A Heresy is a Heresy
Thomas A. Droleskey
Heresies abound in our time of unparalleled chaos. The multifaceted and inter-related heresies of conciliarism (especially those of religious liberty and ecumenism) infect the lives of most Catholics today. The Novus Ordo Missae, founded in the ethos of Protestantism and Modernism, propagates the false belief that it is normal and natural for the Mass to undergo rapid, revolutionary changes, thereby convincing Catholics that "change" is just part of normal liturgical practice. The rotten fruit of the ceaseless changes wrought in the Protestantized Mass begotten by Annibale Bugnini, who began his work of attacking the Mass in the 1950s, is the belief that doctrine itself can change, something that most Catholics today accept as a matter of course without any objection whatsoever.
Thus it is, ladies and gentlemen, that popes and cardinals and bishops can do and say things that contradict the entire patrimony of the Catholic Church without most Catholics recognizing that anything is wrong with what has been said and done. Obviously, there are Modernist heresies, such as Americanism, that antedate the Second Vatican Council that influenced Catholics long before that supporter of the Sillon, a movement that had been condemned by Pope Saint Pius X, Angelo Cardinal Roncalli succeeded Pope Pius XII in 1958. The Second Vatican Council, however, was the vehicle by which previously condemned heresies and errors could resurface in various guises and then further infect the lives of the lion's share of Catholics who simply accepted what was presented to them by their shepherds as being perfectly in accord with the Catholic Faith. Only a handful of Catholics at the time were given the graces necessary to recognize the danger of un-Catholic novelties and errors. Fewer yet responded to those graces to act courageously to resist those novelties and errors and thus to flee from the entire rot of conciliarism altogether, heedless of what this cost them insofar as human respect.
One of the most pernicious errors to flow out of the "new thinkers" whose "new thinking" was condemned in no uncertain terms by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis in 1950 is that of "universal salvation" the heretical belief that all men are saved no matter what they believe and no matter what unforgiven mortal sins remain on their souls at the moment of their deaths. The late Father Hans Urs von Balthasar, the mentor of the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, was one of the chief proponents of "universal salvation." An excellent article in the January, 1999 edition of New Oxford Review, by Father Regis Scanlon, O.F.M., Cap., dissected the errors of von Balthasar's theology. Although I have quoted Father Scanlon's article a number of times in recent months, a brief excerpt might be useful by way of re-emphasis:
A look at Hegelian philosophy will help us understand why Balthasar thought that he could contradict Jesus' statement that Judas is "lost" by hoping that Judas is saved. Eighteenth-century philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel claimed that no religious statement or concept is absolutely true. All are false or relative in some way. Only God is absolute truth. Therefore, according to Hegel's understanding, religious statements, concepts, or dogmas can be contradictory and only find their resolution or synthesis in God who is Absolute Truth. Hegel said that every concept contained a "Negative, which it carries within itself." For Hegel this positive-negative opposition within the concept was called the dialectic and it was "a necessary procedure of reason." Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines "dialectic" as "the Hegelian process of change in which a concept or its realization passes over into and is preserved and fulfilled by its opposite." Thus, Hegel maintained "the Necessity of Contradiction" for all thought to develop toward the Absolute, which is God.
Similarly, Balthasar believed that contradiction is a part of truth. As he explained in Word and Revelation, he believed that expressions of' "worldly truth," like "worldly Being," can be "contradictory" and even expressions of scriptural truths can be opposites or "contrary." Balthasar agreed with Hegel that "only God is 'the absolute truth'" and "'all truth is not, negation itself is in God' " (emphasis added). Thus, statements in the Bible are not absolutely true but each is relative and in some way negative or false, and these statements will find their synthesis only when we come to the Father who is absolute truth. But, for now, one cannot have complete confidence even in the words of Christ. Balthasar stated: "The word of Christ, who spoke as no other had spoken, who alone spoke as one having power, is nonetheless an insecure bridge between the wordlessness of the world and the superword of the father" (emphasis added).
Thus, Balthasar argued in Dare We Hope, beside the condemnatory scriptural statements that teach that there are people in Hell, there are also redemptive scriptural statements that "hold out the prospect of universal redemption." He used this example: "God wills that all men be saved" (1 Tim. 2:4). Balthasar claimed that these redemptive scriptural statements are "seemingly opposed" to the condemnatory scriptural statements such as "many ... will not be able... to enter." He maintained that, "we neither can nor may bring [them] into synthesis." Since these "contradictory" statements can only be resolved in eternal life, we don't know the outcome. So, for Balthasar, we can still hope that Judas is saved.
But these statements appear contradictory only because Balthasar interpreted God's statements of desire, such as "God wills that all men be saved," as if they were statements of future realities, like "many ... will not be able ... to enter." But, we cannot treat God's statements of desire as if they were statements about future realities. Just as we know that God willed or desired Adam and Eve not to eat of the "fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden" (Gen. 3:3), so we know for certain that God desires that no one sin. But, Adam and Eve ate of the tree and sinned. Consequently, hoping that all will be saved -- when Scripture says that some are lost -- is like hoping that no one ever sins when we know that Adam and Eve have sinned. The hope is an absurdity.
More importantly, however, Balthasar's philosophy of truth violates the first self-evident principle of the speculative reason (the natural law), which states that the same thing cannot be affirmed and denied at the same time (the principle of noncontradiction). One cannot say that Judas is "lost" and that Judas is "not lost" (saved) at the same time. And to "hope" that Judas is saved when Scripture says that he is already lost is to hope for a contradiction in Scripture and in the Church's teachings. But, this violates the Church's defined teaching that God cannot... ever contradict truth with truth" (Denz. No. 1797), which guarantees that the meaning of Jesus' teachings in the New Testament and the Church's dogmas can never be different but always remain the same (Denz. No.1818).
Let's look at the most probable theological reason why Balthasar would be so bold as to "hope" for universal salvation in flat contradiction to Jesus' words in John 17:12 and Luke 13:24.
The Most Likely Theological Reason
Balthasar did not believe that Jesus' omniscience (or his all-knowing attribute) kept Him from speaking error or functioned to make Jesus' statements infallible. In You Crown the Year With Your Goodness, Balthasar stated:
But is not the Son of God also God? As such, is he not omniscient? Yes, but that does not mean that he wished to share all his divine attributes with his human nature. Here, doubtless, there are mysteries we shall never fully penetrate. But one thing we can say: just as the Son, as God, eternally receives full divinity (and hence full omniscience) from his Father, so he eternally gives himself, all that he has and is, back to the Father in gratitude; it is at his Father's disposal. Thus, in some way, we can understand that, when the Son's eternal "procession" from the Father takes the shape of a "mission" to the world, the Son deposits his divine attributes (without losing them) with the Father in heaven. For we read that he "emptied himself" of his divine form (Phil. 2:27) precisely so that he could be humanly obedient unto death (emphasis added).
Balthasar implies that, though the "Son of God" has "omniscience," His "omniscience" is nonfunctional when He comes to earth on a mission." For Balthasar, when the Son of God "emptied himself" for His mission to the world, He emptied Himself of His divine attribute of "omniscience" "without losing" it. But, how does the divine Son, Jesus Christ, have omniscience and at the same time not have omniscience? Balthasar seems to say in effect that, when the Son of God descended into the womb of Our Lady, He came down with a case of divine amnesia.
So, if the Son of God's divine omniscience was not operative while He was on earth, then He did not know more than any other human being. Consequently, for Balthasar, Jesus (like anyone else) could not know beyond His own human experience, and the infallibility of His eschatological statements about the hereafter cannot be guaranteed.
According to Balthasar, then, Jesus' nonfunctioning divine omniscience would surely have affected His knowledge of the last judgment. Balthasar stated:
"he [Jesus] is strictly ignorant of the hour. "But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father" (Mk. 13:32). This is crucially important; we must take it absolutely literally (emphasis added)."
But, the "hour" of Jesus' final coming is the "hour" of the last judgment, for the scriptural passage that speaks of the judgment of the "sheep" and "goats" begins: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory" (Mt. 25:31-46). If Jesus was "strictly ignorant of the hour" of His final coming, He was ignorant of the last judgment of Judas and others. So, Balthasar implies that Jesus was ignorant and fallible about the last judgment and the final end of Judas and others.
Because Balthasar's hope for universal salvation contradicts Christ's words in John 17:12 and Luke 13:23-24, the validity of Balthasar's hope logically depends upon the possibility of Christ's statements in John 17:12 and Luke 13:24 being erroneous. So, even though Balthasar nowhere explicitly states it, his "hope" is logically based upon his theory that Christ did not speak with omniscience and infallibility.
Balthasar's "Hope" Rested On A Condemned Theory
If one were to accept Balthasar's theory that Jesus was "strictly ignorant of the hour" of His final coming, one could hardly explain how Jesus could describe the events of His final coming in Matthew 24:15-42 ("the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light... they will see the Son of Man coming upon the clouds of heaven"). This is what St. Ephrem, the fourth-century Doctor of the Church, pointed out. In his Commentary on the Diatessaron he stated about Jesus: "He described the signs of his coming; how could what he has himself decided be hidden from him?" St. Ephrem said that the first reason why Our Lord did not make the time of His final coming plain, was "so all generations and ages await him eagerly" and "think that he would come again in their own day." St. Ephrem also said, "He has not made it plain for this reason especially, that no one may think that he whose power and dominion rule all numbers and times is ruled by fate and time."
Thus, this opinion, that there was ignorance in Jesus, was already rejected during the fourth-century Arian heresy by Church Fathers such as St. Ephrem (and St. Ambrose). It was officially condemned by Pope Vigilius on May 14, 553, when he taught that "If anyone says that the one Jesus Christ, true Son of God and true Son of Man, was ignorant of future things, or of the day of the last judgment ... let him be anathema." (Denzinger, 29th ed., No. 419).
This error was refuted most thoroughly in A.D. 600 when Pope Gregory I (St. Gregory the Great) rebutted the Monophysite sect known as the "Agnoetae" who also held that Mark 13:32 ("neither the Son, nor the angels know the day and the hour") indicated that Christ was ignorant (all cites in this paragraph are from Denz. No. 248). Pope Gregory taught that Christ knew by means of two natures, and what He did not know "from" His human nature, He knew "from" His divine nature. Thus, Pope Gregory maintained that, while Christ knew "the day and the hour of judgment" in His human nature, He knew this from His divine nature and not from His human nature. He said: "Therefore, that which in [nature] itself He knew, He did not know from that very [nature]." So, Christ knew all things "in His human nature." Pope Gregory stated: "so the omnipotent Son says He does not know the day which He causes not to be known, not because He himself is ignorant of it, but because He does not permit it to be known at all." And, he concluded:
For with what purpose can he who confesses that the Wisdom itself of God is incarnate say that there is anything, which the Wisdom of God does not know? It is written: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.... All things were made by him [John 1:13]. If all, without doubt also the day of judgment and the hour. Who, therefore, is so foolish as to presume to assert that the Word of the Father made that which He does not know? It is written also: Jesus knowing, that the Father gave him all things into his hands [John 13:3]. If all things, surely both the day of judgment and the hour. Who, therefore, is so stupid as to say that the Son has received in His hands that of which He is unaware? (Denz. No. 248.)
Obviously, if the Son received into His hands "all things," including "the day of judgment," surely He also knew who would, and who would not, be saved -- even Judas!
Again, there is only "one Person" in "Christ" and this Person is a divine Person -- namely, "God" (Denz. No. 282-283). We say that the divine Person Jesus Christ knows by means of His two natures. But, while Jesus Christ has a double consciousness, He has only one center or I (ego) of consciousness, which is divine. John Paul II puts it this way:
"There is no gospel text, which indicates that Christ spoke of himself as a human person, even when he frequently referred to himself as "Son of Man." This term is rich with meaning. Under the veil of biblical and messianic expression, it seems to imply that he who applies it to himself belongs to a different and higher order than that of ordinary mortals as far as the reality of his "I" is concerned. It is a term, which bears witness to his intimate awareness of his own divine identity."
Although He has a fully human nature and a fully divine nature, Christ is a divine Person, not a human person. And, whatever we say about the knowledge of the Person of Jesus Christ we say about the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Thus, Jesus Christ had infinite knowledge "in" His human nature, but He had this knowledge from His divine Person.
Jesus could experience suffering in His human nature as something new to His Person, which He had never experienced. And, surely, as Fr. John Hardon says, Christ had "sense perception and derive[d] corresponding knowledge from such experience" -- i.e., "experiential knowledge" (The Catholic Catechism). Once more, the Son of God (Jesus Christ) could "conceal" some property manifested by His Person, like the manifestation of His glory or the immensity of His majesty (see Phil. 2:7, "he emptied himself), and this would account for a lack of consolation flowing to His human nature from His beatific vision. But He could not give up something intrinsic to His divine Person or His divine Being. And God's self-knowledge is intrinsic to His divine Being, for St. Thomas Aquinas says that, "God understands Himself through Himself." And, he says: "the act of God's intellect is His substance" and "His act of understanding must be His essence and His existence" (Summa Theologica, 1a, q. 14, art. 2).
It is not surprising, then, that Pius X "condemned" any statement that denies "the infallible knowledge of Jesus Christ" or any statement that denies that Jesus had "knowledge circumscribed by no limit" (Denz. Nos. 2032, 2034, 2065[a]). Nor was it surprising that under Benedict XV the Church taught that "Christ was ignorant of nothing, but from the beginning knew all things in the Word, past, present, and future, or all things that God knows by the knowledge of vision" (Denz. Nos. 2184, 2289). So, Balthasar's "hope" for universal salvation rested logically on a theory of Christ's ignorance and fallibility, which had been often and variously condemned.
Compassion To A Fault
If Jesus suffered from divine amnesia, then there is more in doubt than just the eternal whereabouts of Judas. If Jesus' omniscience and infallibility were nonfunctional, then Christianity itself is in doubt. Mark 13:32 ("neither the Son, nor the angels know the day and the hour") can be explained in harmony with the Fathers and the Tradition of the Church. One should note that when Mark uses the term "Son" he is not referring to Jesus as Son of God, with an emphasis on Jesus' divine nature, but as "Son of Man," with an emphasis on Jesus' human nature (Mk. 8:31, 9:9, 10:33, 13:26). Thus, when Jesus refers to His own knowledge or act of knowing (neither the Son ... knows), this is most probably a reference to the origin of this knowledge, or Jesus' human act of knowing through His human consciousness. In other words, Jesus is saying that "the Son" (of Man) does not "know" the day or the hour of His coming "from" His human nature (although He knew these things from His divine nature). This is in harmony with the Fathers and the popes of the Church who have consistently interpreted Mark 13:32 down through the ages to mean that Jesus knew the day and the hour but chose not to reveal it to mankind. And, if a scriptural passage can be interpreted in harmony with the rest of the Church and Scriptures, the Catholic must accept this interpretation. When Balthasar interpreted Mark 13:32 apart from the Tradition and Magisterium of the Church, especially in flat contradiction to Pope Vigilius"anathema," he sided with Nestorians, Arians, and other heretics.
St. Teresa of Avila stated about a doubt or "thought" against a Church teaching, even a "small truth" of the Church: "just to pause over this thought is already very wrong." Similarly, the Venerable John Henry Newman, in Discourses to Mixed Congregations, stated that, "no one should enter the Church without a firm purpose of taking her word in all matters of doctrine and morals, and that, on the ground of her coming directly from the God of Truth." Moreover, he said about a Catholic who "set out about following a doubt which has occurred to him": "I have not to warn him against losing his faith, he is not merely in danger of losing it, he has lost it; from the nature of the case he has lost it; he fell from grace at the moment when he deliberately entertained and pursued his doubt" (emphasis added). From this perspective the most disquieting feature of Balthasar's "hope" for universal salvation is that it smuggles into the heart of the Catholic a serious doubt about the truth of the Catholic faith under the guise of one of the most beautiful and natural aspects of love, namely, compassion.
This material is important to review as it makes up the essential mindset of Benedict XVI and of all of the repackaged Modernists who are known today as the "new thinkers." Benedict believes that truth can contradict itself, which is why he is busying himself with attempting to claim that "Tradition" can be understood in new ways in order to appeal to "modern man." Indeed, his newest efforts to discuss the papacy in ways that might make it acceptable to Protestants and the Orthodox are simply part and parcel of an ecclesiology founded in the belief that truth evolves and that past notions of truth can change with the terms without losing their essential elements. That the Orthodox, to their utter credit, are rejecting this effort demonstrates that no amount of finessing truth can appease heretics and schismatics, who want nothing other than a total surrender to their own heretical and schismatic notions as the foundations for a false unity.
Undaunted, however, the Modernists continue on, destroying the faith of simple Catholics and doing nothing to attract others into the true Church as they demonstrate themselves to be oblivious to--or contemptuous of--these words of Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis, 1950:
Now Catholic theologians and philosophers, whose grave duty it is to defend natural and supernatural truth and instill it in the hearts of men, cannot afford to ignore or neglect these more or less erroneous opinions. Rather they must come to understand these same theories well, both because diseases are not properly treated unless they are rightly diagnosed, and because sometimes even in these false theories a certain amount of truth is contained, and, finally because these theories provoke more subtle discussion and evaluation of philosophical and theological truths.
If philosophers and theologians strive only to derive such profit from the careful examination of these doctrines, there would be no reason for any intervention by the Teaching Authority of the Church. However, although We know that Catholic teachers generally avoid these errors, it is apparent, however, that some today, as in apostolic times, desirous of novelty, and fearing to be considered ignorant of recent scientific findings try to withdraw themselves from the sacred Teaching Authority and are accordingly in danger of gradually departing from revealed truth and of drawing others along with them into error.
Another danger is perceived which is all the more serious because it is more concealed beneath the mask of virtue. There are many who, deploring disagreement among men and intellectual confusion, through an imprudent zeal for souls, are urged by a great and ardent desire to do away with the barrier that divides good and honest men; these advocate an "eirenism" according to which, by setting aside the questions which divide men, they aim not only at joining forces to repel the attacks of atheism, but also at reconciling things opposed to one another in the field of dogma. And as in former times some questioned whether the traditional apologetics of the Church did not constitute an obstacle rather than a help to the winning of souls for Christ, so today some are presumptive enough to question seriously whether theology and theological methods, such as with the approval of ecclesiastical authority are found in our schools, should not only be perfected, but also completely reformed, in order to promote the more efficacious propagation of the kingdom of Christ everywhere throughout the world among men of every culture and religious opinion.
Now if these only aimed at adapting ecclesiastical teaching and methods to modern conditions and requirements, through the introduction of some new explanations, there would be scarcely any reason for alarm. But some through enthusiasm for an imprudent "eirenism" seem to consider as an obstacle to the restoration of fraternal union, things founded on the laws and principles given by Christ and likewise on institutions founded by Him, or which are the defense and support of the integrity of the faith, and the removal of which would bring about the union of all, but only to their destruction.
These new opinions, whether they originate from a reprehensible desire of novelty or from a laudable motive, are not always advanced in the same degree, with equal clarity nor in the same terms, nor always with unanimous agreement of their authors. Theories that today are put forward rather covertly by some, not without cautions and distinctions, tomorrow are openly and without moderation proclaimed by others more audacious, causing scandal to many, especially among the young clergy and to the detriment of ecclesiastical authority. Though they are usually more cautious in their published works, they express themselves more openly in their writings intended for private circulation and in conferences and lectures. Moreover, these opinions are disseminated not only among members of the clergy and in seminaries and religious institutions, but also among the laity, and especially among those who are engaged in teaching youth.
In theology some want to reduce to a minimum the meaning of dogmas; and to free dogma itself from terminology long established in the Church and from philosophical concepts held by Catholic teachers, to bring about a return in the explanation of Catholic doctrine to the way of speaking used in Holy Scripture and by the Fathers of the Church. They cherish the hope that when dogma is stripped of the elements which they hold to be extrinsic to divine revelation, it will compare advantageously with the dogmatic opinions of those who are separated from the unity of the Church and that in this way they will gradually arrive at a mutual assimilation of Catholic dogma with the tenets of the dissidents.
Moreover they assert that when Catholic doctrine has been reduced to this condition, a way will be found to satisfy modern needs, that will permit of dogma being expressed also by the concepts of modern philosophy, whether of immanentism or idealism or existentialism or any other system. Some more audacious affirm that this can and must be done, because they hold that the mysteries of faith are never expressed by truly adequate concepts but only by approximate and ever changeable notions, in which the truth is to some extent expressed, but is necessarily distorted. Wherefore they do not consider it absurd, but altogether necessary, that theology should substitute new concepts in place of the old ones in keeping with the various philosophies which in the course of time it uses as its instruments, so that it should give human expression to divine truths in various ways which are even somewhat opposed, but still equivalent, as they say. They add that the history of dogmas consists in the reporting of the various forms in which revealed truth has been clothed, forms that have succeeded one another in accordance with the different teachings and opinions that have arisen over the course of the centuries.
It is evident from what We have already said, that such tentatives not only lead to what they call dogmatic relativism, but that they actually contain it. The contempt of doctrine commonly taught and of the terms in which it is expressed strongly favor it. Everyone is aware that the terminology employed in the schools and even that used by the Teaching Authority of the Church itself is capable of being perfected and polished; and we know also that the Church itself has not always used the same terms in the same way. It is also manifest that the Church cannot be bound to every system of philosophy that has existed for a short space of time. Nevertheless, the things that have been composed through common effort by Catholic teachers over the course of the centuries to bring about some understanding of dogma are certainly not based on any such weak foundation. These things are based on principles and notions deduced from a true knowledge of created things. In the process of deducing, this knowledge, like a star, gave enlightenment to the human mind through the Church. Hence it is not astonishing that some of these notions have not only been used by the Oecumenical Councils, but even sanctioned by them, so that it is wrong to depart from them.
Hence to neglect, or to reject, or to devalue so many and such great resources which have been conceived, expressed and perfected so often by the age-old work of men endowed with no common talent and holiness, working under the vigilant supervision of the holy magisterium and with the light and leadership of the Holy Ghost in order to state the truths of the faith ever more accurately, to do this so that these things may be replaced by conjectural notions and by some formless and unstable tenets of a new philosophy, tenets which, like the flowers of the field, are in existence today and die tomorrow; this is supreme imprudence and something that would make dogma itself a reed shaken by the wind. The contempt for terms and notions habitually used by scholastic theologians leads of itself to the weakening of what they call speculative theology, a discipline which these men consider devoid of true certitude because it is based on theological reasoning.
Unfortunately these advocates of novelty easily pass from despising scholastic theology to the neglect of and even contempt for the Teaching Authority of the Church itself, which gives such authoritative approval to scholastic theology. This Teaching Authority is represented by them as a hindrance to progress and an obstacle in the way of science. Some non Catholics consider it as an unjust restraint preventing some more qualified theologians from reforming their subject. And although this sacred Office of Teacher in matters of faith and morals must be the proximate and universal criterion of truth for all theologians, since to it has been entrusted by Christ Our Lord the whole deposit of faith -- Sacred Scripture and divine Tradition -- to be preserved, guarded and interpreted, still the duty that is incumbent on the faithful to flee also those errors which more or less approach heresy, and accordingly "to keep also the constitutions and decrees by which such evil opinions are proscribed and forbidden by the Holy See,"is sometimes as little known as if it did not exist. What is expounded in the Encyclical Letters of the Roman Pontiffs concerning the nature and constitution of the Church, is deliberately and habitually neglected by some with the idea of giving force to a certain vague notion which they profess to have found in the ancient Fathers, especially the Greeks. The Popes, they assert, do not wish to pass judgment on what is a matter of dispute among theologians, so recourse must be had to the early sources, and the recent constitutions and decrees of the Teaching Church must be explained from the writings of the ancients.
Although these things seem well said, still they are not free from error. It is true that Popes generally leave theologians free in those matters which are disputed in various ways by men of very high authority in this field; but history teaches that many matters that formerly were open to discussion, no longer now admit of discussion.
Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in Encyclical Letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such Letters the Popes do not exercise the supreme power of their Teaching Authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: "He who heareth you, heareth me"; and generally what is expounded and inculcated in Encyclical Letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine. But if the Supreme Pontiffs in their official documents purposely pass judgment on a matter up to that time under dispute, it is obvious that that matter, according to the mind and will of the same Pontiffs, cannot be any longer considered a question open to discussion among theologians.
It is also true that theologians must always return to the sources of divine revelation: for it belongs to them to point out how the doctrine of the living Teaching Authority is to be found either explicitly or implicitly in the Scriptures and in Tradition. Besides, each source of divinely revealed doctrine contains so many rich treasures of truth, that they can really never be exhausted. Hence it is that theology through the study of its sacred sources remains ever fresh; on the other hand, speculation which neglects a deeper search into the deposit of faith, proves sterile, as we know from experience. But for this reason even positive theology cannot be on a par with merely historical science. For, together with the sources of positive theology God has given to His Church a living Teaching Authority to elucidate and explain what is contained in the deposit of faith only obscurely and implicitly. This deposit of faith our Divine Redeemer has given for authentic interpretation not to each of the faithful, not even to theologians, but only to the Teaching Authority of the Church. But if the Church does exercise this function of teaching, as she often has through the centuries, either in the ordinary or extraordinary way, it is clear how false is a procedure which would attempt to explain what is clear by means of what is obscure. Indeed the very opposite procedure must be used. Hence Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Pius IX, teaching that the most noble office of theology is to show how a doctrine defined by the Church is contained in the sources of revelation, added these words, and with very good reason: "in that sense in which it has been defined by the Church."
Modernists do not accept doctrine "in that sense in which has been defined by the Church. Pope Benedict XVI, for instance, rejects the necessity of the confessionally Catholic State, marking him as a dissenter from an article contained in the Deposit of Faith. As I have noted on many other occasions on this site and in Restoring Christ as the King of All Nations, no one is free to dissent from the confessionally Catholic State. All states, including the United States of America, must profess the true religion, namely, Catholicism. No nation is exempt from professing the true Faith. Anyone who dissents from this doctrine is a Modernist and/or a nationalist who prefers the Protestant and Masonic concepts of the separation of Church and State to the doctrine of the Catholic Church. This applies to Benedict XVI. And it applies to many traditionalists (of every stripe, including those who recognize the validity of the conciliar popes and those who do not).
Pope Leo XIII, reiterating the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church through the centuries, put it this way in Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885:
As a consequence, the State, constituted as it is, is clearly bound to act up to the manifold and weighty duties linking it to God, by the public profession of religion. Nature and reason, which command every individual devoutly to worship God in holiness, because we belong to Him and must return to Him, since from Him we came, bind also the civil community by a like law. For, men living together in society are under the power of God no less than individuals are, and society, no less than individuals, owes gratitude to God who gave it being and maintains it and whose everbounteous goodness enriches it with countless blessings. Since, then, no one is allowed to be remiss in the service due to God, and since the chief duty of all men is to cling to religion in both its teaching and practice-not such religion as they may have a preference for, but the religion which God enjoins, and which certain and most clear marks show to be the only one true religion -- it is a public crime to act as though there were no God. So, too, is it a sin for the State not to have care for religion as a something beyond its scope, or as of no practical benefit; or out of many forms of religion to adopt that one which chimes in with the fancy; for we are bound absolutely to worship God in that way which He has shown to be His will. All who rule, therefore, would hold in honor the holy name of God, and one of their chief duties must be to favor religion, to protect it, to shield it under the credit and sanction of the laws, and neither to organize nor enact any measure that may compromise its safety. This is the bounden duty of rulers to the people over whom they rule. For one and all are we destined by our birth and adoption to enjoy, when this frail and fleeting life is ended, a supreme and final good in heaven, and to the attainment of this every endeavor should be directed. Since, then, upon this depends the full and perfect happiness of mankind, the securing of this end should be of all imaginable interests the most urgent. Hence, civil society, established for the common welfare, should not only safeguard the wellbeing of the community, but have also at heart the interests of its individual members, in such mode as not in any way to hinder, but in every manner to render as easy as may be, the possession of that highest and unchangeable good for which all should seek. Wherefore, for this purpose, care must especially be taken to preserve unharmed and unimpeded the religion whereof the practice is the link connecting man with God.
Now, it cannot be difficult to find out which is the true religion, if only it be sought with an earnest and unbiased mind; for proofs are abundant and striking. We have, for example, the fulfillment of prophecies, miracles in great numbers, the rapid spread of the faith in the midst of enemies and in face of overwhelming obstacles, the witness of the martyrs, and the like. From all these it is evident that the only true religion is the one established by Jesus Christ Himself, and which He committed to His Church to protect and to propagate.
Pope Leo XIII elaborated on this theme in Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus, November 1, 1900:
From this it may clearly be seen what con sequences are to be expected from that false pride which, rejecting our Saviour's Kingship, places man at the summit of all things and declares that human nature must rule supreme. And yet, this supreme rule can neither be attained nor even defined. The rule of Jesus Christ derives its form and its power from Divine Love: a holy and orderly charity is both its foundation and its crown. Its necessary consequences are the strict fulfilment of duty, respect of mutual rights, the estimation of the things of heaven above those of earth, the preference of the love of God to all things. But this supremacy of man, which openly rejects Christ, or at least ignores Him, is entirely founded upon selfishness, knowing neither charity nor selfdevotion. Man may indeed be king, through Jesus Christ: but only on condition that he first of all obey God, and diligently seek his rule of life in God's law. By the law of Christ we mean not only the natural precepts of morality and the Ancient Law, all of which Jesus Christ has perfected and crowned by His declaration, explanation and sanction; but also the rest of His doctrine and His own peculiar institutions. Of these the chief is His Church. Indeed whatsoever things Christ has instituted are most fully contained in His Church. Moreover, He willed to perpetuate the office assigned to Him by His Father by means of the ministry of the Church so gloriously founded by Himself. On the one hand He confided to her all the means of men's salvation, on the other He most solemnly commanded men to be subject to her and to obey her diligently, and to follow her even as Himself: "He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me" (Luke x, 16). Wherefore the law of Christ must be sought in the Church. Christ is man's "Way"; the Church also is his "Way"-Christ of Himself and by His very nature, the Church by His commission and the communication of His power. Hence all who would find salvation apart from the Church, are led astray and strive in vain.
As with individuals, so with nations. These, too, must necessarily tend to ruin if they go astray from "The Way." The Son of God, the Creator and Redeemer of mankind, is King and Lord of the earth, and holds supreme dominion over men, both individually and collectively. "And He gave Him power, and glory, and a kingdom: and all peoples, tribes, and tongues shall serve Him" (Daniel vii., 14). "I am appointed King by Him . . . I will give Thee the Gentiles for Thy inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession" (Psalm ii., 6, 8). Therefore the law of Christ ought to prevail in human society and be the guide and teacher of public as well as of private life. Since this is so by divine decree, and no man may with impunity contravene it, it is an evil thing for the common weal wherever Christianity does not hold the place that belongs to it. When Jesus Christ is absent, human reason fails, being bereft of its chief protection and light, and the very end is lost sight of, for which, under God's providence, human society has been built up. This end is the obtaining by the members of society of natural good through the aid of civil unity, though always in harmony with the perfect and eternal good which is above nature. But when men's minds are clouded, both rulers and ruled go astray, for they have no safe line to follow nor end to aim at.
Just as it is the height of misfortune to go astray from the "Way," so is it to abandon the "Truth." Christ Himself is the first, absolute and essential "Truth," inasmuch as He is the Word of God, consubstantial and co-eternal with the Father, He and the Father being One. "I am the Way and the Truth." Wherefore if the Truth be sought by the human intellect, it must first of all submit it to Jesus Christ, and securely rest upon His teaching, since therein Truth itself speaketh. There are innumerable and extensive fields of thought, properly belonging to the human mind, in which it may have free scope for its investigations and speculations, and that not only agreeably to its nature, but even by a necessity of its nature. But what is unlawful and unnatural is that the human mind should refuse to be restricted within its proper limits, and, throwing aside its becoming modesty, should refuse to acknowledge Christ's teaching. This teaching, upon which our salvation depends, is almost entirely about God and the things of God. No human wisdom has invented it, but the Son of God hath received and drunk it in entirely from His Father: "The words which thou gavest me, I have given to them" john xvii., 8). Hence this teaching necessarily embraces many subjects which are not indeed contrary to reasonfor that would be an impossibility-but so exalted that we can no more attain them by our own reasoning than we can comprehend God as He is in Himself. If there be so many things hidden and veiled by nature, which no human ingenuity can explain, and yet which no man in his senses can doubt, it would be an abuse of liberty to refuse to accept those which are entirely above nature, because their essence cannot be discovered. To reject dogma is simply to deny Christianity. Our intellect must bow humbly and reverently "unto the obedience of Christ," so that it be held captive by His divinity and authority: "bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians x., 5). Such obedience Christ requires, and justly so. For He is God, and as such holds supreme dominion over man's intellect as well as over his will. By obeying Christ with his intellect man by no means acts in a servile manner, but in complete accordance with his reason and his natural dignity. For by his will he yields, not to the authority of any man, but to that of God, the author of his being, and the first principle to Whom he is subject by the very law of his nature. He does not suffer himself to be forced by the theories of any human teacher, but by the eternal and unchangeable truth. Hence he attains at one and the same time the natural good of the intellect and his own liberty. For the truth which proceeds from the teaching of Christ clearly demonstrates the real nature and value of every being; and man, being endowed with this knowledge, if he but obey the truth as perceived, will make all things subject to himself, not himself to them; his appetites to his reason, not his reason to his appetites. Thus the slavery of sin and falsehood will be shaken off, and the most perfect liberty attained: "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" john viii., 32). It is, then, evident that those whose intellect rejects the yoke of Christ are obstinately striving against God. Having shaken off God's authority, they are by no means freer, for they will fall beneath some human sway. They are sure to choose someone whom they will listen to, obey, and follow as their guide. Moreover, they withdraw their intellect from the communication of divine truths, and thus limit it within a narrower circle of knowledge, so that they are less fitted to succeed in the pursuit even of natural science. For there are in nature very many things whose apprehension or explanation is greatly aided by the light of divine truth. Not unfrequently, too, God, in order to chastise their pride, does not permit men to see the truth, and thus they are punished in the things wherein they sin. This is why we often see men of great intellectual power and erudition making the grossest blunders even in natural science.
Note again these telling words in Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus:
When Jesus Christ is absent, human reason fails, being bereft of its chief protection and light, and the very end is lost sight of, for which, under God's providence, human society has been built up. This end is the obtaining by the members of society of natural good through the aid of civil unity, though always in harmony with the perfect and eternal good which is above nature. But when men's minds are clouded, both rulers and ruled go astray, for they have no safe line to follow nor end to aim at.
Does the United States Constitution, so praised by Pope Benedict XVI as the very model for a "healthy laicism," make room for Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and His true Church? Of course not. It set itself on the road to its present ruin precisely because it is premised upon the belief that man can be virtuous on his own without having recourse to Sanctifying Grace and that is thus possible for men to realize social order absent a frank and confessional submission to the authority of the true Church in all that pertains to the good of souls, which includes her right to intervene as a last resort to assure that a true and proper interpretation of the Divine positive law and the natural law is the one and only basis of public policy. A pursuit of the common good founded on merely "natural" grounds will produce chaos, as Pope Leo noted in Tametsi:
God alone is Life. All other beings partake of life, but are not life. Christ, from all eternity and by His very nature, is "the Life," just as He is the Truth, because He is God of God. From Him, as from its most sacred source, all life pervades and ever will pervade creation. Whatever is, is by Him; whatever lives, lives by Him. For by the Word "all things were made; and without Him was made nothing that was made." This is true of the natural life; but, as We have sufficiently indicated above, we have a much higher and better life, won for us by Christ's mercy, that is to say, "the life of grace," whose happy consummation is "the life of glory," to which all our thoughts and actions ought to be directed. The whole object of Christian doctrine and morality is that "we being dead to sin, should live to justice" (I Peter ii., 24)-that is, to virtue and holiness. In this consists the moral life, with the certain hope of a happy eternity. This justice, in order to be advantageous to salvation, is nourished by Christian faith. "The just man liveth by faith" (Galatians iii., II). "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews xi., 6). Consequently Jesus Christ, the creator and preserver of faith, also preserves and nourishes our moral life. This He does chiefly by the ministry of His Church. To Her, in His wise and merciful counsel, He has entrusted certain agencies which engender the supernatural life, protect it, and revive it if it should fail. This generative and conservative power of the virtues that make for salvation is therefore lost, whenever morality is dissociated from divine faith. A system of morality based exclusively on human reason robs man of his highest dignity and lowers him from the supernatural to the merely natural life. Not but that man is able by the right use of reason to know and to obey certain principles of the natural law. But though he should know them all and keep them inviolate through life-and even this is impossible without the aid of the grace of our Redeemer-still it is vain for anyone without faith to promise himself eternal salvation. "If anyone abide not in Me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up and cast him into the fire, and he burneth" john xv., 6). "He that believeth not shall be condemned" (Mark xvi., 16). We have but too much evidence of the value and result of a morality divorced from divine faith. How is it that, in spite of all the zeal for the welfare of the masses, nations are in such straits and even distress, and that the evil is daily on the increase? We are told that society is quite able to help itself; that it can flourish without the assistance of Christianity, and attain its end by its own unaided efforts. Public administrators prefer a purely secular system of government. All traces of the religion of our forefathers are daily disappearing from political life and administration. What blindness! Once the idea of the authority of God as the Judge of right and wrong is forgotten, law must necessarily lose its primary authority and justice must perish: and these are the two most powerful and most necessary bonds of society. Similarly, once the hope and expectation of eternal happiness is taken away, temporal goods will be greedily sought after. Every man will strive to secure the largest share for himself. Hence arise envy, jealousy, hatred. The consequences are conspiracy, anarchy, nihilism. There is neither peace abroad nor security at home. Public life is stained with crime.
Lest anyone think that Pope Leo was referring to a generic form of Christianity as the basis of public order, it is important to once again review his plain words in A Review of His Pontificate, 1902:
Just as Christianity cannot penetrate into the soul without making it better, so it cannot enter into public life without establishing order. With the idea of a God Who governs all, Who is infinitely wise, good, and just, the idea of duty seizes upon the consciences of men. It assuages sorrow, it calms hatred, it engenders heroes. If it has transformed pagan society--and that transformation was a veritable resurrection--for barbarism disappeared in proportion as Christianity extended its sway, so, after the terrible shocks which unbelief has given to the world in our days, it will be able to put that world again on the true road, and bring back to order the States and peoples of modern times. But the return of Christianity will not be efficacious and complete if it does not restore the world to a sincere love of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. In the Catholic Church Christianity is Incarnate. It identifies itself with that perfect, spiritual, and, in its own order, sovereign society, which is the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ and which has for Its visible head the Roman Pontiff, successor of the Prince of the Apostles. It is the continuation of the mission of the Savior, the daughter and the heiress of His Redemption. It has preached the Gospel, and has defended it at the price of Its blood, and strong in the Divine Assistance and of that immortality which has been promised It, It makes no terms with error but remains faithful to the commands which It has received, to carry the doctrine of Jesus Christ to the uttermost limits of the world and to the end of time, and to protect It in Its inviolable integrity. Legitimate dispenser of the Teachings of the Gospel It does not reveal Itself only as the consoler and Redeemer of souls, but It is still more the internal source of Justice and Charity, and the Propagator as well as the Guardian of True Liberty, and of that equality which alone is possible here below. In applying the doctrine of its Divine Founder, It maintains a wise equilibrium and marks the True Limits between the rights and privileges of society. The equality which it proclaims does not destroy the distinction between the different social classes It keeps them intact, as nature itself demands, in order to oppose the anarchy of reason emancipated from Faith, and abandoned to its own devices. The liberty which it gives in no wise conflicts with the rights of Truth, because those rights are superior to the demands of liberty. Not does it infringe upon the rights of Justice, because those rights are superior to the claims of mere numbers or power. Nor does it assail the rights of God because they are superior to the rights of humanity.
Those heretics who embrace the American Founding as perfectly compatible with the Catholic Faith ignore these words of Pope Leo XIII, pointing to his Longiqua Oceani to "prove" that the American governmental system is favored by the Church. This is not so. Pope Leo praised what he could of the American experience in Longiqua before qualifying that praise with a firm condemnation of the separation of Church and State that exists in this nation. Pope Leo XIII was refuting the claim, still made by Americanists, including a traditionalist prelate or two, I am told, that the Church in the United States has enjoyed "growth" because it is unfettered by the State. Not so, said Pope Leo XIII. The Church in the United States had enjoyed growth because of the Holy Ghost. She would enjoy more growth if she had the favor and the protection of the State:
But, moreover (a fact which it gives pleasure to acknowledge), thanks are due to the equity of the laws which obtain in America and to the customs of the well-ordered Republic. For the Church amongst you, unopposed by the Constitution and government of your nation, fettered by no hostile legislation, protected against violence by the common laws and the impartiality of the tribunals, is free to live and act without hindrance. Yet, though all this is true, it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the Church, or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for State and Church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced. The fact that Catholicity with you is in good condition, nay, is even enjoying a prosperous growth, is by all means to be attributed to the fecundity with which God has endowed His Church, in virtue of which unless men or circumstances interfere, she spontaneously expands and propagates herself; but she would bring forth more abundant fruits if, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favor of the laws and the patronage of the public authority.
Indeed, Pope Leo XIII had noted in Immortale Dei the simple fact that a government excludes the true Church from its very constitutions and laws is destined for ruin. A government that accepts religious indifferentism as the basis of social life sets itself up for the acceptance of atheism as the lowest common denominator. These are simple truths that only one desirous of worshiping at the altar of the false gods of the American founding can ignore:
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 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.
So, too, the liberty of thinking, and of publishing, whatsoever each one likes, without any hindrance, is not in itself an advantage over which society can wisely rejoice. On the contrary, it is the fountain-head and origin of many evils. Liberty is a power perfecting man, and hence should have truth and goodness for its object. But the character of goodness and truth cannot be changed at option. These remain ever one and the same, and are no less unchangeable than nature itself. If the mind assents to false opinions, and the will chooses and follows after what is wrong, neither can attain its native fullness, but both must fall from their native dignity into an abyss of corruption. Whatever, therefore, is opposed to virtue and truth may not rightly be brought temptingly before the eye of man, much less sanctioned by the favor and protection of the law. A well-spent life is the only way to heaven, whither all are bound, and on this account the State is acting against the laws and dictates of nature whenever it permits the license of opinion and of action to lead minds astray from truth and souls away from the practice of virtue. To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, from life, from laws, from the education of youth, from domestic society is a grave and fatal error. A State from which religion is banished can never be well regulated; and already perhaps more than is desirable is known of the nature and tendency of the so-called civil philosophy of life and morals. The Church of Christ is the true and sole teacher of virtue and guardian of morals. She it is who preserves in their purity the principles from which duties flow, and, by setting forth most urgent reasons for virtuous life, bids us not only to turn away from wicked deeds, but even to curb all movements of the mind that are opposed to reason, even though they be not carried out in action.
Pope Leo XIII further elaborated on the harm of the dangers of the pluralism extant in the American experience in his Apostolical Letter to James Cardinal Gibbons, Testem Benevolentiae, January 22, 1899. Testem Benevolentiae was a prophetic warning not only to the American bishops. It was a warning to Catholics worldwide not to adapt the Faith to suit "modern times." Indeed, one can see in Pope Leo's remarks below a condemnation of the very spirit that produced the Second Vatican Council:
The underlying principle of these new opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them. It does not need many words, beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas if the nature and origin of the doctrine which the Church proposes are recalled to mind. The Vatican Council says concerning this point: "For the doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention to be perfected by human ingenuity, but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared. Hence that meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be retained which our Holy Mother, the Church, has once declared, nor is that meaning ever to be departed from under the pretense or pretext of a deeper comprehension of them." -Constitutio de Fide Catholica, Chapter iv.
We cannot consider as altogether blameless the silence which purposely leads to the omission or neglect of some of the principles of Christian doctrine, for all the principles come from the same Author and Master, "the Only Begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father."-John i, I8. They are adapted to all times and all nations, as is clearly seen from the words of our Lord to His apostles: "Going, therefore, teach all nations; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all days, even to the end of the world."-Matt. xxviii, 19. Concerning this point the Vatican Council says: "All those things are to be believed with divine and catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by her ordinary and universal magisterium, proposes for belief as having been divinely revealed."-Const. de fide, Chapter iii.
Let it be far from anyone's mind to suppress for any reason any doctrine that has been handed down. Such a policy would tend rather to separate Catholics from the Church than to bring in those who differ. There is nothing closer to our heart than to have those who are separated from the fold of Christ return to it, but in no other way than the way pointed out by Christ.
Far from being based in a "misunderstanding" of the writings of Father Isaac Thomas Hecker, Pope Leo XIII's Testem Benevolentiae was a prophetic explanation of the pernicious influences of the Americanist/Modernist cultural milieu upon the lives of ordinary Catholics. Pope Leo XIII understood that Catholics who lived in the framework of religious indifferentism and cultural pluralism would come to view the Church through the eyes of democracy and egalitarianism and what Pope Gregory XVI called the "insanity" of civil liberty while they would exalt the nationalist myths of the State into a virtual demigod beyond criticism. Yes, we are called to love our country. However, true love of one's country seeks her Catholicization in all things, as Pope Leo noted in Sapientiae Christianae, 1890:
Now, if the natural law enjoins us to love devotedly and to defend the country in which we had birth, and in which we were brought up, so that every good citizen hesitates not to face death for his native land, very much more is it the urgent duty of Christians to be ever quickened by like feelings toward the Church. For the Church is the holy City of the living God, born of God Himself, and by Him built up and established. Upon this earth, indeed, she accomplishes her pilgrimage, but by instructing and guiding men she summons them to eternal happiness. We are bound, then, to love dearly the country whence we have received the means of enjoyment this mortal life affords, but we have a much more urgent obligation to love, with ardent love, the Church to which we owe the life of the soul, a life that will endure forever. For fitting it is to prefer the good of the soul to the well-being of the body, inasmuch as duties toward God are of a far more hallowed character than those toward men.
Moreover, if we would judge aright, the supernatural love for the Church and the natural love of our own country proceed from the same eternal principle, since God Himself is their Author and originating Cause. Consequently, it follows that between the duties they respectively enjoin, neither can come into collision with the other. We can, certainly, and should love ourselves, bear ourselves kindly toward our fellow men, nourish affection for the State and the governing powers; but at the same time we can and must cherish toward the Church a feeling of filial piety, and love God with the deepest love of which we are capable. The order of precedence of these duties is, however, at times, either under stress of public calamities, or through the perverse will of men, inverted. For, instances occur where the State seems to require from men as subjects one thing, and religion, from men as Christians, quite another; and this in reality without any other ground, than that the rulers of the State either hold the sacred power of the Church of no account, or endeavor to subject it to their own will. Hence arises a conflict, and an occasion, through such conflict, of virtue being put to the proof. The two powers are confronted and urge their behests in a contrary sense; to obey both is wholly impossible. No man can serve two masters, for to please the one amounts to contemning the other.
As to which should be preferred no one ought to balance for an instant. It is a high crime indeed to withdraw allegiance from God in order to please men, an act of consummate wickedness to break the laws of Jesus Christ, in order to yield obedience to earthly rulers, or, under pretext of keeping the civil law, to ignore the rights of the Church; "we ought to obey God rather than men." This answer, which of old Peter and the other Apostles were used to give the civil authorities who enjoined unrighteous things, we must, in like circumstances, give always and without hesitation. No better citizen is there, whether in time of peace or war, than the Christian who is mindful of his duty; but such a one should be ready to suffer all things, even death itself, rather than abandon the cause of God or of the Church.
No one loves his country if he does not seek to Catholicize her in every aspect of her cultural life, including economics. Everything must be referred to Christ the King. Every one of our actions must be undertaken with a view to our Particular Judgments, mindful that the just social order depends upon the state of individual souls, which must have belief in, access to and cooperation with Sanctifying Grace to be well-ordered and thus disposed to the Deposit of Faith that Our Lord has entrusted solely to His true Church.
Once again, you see, Pope Pius XI, who as a young priest asked to see the Bishop of Mantua, Giuseppe Melchior Sarto, the future Pope Saint Pius X, condemned anyone who rejected the Social Teaching of the Church, which applies to all men and to all states, as a Modernist. Writing in Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, Pope Pius XI noted:
Many believe in or claim that they believe in and hold fast to Catholic doctrine on such questions as social authority, the right of owning private property, on the relations between capital and labor, on the rights of the laboring man, on the relations between Church and State, religion and country, on the relations between the different social classes, on international relations, on the rights of the Holy See and the prerogatives of the Roman Pontiff and the Episcopate, on the social rights of Jesus Christ, Who is the Creator, Redeemer, and Lord not only of individuals but of nations. In spite of these protestations, they speak, write, and, what is more, act as if it were not necessary any longer to follow, or that they did not remain still in full force, the teachings and solemn pronouncements which may be found in so many documents of the Holy See, and particularly in those written by Leo XIII, Pius X, and Benedict XV.
There is a species of moral, legal, and social modernism which We condemn, no less decidedly than We condemn theological modernism.
The evil, pernicious heresy of Americanism is part and parcel of all of the evils of Modernism. Americanism prescinds from and flows into the religious indifferentism spawned by the Protestant Revolt and the rise of contemporary Judeo-Masonry, which wants the civil state to profess no religion and seeks to convince men that they can be good by their own devices, thus making Pope Leo XIII's condemnation of Freemasonry in Humanum Genus, 1884, as relevant to the United States and all of the Americas, which were infiltrated by Masonic ideals flowing from this country in order to undermine and thus to overthrow the Social Reign of Christ the King in Latin America, as it was in Europe. The heresies of the conciliarist novelty of ecumenism owe a great deal to the American belief that we can simply live in civil peace with people of different faiths as we attempt to pursue the common good without regard to "doctrinal differences." Oh, yes, the Potomac did indeed flow into the Tiber at the Second Vatican Council. The late Father John Courtney Murray, S.J., saw to that all right, using many of the American bishops as his mouthpieces to exalt the lies that went into Dignitatis Humanae, 1965, which was fought so vigorously by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre to the day of his dying breath, March 25, 1991.
It comes as no surprise in this era when most Catholics have accepted the twin, inter-related errors of religious liberty and ecumenism that a bishop "in good standing," the Most Reverend Thomas Gumbleton, a now retired Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit, Michigan, noted for his support of the homosexualist agenda, can state that everyone except orthodox Catholics go to Heaven. Consider this brief report from New Oxford Review, January, 2005:
Will orthodox Catholics go to Hell?
Sounds like it, given what Bishop Thomas Gumbleton says. He expounds on Luke 13:22-30 in the National Catholic Reporter (Sept. 17, 2004). This is where Jesus is asked, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" Jesus answers, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough."
Says Gumbleton: "We Catholics sometimes think we are the real Christians.... Well, God doesn't look on it that way. God says that everyone is special. Everyone is chosen. Everyone on this planet is a son or daughter of God.... God loves...every religion. God does not hold up one group in favor of another."
However, Gumbleton rebukes those who have "an exclusive attitude" -- these are the ones, says Gumbleton, who "won't get...into the kingdom of heaven." That certainly applies to orthodox Catholics, who claim to have the fullness of truth and the fullness of grace in the Sacraments, who indeed claim to be the "real Christians." So, it's the orthodox Catholics who are in danger of going to Hell.
Gumbleton quotes from the same Gospel reading: "Jesus says in the Gospel, ‘They will come from the north and the south, the east and the west.' He could have said, ‘They will be Buddhists and Hindus, Muslims and even atheists.'" Of course, Gumbleton totally misconstrues this. Jesus is telling the Jews of His time who rejected Him that they will be refused entry into the Kingdom of God in favor of the righteous Gentiles who accept Him. (See our New Oxford Note, "The Most Important Question in Life," Nov. 2004).
In order to go to Heaven, Gumbleton is saying that it doesn't matter what you believe or don't believe. You don't have to believe in Jesus (what a waste that Crucifixion was!). You can believe in idols. You can believe there is no God whatsoever. All that's just fine. But don't you dare have "an exclusive attitude"! Don't you dare believe that Catholics are the "real Christians"!
But irony of ironies. Gumbleton himself has "an exclusive attitude," for he excludes orthodox Catholics. So, by his own screwy logic, Gumbleton is on his way to Hell too.
There is little difference between Thomas Gumbleton and Joseph Ratzinger, the disciple of Hans Urs von Balthasar. Both Gumbleton and Ratzinger clearly reject this dogmatic declaration of the Council of Florence as completely irrelevant, if not actually erroneous, proving themselves to be defectors from the Catholic Faith:
The holy Roman Church believes, professes, and preaches that 'no one remaining outside the Catholic Church, not just pagans, but also Jews or heretics or schismatics, can become partakers of eternal life; but they will go to the everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels,' unless before the end of life they are joined to the Church. For the union with the body of the Church is of such importance that the sacraments of the Church are helpful to salvation only for those who remaining in it; and fasts, almsgiving, other works of piety, and the exercise of Christian warfare bear eternal rewards from them alone. And no one can be saved, no matter how much alms, he has given, even if he sheds his blood for the name of Christ, unless he remains in the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.
The Council of Florence was a dogmatic council of the Catholic Church. Its decrees are irreformable. Anyone who dissents from them has fallen from the Catholic Faith as much as any disciple of Modernism and all of its species, including Americanism. Once again, the words of Pope Leo XIII from Satis Cognitum, 1896, are quite apropos:
The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavour than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own. The Arians, the Montanists, the Novatians, the Quartodecimans, the Eutychians, did not certainly reject all Catholic doctrine: they abandoned only a certain portion of it. Still who does not know that they were declared heretics and banished from the bosom of the Church? In like manner were condemned all authors of heretical tenets who followed them in subsequent ages. "There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition" (Auctor Tract. de Fide Orthodoxa contra Arianos).
The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodore :, drew up a long list of the heresies of their times. St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. "No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single one of these he is not a Catholic" (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88).
A heresy is a heresy, whether it is embraced by a conciliarist or by some traditionalist, whether layman or a priest or a bishop, who worships at the altar of the false gods of the American Founding. To believe that all men go to Heaven and/or that it is possible for there to be civil order absent a confessional recognition of the true Church is to deviate from the Catholic Faith.
Pope Saint Pius X saw very clearly the essential elements of the Modernism facing us today. Writing in Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907, the sainted pontiff noted the Modernist desire to change dogma and thus to appeal to "modern" man:
Dogma is not only able, but ought to evolve and to be changed. This is strongly affirmed by the Modernists, and clearly flows from their principles. . . .
It is impossible to approve in Catholic publications a style inspired by unsound novelty which seems to deride the piety of the faithful and dwells on the introduction of a new order of Christian life, on new directions of the Church, on new aspirations of the modern soul, on a new social vocation of the clergy, on a new Christian civilization, and many other things of the same kind.
Pope Saint Pius X wrote in Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910, that novelties must be reject and that the true friends of the people are not the revolutionaries or the apostles of the Sillon, they are traditionalists:
However, let not these priests be misled, in the maze of current opinions, by the miracles of a false Democracy. Let them not borrow from the Rhetoric of the worst enemies of the Church and of the people, the high-flown phrases, full of promises; which are as high-sounding as unattainable. Let them be convinced that the social question and social science did not arise only yesterday; that the Church and the State, at all times and in happy concert, have raised up fruitful organizations to this end; that the Church, which has never betrayed the happiness of the people by consenting to dubious alliances, does not have to free herself from the past; that all that is needed is to take up again, with the help of the true workers for a social restoration, the organisms which the Revolution shattered, and to adapt them, in the same Christian spirit that inspired them, to the new environment arising from the material development of today’s society. Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are traditionalists.
Although the language of the worst enemies of the Church--and thus of the people--are being employed by those who lay claim to ecclesiastical power, we must remember the example of Saint Basil, who fought the Arians, those who laid claim to the levers of ecclesiastical power in his own day, without regard for human respect. Consider this brief excerpt from Jacobus de Voragine's The Golden Legend:
Emperor Valens, who was partial to the Arians, confiscate a church that belonged to the Catholics and gave it to the heretics. Basil went to the emperor and said: "Your majesty, it is written that the honor of the king loves judgment and the judgment of the king loves justice. Why then has your heart ordered that the Catholics be excluded from their church, and it be given to the Arians?" "So here you are, Basil," the emperor retorted, "shaming me again! This is unworthy of you!" Basil replied: "What is worthy of me is to die, if I must, for justice!"
Then Demosthenes, who was in charge of the emperor's table and was also a partisan of the Arians, spoke in defense of the heretics and treated the bishop insolently. "Your business is to see that the king's meals are well prepared," Basil answered, "and not to cook up divine dogmas!" The steward, in confusion, had no more to say.
Valens now addressed the bishop: "Basil, go and give judgment in this case, but do not be swayed by immoderate love of the people." So Basil went before the Catholics and the Arians and proposed that the doors of the church be closed and sealed with the seal of each party, and that the church would belong to the party at whose prayer the doors opened. This satisfied everybody. The Arians then prayed for three days and three nights, but when they came to the church the next morning, the doors were not opened. Then Basil led a procession to the church, prayed, gave the doors a light blow with his pastoral crook, and said: "Lift up your heads, O ancient doors, that the king of glory may come in!" The doors flew open at once, all the people went in, thanking God, and the church was returned to the Catholics.
As we read in Tripartite History, Valens promised great reward to Basil if the latter would come around to his way of thinking, but the bishop said: "That sort of promise might beguile children, but those who are nourished with the words of God do not allow one syllable of the divine dogmas to be altered." The emperor was indignant, the same history tells us, and prepared to write a decree sentencing the bishop to exile; but first one pen, then a second, then a third broke in his hand, and the hand began to tremble violently. The emperor gave up and destroyed the decree.
Trusting totally in Our Lady's intercessory power, may we simply hold fast to the totality of Catholic doctrine without any concessions to the heresies and novelties of conciliarism, including religious liberty (and its progenitor, Americanism) and ecumenism. God will manifest His glorious triumph in the Church and in the world through the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the faithful fulfillment of her Fatima Message. We must concentrate on saving our souls as we flee from anything and everything to do with Modernism, making reparation for our sins before the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament and living as the consecrated slaves of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. The Church will be restored in all of its glory. Christ the King will reign once again in the world. We never despair. We must, however, never grow tired of defending the fullness of the Faith no matter what it might cost us in this passing world.
Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Basil the Great, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Jerome, pray for us
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Agnes, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Blessed Francisco, pray for us.
Blessed Jacinta, pray for us.
Sister Lucia, pray for us.
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.