A World of Sisyphuses
by Thomas A. Droleskey
Those who do not understand the world clearly through the eyes of the true Faith wind up spending most of their lives trying to "figure things out" on a daily basis. That is, those who do not accept the Deposit of Faith that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ has entrusted exclusively to the Catholic Church that He Himself founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope, are lost in a fog of contradiction and confusion and myopia, constantly trying to fight this or that personal or social battle on purely naturalistic grounds without a single thought given over to First and Last Things. The simple answers provided by the Holy Faith as to why problems exist in the world and how they are to be ameliorated on a daily basis by the reform of individual lives in cooperation with the graces won for us on the wood of the Holy Cross by the shedding of every single drop of the Most Precious Blood of the Divine Redeemer and that flow into the hearts and souls of men through the loving hands of Our Lady, the Mediatrix of All Graces, are rejected as being vestiges of the past beliefs that are not "relevant" to modern men, especially given the "realities" of the pluralism that has been brought into existence by the Protestant Revolt and the rise of Judeo-Masonry.
The blindness caused by the rejection of the true Faith permeates all facets of daily living.
Just yesterday, for example, I was sending off what should be the next-to-last payment on our motor home (we have long wondered whether we would pay it off before it collapsed for good somewhere along some highway, leaving us homeless and with the responsibility of paying it off, as we thought last April when the motor home's first engine died on Interstates 80/94 just west of the Illinois/Indiana state line), at a FEDEX/Kinko's when an employee asked me how my Christmas "was." Oh, never give such an opening, please, unless you want to hear what I told the employee: that Christmas Day is celebrated over the course of an Octave, the Christmas season actually stretching forty days to the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary on February 2 (Septuagesima begins on January 20, 2008, toning down the festive spirit of the season after the Epiphany for the coming year). The employee said that I sounded like an Anglican. No, I explained, I am a Catholic, going to all to remind her that the Anglican "church" was started by a lustful king who wanted to get a decree of nullity from Pope Clement VII to put away his legitimate wife, Catherine of Aragon, and marry his mistress, Anne Boleyn. "I've heard that," the employee said, "but I've heard other things too."
Flabbergasted, I tried, quite patiently and without once raising my voice whatsoever, to tell the employee that there are basic facts of history. The fact that King Henry VIII started the Anglican "church" in order to justify his bogus, bigamous, adulterous "marriage" to Anne Boleyn is something admitted even by Protestant historians. The employee would have none of it. Her attitude was this: Who can ever be certain of historical facts, of truth?
Ah, my friends, this is the world in which most people live. Truth (of any kind)? Facts? History? Everything is a matter of "opinion" and "interpretation." Human beings are simply autonomous creatures who must muddle their way through life to "fix" problems on a piecemeal basis without ever understanding root causes, the essence of the late John Dewey's ideology of "pragmatism," one of the many sophistries produced by the naturalist, anti-Incarnational world of Modernity to which the counterfeit church of conciliarism has made its "reconciliation" by abandoning the teaching of the Social Reign of Christ the King and championing the Judeo-Masonic notion of the separation of Church and State. Public and most, although not quite all, conciliar schools produce graduates who are absolutely clueless about First and Last Things, immersed in material success and sensual pleasures as the defining measures of human existence.
Such people believe that government exists to help them "improve" their lives and to "solve" problems that have their proximate cause in Original Sin and fallen human nature and their remote causes in the Actual Sins of men that are never absolved by a true priest in the Sacred Tribunal of Penance. Disorder, frequently characterized by violence against innocent human life and the legitimate private property rights of others, and sloth become the order of the day in the lives of men and their nations. Cheating is commonplace, if not expected. Lying is a given. Warfare on the international stage is just a regrettable "reality" that must be waged with relentless abandon in the hopes of producing a "peace" that arms-merchants will never permit, an illusory peace that is premised on an abject rejection of the true Faith as the one and only foundation of personal and social order.
Forget about a knowledge of First and Last Things as they have been entrusted to and taught by the infallible teaching authority of the Catholic Church. Most people don't even have a basic knowledge of current events. It was one year ago today that I began teaching a ten day intersession course at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University. As had been the case when last I taught in a formal classroom setting in the 2002-2003 academic year, most of the students knew nothing about current events. None could name the United States Secretary of Defense. One out of fifteen could name the newly-elected Governor of the State of New York. None could not their own local governmental officials. They lived in a perpetual fog. Most of them will actually vote in the 2008 presidential election as this is what is done in a "democratic republic." And it is to precisely such people that those who devise campaign "strategies" for careerists seeking elected offices at various levels (state, local, national), including the presidency of the United States of America, spend such time trying to identify a "theme" that will resonate with the various constituencies whom it is believed are most inclined to support the candidates for whom they work.
Trying to identify a "theme" is a complicated process for people who are themselves immersed in the relativism and materialism and pragmatism and careerism of Judeo-Masonic naturalism. Polling companies must be employed to conduct random-sample surveys of voters in various locations or groups. The results of these surveys must be analyzed. Media consultants must then devise television and radio and internet advertising designed to communicate the "theme" that will reach voters in Iowa or New Hampshire or South Carolina or Florida. While there are candidates who are exceptions to this, adhering to their own sets of beliefs, no matter how mistakenly-based in Protestantism or libertarianism or other naturalist concepts, most candidates for public office simply run to "win." Reflecting the quintessential American aversion to ideas, what former President George Herbert Walker Bush derided so contemptuously as the "vision thing," most candidates are an amazing collection of contradictions and "feelings" who possess no "core" beliefs even on the naturalistic level other than a desire to "win" in order to acquire and then exercise political power in such a way so as to retain it for as long as the law on term limits, if any, of a particular office permits.
These are the facts of life in our so terribly contorted and disfigured naturalist world of pluralism, a world where over four thousand innocent preborn babies each and every day are put to death in the United States of America by surgical means alone. Father Paul Marx, O.S.B., the founder of Human Life International, estimated in a talk he gave in Willimantic, Connecticut, in June of 1997 that over 20,000 babies a day worldwide are killed by surgical abortions. Thousands upon thousands more are killed by means of chemical abortifacients. Anyone who thinks that there is some naturalistic way out of this contorted and disfigured world is fooling himself. The Apostles did not "build for the future" by means of naturalism. They planted the seeds for the conversion of men and their nations to the Catholic Faith, trusting that Our Lord would bring the seeds that they planted in His Holy Name and by His ineffable graces to fruition in His own good time. In other words, the Apostles did not look for "results" with the sort of frantic mania that possesses (and that is the absolutely correct word to use, by the way) so many who are hell bent in the tragically false belief that this or that political candidate is going to "change" things in the future, if not here and now.
The Apostles knew that fidelity to the Divine Redeemer was what mattered, not tangible "results." Men and their nations need to be converted to the true Faith. The Catholic City, not some inter-denominational, Masonic play land of naturalistic "common ground," needed to be established and then maintained. Pope Saint Pius X pointed this out in Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910:
But, on the contrary, by ignoring the laws governing human nature and by breaking the bounds within which they operate, the human person is lead, not toward progress, but towards death. This, nevertheless, is what they want to do with human society; they dream of changing its natural and traditional foundations; they dream of a Future City built on different principles, and they [the Sillonists] dare to proclaim these more fruitful and more beneficial than the principles upon which the present Christian City rests.
No, Venerable Brethren, We must repeat with the utmost energy in these times of social and intellectual anarchy when everyone takes it upon himself to teach as a teacher and lawmaker - the City cannot be built otherwise than as God has built it; society cannot be setup unless the Church lays the foundations and supervises the work; no, civilization is not something yet to be found, nor is the New City to be built on hazy notions; it has been in existence and still is: it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic City. It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants. omnia instaurare in Christo.
Restoring the Catholic City is the furthest thing from the minds of the careerist politicians and their sycophantic advisers. The New York Times ran a story a short while ago which described various "strategy sessions" held by the chief advisers to former City of New York Mayor Rudolph William Giuliani, a thoroughly pro-abortion and pro-perversion renegade Catholic. These sessions sound out "themes" that could be used by Giuliani, who usually speaks off-the-cuff and has little to say except for the fact that he would be "tough" on "terrorism" (while permitting the daily terrorism against innocent preborn children under cover of law, of course), in different states. Giuliani may be discovering that "being there" on September 11, 2001, just might not be enough to catapult himself to the Republican presidential nomination, although the stupidity of the American electorate is never to be underestimated. Those perceived to be the "electable" (such as the inarticulate, ever-mercurial, content-less thirty-third degree Mason named Robert Joseph Dole, Jr.) candidates frequently acquire support even though they are absolutely vapid and have not a blessed clue even on the natural level how to give a coherent set of remarks that have not been prepared for them in advance and that do not contradict something that they might have said earlier on the same day in a different location.
Anyone who thinks that "progress" can be made in the Judeo-Masonic world of naturalism without speaking confessionally as a Catholic will be condemned to the fate of the mythical Sisyphus, who had to spend eternity perpetually trying to roll a huge boulder up a hill, only to have it roll down on him time and time again. Each new election cycle brings its own "burst of energy" from the activists, each of whom seems to latch on to some new secular "saviour" that occupies his time and energies that could be spent much better educating people about the authentic Social Teaching of the Catholic Church. Half-answers and half-measures, no less those that actually reaffirm people in the falsehoods of "freedom of speech" and "freedom of press" and "freedom of religion," are not what men need. They need Catholic truth. Nothing else.
Oh, please don't tell me that people aren't ready for Catholic truth just now. Were the Jews who listened to Saint Peter on Pentecost Sunday "ready" for what he had to say to them? Were the Druids who were preached to by Saint Patrick "ready" for what he had to say to them? Were the pagans in Goa, India, "ready" for what Saint Francis Xavier had to say to them? Time is short. Eternity is forever. Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ told us that we should never be ashamed of Him and His doctrine before men lest He is ashamed of us at the moment of our Particular Judgments:
For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For he that shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, in this adulterous and sinful generation: the Son of man also will be ashamed of him, when he shall come in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8: 26-38.)
As one who was actively involved in volunteering my time to speak in behalf of the candidacy of Patrick Joseph Buchanan for the Republican presidential nomination twelve years ago at this time, driving all over Iowa for a space of nine weeks before I spoke in Pat's behalf as his surrogate at the Dubuque County caucuses on February 12, 1996, I can ask one and all how the
3,184,943 votes he received in the primaries and caucuses in 1996 "built" for the future? How have the votes given to "conservative" third party candidates over the past sixteen years done so? Wasted time, money and effort designed to convince well-meaning people that they have "done" "something" "good" for the future. They have not. They have, certainly without realizing it, reaffirmed others, including the candidates whom they have supported, in a whole host of naturalist lies, assuring that the "future" will be populated by more and more naturalistic "saviours" who believe in anything other than the authentic Social Teaching of the Catholic Church.
It is advisable once again to quote from Pope Leo XIII's Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus, November 1, 1900, to reiterate the utter futility of naturalism to "improve" man and his world:
Those who go astray from the road wander far from the goal they aim at. Similarly, if the pure and true light of truth be rejected, men's minds must necessarily be darkened and their souls deceived by deplorably false ideas. What hope of salvation can they have who abandon the very principle and fountain of life? Christ alone is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John xiv., 6). If He be abandoned the three necessary conditions of salvation are removed.
It is surely unnecessary to prove, what experience constantly shows and what each individual feels in himself, even in the very midst of all temporal prosperity-that in God alone can the human will find absolute and perfect peace. God is the only end of man. All our life on earth is the truthful and exact image of a pilgrimage. Now Christ is the "Way," for we can never reach God, the supreme and ultimate good, by this toilsome and doubtful road of mortal life, except with Christ as our leader and guide. How so? Firstly and chiefly by His grace; but this would remain "void" in man if the precepts of His law were neglected. For, as was necessarily the case after Jesus Christ had won our salvation, He left behind Him His Law for the protection and welfare of the human race, under the guidance of which men, converted from evil life, might safely tend towards God. "Going, teach ye all nations . . . teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" (Matthew xxviii., 19-20). "Keep my commandments" john xiv., 15). Hence it will be understood that in the Christian religion the first and most necessary condition is docility to the precepts of Jesus Christ, absolute loyalty of will towards Him as Lord and King. A serious duty, and one which oftentimes calls for strenuous labour, earnest endeavour, and perseverance! For although by Our Redeemer's grace human nature hath been regenerated, still there remains in each individual a certain debility and tendency to evil. Various natural appetites attract man on one side and the other; the allurements of the material world impel his soul to follow after what is pleasant rather than the law of Christ. Still we must strive our best and resist our natural inclinations with all our strength "unto the obedience of Christ." For unless they obey reason they become our masters, and carrying the whole man away from Christ, make him their slave. "Men of corrupt mind, who have made shipwreck of the faith, cannot help being slaves. . . They are slaves to a threefold concupiscence: of will, of pride, or of outward show" (St. Augustine, De Vera Religione, 37). In this contest every man must be prepared to undergo hard ships and troubles for Christ's sake. It is difficult to reject what so powerfully entices and delights. It is hard and painful to despise the supposed goods of the senses and of fortune for the will and precepts of Christ our Lord. But the Christian is absolutely obliged to be firm, and patient in suffering, if he wish to lead a Christian life. Have we forgotten of what Body and of what Head we are the members? "Having joy set before Him, He endured the Cross," and He bade us deny ourselves. The very dignity of human nature depends upon this disposition of mind. For, as even the ancient Pagan philosophy perceived, to be master of oneself and to make the lower part of the soul, obey the superior part, is so far from being a weakness of will that it is really a noble power, in consonance with right reason and most worthy of a man. Moreover, to bear and to suffer is the ordinary condition of man. Man can no more create for himself a life free from suffering and filled with all happiness that he can abrogate the decrees of his Divine Maker, who has willed that the consequences of original sin should be perpetual. It is reasonable, therefore, not to expect an end to troubles in this world, but rather to steel one's soul to bear troubles, by which we are taught to look forward with certainty to supreme happiness. Christ has not promised eternal bliss in heaven to riches, nor to a life of ease, to honours or to power, but to longsuffering and to tears, to the love of justice and to cleanness of heart.
From this it may clearly be seen what consequences 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.
Alas, why should the careerists and naturalists of Modernity and the Sisyphuses who support them understand or accept any of this when the counterfeit church conciliarism that is seen by most people in the world, albeit erroneously, as the Catholic Church, teaches that it is "good enough" for men to work in an inter-denominational way so as to combat the "tyranny of relativism" in the modern world? The irony here is inescapable: the tyranny of relativism, which is certainly quite real, cannot be fought by those who believe in a Hegelian notion of truth itself, believing that what was thought to be true at one time may not be true at another because of subjective factors of historical circumstances and the clouded judgments thereby produced. Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has been a champion throughout his entire priesthood of the condemned Modernist propositions concerning the evolutionary nature of dogmatic truths (as has been documented any number of times in articles on this website). One must understand conciliarism's dogged attack on the nature of truth, especially dogmatic truth, in order to understand that its propositions are in conflict with simple logic, no less defiant of propositions condemned by the [First] Vatican Council, Pope Saint Pius X and Pope Pius XII.
Ratzinger has been a particular champion of conciliarism's rejection of the irreformable Catholic teaching that the civil state must recognize the true Church and accord her the favor and protection of the laws, which is far, far different than a mere concession to existing realities while nevertheless continuing to preach and to work for the realization of the Catholic City. Ratzinger rejects the confessionally Catholic state completely, thereby consigning otherwise well-meaning Catholics to a blithe, uncritical acceptance of the very pluralism that has produced the tyranny of relativism that he says he wants to eradicate by means of a "healthy secularity" and "religious freedom."
Ratzinger's contempt for the nature of truth and for the binding nature of the solemn proclamations and papal pronouncements condemning his view of truth is made very manifest in any number of ways. One of these ways is his rejection of Scholasticism as the most reliable means to understand and to explain and to defend the Faith in clear, precise, logical terms that reflect the very clarity and immutability of God Himself, Who does not want His Deposit of Faith to be obscured or placed into a fog of ambiguity and/or contradiction. Note how Ratzinger/Benedict referred to Saint Thomas Aquinas "philosophical tradition" in Spe Salvi, November 30, 2007:
Saint Thomas Aquinas, using the terminology of the philosophical tradition to which he belonged, explains it as follows: faith is a habitus, that is, a stable disposition of the spirit, through which eternal life takes root in us and reason is led to consent to what it does not see.
This is very subtle. However, this one sentence says a whole lot about Joseph Ratzinger: Scholasticism is simply one "philosophical tradition" among many. It is not the philosophy of the Catholic Church. Well, Scholasticism may not be the philosophy of Ratzinger's counterfeit church of conciliarism. However, it is the philosophy of the Catholic Church. A contempt for Scholasticism is at the heart of the Modernist mind, as Pope Saint Pius X explained in Pascendi Dominci Gregis, September 8, 1907:
In the first place, with regard to studies, We will and strictly ordain that scholastic philosophy be made the basis of the sacred sciences. It goes without saying that "if anything is met with among the scholastic doctors which may be regarded as something investigated with an excess of subtlety, or taught without sufficient consideration; anything which is not in keeping with the certain results of later times; anything, in short, which is altogether destitute of probability, We have no desire whatever to propose it for the imitation of present generations." And let it be clearly understood above all things that when We prescribe scholastic philosophy We understand chiefly that which the Angelic Doctor has bequeathed to us, and We, therefore, declare that all the ordinances of Our predecessor on this subject continue fully in force, and, as far as may be necessary, We do decree anew, and confirm, and order that they shall be strictly observed by all. In seminaries where they have been neglected it will be for the Bishops to exact and require their observance in the future; and let this apply also to the superiors of religious orders. Further, We admonish professors to bear well in mind that they cannot set aside St. Thomas, especially in metaphysical questions, without grave disadvantage.
Pope Pius XII, writing in Humani Generis, August 12, 1950, reiterated this very point as Modernism was manifesting itself in a repackaged form as the "new theology" championed by some of the then seminarian Joseph Ratzinger's beloved theologians (Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, Karl Rahner, Maurice Blondel):
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.
Pope Pius XII was describing the very philosophical approach to the Faith possessed by Joseph Ratzinger, who believes that Scholasticism "distorts" the Fathers, which is why it is "necessary" to re-read them in light of contemporary philosophers and theologians. Pope Pius XII also described Ratzinger's contempt for the teaching authority of the Catholic Church, exemplified most recently in his December 22, 2005, address to the members of the conciliar Vatican's curia:
It is precisely in this combination of continuity and discontinuity at different levels that the very nature of true reform consists. In this process of innovation in continuity we must learn to understand more practically than before that the Church's decisions on contingent matters - for example, certain practical forms of liberalism or a free interpretation of the Bible - should necessarily be contingent themselves, precisely because they refer to a specific reality that is changeable in itself. It was necessary to learn to recognize that in these decisions it is only the principles that express the permanent aspect, since they remain as an undercurrent, motivating decisions from within.
On the other hand, not so permanent are the practical forms that depend on the historical situation and are therefore subject to change.
This is just pure Modernism, representing in and of itself a rupture with the Catholic Faith. This excerpt from Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI's December 22, 2005, is merely a reiteration of what he has always believed as a faithful student of the "new theologians" whose work was critiqued and condemned by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis. The last paragraph quoted immediate above an almost word-for-word embrace by one who considers himself to be a true Successor of Saint Peter of principles that were evaluated and condemned by Pope Saint Pius X in Pascendi Dominci Gregis, September 8, 1907:
Hence it is quite impossible to maintain that they absolutely contain the truth: for, in so far as they are symbols, they are the images of truth, and so must be adapted to the religious sense in its relation to man; and as instruments, they are the vehicles of truth, and must therefore in their turn be adapted to man in his relation to the religious sense. But the object of the religious sense, as something contained in the absolute, possesses an infinite variety of aspects, of which now one, now another, may present itself. In like manner he who believes can avail himself of varying conditions. Consequently, the formulas which we call dogma must be subject to these vicissitudes, and are, therefore, liable to change. Thus the way is open to the intrinsic evolution of dogma. Here we have an immense structure of sophisms which ruin and wreck all religion
It is thus, Venerable Brethren, that for the Modernists, whether as authors or propagandists, there is to be nothing stable, nothing immutable in the Church. Nor, indeed, are they without forerunners in their doctrines, for it was of these that Our predecessor Pius IX wrote: "These enemies of divine revelation extol human progress to the skies, and with rash and sacrilegious daring would have it introduced into the Catholic religion as if this religion were not the work of God but of man, or some kind of philosophical discovery susceptible of perfection by human efforts." On the subject of revelation and dogma in particular, the doctrine of the Modernists offers nothing new. We find it condemned in the Syllabus of Pius IX, where it is enunciated in these terms: ''Divine revelation is imperfect, and therefore subject to continual and indefinite progress, corresponding with the progress of human reason"; and condemned still more solemnly in the Vatican Council: ''The doctrine of the faith which God has revealed has not been proposed to human intelligences to be perfected by them as if it were a philosophical system, but as a divine deposit entrusted to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted. Hence also that sense of the sacred dogmas is to be perpetually retained which our Holy Mother the Church has once declared, nor is this sense ever to be abandoned on plea or pretext of a more profound comprehension of the truth." Nor is the development of our knowledge, even concerning the faith, barred by this pronouncement; on the contrary, it is supported and maintained. For the same Council continues: "Let intelligence and science and wisdom, therefore, increase and progress abundantly and vigorously in individuals, and in the mass, in the believer and in the whole Church, throughout the ages and the centuries -- but only in its own kind, that is, according to the same dogma, the same sense, the same acceptation."
Scholasticism is not a mere "philosophical tradition." It is the sure defense against all heresies, as Pope Leo XIII made this clear in Aeterni Patris:
Later on, the doctors of the middle ages, who are called Scholastics, addressed themselves to a great work -- that of diligently collecting, and sifting, and storing up, as it were, in one place, for the use and convenience of posterity the rich and fertile harvests of Christian learning scattered abroad in the voluminous works of the holy Fathers. And with regard, venerable brethren, to the origin, drift, and excellence of this scholastic learning, it may be well here to speak more fully in the words of one of the wisest of Our predecessors, Sixtus V: "By the divine favor of Him who alone gives the spirit of science, and wisdom, and understanding, and who though all ages, as there may be need, enriches His Church with new blessings and strengthens it with new safeguards, there was founded by Our fathers, men of eminent wisdom, the scholastic theology, which two glorious doctors in particular, the angelic St. Thomas and the seraphic St. Bonaventure, illustrious teachers of this faculty, . . . with surpassing genius, by unwearied diligence, and at the cost of long labors and vigils, set in order and beautified, and when skillfully arranged and clearly explained in a variety of ways, handed down to posterity.
"And, indeed, the knowledge and use of so salutary a science, which flows from the fertilizing founts of the sacred writings, the sovereign Pontiffs, the holy Fathers and the councils, must always be of the greatest assistance to the Church, whether with the view of really and soundly understanding and interpreting the Scriptures, or more safely and to better purpose reading and explaining the Fathers, or for exposing and refuting the various errors and heresies; and in these late days, when those dangerous times described by the Apostle are already upon us, when the blasphemers, the proud, and the seducers go from bad to worse, erring themselves and causing others to err, there is surely a very great need of confirming the dogmas of Catholic faith and confuting heresies."
Although these words seem to bear reference solely to Scholastic theology, nevertheless they may plainly be accepted as equally true of philosophy and its praises. For, the noble endowments which make the Scholastic theology so formidable to the enemies of truth -- to wit, as the same Pontiff adds, "that ready and close coherence of cause and effect, that order and array as of a disciplined army in battle, those clear definitions and distinctions, that strength of argument and those keen discussions, by which light is distinguished from darkness, the true from the false, expose and strip naked, as it were, the falsehoods of heretics wrapped around by a cloud of subterfuges and fallacies" -- those noble and admirable endowments, We say, are only to be found in a right use of that philosophy which the Scholastic teachers have been accustomed carefully and prudently to make use of even in theological disputations. Moreover, since it is the proper and special office of the Scholastic theologians to bind together by the fastest chain human and divine science, surely the theology in which they excelled would not have gained such honor and commendation among men if they had made use of a lame and imperfect or vain philosophy.
Among the Scholastic Doctors, the chief and master of all towers Thomas Aquinas, who, as Cajetan observes, because "he most venerated the ancient Doctors of the Church, in a certain way seems to have inherited the intellect of all." The doctrines of those illustrious men, like the scattered members of a body, Thomas collected together and cemented, distributed in wonderful order, and so increased with important additions that he is rightly and deservedly esteemed the special bulwark and glory of the Catholic faith. With his spirit at once humble and swift, his memory ready and tenacious, his life spotless throughout, a lover of truth for its own sake, richly endowed with human and divine science, like the sun he heated the world with the warmth of his virtues and filled it with the splendor of his teaching. Philosophy has no part which he did not touch finely at once and thoroughly; on the laws of reasoning, on God and incorporeal substances, on man and other sensible things, on human actions and their principles, he reasoned in such a manner that in him there is wanting neither a full array of questions, nor an apt disposal of the various parts, nor the best method of proceeding, nor soundness of principles or strength of argument, nor clearness and elegance of style, nor a facility for explaining what is abstruse.
Moreover, the Angelic Doctor pushed his philosophic inquiry into the reasons and principles of things, which because they are most comprehensive and contain in their bosom, so to say, the seeds of almost infinite truths, were to be unfolded in good time by later masters and with a goodly yield. And as he also used this philosophic method in the refutation of error, he won this title to distinction for himself: that, single-handed, he victoriously combated the errors of former times, and supplied invincible arms to put those to rout which might in after-times spring up. Again, clearly distinguishing, as is fitting, reason from faith, while happily associating the one with the other, he both preserved the rights and had regard for the dignity of each; so much so, indeed, that reason. borne on the wings of Thomas to its human height, can scarcely rise higher, while faith could scarcely expect more or stronger aids from reason than those which she has already obtained through Thomas.
For these reasons most learned men, in former ages especially, of the highest repute in theology and philosophy, after mastering with infinite pains the immortal works of Thomas, gave themselves up not so much to be instructed in his angelic wisdom as to be nourished upon it. It is known that nearly all the founders and lawgivers of the religious orders commanded their members to study and religiously adhere to the teachings of St. Thomas, fearful least any of them should swerve even in the slightest degree from the footsteps of so great a man. To say nothing of the family of St. Dominic, which rightly claims this great teacher for its own glory, the statutes of the Benedictines, the Carmelites, the Augustinians, the Society of Jesus, and many others all testify that they are bound by this law.
20. And, here, how pleasantly one's thoughts fly back to those celebrated schools and universities which flourished of old in Europe -- to Paris, Salamanca, Alcala, to Douay, Toulouse, and Louvain, to Padua and Bologna, to Naples and Coimbra, and to many another! All know how the fame of these seats of learning grew with their years, and that their judgment, often asked in matters of grave moment, held great weight everywhere. And we know how in those great homes of human wisdom, as in his own kingdom, Thomas reigned supreme; and that the minds of all, of teachers as well as of taught, rested in wonderful harmony under the shield and authority of the Angelic Doctor.
But, furthermore, Our predecessors in the Roman pontificate have celebrated the wisdom of Thomas Aquinas by exceptional tributes of praise and the most ample testimonials. Clement VI in the bull "In Ordine;" Nicholas V in his brief to the friars of the Order of Preachers, 1451; Benedict XIII in the bull "Pretiosus," and others bear witness that the universal Church borrows luster from his admirable teaching; while St. Pius V declares in the bull "Mirabilis" that heresies, confounded and convicted by the same teaching, were dissipated, and the whole world daily freed from fatal errors; others, such as Clement XII in the bull "Verbo Dei," affirm that most fruitful blessings have spread abroad from his writings over the whole Church, and that he is worthy of the honor which is bestowed on the greatest Doctors of the Church, on Gregory and Ambrose, Augustine and Jerome; while others have not hesitated to propose St. Thomas for the exemplar and master of the universities and great centers of learning whom they may follow with unfaltering feet. On which point the words of Blessed Urban V to the University of Toulouse are worthy of recall: "It is our will, which We hereby enjoin upon you, that ye follow the teaching of Blessed Thomas as the true and Catholic doctrine and that ye labor with all your force to profit by the same." Innocent XII, followed the example of Urban in the case of the University of Louvain, in the letter in the form of a brief addressed to that university on February 6, 1694, and Benedict XIV in the letter in the form of a brief addressed on August 26, 1752, to the Dionysian College in Granada; while to these judgments of great Pontiffs on Thomas Aquinas comes the crowning testimony of Innocent VI: "His teaching above that of others, the canonical writings alone excepted, enjoys such a precision of language, an order of matters, a truth of conclusions, that those who hold to it are never found swerving from the path of truth, and he who dare assail it will always be suspected of error."
The ecumenical councils, also, where blossoms the flower of all earthly wisdom, have always been careful to hold Thomas Aquinas in singular honor. In the Councils of Lyons, Vienna, Florence, and the Vatican one might almost say that Thomas took part and presided over the deliberations and decrees of the Fathers, contending against the errors of the Greeks, of heretics and rationalists, with invincible force and with the happiest results. But the chief and special glory of Thomas, one which he has shared with none of the Catholic Doctors, is that the Fathers of Trent made it part of the order of conclave to lay upon the altar, together with sacred Scripture and the decrees of the supreme Pontiffs, the "Summa" of Thomas Aquinas, whence to seek counsel, reason, and inspiration.
A last triumph was reserved for this incomparable man -- namely, to compel the homage, praise, and admiration of even the very enemies of the Catholic name. For it has come to light that there were not lacking among the leaders of heretical sects some who openly declared that, if the teaching of Thomas Aquinas were only taken away, they could easily battle with all Catholic teachers, gain the victory, and abolish the Church. A vain hope, indeed, but no vain testimony.
Strip away the sure guide of Saint Thomas Aquinas and of Scholasticism, therefore, and you have the ready formula for the sort of ambiguity predicted by the popes above. Such ambiguity, especially when it is seen to be coming from the "official" authority of the Catholic Church, reaffirms people in the errors of Modernity, thereby cementing the hold that naturalists have on civil power. Anyone who thinks that there is a naturalist "solution" or some naturalist "short-cut" to all of this is not thinking clearly as a Catholic. It is no wonder that all manner of grubby careerists and other public officials who possess mistaken beliefs can turn so many well-intentioned Catholics into real-life Sisyphuses ready to push those boulders up hills every two or four years. Modernity and Modernism help to reinforce the semi-Pelagianism and religious indifferentism of a world where even traditionally-minded Catholics do not believe that it is opportune to speak publicly as a Catholic, placing them in complete communion of minds with Joseph Ratzinger and his band of conciliarists.
There is a way out of all of this: to trust in the Mother of God. We are in the days of her great joy. Her Divine Son has been born for us. He and He alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There is no naturalist, secular, religiously indifferentist or inter-denominational way to fight the problems of Modernity. We must go to Him through her just as He came to us through her. We must lift high the standard of His Holy Cross, at which Our Lady continues to stand each time the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered by a true bishop or a true priest, and to pray as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit, making sure to offer all of the difficulties of the present moment to His Most Sacred Heart through her own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
The seeds we plant as the totally consecrated slaves of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart will bear fruit in a way and at a time ordained by Him. We must simply be about the business of planting those seeds for the restoration of Christendom, praying that we, unworthy sinners though we are, will be able to do our part to help all of those whom God's Holy Providence places in our paths to see the world more clearly through the eyes of the true Faith and thus to create, at least in their own homes, a Christendom in miniature where each family member lives and works and dies with the cry uttered by Father Miguel Augustin Pro, S.J., and the other Cristeros in Mexico and the thousands upon thousands of Catholics who died at the hands of the revolutionaries in Spain in the fourth decade of the Twentieth Century:
Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.
Our Lady of Loreto, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
The Holy Innocents, pray for us.
Saint Elizabeth, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, pray for us.
Saint Thomas the Apostle, pray for us.
Saint Andrew the Apostle, pray for us.
Saint Barbara, pray for us.
Saint Francis Xavier, pray for us.
Saint Peter Chrysologus, pray for us.
Saint Bibiana, pray for us.
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Saint Nicholas, pray for us.
Saint Ambrose, pray for us.
Pope Saint Melchiades, pray for us.
Pope Saint Damasus, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us.
Saint Sylvester the Abbot, pray for us.
Saint Gertrude the Great, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint Benedict, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Dominic de Guzman, pray for us.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Hyacinth, pray for us.
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Saint John Matha, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint John of God, pray for us.
Saint Philip Neri, pray for us.
Saint Francis Solano, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Brendan the Navigator, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Anthony of Padua, pray for us.
Saint Peregrine, pray for us.
Saint Leonard of Port Maurice, pray for us.
Saint John Fisher, pray for us.
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Saint Peter Canisius, pray for us.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us.
Saint Francis Borgia, pray for us.
Saint John Francis Regis, pray for us.
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Saint Hedwig, pray for us.
Saint Louis IX, King of France, pray for us.
Saint Stephen of Hungary, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
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Saint Patrick, pray for us.
Saint Martin of Tours, pray for us.
Pope Saint Leo the Great, pray for us.
Pope Saint Gregory the Great, pray for us.
Pope Saint Gregory VII, pray for us.
Saint Boniface, pray for us.
Saint Meinrad, pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Siena, pray for us.
Saint Bernardine of Siena, pray for us.
Saint Louis de Montfort, pray for us.
Saint Joseph Cupertino, pray for us.
Saint Joseph Calasanctius, pray for us.
Saint John Damascene, pray for us.
Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, pray for us.
Saints Isidore the Farmer and Maria de Cappella, pray for us.
Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, pray for us.
Pope Saint Damasus I, pray for us.
Saint Jerome, pray for us.
Saint Basil the Great, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Louise de Marillac, pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Alexandria, pray for us.
Saint Antony of the Desert, pray for us.
Saint Bonaventure, pray for us.
Saint Turibius, pray for us.
Saint Isaac Jogues, pray for us.
Saint Rene Goupil, pray for us.
Saint John Lalonde, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel Lalemont, pray for us.
Saint Noel Chabanel, pray for us.
Saint Charles Garnier, pray for us.
Saint Anthony Daniel, pray for us.
Saint John DeBrebeuf, pray for us.
Saint Irenaeus, pray for us.
Saint Polycarp, pray for us.
Blessed Rose Philippine Duchesne, pray for us.
Saint Rita, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Bonaventure, pray for us.
Saint Philip Neri, pray for us.
Saint Peter Damian, pray for us.
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Saint Stanislaus, pray for us.
Saint Stanislaus Kostka, pray for us.
Saint Dominic Savio, pray for us.
Saint Stephen the Protomartyr, pray for us.
Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, pray for us.
Saint Adalbert, pray for us.
Saint Norbert, pray for us.
Saint John Chrysostom, pray for us.
Saint Cyril of Alexandria, pray for us.
Saint Cyril of Jerusalem, pray for us.
Saints Cosmas and Damian, pray for us.
Saints Gervase and Protase, pray for us.
Saint Cecilia, pray for us.
Pope Saint Clement I, pray for us.
Saint Tarcisius, pray for us.
Saints Fabian Sebastian, pray for us.
Saint Lawrence the Deacon, pray for us.
Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, pray for us.
Saint Eustachius and Companions, pray for us.
Saints Pontian and Hippolytus, pray for us.
Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us.
Saint Agnes, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saints Perpetua and Felicity, pray for us.
Saint Rose of Lima, pray for us.
Saint Scholastica, pray for us.
Saint Margaret of Scotland, pray for us.
Saint Peter Lombard, pray for us.
Saint Albert the Great, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Monica, pray for us.
Saint Augustine of Canterbury, pray for us.
Saint Anselm, pray for us.
Saint Canute, pray for us.
Saint Clotilde, pray for us.
Saint Brendan the Navigator, pray for us.
Saint Coleman, pray for us.
Saint Maria Goretti, pray for us.
Saint Mary Magdalene, pray for us.
Saint Joan of Arc, pray for us.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch, pray for us.
Blessed Father Vincent Pallotti, pray for us.
Saint Josaphat, pray for us.
Saint Anthony Mary Claret, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Blessed Edmund Campion, pray for us.
Saint Saturninus, pray for us.
Saint Gerard Majella, pray for us.
Saint Alphonsus Liguori, pray for us.
Venerable Juan Diego, pray for us.
Venerable Junipero Serra, pray for us.
Venerable Miguel Augustin Pro, pray for us.
Venerable Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Venerable Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Jacinta Marto, pray for us.
Francisco Marto, pray for us.
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.
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.