Europe, where the Protestant revolutions, both on the mainland and in England, and it was true in Catholic America, where Freemasons, inspired by the success of the American Revolution, sought to attack the Church as violently in Latin America as she had been attacked in Europe (especially during the French Revolution).

In essence, Americanism is the exaltation of the American spirit of democracy, consensus, egalitarianism, religious indifferentism, cultural relativism. This Americanist spirit eschews those who claim to have the entirety of revealed truth, no less those who content that truth of its nature is unchanging and not subject to the arbitrary whim of plebiscites. It rejects any allegiance to that which is foreign, especially as represented by the office of the Successor of Saint Peter. Americanism exalts the natural human spirit, unaided by sanctifying grace, to resolve all human problems and to even attempt (quite arrogantly, it should be noted), to come to a new understanding of human nature without referencing Original Sin and Our Lord's Redemptive Act on the wood of the Holy Cross. Indeed, Americanism embraces all that is "new" and "modern," making a religion out of political ideologies and science. The goal of the Americanist ethos is to produce the "good citizen," not to form souls in light of First and Last Things so that they can be citizens of Heaven for all eternity.

Some Catholics contend to this very day that this heresy never existed, that Pope Leo XIII had been given bad information about the writings of Father Isaac Thomas Hecker, the founder of the Paulists (a religious community that is rife with sodomy currently). However, Pope Leo had a very good understanding of how the currents summarized above were undermining the life of the Church in the United States. He knew that there had been, as I demonstrated in Christ in the Voting Booth, a systematic opposition by American prelates to the full proclamation of the Faith in some instances, including the solemn proclamation of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1854 and the First Vatican Council's solemn proclamation of Papal infallibility sixteen years later. The latter was opposed vigorously by several American bishops, not on prudential grounds but on grounds of a disbelief in the doctrine itself, including Peter Richard Kenrick, the Archbishop of Saint Louis, Missouri, and John B. Purcell, the Archbishop of Cincinnati. Archbishop John Ireland, the Archbishop of Saint Paul-Minneapolis, went so far as to praise public education at a meeting of the National Education Association in the late nineteenth century (praising public education for its formation of citizens, even though one of the goals of public education was to brainwash the children of Catholic immigrants to this country that religion was a private matter that had no relation to public policy and that no one religion had any special claim to God's teaching, the essence of Masonry, obviously). Finally, there had been active opposition by some American bishops to the idea of the appointment of a Papal delegate to the Untied States, led by John Lancaster Spaulding, himself no stranger to scandal, then the Bishop of Peoria. Indeed, Spaulding captured the spirit of Americanism quite well in a letter he sent to a friend:

This opposition arises in part from a fixed and strongly-rooted desire, which exists throughout the English-speaking world, to manage as far as possible one's own affairs. The firm determination of the American people to permit no needless foreign interference is shown in the Monroe Doctrine, and it was more practically demonstrated by the overthrow and death of Maximilian. Catholics who live here, and who, wherever they were born, are true American citizens, feel the impulse of this desire and wish to manage as far as possible their own affairs. They are devoted to the Church; they recognize in the Pope Christ's Vicar, and gladly receive from him faith and morals; but for rest, they ask him to interfere as little as possible.

This letter is quite telling. Spaulding analogized the appointment of a Papal delegate to an interference with American national sovereignty, implying that the Church in the United States was autonomous in her governance from Rome. He also lionized the murder of the Catholic Emperor of Mexico, Maximilian, as something that was a laudable display of the spirit of independence which prevails in the Americas. His letter is a road map to the current state of the Church in the Untied States.

As I noted in "From Luther to Clinton to Gore" in the Late December 2000/Mid-January 2001 issue of Christ or Chaos, there are a number of intellectual currents dating from the time of the Renaissance that have helped to shape the modern world (and the modern world view held by so many of our bishops). The quintessence of these intellectual currents was expressed by Niccolo Machiavelli, who sought to undermine and overthrow the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ as the basis for statecraft. It was the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ which restrained the tendency to absolutism in the Middle Ages; rulers and potentates understood that the Church had the right to interpose herself if they proposed to do things-or had indeed done things-inimical to the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law and/or the conditions in society conducive to the salvation of souls. As influential as Machiavelli was (Warren Carroll notes in The Cleaving of Christendom that Thomas Cromwell kept a copy of The Prince by his bed!), he could not have been successful ultimately had it not been for Martin Luther and King Henry VIII. Thus, the state of the American Church is directly influenced by the currents which began in the Renaissance and the spirit of Protestantism. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to state that many bishops and their "theological" advisers are post-Christians, men who really do not believe that the Incarnation and Redemption matter in the lives of men and their societies. Thus, it is important to review once more the nature of Protestantism, for it is in Protestantism that we find many of the roots of the problems facing the Church in the United States of America.

The Protestant Revolt, launched by the then Father Martin Luther in 1517, set human history on a course which resulted in the rise of secularism and secular political ideologies as the foundation of social life. Why? Well, it is really quite simple. The revolution against the authority of the Church instituted by Our Lord Himself upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope, help to usher in the spirit of individualism as the basis of Christianity. Luther contended that individuals did not need any "guide" to help them understand Sacred Scripture, which he believed was the sole source of Divine revelation. The rejection of the authority of the true Church to be our mater and magistra turned the world of Christendom upside down. Luther helped to give rebirth to the old lie of Satan, first offered to Eve in the Garden of Eden, that we creatures are the equal of the Creator. A man of enormous pride, Luther did not want to submit himself to any authority, especially ecclesiastical authority, on the face of this earth. By asserting himself pridefully, however, Luther's pride was the exact opposite of the humility demonstrated by the Divine Redeemer, Who submitted Himself voluntarily to the authority of His own creatures, the Blessed Mother and His foster-father, Saint Joseph, in the Holy Family in Nazareth. Luther did not understand-and wound up rejecting-the fact that Our Lord humbled Himself for thirty years at home in Nazareth in order to teach us that we must submit ourselves in humility to the authority of His Mystical Bride, Holy Mother Church, in all that pertains to our salvation individually and to the administration of justice founded in Divine Truth collectively in the institutions of civil governance.

Protestant individualism went through many mutations over the course of 259 years between Luther's posting his ninety-five theses and the Declaration of Independence. Human pride being what it is, however, individualism of any strip leads people into thinking that all forms of authority, whether ecclesiastical or civil, are founded upon human consent. Certain Protestant sects, for example, believe in congregationalism, the belief which asserts that there exists a strict equality among the community of believers. Thus, individualism breeds the paradox of egalitarianism, which asserts that everyone is equal in authority to everyone else. This is the exact opposite of what Holy Mother Church had taught is the basis of personal sanctity and social order. While we are individuals who have free wills, we are supposed to surrender ourselves freely to the authority Our Lord has placed over us for our sanctification and instruction, and that is based upon our recognition (certainly not consent) of the fact that Our Lord established a hierarchy to sanctify us and to teach us. We are not automatons and we are not all equal in authority to each other (something that we are supposed to learn in the cradle of the family, where children learn that they are not the equal in authority to their parents). Protestantism denies all of this. Many American bishops believe that they are equal in authority to the patrimony of the Church. They do not believe in the sacerdotal, hierarchical priesthood instituted by Our Lord at the Last Supper, and they do not believe that truth of its nature is unchanging. This is the fruit of failing to recognize the dangers posed to the Faith by a Protestant and Masonic culture.

However, Protestantism contains within itself many paradoxes. It is founded upon the fallacious belief that mutually contradictory beliefs and interpretations can all be simultaneously true. Protestantism is an absurdity. As Pope Leo XIII noted in Immortale Dei in 1880:

To hold therefore that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and in practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. Men who really believe in the existence of God must, in order to be consistent with themselves and to avoid absurd conclusions, understand that differing modes of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict even on most important points, cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God.

And the absurdity which is Protestant individualism led all too logically to the demands for the separation between Church and State, which has been embraced so enthusiastically by many American bishops. After all, how is it possible for divergent sects to live in peace civilly when they disagree about so many things theologically in the name of individualism and egalitarianism? And the doctrine of the separation of Church and State gave Freemasons and other naturalists and secularists the opening they needed to impose that which was truly novel and revolutionary upon human society: a world where all public references to the Divine Redeemer, no less a recognition of the authority of His true Church, would be eradicated entirely.

The Founders of this nation, for example, were influenced by many beliefs and ideas. But the enduring heritage of the Protestant Revolt-with its emphasis upon individualism, civil liberty, civil peace, religious indifferentism and egalitarianism-led them to believe that the only way for people of divergent religious beliefs to live together in peace was to pursue the Roman concept of "civic virtue." This is the prevailing spirit of ecumenism in this country, which, sadly, has the been the hallmark of the pontificate of Pope John Paul II and the Novus Ordo Missae. But it is not possible in the normal course of human events for people, whether acting individually or collectively in society, to pursue virtue successfully over the course of a long period of time without cooperating with the sacraments instituted by Our Lord - and entrusted by Him to Holy Mother Church for their valid administration - to do so. It is difficult enough with sanctifying grace to pursue virtue, fallen human nature being what it is, subject to a varieties of temptations; it is next-to-impossible for an individual to do so without sanctifying grace, and absolutely impossible for a society to do so. Alas, this is one of the principal lies of the Americanist spirit that is the progeny of Protestantism: the recrudescence of Pelagianism, the old heresy which contends that human beings are self-redemptive, that they can be good on their own power without any action by God working through His sacraments.

Another aspect of Protestantism which influenced the Founding of this nation-and still influences its political and cultural life today-is its stress on Scripture alone (sola Scriptura) as the only source of Divine revelation. The Church teaches us that there are two sources of Divine revelation, Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture. And she maintains that she has been entrusted by Christ Himself to use Sacred Tradition as the basis of interpreting applying Sacred Scripture. Protestantism relies only upon the written word, however, just as the Americanist spirit relies upon written documents (the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution) as the answer to all questions about civil governance. This has led to the triumph of the spirit of legal positivism, which asserts that there is no law above human law, that whatever a majority (be that majority popular or legislative or judicial in origin) deems to be legal is, ipso facto, moral. Even Catholic jurists such as U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia believe that the U.S. Constitution must be interpreted only in light of the words it contains, not by using the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law. He told a communion breakfast in 1997 that it is his duty as an American judge interpreting American law to use only the language of such law. Thus, since abortion is neither prohibited nor permitted by the Constitution, a state legislature is free to enact whatever legislation it considers appropriate on the matter. Such a positivistic view is the direct result of the Protestant reliance upon a written document, the Bible, as the only source of Divine revelation, denying the reality of Sacred Tradition and of the Church as the repository of that revelation. But isn't it the case that even "pro-life" candidates, such as Alan Keyes, assert that we oppose abortion because it is in opposition to our American principles, especially as they are expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? A slavish attachment to a written document, especially those which do not mention the Divine Redeemer and which reject the authority of His true Church, reinforces the spirit of individualism and of egalitarianism, thus creating and reinforcing a vicious cycle of the delusion of human autonomy from Christ and His Church as the basis of electoral politics and public policy. That Archbishop John Carroll and one his most notorious Americanist successors, James Cardinal Gibbons, embraced this spirit of American secular constitutionalism speaks volumes about the substitution of the profane for the sacred. Even many "pro-life" bishops embrace the schema of the American Founding uncritically without realizing how it has contributed directly to the deterioration of both our civil and ecclesiastical situations.

The time of Christendom during the Middle Ages was far from perfect. There were wars and scandals and heresies and periods of corruption within the highest quarters of the Church. Despite the problems, however, it was the period in which culture was informed by the true faith, a time when, as Pope Leo XIII noted in Immortale Dei:

There was a time when States were governed by the principles of Gospel teaching. Then it was that the power and divine virtue of Christian wisdom had diffused itself throughout the laws, institutions, and morals of the people; permeating all ranks and relations of civil society. Then, too, the religion instituted by Jesus Christ, established firmly in befitting dignity, flourished everywhere, by the favor of princes and the legitimate protection of magistrates; and Church and State were happily united in concord and friendly interchange of good offices. The State, constituted in this wise, bore fruits important beyond all expectation, whose remembrance is still, and always will be, in renown, witnessed to as they are by countless proofs which can never be blotted out or even obscured by any craft of any enemies. Christian Europe has subdued barbarous nations, and changed them from a savage to a civilized condition, from superstition to true worship. It victoriously rolled back the tide of Mohammedan conquest; retained the headship of civilization; all, in every branch of national culture; bestowed on the world the gift of true and many-sided liberty; and most wisely founded very numerous institutions for the solace of human suffering. And if we inquire how it was able to bring about so altered a condition of things, the answer is-beyond all question, in large measure, through religion; under whose auspices so many great undertakings were set on foot, through whose aid they were brought to completion.

It was during the Middle Ages that rulers understood, sometimes with more than a little bit of reluctance, that their civil rule was subordinate to the mind of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. They understood that they were placed in a position of authority over their subjects to as to enforce the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law as the foundation of civil authority. They knew that it was their obligation to help to foster those conditions wherein it would be more possible for their subjects (and for themselves) to save their immortal souls. Moreover, the rulers and princes of Christendom knew that the Successor of Saint Peter had the right to discipline and to correct them if their administration of justice went awry. And, most importantly, they knew that the very salvation of their own immortal souls depended in large measure on how just they were to the subjects in the application of the binding precepts of the divine positive law and natural law.

The average person during the Middle Ages considered himself a Catholic first and a citizen of a particular kingdom second. He sought, albeit imperfectly, to please God, trying to do all that was entrusted to him in whatever state in life he found himself perfectly as befits a redeemed creature, making sure to do all things in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. He knew that there were limits which existed in the nature of things beyond which he could not legitimately go, that mere possession of a physical ability to perform a given act did not mean that he had the right to do so, that he was only free morally to choose the good, to choose that which redounded to the glory of the Blessed Trinity and the salvation of his own immortal soul. This is what provided the foundation for stable and happy marriages, which produced children who were taught from their earliest years to love God through His true Church, that human existence consisted not in the acquisition and retention of material wealth but of living in such a way so as to die a happy, holy death. And while Catholic home-schooling families are attempting to recapture the spirit of Christendom, most children, including those who are baptized Catholics, are being raised in a thorough secular, relativistic, individualistic and positivistic culture, which is not propitious to a true understanding of the purpose of human existence or of the nature of the State as being subordinate to the mind of Christ as He has expressed It through Holy Mother Church.

The many brands of Protestantism differ from one another in many things. But each of them stems from the twin pillars of the Protestant Revolt: individualism and a reliance upon the written word alone. It is these twin pillars which, though highly secularized, have infected the mind set of many believing Catholics into thinking themselves as Americans and Catholics second. It is what has led Catholics into believing that we have to find some kind of secularist "common ground" by which to resolve our problems. However, the problems of modernity are the direct result of the Protestant Revolt and its many mutations (including Freemasonry). And the problems facing the Church in this country are in no small measure the result of the uncritical embrace of all that is modern and a rejection of all that is Catholic, including the Traditional Latin Mass (which served as the bulwark in this country to prevent things from getting worse than they became after the Mass was revolutionized in 1969).

The contrast between Catholic America and English America is stark. Sure, the United States is more advanced technologically and economically. But how have we used our technology and economy? To glorify God? How have we used our freedom? To seek our salvation through Christ's true Church? There are still places scattered about the map in Latin America where simple villagers life lives that appear backward and impoverished. Perhaps it is the case, however, that those simple villagers are more advanced and rich than we will ever be in our secular, religiously indifferentist nation. Those simple villagers love God and are content with the riches that flow to them in the sacraments instituted by Our Lord for their sanctification and salvation. Which is more pleasing to God? A land which exalts technology and wealth? Or one which stresses a love for Him through His true Church.

Even bishops who profess to be pro-life have embraced an ethos and a spirit directly responsible for the rise of divorce, contraception, abortion, euthanasia, and, obviously, sodomy. They do not understand or accept the fact that there is no secularist, religiously indifferentist way to resolve our problems. They have not seen it as their duty to teach the great encyclical letters of Popes Leo XIII and Pius XI, to say nothing of Blessed Pius IX and St. Pius X. No, all that is American has been embraced uncritically, resulting in the triumph of secularism and naturalism which prevail throughout the hierarchy of the Church in this country (and in much of the world; for, as noted earlier, Americanism is a species of that Modernism which has infiltrated the highest quarters of the Church).

Testem Benevolentiae and Today

Pope Leo XIII understood all of this quite clearly, quite prophetically. It is important at this juncture to review key passages of his great apostolical letter, addressed to James Cardinal Gibbons, the Archbishop of Baltimore and de facto Primate of the United States, dated January 22, 1899, just seventy-three years before the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Roe v. Wade, and to apply his insights to the state of the Church in the United States at present.

TB: 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 popular theories and methods.

Comment: The pride of modern man, who believes that he has new insights into the nature of the human being and how he is to live in a supposedly new age. Most of the American bishops are guilty of this pride, believing that a proclamation of the Faith of our Fathers will reduce the Church's credibility in the eyes of the cultural elite in this country and/or lessen the chances for upward social mobility and economic and political success on the part of Catholics. Thus, secular psychology must prevail in the screening and formation of men to the priesthood. The sacraments do not contain the power to restrain children, for example, from sinning against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments. No, we must rely upon sexologists and the insights of textbook publishers to teach our children in order to give them "information" upon which they can make informed choices. And if a priest, let's say, falls into perverted vice, he must be taught be "comfortable" with himself as he is sent back to "minister" to the faithful. Thus, all that is modern is embraced and all that is truly Catholic, both in matters of doctrine and liturgy, must be rejected as unscientific and opposed to human progress and solidarity. Those who advance such ideas must be given positions in all levels of Catholic education-from elementary school through secondary school to colleges and universities and seminaries and professional schools. It is these experts who know best, even though they use modern methods to debunk the miracles of Our Lord (if not His actual historical existence) as myths, render the Church into a formless mass of egalitarian individuals seeking out a consensus upon which to agree (for the moment, at least), and to proffer relativistic concepts which result in the abortion of souls and bodies.

TB: 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 to so soften them that they may not have the same meaning which the Church has invariably held.

Comment: There were some bishops and priests in the nineteenth century who did not want to promote devotion to Our Lady in the belief that this would alienate Protestants from the Faith and be hurtful to the social success of Catholics. The same was true concerning the doctrine of Papal infallibility, as noted earlier. And not a few bishops and priests believed it was utterly unimportant and totally unnecessary to confront the evils to both the Faith and to the country posed by Freemasonry. Today, every doctrine of the Faith has come under attack. Most of the Deposit of Faith is not even taught to our children. Indeed, as mentioned above, the received teaching of Our Lord is actively undermined in all levels of Catholic education, especially in allegedly Catholic colleges and universities. It is no accident that the American bishops have fought mightily the implementation of Ex corde ecclesia, believing that the American spirit of academic freedom and intellectual inquiry will be stifled by such an autocratic and outdated exercise of ecclesiastical authority. The irony, though, is inescapable: the very bishops and factotums who invoke the American spirit of democracy and egalitarianism and consensus act in very arbitrary, fascistic ways with Catholics who dare to point out how they are undermining the Faith. The very people who dissent all the time from the Deposit of Faith tolerate zero dissent themselves. Typical hypocrites and fascists. Such is the hypocrisy of the modern era, however: the very people who fashion themselves enlightened leaders are actually narrow bigots who come to hate any implication that they are in error.

TB: Now, Beloved Son, few words are needed to show how reprehensible is the plan that is thus conceived, if we but consider the character and origin of the doctrine which the Church hands down to us. On that point the [First] Vatican Council says; 'The doctrine of faith which God has revealed is not proposed like a theory of philosophy which is to be elaborated by the human understanding, but as a divine deposit delivered to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully guarded and infallibly declared.

Comment: We know only too painfully that the doctrine of faith is mocked and reviled in many of our pulpits and schools and colleges and universities and seminaries. Opinion and heresy are offered as definitive. The received teaching of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made man is reviled. It was to safeguard the Deposit of Faith and to assure the salvation of souls that the Church used to have an annual cycle of preaching. Repetition is the mother of learning. People forget. They need to be reminded incessantly of the fact that we are made by God to return to Him through His true Church by cooperating with the graces made available in the sacraments and persisting until the time of our deaths in states of sanctifying grace. Instead, though, most Catholics today are bombarded with that which is injurious to their salvation (and thus to the right ordering of civil society). And many of the most successful heretics in pulpits are very popular with their parishioners as they ooze "compassion" and concern for "where the people are" as they evolve in their "faith journeys." Not only is nothing done by the American bishops to silence these heretics, they are promoted and made auxiliary bishops and ordinaries. Those who are orthodox are punished in various ways, sometimes being sent to psychiatric facilities to discover the "reasons" for their "rigidity." Pope Leo XIII knew that it was reprehensible to put the received teaching of Christ into question. Do most American bishops agree? Do they understand that those who can pervert the doctrine of Our Lord can easily abuse others for their own perverted pleasure?

TB: Nor is the suppression to be considered altogether free from blame, which designedly omits certain principles of Catholic doctrine and buries them, a it were, in oblivion.

Comment: Popes used to write and to speak quite bluntly, not obtusely. Pope Leo XIII is stating at this juncture that there are American bishops and priests who want to suppress and to bury the true doctrines of Our Lord in order to curry favor with Protestant majority in society, as well as to be seen as "friendly" and "unthreatening" to their parishioners. This is even more the case today. Why else was the Baltimore Catechism, which was given us by the American bishops as an excellent teaching tool in the nineteenth century, suppressed in most instances? It is precisely because of the arrogance of those who believe that we can know nothing for certain, and the little that we think we know is subject to re-examination and debate.

TB: For there is one and the same Author and Master of all the truths that Christian teaching comprises: the only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father. That they are adapted to all ages and nations is plainly deduced from the words which Christ addressed to His apostles: "Going therefore teach ye all nations: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world." Wherefore the same Vatican Council says: "By the divine and Catholic faith those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God either written or handed down, and are proposed by the Church whether in solemn decision, or by the ordinary universal magisterium, to be believed as having been divinely revealed."

Comment: Have you ever seen a diocesan or parish "mission statement." As former the former Bishop of Fargo, the Most Reverend James S. Sullivan, commented to me in 1988, the only "mission statement" we need is Our Lord's command repeated by Pope Leo XIII, that we teach all nations everything that He has revealed, and to do so until the end of time. Period. Anyone who believes he is more "sophisticated" than Our Lord is bereft of his senses, seeking to draw people to himself rather than to the Divine Redeemer as He has discharged His mind to the Apostles and through them to us by means of the Church. Alas, is this not the state of the Church in the United States? How many Catholics believe in all that Our Lord has revealed? Most Catholics dissent from at least one part of the Deposit of Faith, doing so not only because of cultural currents but because those cultural currents have been embraced by bishops and priests and alleged teachers of religion in our schools and religious education programs.

TB: Far be it, then, for any one to diminish or for any reason whatever to pass over anything of this divinely delivered doctrine; whosoever would do so, would rather wish to alienate Catholics from the Church than to bring over to the Church those who dissent from it. Let them return; indeed, nothing is nearer to Our heart; let all those who are wandering far from the sheepfold of Christ return; but let it not be by any other road than that which Christ has pointed out.

Comment: How prophetic. The complete and total abandonment of the Deposit of Faith following the close of the Second Vatican Council in 1965 has indeed alienated millions of Catholics from the Faith, drawing next to no Protestants into the Church. Why should people convert to a church which is indistinguishable from theirs? As we know, the Holy See itself, scandalously, told an Orthodox bishop who wanted to convert to Catholicism not to do so! This is the triumph of the American spirit of sentimentality and indifferentism on a global scale. Domestically, the abandonment of the Deposit of Faith (and the Mass of Pope Paul VI) bewildered and alienated Catholics, many of whom sought refuge later in some brand of nondenominational Protestant congregation. Look at the names of many evangelical and fundamentalist preachers. Many of them have Italian and Irish and, now, Spanish names. As Father Enrique Rueda noted at a conference in Tarrytown, New York in 1988, the doctrinal and liturgical revolutions made it easy for Spanish-speaking immigrants to this nation to fall prey to evangelicals and fundamentalists. If the Church does not catechize the truths of Our Lord to Catholics, then those Catholics will be catechized and evangelized by some other gospel. Political ideology. Some brand of Protestantism. The New Age movement (and its practice of syncretism of Eastern "religions" and Christianity). Narcissism, in which the entirety of life revolves around the satisfaction of one's own desires and pleasures. Pope Leo XIII was prophetically predicting the demise of the Church in the United States if the trends he saw developing grew to maturity. He knew that souls would be devastated, and the very credibility of the Church in the world would be undermined and eclipsed. If people are interested in winning over Protestants and non-Christians to the Faith, then they must simply proclaim the full truths of the true Church without compromise and to pray for their conversion. We do not water down the Faith do accommodate human sensibilities. The Apostles did not do so. Neither can we. But, as Pope Leo pointed out in a section of Testem Benevolentiae to be discussed shortly, those who are convinced so arrogantly of their superiority to the Apostles will ultimately believe that the Holy Ghost pours out greater gifts on them than on people in the far distant past.
After admitting that the rule of life, "which is laid down for Catholics" does admit of modifications, "according to the diversity of time and place," Pope Leo XIII nevertheless warned that what was being proposed by Americanism was more than a mere adaptation of the Faith to the exigencies of a particular culture. It was, he taught, an embrace of currents which are cancerous to the Faith and to the salvation of souls.

TB: But in the manner of which we are now speaking, Beloved Son, the project involves a greater danger and is more hostile to Catholic doctrine and discipline, inasmuch as the followers of these novelties judge that a certain liberty ought to be introduced into the Church, so that, limiting the exercise and vigilance of its powers, each one of the faithful may act more freely in pursuance of his own natural abilities. They affirm, namely, that this is called for in order to imitate that liberty which, though quite recently introduced, is now the law and the foundation of almost every civil community. On that point, We have spoken very much at length in the Letter written to al the bishops about the constitutions of States; where We have also shown the difference between the Church, which is of divine right, and all other associations which subsist by the free will of men.

Comment: Pope Leo XIII understood that Catholics in the United States were in a far more dangerous situation than had faced their predecessors in the past. The Roman Emperors and their factotums attacked the Church head on. Luther and Calvin just frankly rejected Catholicism. King Henry VIII and his daughter Queen Elizabeth I attacked the Church violently, as did the French Revolutionaries. The Church in the United States, Pope Leo understood, was being eaten away in an indirect, insidious manner by the cultural milieu in which she found herself. For the first time in the history of the Church, the Holy Father saw so prophetically, Catholics had found themselves in a hostile cultural environment which they did not seek to convert but were in the process of being converted by. He knew that Catholics in the United States would want over the course of time to have the Church adopt the schema of "liberty" and "egalitarianism" that was part and parcel of American civil life. It was impossible to retard the influence of these false ideas into the Church as long as Catholics, starting with most of their bishops and priests, that they did not have the obligation to plant the seeds for the conversion of the nation. True, many individual converts were made to the Faith in the nineteenth century. However, the life of the Church was indeed being eroded by the embrace of the American spirit, to such an extent that Catholics in the United States rejoiced when this country went to war against Catholic Spain and introduced Protestant and Masonic influences in Cuba and Puerto Rico and the Philippines. After all, these backward people had to be Americanized, right?

Furthermore, Pope Leo XIII knew that the rush of partisan politics was diverting the attention of Catholics from the business of Catholicizing their nation. As I have noted on many occasions, Catholic immigrants and their successors developed a slavish attachment to the Democratic Party at a time when the Republican Party was in the hands of nativist anti-Catholics. Believing that it was important to achieve material and economic success through the political process, Catholics plunged headlong into the clubhouses of the Democratic Party, which is why so many Catholics are reflexively Democratic today. Accepting, however, the framework of a two-party system in a Constitutional framework inimical to the Faith, the lion's share of Catholics in the United States believe that the only way to make "progress" on a particular issue, including pro-life, is to be an adherent to a particular political party, ignoring how that political party endorses candidates who are fundamentally opposed to the primacy of the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law, to say nothing of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ. Our salvation does not come from secular politics. It comes from the Church Our Lord founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. Pope Leo knew that while it was important for Catholics to be involved in the civic process, he insisted that they be involved as Catholics to defend Catholic truth, no matter what might befall them electorally. However, if the only thing that matters is electoral success as an end in and of itself, then it is easy to eschew the truths of the Faith by claiming to represent and to defend the American way of pluralism and consensus.

Ultimately, this embrace of the republican spirit has indeed infected the Church as Pope Leo knew in his day that it would. Many bishops believe that they are the equal, if not the superior, of the Vicar of Christ on matters of faith and morals. They believe that their leftist statements on matters of prudential judgment are absolutely binding on the faithful while the great encyclical letters of the past are shunted down the Orwellian memory hole. Lay people should direct and control the "liturgy," which is nothing more than the community love-feast, not the unbloody re-presentation of Calvary. The priest is merely the presider, not even the first among equals in most instances. Simply a master of ceremonies who reads from a script. The shopworn canards of feminism are embraced wholeheartedly. Sentimentality replaces the Deposit of Faith. And Catholics are led by their bishops and priests to believe that there is nothing they can do in their personal lives that can cause them to lose their salvation. The only sins are "social" sins which call for structural reform in society, not the reform of individual lives effected by the graces won for us by the shedding of Our Lord's Most Precious Blood on Calvary. As a species of Modernism, we can see how Americanism has infected the Church on a worldwide basis, especially in the postconciliar years.

TB: It is of importance, therefore, to note particularly an opinion which is adduced as a sort of argument to urge the granting of such liberty to Catholics. For they say, in speaking of the infallible teaching of the Roman Pontiff, that after the solemn decision formulated in the Vatican Council, there is no more need of solicitude in that regard, and, because of its being now out of dispute, a wider field of thought and action is thrown open to individuals. A preposterous method of arguing, surely. For if anything is suggested by the infallible teaching of the Church, it is certainly that no one ought to withdraw from it; nay, that all should strive to be so thoroughly imbued with and be guided by its spirit, so as to be the more easily preserved from any private error whatsoever.

Comment: For Americans, a controversial issue is never considered "settled" unless the most radical twist on that issue has been accepted as normal and binding upon everyone in society. For example, Roe v. Wade is considered "settled law" by the lion's share of people in this country, including many so-called "pro-life" politicians (who aren't really pro-life at all, simply less pro-abortion than others). Special "rights" for sodomites are in the process of becoming "settled law" in one state after another (to say nothing of the Federal level). Well, the same is true for Catholics in the United States who are infected with the Americanist spirit, including bishops and priests. If a matter of faith and morals is declared as settled by the Church (the Immaculate Conception, Papal infallibility, the nonadmissability of women to the priesthood, contraception, divorce and remarriage without a valid decree of nullity, abortion), this is considered to be all the more reason for there to be "dialogue" about that which has been declared "settled." After all, the American way calls for the majority "opinion" to prevail in controversial matters. Thus, Pope Leo XIII condemned as preposterous the contention of those who insist that a solemn definition of an article of the Faith is not final and that its proclamation as being solemn actually opens up for debate and re-examination.

This is what has happened in one diocese after another. Workshops and symposia are held featuring speakers who are dissenters from the Deposit of Faith. None of the Ten Commandments have any binding force. Individual conscience, unshaped and undirected by the authentic teaching of the God-Man, is supreme over any other authority, including that of the Church. Young people are told they need not attend Mass every week. They are told that there is no such thing as mortal sin; one can only sin if his "fundamental option" is against God (which denies, obviously, that each sin of its very nature is a conscious turning away from God and our relationship with Him through His Church). Their innocence and purity must be undermined by the rot of sex-instruction, which is based upon the belief that it is neither possible nor desirable to obey the Sixth and Ninth Commandments merely by loving God, avoiding sin, and seeking to cooperate with sanctifying grace to grow in holiness.

The American way is the way of discussion and debate. The way of Our Lord is revelation, firm and sure, unchanging and eternal. But that is too much for most of the hierarchy of the United States and their factotums and alleged theological advisers. Those who believe firmly all those truths revealed by God, who canst neither deceive nor be deceived, are the ones who must be denounced as rigid, reactionary, bigoted, intolerant, and judgmental by those in ecclesiastical authority who indemnify dissenters as original thinkers exercising their intellectual and academic freedom.

TB: To this we may add that those who argue in that wise quite set aside the wisdom and providence of God; who when He desired in that very solemn decision to affirm the authority and teaching office of the Apostolic See, desired it especially in order the more efficaciously to guard the minds of Catholic from the dangers of the present times. The license which is commonly confounded with liberty; the passion for saying and reviling everything; the habit of thinking and expressing everything in print, have case such deep shadows on men's minds, that there is now greater utility and necessity for this office of teaching than ever before, lest men should be drawn away from conscience and duty. It is far, indeed, from Our intention to repudiate all that the genius of time begets; nay, rather, whatever the search for truth attains, or the effort after good achieves, will always be welcome by Us, for it increases the patrimony of doctrine and enlarges the limits of public prosperity. But all this, to possess real utility, should thrive without setting aside the authority and wisdom of the Church.

Comment: The Pope is stating that he notes a trend among some American bishops and priests and lay people to eschew the teaching office of the Vicar of Christ on matters of Faith and morals. Recognizing that the Pope's authority to exercise the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ over rulers and civil societies had been overthrown as a result of the Renaissance and the Protestant Revolt and the so-called Enlightenment and the French Revolution and Freemasonry, Pope Leo XIII was aware that a similar spirit of rebellion in the Church was at work so as to overthrow all vestiges of Papal authority over bishops and their "local" churches. A Pope recognizes that there will be scientific and technological advances made which could improve the quality of life. However, all such discoveries and advances must be used according to the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law, to that which redounds to the common good of societies and to the salvation of souls. To repudiate the supernatural in favor of the natural, as he argues in a later section of the apostolical letter, is to subject Holy Mother Church to the arbitrariness of a culture born as a direct result of a violent rejection of the patrimony of Christendom.

Thus, supposedly "scientific" discoveries (the ideology of evolutionism, discussed at length in Christ or Chaos in 2001 and to be reprinted in these pages soon) must alter the way we view the Faith. If the world is evolving, then God must be evolving, His truths must be evolving, His liturgy must be evolving (process philosophy and process theology, both of which are species of Hegelian dialectics). Everything is open for discussion and debate according to the "insights"of scientists and sociologists and political scientists and anthropologists and psychologists. This leads, ultimately, to the belief that one is self-redemptive (the essence of Protestantism and Masonry), which is the subject of the next part of the apostolical letter to be quoted and analyzed.

TB: We come now in due course to what are adduced as consequences from the opinions We have touched upon; in which if the intention seem not wrong, as We believe, the things themselves assuredly will not appear by any means free from suspicion. For, in the first place, all external guidance is rejected as superfluous, nay even as somewhat of a disadvantage, for those who desire to devote themselves to the acquisition of Christian perfection; for the Holy Ghost, they say, pours greater and richer gifts into the hearts of the faithful now than in times past; and by a certain hidden instinct teaches and moves them with no one as an intermediary.

Comment: The American spirit of unbridled individualism was bound to undermine a Catholic's belief in the sacraments as the principal means by which he receives supernatural helps to resist sin and to grow in holiness. The Pentecostal movement, which was taking many Protestants by storm at the time Pope Leo wrote Testem Benevolentiae (and would be christened the "Charismatic Movement" in the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council), contended that individuals did not need any intermediaries with God. Yes, this is one of the cornerstones of Lutheranism and Calvinism, to be sure. Pentecostalism, however, rejects all semblance of external authority in matters of the interior life as an impediment to the working of the Holy Ghost, Who they believe acts immediately and personally upon individuals to enlighten and to strengthen them without the sacramental action of the Church Christ founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. This leads individuals into thinking that they are "empowered" by God directly, and that it is possible to know infallibly God's will for them, as well as to believe that God wills for them to do things that are contrary to what is taught in His name by His true Church, which of her nature is hierarchical and authoritative. No, individuals are authoritative, not any "artificial" construct made up of mere men. How can such mere men who wear "fancy costumes" know more than any one of us?

This spirit infects the American hierarchy in any number of nefarious ways. The Protestant and Pentecostal rejection of a visible, hierarchical society instituted directly by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made man leads many in the American hierarchy to give half-hearted (and frequently, feigned) lip-service to the Successor of Saint Peter. In actual point of fact, though, most bishops consider themselves to be free agents who are beyond any correction or removal. They are accountable to no one, especially to Rome, whose "interference" in "American" matters is as resented today as it was by Archbishop Carroll and Bishop Spaulding. As the lay director of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) told me in an interview that ran in The Wanderer in 1993, American theologians, he noted approvingly, and liturgists believe that the "spirit" was leading them to "move" the liturgy into the twenty-first century. There are all types of spirits; not all of them are holy. Some of them are quite demonic. And anyone who asserts that the "spirit" is leading them to define the Faith differently than that which Christ Himself taught is being led by a "spirit" of darkness and evil, not the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity, the Holy Ghost.

TB: It is indeed not a little rash to wish to determine the degree in which God communicates with men; for that depends solely on His will; and He Himself is the absolutely free giver of His own gifts. The Spirit breatheth where He will. But to every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the giving of Christ. For who, when going over the history of the apostles, the faith of the rising Church, the struggles and slaughter of the valiant martyrs, and finally most of the ages past so abundantly rich in holy men, will presume to compare the past with the present times and to assert that they received a lesser outpouring of the Holy Ghost?

Comment: Once again, the arrogance of modern man, who believes that he is somehow more enlightened and better equipped to achieve "progress" (as the world defines it) than men in the past. This is why the glory of the Middle Ages must be dismissed by Protestant and secular history textbooks as "The Dark Ages." This is why even the obligatory memorials, as they are called now, on the new liturgical calendar are frequently ignored by priests; how can the modern man of science and "advanced" Biblical exegesis believe that people who did not live in the framework of democracy and consensus and pluralism have anything positive to offer us in our own dynamic era? And it is this contempt for the past which ultimately infected the Vatican itself, leading Annibale Bugnini and his revolutionaries to purge the calendar of many saints and martyrs, about whom, it is alleged, very little is known for sure. Never mind the nasty little fact that most of the liturgical presuppositions that served as the basis of Sacrosanctum Concilium (and of the Consilium headed by Bugnini) have been disproved as the sort of antiquarianism warned about by Pope Pius XII in Mediator Dei? No, the modern era is what should be exalted. This is true of all revolutions. And while the Americanist revolution was more subtle and therefore less obvious, its contempt for the past did indeed infect Catholics in this country, most of whom know next to nothing about the true history of the Church or of the lives of the saints, expunged as most of them have been from our calendar. It is here that we see the intersection of the currents which produced both Americanism and European ideologies, the veritable witches' brew that would serve as the theological and philosophical backdrop for the Second Vatican Council. (See, for example, The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber.)

Moreover, American Catholics have been convinced by their mistaken belief in the superiority of the United States as a nation that we are so special that the obligations imposed upon Catholics in the baptismal font to preach the truths of the true Faith in all circumstances do not apply to us. We are to get along with others without concern for our apostolic and evangelical duties as people incorporated into Our Lord's Mystical Body, the Church, in the baptismal font.

Ironically, many Protestants understood the responsibilities a Catholic undertakes as a result of Baptism better than most Catholics in this country. Many Protestants and other nativists (read: Freemasons) feared that the Pope would govern the United States if Catholics were able to acquire unchecked political power. They knew the social teaching of the Church better than Catholics and thus feared what would happen if Catholics took their duties seriously to convert the nation, which is why many Protestants and Freemasons incited such violence and hatred against Catholic immigrants to these shores in the nineteenth century. Led by their bishops, however, Catholics learned early on how to become good Americans, that is, to fit in and make money without making waves. Thus, why should Catholics "make waves" today about contraception and abortion. To do so might "cost" them something, and we can't possibly risk the blandishments of this passing world for something so ethereal as pleasing Christ the King and Mary our Queen, right?

TB: But, aside from that, no one doubts that the Holy Ghost, by His secret incoming into the souls of the just, influences and arouses them by admonition and impulse. If it were otherwise, any external help and guidance would be useless. 'If any one positively affirms that he can consent to the saving preaching of the Gospel without the illumination of the Holy Ghost, who imparts sweetness to all to consent to and accept the truth, he is misled by a heretical spirit.' But as we know by experience these promptings and impulses of the Holy Ghost for the most part are not discerned without the help, and, as it were, without the preparation of an external guidance. In this matter Augustine says: 'It is he who in good trees cooperates in their fruiting, who both waters and cultivates them by any servant whatever from without, and who by himself gives increase within.' That is to say, the whole matter is according to the common law by which God in His infinite providence has decreed that men for the most part should be saved by men; hence He has appointment that those whom He calls to a loftier degree of holiness should be led thereto by men, 'in order that,' as Chrysostom says, 'we should be taught by God through men.' We have an illustrious example of this put before us in the very beginning of the Church, for although Saul, who was breathing threatenings and slaughter, heard the voice of Christ Himself, and asked from Him, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? he was nevertheless sent to Ananias at Damascus: Arise and go into the city, and there it shall be told to thee what thou must do.' It must also be kept in mind that those who follow what is more perfect are by the very fact entering upon a way of life which for most men is untried and more exposed to error, and therefore they, more than others, stand in need of a teacher and a guide. This manner of acting has invariably obtained in the Church. All, without exception, who in the course of ages have been remarkable for science and holiness have taught this doctrine. Those who reject it, assuredly do so rashly and at their own peril.

Comment: Yes, we are enlightened by the actual grace given us by the Holy Ghost, which actual grace is one of the fruits of the Holy Mass. All actual grace flows out into the world as a result of Masses. However, it is difficult to discern the will of God. We are fallen creatures with a darkened intellect and weakened will. Only a relative handful of genuine mystics have been spoken to by God directly (and have submitted their experiences to the Church for examination and ratification). We need a spiritual director to help us to discern the will of God and to help chart our path as we attempt to grow (despite our falls) in the interior life. We need, in other words, an external guide to help us to discern the will of God in most instances. This is especially true for those in the priesthood and the consecrated religious life. For once a priest or a consecrated religious come to believe that he is directed by God Himself without any external direction, then arrogance and pride take over his life. He will be driven by this spiritual fad and that spiritual fad. He may even be led to abandonment a life of Christian prayer, take up yoga or some other form of alleged Eastern mysticism, participate in feminist para-liturgies (as Rockville Centre Auxiliary Bishop Emil Wcela, who believes in women's ordination to the priesthood, has been known to do from time to time), or to take up the practice of a perverted life in violation of the Sixth and Ninth Commandments. If Christian asceticism and a true life of detachment from the things, places and people of this world are not the foundation of a priest's or a religious's interior life, then his "god" will become the lusts of the flesh and the show of this passing world.

Yes, it has been the abandonment of holiness as the prerequisite for study for and ordination to the priesthood that is at the real core of the crisis facing the Church in the United States at present. A psychological evaluation of a candidate for priestly study in the Diocese of Rockville Centre in 1979 concluded that while the candidate was "intelligent, creative, and had the capacity for rich interpersonal relationships, he did not possess the sufficient degree of flexibility needed for a postconciliar vocation." The evaluation, conducted by a Jewish psychologist, the late Dr. Leonard Krinsky, who was under contract to the Diocese of Rockville Centre, also stated that the candidate's desire to be a priest to celebrate Holy Mass and hear confession was considered to be "self-centered and preconciliar." The candidate's desire to live a priestly life of personal penance and mortification was termed "a possible source of masochism." Krinsky was merely given a set of parameters as to what a "postconciliar" vocation to the Catholic priesthood involved: openness to change, the ability to respond to the needs and demands of parishioners, and a willingness to expand one's theological horizons in accord with the dictates of contemporary theologians and liturgists and alleged pastoral experts.

The candidate was advised by a one time professor of his from St. John's University in Jamaica, Queens, to write to Wladyslaw Cardinal Rubin, then the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Oriental Rites, who responded by saying that he had forwarded a copy of the candidate's letter to his friend from Poland, the Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. The matter was revisited in a letter summarizing the state of the Diocese of Rockville Centre under its second bishop, the now deceased John Raymond McGann, to Silvio Cardinal Oddi, then the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy. Cardinal Oddi assured the candidate during a personal audience in Rome in 1984 that he knew all about the problems orthodox men had in pursuing their vocations in the United States. And Cardinal Oddi met with the Pope regularly in those days. If anyone asserts that our Holy Father, who has recently decried the abandonment of holiness and doctrinal purity in the recruitment of men for the holy priesthood, did not know about these things until recently, he is very much mistaken. Michael Rose’s Goodbye! Good Men! might be news to many Catholics. However, it is not news to anyone in the Vatican. These facts have been known for a long time. Nothing has been done about them, and the very bishops who have been documented to have presided over the screening out of sane, qualified men for the priesthood have in many instances been promoted to receiving a cardinal's red hat.

Persistence in moral turpitude by a priest is, in large measure, therefore, the result of the rejection of holiness and of authentic spiritual direction. Pope Leo XIII thus prophetically predicted the demise of the priesthood in the United States as a result of the stress on American individualism and the rejection of external guides to conduct one's life, especially as it pertains to the priesthood and consecrated religious life.

TB: For one who examines the matter thoroughly, it is hard to see, if we do away with all external guidance as these innovators propose, what purpose the more abundant influence of the Holy Ghost, which they make so much of, is to serve. In point of fact, it is especially in the cultivation of virtue that the assistance of the Holy Spirit is indispensable; but those who affect these novelties extol beyond measure the natural virtues as more in accordance with the ways and requirements of the present day, and consider it an advantage to be richly endowed with them, because they make a man more ready and more strenuous in action.

Comment: It is part and parcel of the Americanist spirit to believe that an American can do anything he puts his mind to doing. There is no limit to an American's ability to achieve, to will success, if you will. He does this by being a man of natural virtue and natural goodness and natural courage. He does not need sanctifying grace. He is able to chart his course on his own. Frank Sinatra's "My Way" is quite apposite here. The rugged spirit of both agrarian and frontier individualism is what built the country and conquered the West. This has infected the souls of many bishops in the recruitment of men to the priesthood. Natural virtues are preferred to the supernatural, which are sometimes held in contempt.

Most of the American bishops reject as primitive the concept of a Catholic world. They are contemptuous of the glory not only of the Middle Ages but of Catholic America. For, yes, there was a time when we had a Catholic America. The Spanish, French, and Portuguese missionaries who accompanied the adventurers and explorers and conquerors to the New World of the Americas saw in the native peoples of this hemisphere souls who were loved by Love Incarnate. These missionaries planted the seeds that resulted in the establishment of a Catholic America, vestiges of which still exist in many parts of Latin America to this very day. The missionaries to the New World did in this hemisphere what the first Catholic missionaries had done with the barbaric tribes of Europe during the First Millennium: preserve what was naturally good in those tribes and eradicate everything which was opposed to the Cross of Christ. And just as a Christocentric Europe arose as a result of the efforts of the first Catholic missionaries, a Christocentric America arose in the latter half of the Second Millennium.

Blessed Junipero Serra, for example, walked with a bad leg all the way up the Pacific Coast from Baja California (which is now part of Mexico) to the Monterey Peninsula of contemporary California. He walked to establish missions in which the native peoples could be converted to the true faith and fed with the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of the Divine Redeemer, Jesus Christ. He traversed a difficult and frequently mountainous terrain (replete with poisonous snakes and savage wild beasts) to give away the riches with Christ the King had given to him by virtue of his priestly ordination. He had the courage of an apostle, never once thinking about the hardships and difficulties that he had to endure to be faithful to his missionary work. He wanted to plant the seeds that might result in a California where Christ was King and our Lady was Queen. He did on the Pacific Coast what the North American martyrs had done near the Atlantic Coast, and what countless others had been (and were doing) in Central and South America. He had a love for souls. He wanted to see the standard of the Holy Cross as the basis of personal and social life.

Contrast the motivating reasons for the courage of Blessed Junipero Serra with the reasons that motivated the courage of those who crossed the Rocky Mountains in search of gold in the same state where had established his missions. It is certainly the case that the hearty pioneers who crossed the Rockies were possessed of tremendous courage. They had to brave cold winters and hot summers. But they were motivated to display such courage in order to take riches out of the earth, not to give anything of themselves, no less the true faith, to others. As quintessentially materialistic Americans, the courageous folks who traversed the Rockies and crossed the desert in search of gold wanted to be rich as this world counts wealth. They were not seeking to be rich in Christ.

Similarly, priests are trained in most instances today to be rich in the natural virtues of "goodness" and "niceness" (whatever that is) in order to "relate well" to their parishioners and to understand their needs, as well as to work "collaboratively" with the "pastoral leadership team" in a parish. They are not trained to be men of Eucharistic piety. They are not required to be consecrated to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart as a condition of their ordination. No, even men who demonstrate a proclivity to perversity can be ordained if they are considered to be "pastorally suitable." However, this fits perfectly the American belief that holiness is unimportant; it is "strength of character" derived from one's "inner self" that matters. We see this only too clearly in the priesthood today. Americans like "action," not contemplation, as Pope Leo noted in a later section of Testem Benevolentiae.

TB: It is hard to understand how those who are imbued with Christian principles can place the natural ahead of the supernatural virtues, and attribute to them greater power and fecundity. Is nature, then, with grace added to it, weaker than when left to its own strength? and have the eminently holy men whom the Church reveres and pays homage to, shown themselves weak and incompetent in the natural order, because they have excelled in Christian virtue?

Comment: No man can be ordained to the priesthood who has not excelled in the traditional practices of Christian virtue, who has not developed a deep and sustained life of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament on a daily basis and who is not totally devoted to the Mother of God. Our Lord wants men of holiness to shepherd the flocks entrusted to their pastoral care to scale the heights of holiness in their own daily lives as they give all to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart to be used as she sees fit for the honor and glory of the Blessed Trinity, the salvation of souls, and the building up of the Mystical Body of Christ. However, the American contempt for the supernatural-and the American cultural stress on avoiding anything that might make someone "feel" bad (St. Padre Pio would not have been accepted for priestly study by today's standards, would he?)-has led to a situation where the supernatural is either denigrated outright or defined in a New Age manner by naturalistic standards. "By their fruits you will know them." Indeed. No more needs to be added at this juncture.

TB: Even if we admire the sometimes splendid acts of the natural virtues, how rare is the man who really possesses the habit of these natural virtues? Who is there who is not disturbed by passions, sometimes of a violent nature, for the persevering conquest of which, just as for the observance of the whole natural law, man must needs have some divine help? If we scrutinize more closely the particular acts We have above referred to, we shall discover that oftentimes they have more the appearance than the reality of virtue. But let us grant that these are real. If we do not wish to run in vain, if we do not wish to lose sight of the eternal blessedness to which God in His goodness has destined us, of what use are the natural virtues unless the gift and strength of divine grace be added? Aptly does St. Augustine say: 'Great power, and a rapid pace, but out of the course.' For as the nature of man, because of our common misfortune, fell into vice and dishonor, yet by the assistance of grace is lifted up and borne onward with new honor and strength; so also the virtues which are exercised not by the unaided powers of nature, but by the help of the same grace, are made productive of a supernatural beatitude and become solid and enduring.

Comment: In other words, it is impossible in the normal course of events (although not, strictly speaking, absolutely impossible) for a person to live a virtuous life without having belief in, recourse to, and cooperation with sanctifying grace. We are here not to be "good" people; we are here to be holy. Our supernatural destiny requires us to be earnest at all times about the pursuit of our Last End in light of our First Cause. Besides, as Pope Leo XIII pointed out, many of those the world admires as naturally virtuous possess the appearance, not the reality, of virtue. It is important for men aspiring to the priesthood to be inspired by the examples of holiness in the priesthood of those who have preceded them. St. John Marie Vianney. St. Padre Pio. St. Maximilian Kolbe. St. John Fisher. Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro. Blessed Junipero Serrra. Sts. Isaac Jogues and companions, and that is to name just a few. Are these saints held up as models for our priest to follow? Or sadly, are they taught to conform themselves to pastoral models designed by those at war with the living tradition of the Church? It is not just any virtue we are called to pursue. We are called to be canonizable saints. We are not to be content with the pursuit of William Bennett's natural virtues he outlines in The Book of Virtues. We must be never ceasing in our pursuit of the heights of personal sanctity, which is only made possible by cooperating with the graces won for us by Our Lord on the wood of the Holy Cross. These graces are the pre-requisite of personal holiness and hence of all social order.

Indeed, the Traditional Latin Mass, although not a guarantor of personal holiness or of social order, emphasized man's need to be holy and to make reparation for sins by participating worthy in the propitiatory sacrifice which is the Mass. Can the same be said of the concocted liturgy we have today, which stresses the profane to the exclusion of the sacred in most instances.

TB: With this opinion about natural virtue, another is intimately connected, according to which all Christian virtues are divided as it were into two classes, passive as they say, and active; and they add the former were better suited for past times, but the latter are more in keeping with the present.

Comment: This is at the heart of how Americanism has undermined the life of priests and those in the consecrated religious life. As noted earlier, Americans love action and eschew contemplation, which is one of the reasons John Dewey's ideology of pragmatism took such hold of American education and political life. Who knows why problems exist? We just have to do something, devised by our own unaided intellects, to resolve whatever problems with face, either personally or collectively in society. How many Americans actually read instruction manuals for their appliances and high-tech toys? They want their material goodies to work without any effort. And if they should malfunction, then it's time to give a whack. That'll do something to make it work, which is, after all, what matters: functionality and utilitarianism.

In like manner, this American spirit infected many in the priesthood and consecrated religious life. Contemplation was considered to take time away from "action," action which could redeem individuals and society. Meetings and workshops and update programs thus replaced holy hours and Rosary rallies and Eucharistic processions. Social work replaced prayer. An involvement in secular charitable organizations took the place of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

There are even some in the pro-life movement who are infected with this spirit. One woman, who shall remain nameless, made a gross generalization to the effect that traditional Catholics don't do anything to aid the pro-life movement except pray. Well, praying is not doing nothing! (And, obviously, many traditional Catholic are actively involved on the front lines in expectant mother care centers and praying Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary in front of killing centers and in running for office on third party lines to advance the primacy of the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law as the basis of the just society.) Indeed, those who spend time in prayer help to build up the entire Mystical Body of Christ and actually aid by their prayers the people who believe they are called to be directly on the front lines. Prayer is not passive. However, even many pro-life Catholics believe that activity is going to somehow end abortion. Mind you, it is important to work hard in the midst of the world to stop baby-killing. However, there is no conflict between prayer and action. This is at the heart of where Pope Leo XIII saw Americanism leading Catholics further and further into error.

A priest, for example, is ordained to celebrate Mass, hear confessions, administer the other sacraments, preach the Gospel, take Holy Communion to the hospitalized and homebound, and to be a salutary witness to Eucharistic piety and total consecration to Mary. He is the one who works as the intermediary to channel the graces won by Our Lord on Calvary to the laity so that they can, as Saint Paul exhorts us in his Epistle to the Ephesians, restore all things in Christ. Fortified by that grace, we have the obligation to remain steadfast in prayer ourselves and to do those things we can in our given states in life to plant the seeds for the conversion of individual hearts and thus of the nation we love and want to bring to Our Lord through His Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. A priest is not called to run for political office or to head some secular charitable foundation or to serve as the head of a non-denominational media project. He is called to lead by example, not to mislead by posing a false dichotomy between prayer and action.

TB: It is plain what is to be thought of such division of the virtues. There is not and cannot be a virtue which is really passive. 'Virtue,' says St. Thomas, 'denotes a certain perfection of a power; but the object of a power is an act; and an act of virtue is nothing else than the good use of our free will'; the divine grace of course helping, if the act of virtue is supernatural. The one who would have Christian virtues to be adapted, some to one age and others to another, has forgotten the words of the Apostle: Whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be more conformable to the image of His Son. The master and exemplar of all sanctity is Christ, to Whose rule all must conform who wish to attain to the thrones of the blessed. Now, then, Christ, does not at all change with the progress of the ages, but is yesterday and today, and the same forever. To the men of all ages, the phrase is to be applied: ‘Learn of Me because I am meek, and humble of heart’, and at all times Christ shows Himself to us as becoming obedient unto death, and in every age also the word of the Apostle holds: ‘And they are Christ's have crucified their flesh with the vices and concupiscences’. Would that more would cultivate those virtues in our days, as did the holy men of bygone times! Those who by humbleness of spirit, by obedience and abstinence, were powerful in word and work, were of the greatest help not only to religion but to the State and society.

Comment: If the American bishops want to do something constructive about the priesthood, they should understand first of all how the new Mass has emasculated the priesthood, as Father James McLucas noted in a recent reprint in The Latin Mass: A Journal of Catholic Culture. They should embrace the wisdom of Pope Leo XIII, who cogently summarizes in the final few sentences of the passage quoted above the essence of the supernatural virtues required of a man who is to be an alter Christus, a sacerdos, not a social worker or a glad-handler or an Oprah Winfrey or a money-raiser but a manly priest who is trying to die to self so that Christ can live the more fully in him and in his priestly work.

Alas, the American bishops rely upon the psychologists and sexologists who attempt to reprogram orthodox priests sent to them for Stalinist re-education while at the same time reaffirming sodomites who should never have been ordained to the priesthood in the first place. They do not understand (and, in some instances, have outrightly rejected) the horror of sin. Sin caused the God-Man to suffer horribly in His Sacred Humanity on the wood of the Holy Cross. Sin wounds the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, today. How can a priest, of all men, persist in a life of unrepentant sin and the warfare against the Deposit of Faith that is the inexorable result of such persistence in unrepentant sin and still be considered fit to serve as a priest? How can a man who demonstrates a rejection of personal holiness and even one iota of the Deposit of Faith be considered fit for ordination to the holy priesthood? Priests must aspire actively to the heights of holiness, understanding that they are conformed to Christ Himself at the moment of their ordination. They have the obligation to imitate, not scoff at, the saints mentioned earlier. However, a contempt for holiness is part and parcel of the Americanist ethos, as Pope Leo XIII noted so clearly.

TB: From this species of contempt of the evangelical virtues, which are wrongly called passive, it naturally follows that the mind is imbued little by little with a feeling of disdain for the religious life.

Comment: Pope Leo XIII prophetically predicted the demise of religious communities of men and women in the United States if a contempt for the evangelical virtues as "passive" continued unchecked. Sadly, he has proven entirely correct. As a Vincentian priest, the now deceased Father Michael Thornton, noted at a day of recollection at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton, Pennsylvania in November of 1978: "Men, many priests believed that they could throw prayer out the window following the end of the Second Vatican Council. Within a short time, men, all of those priests had thrown themselves and their priesthoods out that same window." Pithy and to the point. Indeed. The contempt for the traditional Mass and for the traditional life of community prayer and spiritual exercises and for clerical dress is what produced the triumph of sodomy in almost every single religious community of priests and brothers in the United States (and in the world). The same is true of the older communities of women, most of which are dying out because they have abandoned Catholic prayer in favor of witchcraft and other New Age ceremonies and rituals, abandoned the outward sign of their espousal to Christ and His Church, and have themselves in many instances plunged headlong into unrepentant perverted vice. God will not permit such communities to continue. They are dying out. And the fruits of a contempt for the evangelical virtues is the withdraw by God of his favor upon those who hold Him and the evangelical life in utter disdain. Hence, the breeding ground, you see, for the scandals which have been exploding in the secular press, scandals which have been reported in many places for nearly twenty years.

TB: And that is common to the advocates of these new opinions we gather from certain expressions of theirs about the vows which religious orders pronounce. For, say they, such vows are altogether out of keeping with the spirit of our age, inasmuch as they narrow the limits of human liberty; are better adapted to weak minds than to strong ones; avail little for Christian perfection and for the good of human society, and rather obstruct and interfere with it.

Comment: This is truer now than it was in 1899. How many of our bishops have even tried to reform religious communities of men and women which have abandoned traditional practices and have plunged headlong into superstition and syncretism? How many bishops have even considered suppressing such communities as inimical to the Faith? No, practicing homosexuals and homosexualist apologists are given plumb parish assignments and protected by the highest quarters in chancery offices. Bishops who are themselves sodomites protect and promote each other, as Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc., has demonstrated in a very documented way without even the threat of a lawsuit. And those bishops who might be faithful to the Deposit of Faith in their own hearts adopt either a "hear no evil, see no evil" approach to such problems or deny altogether that they exist, thus exculpating themselves from taking any corrective action to help foster an environment more conducive to the formation and salvation of the souls entrusted to their episcopal care. The spirit written of by Pope Leo XIII was enshrined worldwide following the Second Vatican Council, and it will not be until some future Pope and/or some future council recognizes this frankly that we can get about the business, humanly speaking, of making amends for ignoring the wisdom of Leo XIII.

TB: But how false these assertions are, is evident from the usage and doctrine of the Church, which has always given the highest approval to religious life. And surely not undeservedly. For those who, not content with the common duties of the precepts, enter of their own accord upon the evangelical counsels, in obedience to a divine vocation, present themselves to Christ as His prompt and valiant soldiers. Are we to consider this a mark of weak minds? In the more perfect manner of life is it unprofitable or hurtful? Those who bind themselves by the vows of religion are so far from throwing away their liberty that they enjoy a nobler and fuller one-that, namely, by which Christ has set us free.

Comment: Pretty self-explanatory, wouldn't you say? Those who embrace the evangelical vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience are freer than those who enslave themselves to false concepts of liberty and to a pursuit of "self-fulfillment" and "empowerment" founded in a disordered and narcissistic love of self. How much time has been wasted in the past thirty years by bishops kowtowing to feminist nuns who have demanded women's ordination to the priesthood and "inclusive" language in the liturgy. Remember, Sister Theresa Kane of the Sisters of Mercy, who demanded of the Vicar of Christ on October 7, 1979, at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception that women be ordained to the priesthood? Our Lady never sought "empowerment." She sought to do the will of the Father in Heaven. She is our exemplar in humility and serene acceptance of God's will without complaint. That bishops have actually served as enablers to nuns who have lost the faith and are embittered because they have not gotten their way speaks volumes about how many bishops have no sense of the faith themselves.

TB: What they add to this - namely, that religious life helps the Church not at all or very little - apart from being injurious to religious orders, will be admitted by no one who has read the history of the Church. Did not your own United States receive from the members of religious orders the beginning of its faith and civilization? For one of them recently, and it redounds to your credit, you have decreed that a statue should be erected. And at this very time, with what alacrity and success are these religious orders doing their work wherever we find them! How many of them hasten to impart to new lands the life of the Gospel and to extend the boundaries of civilization with the greatest earnestness of soul and amid the greatest dangers! From them no less than from the rest of the clergy the Christian people obtain preachers of the Word of God, directors of conscience, instructors of youth, and the entire Church examples of holy lives. Nor is there any distinction of praise between those who lead an active life and those who, attracted by seclusion, give themselves up to prayer and mortification of the body. How gloriously they have merited from human society, and do still merit, they should be aware who are not ignorant of how the continual prayer of a just man, especially when joined to affliction of the body, avails to propitiate and conciliate the majesty of God.

Comment: What Pope Leo XIII was saying here was quite simple: embrace the errors I have just outlined and you will destroy the religious orders which have contributed so mightily to the building up of the Faith in your country. Abort doctrine and discipline in the religious life and will abort priests and brothers and nuns in droves, which is exactly what happened. Denigrate the contributions made mystically to the Church by those who are secluded in prayer and you will be overtaken by savage forces you will never be able to conquer unless you return to the straight path of the tradition of the Church.

TB: If there are any, therefore, who prefer to unite together in one society without the obligation of vows, let them do as they desire. That is not a new institution in the Church, nor is it to be disapproved. But let them beware of setting such association above religious orders; nay rather, since mankind is more prone now than heretofore to the enjoyment of pleasure, much greater esteem is to be accorded to those who have left all things and have followed Christ.

Comment: Pope Leo said it all. He is thoroughly self-explanatory. After warning the American bishops not to engage in unauthorized ecumenical meetings, he closed his apostolical letter to Cardinal Gibbons in the most stunning manner imaginable. He saw that currents were at work which would devastate the Faith in the United States of America over time, even though the Faith was being taught well in Catholic educational institutions at the time. He knew. He saw. He predicted.

TB: But if it [the term Americanism] is to be used not only to signify, but even to commend the above doctrines, there can be no doubt but that the bishops of America would be the first to repudiate and condemn it, as being especially unjust to them and to the entire nation as well. For it raises the suspicion that there are some among you who conceive of and desire a church in American different than that which is in the rest of the world. One in the unity of doctrine as in the unity of government, such is the Catholic Church, and since God has established its centre and foundation in the Chair of Peter, one which is rightly called Roman, for here Peter is there is the Church. Wherefore he who wishes to be called by the name of Catholic ought to employ in truth the words of Jerome to Pope Damasus: 'I following none as the first except Christ am associated in communion with your Beatitude, that is, with the Chair of Peter; upon that Rock I know is built the Church; whoever gathereth not with thee scattereth.'

Comment: "For it raises the suspicion that they are some among you who conceive of and desire a church in American different that which is in the rest of the world." Pope Leo XIII saw this clearly in 1899. It has been manifested with a demonic fury in the past forty years. Priests and nuns and theologians who reject the Deposit of Faith are considered to be in good standing as priests and confessors and educators. Priests and nuns and lay people who reject much of the patrimony of the Church serve as screeners for priestly vocations. Blasphemous plays are produced on college campuses. The perversion of sodomy is promoted under the aegis of "AIDS Awareness" and "sex-education" and "tolerance" and "diversity." Liturgical abuses of all types abound uncorrected in the the ultimate liturgical abuse that is the new Mass.

Textbooks and other educational materials which place in doubt the historicity of the miracles of Our Lord, including His actual bodily Resurrection from the dead, are use in Catholic schools and religious education programs. Pornographic materials are required reading for young Catholics to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. General Absolution still abounds in many places in this country. First Communion still precedes First Confession in many places in this nation. Daily Mass is denied to the faithful when a priest is available to celebrate Mass. Priests do not consider it important to distribute Holy Communion themselves during Mass, delegating that role to lay people, many of whom are dressed immodestly and/or slovenly. Lay people are permitted to gather around the altar as virtual concelebrants while those who attempt to kneel for Holy Communion are denied Our Lord and chastised. Home-schooling parents are subjected to all types of extortion and blackmail to conform to a religious education program for the reception of the sacraments for their children that they, the parents, know is deviant and heretical. Our churches are being wreckovated, largely by sodomites intent on creating a "worship space" conducive to reaffirming them in their own perversity-and of undermining the sacerdotal nature of the priesthood and the propitiatory nature of the Mass. The doctrine of Original Sin is denied outright from the pulpit. Belief in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament has waned, in no large measure because tabernacles have been shunted out of the view of Catholics.

Catholics in public life who support the destruction of preborn children are not only not excommunicated, they are considered to be Catholics in good standing. Catholics who support special rights for sodomites are embraced as heroes in an important "civil rights" cause. Catholics who bring to the attention of ecclesiastical authorities the perverse behavior of priests are browbeaten and greeted by threats of lawsuits for even attempting to bring such matters to the attention of those authorities. A bloated bureaucracy, much of which is staffed by people at war with the Deposit of Faith, saps the resources of one diocese after another, to say nothing of the waste of resources caused by the financial settlements paid out to those whose abuse has been ignored by Church officials.

This is the true state of the Church in the United States, which is still a laboratory for beliefs and practices that drive Catholics out of the Church and further institutionalize the hold that secular ideologies have on all aspects of our social life. The state of a country depends upon the state of the Church. However, bishops who are possessed of the Americanist and Modernist spirit will never understand or accept this at all. Most Catholics are thus unable to see through the errors of a Bill Clinton or a George W. Bush, for example, because their bishops and priests have never exhorted them to work for the Catholicization of the country and to reject en toto every aspect of the Protestant Revolt that has been enshrined in our culture and, sadly, within the Church’s pastoral practices and her worship of God in the Novus Ordo Missae. Catholics prone to support Clinton despite his embrace of one overt evil after another believe in the power of the State to improve their lives; Catholics prone to support Bush despite his embrace of abortion in certain cases and his funding for chemical abortifacients and his appointment of pro-aborts to every level of power in his administration, believe in the ability of a well-intentioned Protestant to retard the advance of evil. The Devil is the winner in this equation time after time after time precisely because the true Faith is not the foundation of order in personal lives or the basis of social life under the Social Reign of Christ the King.

Remember, Pope Leo XIII saw a vision during Mass which prompted him to write the long form of the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel, which is still recited after Low Mass in the Traditional Rite. He saw a vision of the Devil having a field day in the Church for about a hundred years. And while we know the final victory belongs to Our Lord through Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart ("In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph") following the actual consecration of Russia by some pope, we must be earnest in our prayers and our penances to help those around us to see the world clearly through the eyes of the true Faith and to reject all of the heresies of Modernity as antithetical to the good of men and their nations, including the United States of America.

There is no secular, religiously indifferentist solution to our problems, which get worse the longer the Church refuses to restore her Sacred Tradition and the longer even traditional Catholics refuse to believe that they are called to restore all things in Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen. The United States of America is not called to be a “Christian” nation. It is called to be a confessionally Catholic nature without compromise.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, pray for us.

The North American Martyrs, pray for us.

Blessed Junipero Serra, pray for us.

Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro, pray for us.

Viva Cristo Rey!

A Postscript

For the sake of summary, please find below a review of the basic errors of Protestantism and how they influence our world today:

Protestantism is founded on many lies: (1) That Our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did not create a visible, hierarchical Church. (2) That there is no authority given by Our Lord to the Pope and his bishops and priests to govern and to sanctify the faithful. (3) That each believer has an immediate and personal relationship with the Savior as soon as he makes a profession of faith on his lips and in his heart, therefore being perpetually justified before God. (4) Having been justified by faith alone, a believer has no need of an intermediary from a non-existent hierarchical priesthood to forgive him his sins. He is forgiven by God immediately when he asks forgiveness. (5) This state of justification is not earned by good works. While good works are laudable, especially to help unbelievers convert, they do not impute unto salvation. Salvation is the result of the profession of faith that justifies the sinner. (6) That grace is merely, in the words of Martin Luther, the snowflakes that cover up the "dungheap" that is man. (7) That there is only one source of Divine Revelation, Sacred Scripture. (8) That each individual is his own interpreter of Sacred Scripture. (9) That there is a strict separation of Church and State. Princes, to draw from Luther himself, may be Christians but it is not as a Christian that they ought to rule. These lies have permutated in thousands of different directions. However, they have sewn the fabric of the modern state and popular culture for nearly 500 years (I shudder to think how the Vatican is going to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Luther's posting his 95 theses on the church doors in Wittenberg fourteen years from now).

Here below are explanations of these lies and their multifaceted implications for the world in which we live:

(1-2) The contention that Our Lord did not create a visible, hierarchical church vitiates the need for a hierarchical, sacerdotal priesthood for the administration of the sacraments. It is a rejection of the entirety of the history of Christianity prior to the Sixteenth Century. It is a denial of the lesson taught us by Our Lord by means of His submission to His own creatures, Saint Joseph and the Blessed Mother, in the Holy Family of Nazareth that each of us is to live our entire lives under authority, starting with the authority of the Vicar of Christ and those bishops who are in full communion with him. The rejection of the visible, hierarchical church is founded on the prideful belief that we are able to govern ourselves without being directed by anyone else on earth. This contention would lead in due course to the rejection of any and all religious belief as necessary for individuals and for societies. Luther and Calvin paved the way for Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the French Revolution that followed so closely the latter's deification of man.

(3-6) Baptism is merely symbolic of the Christian's desire to be associated with the Savior in the amorphous body known as the Church. What is determinative of the believer's relationship with Christ is his profession of faith. As the believer remains a reprobate sinner, all he can do is to seek forgiveness by confessing his sins privately to God. This gives the Protestant of the Lutheran strain the presumptuous sense that there is almost nothing he can do to lose his salvation once he has made his profession of faith in the Lord Jesus. There is thus no belief that a person can scale the heights of personal sanctity by means of sanctifying grace. It is impossible, as Luther projected from his own unwillingness to cooperate with sanctifying grace to overcome his battles with lust, for the believer to be anything other than a dungheap. Thus a Protestant can sin freely without for once considering that he has killed the life of sanctifying grace in his soul, thereby darkening his intellect and weakening the will and inclining himself all the more to sin-and all the more a vessel of disorder and injustice in the larger life of society.

(7-8) The rejection of a visible, hierarchical Church and the rejection of Apostolic Tradition as a source of Divine Revelation protected by that Church leads in both instances to theological relativism. Without an authoritative guide to interpret Divine Revelation, including Sacred Scripture, individual believers can come to mutually contradictory conclusions about the meaning of passages, the precise thing that has given rise to literally thousands of Protestant sects. And if a believer can reduce the Bible, which he believes is the sole source of Divine Revelation, to the level of individual interpretation, then there is nothing to prevent anyone from doing the same with all written documents, including the documents of a nation's founding. If the plain words of Scripture can be deconstructed of their meaning, it is easy to do so, say, with the words of a governmental constitution. Theological relativism paved the way for moral relativism. Moral relativism paved the way for the triumph of positivism and deconstructionism as normative in the realm of theology and that of law and popular culture.

(9) The overthrow of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ as it was exercised by His true Church in the Middle Ages by the Protestant concept of the separation of Church and State is what gave rise to royal absolutism in Europe in the immediate aftermath of Luther's handiwork. Indeed, as I have noted any number of times before, it is arguably the case that the conditions that bred resentment on the part of colonists in English America prior to 1776 might never have developed if England had remained a Catholic nation. The monarchy would have been subject in the Eighteenth Century to same constraints as it had in the Tenth or Eleventh Centuries, namely, that kings and queens would have continued to understand that the Church reserved unto herself the right to interpose herself in the event that rulers had done things-or proposed to do things-that were contrary to the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law and/or were injurious of the cause of the sanctification and salvation of the souls of their subjects. The overthrow of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ deposited power first of all in the hands of monarchs eager to be rid of the "interference" of the Church and ultimately in the hands of whoever happened to hold the reins of governmental power in the modern "democratic" state. Despotism has been the result in both cases.


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