Catholics Care About Offending God
by Thomas A. Droleskey
Although it has been nearly two months since Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI offended God gravely by committing, objectively speaking, multiple Mortal Sins by accepting with serenity and joy symbols of five false religions, I am still very thunderstruck by the lack of outrage among Catholics about this public act of apostasy. Thunderstruck. Does no one care for the honor and glory of the Most Holy Trinity? Have fifty years of false ecumenism and inter-religious prayer and various "papal" salutations being given to leaders of false religions desensitized Catholics to any such sense of outrage for God's greater honor and glory. Such is the state of confusion engendered by the apostasies of the counterfeit church of conciliarism that the lion's share of Catholics across the ecclesiastical divide have no ability to reason as Catholics, responding naturalistically, and emotionally and illogically to simply reassertions of Catholic dogmatic truths.
One of the most basic of Catholic dogmatic truths that so many Catholics, warped by the ethos of conciliarism, seem to be quite comfortable in ignoring is the First Commandment's prohibition against any respect being given to false religions or their symbols. This lack of concern for the honor and glory and majesty of the Most Holy Trinity is compounded by the triumph of the Protestant and Judeo-Masonic spirit of religious indifferentism and emotionalism and sentimentality, a spirit that infects even the minds and hearts of at least a few Catholics who assist at chapels administered by true bishops and true priests who make no concessions to conciliarism or to its false shepherds.
To wit, a college student, currently a Protestant who is taking instructions in the Faith from a true bishop, reported to me about a conversation he had had a few weeks ago with a another student, a Catholic who assists at the same chapel where he is taking his instructions in the Faith. Both of these students, as God's Providence would have it, found themselves working in an internship program in Ottawa, Canada, even though they attend different colleges in the United States of America.
The student taking instructions in the Faith, a young man who is very devoted to Our Lady, expressed his open opposition to an interreligious prayer ceremony that took place a few weeks ago on the steps of the Canadian Parliament building. The "ceremony" was an exercise in pure North American Indian paganism, the sort of which Saint Isaac Jogues and companions sought to eradicate 360 years ago, sacrificing their very lives in the process. The Catholic student, whose family has assisted at a fully Catholic chapel for quite some time, was aghast at the other student's words of protest, expressing disbelief about why someone would have so much "intolerance" for the beliefs of others.
This simple vignette, certainly one that is far from unique, is a reminder that conciliarism's propagation of false ecumenism was able to be as successful as it has been in the United States of America in no small measure as a result of the pathways that were marked out for it by the religious indifferentism and naturalism and sentimentality and illogic and emotionalism of the ethos of Americanism. Scores upon scores of Catholics who assist in fully Catholic chapels are clueless about the Faith, clueless about the extent to which they have been coopted by the culture, clueless about the fact that the chapels at which they assist exist to promote the integrity of the Catholic Faith without one iota of dissent. It is as though the clock has been turned back to the 1950s, an era in which many, although far from all Catholics, fulfilled their obligations on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation but were otherwise catechized by the culture, uninterested in learning more about the Faith.
The student taking instructions in the Faith, however, has a burning desire to learn all that there is know. This student wrote me to ask if I could provide him with a "rudimentary list" of saints who refused to do the sorts of things that Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI (and Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II before him) has done in esteeming the symbols of false religions and by treating their "ministers" as representatives of God. Although such a rudimentary list would be prohibitively long, I provided the student with a few examples, among them being Saint Lucy, Saint Agnes, Saint Agatha, Saint Prisca, Saint Christopher, Saint Boniface, also noting the fact that Saint Alphonsus de Liguori estimates there were over thirteen million martyrs for the Faith in the first centuries of the Church while she was under intermittent Roman persecution from the time of Emperor Nero in the year 67 A.D. to Emperor Constantine's Edict of Milan in 313 A.D. Yes, millions of people have given up their lives rather than even to give the appearance of what the last two conciliar "popes" have done so freely and so frequently in esteeming false religions and according great respect to their symbols, committing multiple sins against the First Commandment in the process.
Pope Pius XII, writing in Ci Riesce, December 6, 1953, explained very forcefully that Catholics care about not offending God:
Her deportment has not changed in the course of history, nor can it change whenever or wherever, under the most diversified forms, she is confronted with the choice: either incense for idols or blood for Christ. The place where you are now present, Eternal Rome, with the remains of a greatness that was and with the glorious memories of its martyrs, is the most eloquent witness to the answer of the Church. Incense was not burned before the idols, and Christian blood flowed and consecrated the ground. But the temples of the gods lie in the cold devastation of ruins howsoever majestic; while at the tombs of the martyrs the faithful of all nations and all tongues fervently repeat the ancient Creed of the Apostles.
The Catholic Church simply cannot be the author of acts that offend God. No Catholic who engages in the veneration of idols is a member of the Catholic Church. Her children have known throughout the course of the centuries that they must prefer death to apostasy.
Father A. J. O'Reilly's The Martyrs of the Coliseum (which was republished by TAN Books and Publishers) lists numerous examples of saints who gave up their lives rather than to give even the appearance of of offending God by esteeming false religions and their symbols.
Here are just two of the examples, Saint Eustace [Placidus, not the disciple of Saint Benedict of Nursia] and Pope Saint Stephen I.
It was one evening during these celebrations, that word was brought to the city that the army of Placidus [Saint Eustace] had arrived, and was already on the Appian Way. A new impulse was given to the rejoicings, and a new triumph and procession were prepared for the victorious army. There is nothing so calculated to excite a people's enthusiasm as the return of its armies from a triumphant campaign. Those who remember the day on which the heroes of the Crimea landed on the shores of England can well picture the veteran armies of Rome entering the capital in triumph. According to custom the Emperor went out to meet the general, and embraced him. As the evening was far advanced, and the sun was already sinking beneath the blue Mediterranean, the Emperor gave orders that the army should encamp outside the walls for the night, in order to enter the city in triumph next morning. Placidus and his family returned with the Emperor to the Palatine, and were entertained at a sumptuous banquet. He gave the Emperor the history of his campaign, and spoke until a late hour of his battles, his conquests, the bravery of his two sons, and the extraordinary discover of his wife and family.
Loud, shrill and cheerful were the trumpet blasts that roused the sleeping army on the following morning. The cup of joy for these poor creatures was full to the brim. They knew of no greater reward for years of hardship and trial, for the scars and wounds which disabled them for life, than the shouts of a brutal and barbarous mob, who hailed them along the road of triumph.
As they poured in through the gates, each of them received a laurel crown, whose freshness and beauty contrasted deeply with the sunburnt features and tattered garments of the veterans. Round their necks and about their persons they carried a profusion of tinsel trinkets, which they took from the conquered people as ornaments for their wives and children. These were wagons drawn by oxen laded with spoils, that made the massive pavements of the Appian Way creak; armour, gold and brass ornaments, wild animals in cages, and everything that could show the habits and manners of the conquered people. The general, together with his wife and two sons, was in a gilt chariot, drawn by four white horses, in the rear of his army. None of the pride and flush of drunken joy that characterised the pagan conqueror was to be seen in the meek countenance of Placidus. All this rejoicing and gorgeous display was to him and his Christian family the funeral pomp that led them to their tomb. The king who, on this death-bed, had himself invested with his crown and royal robes to meet death as a monarch, was a picture of Placidus led in triumph to martyrdom--a tale of emptiness and instability of human greatness, often told in the vicissitudes of history! He was silent and collected; not even the deafening peals of applause from crowds of idle spectators, who made his name ring through the palaces and tombs that bend over the streets from the Capena gate to the Forum, induced him to look up with the smile of joyful approbation. He was well aware that in a few moments his belief in Christianity would be declared, for he could not sacrifice to the gods.
Whilst the procession was moving along, a murmur passed through the crowd. They asked one another where were the victims?--where the captive chiefs?--where the salves usually dragged at the chariot wheels of the conqueror?--where the wailing matrons and daughters of the conquered race to sound the mournful music of triumph? Arrived at the Forum, the procession halted as usual, and the executioners and keepers of the Mamertine prison looked in vain for their victims; it was the first time in the annals of triumph that axes had not bee steeped in the blood of heroes, whose only crime was that they fought bravely for their homes and their countries. They knew nothing of the sublime morality that can forgive an enemy. Placidus pardoned the moment he had conquered, and instead of dragging helpless victims from their country and family, to be immolated to the demons of Rome, he left his name in the traces of his march in love and benediction.
But now the process arrived at the entrance to the Temple of Jupiter. The priests were waiting in their robes, and snow-white oxen, with gilded horns and crowns of flowers, were held by the altar. Immense faggots were blazing in the heart of the temple to consume the victims, and fragrant incense was burning in golden vessels. Placidus and his family descended from their chariot and stepped on one side; they refused to enter; they would not sacrifice.
If an earthquake had shaken the temple to its foundations, or a sudden eclipse had darkened the sun, there could not have been given a greater shock or surprise to the assembled thousands. The news ran like fire in a train of powder through the vast crowd. A deep heavy murmur, like the swell of the troubled deep breaking on its boundaries, rose from the multitudes in the Forum. Indignation and fury were the passions that swayed the mob. The demon of paganism reigned in their hearts; pity, justice and liberty were virtues unknown. From shouts of applause with which they hailed Placidus as the conqueror, the glory of the Empire, and the beloved of the martial god, they know hooted him with groans and hisses; and loudly from the gilded temples of the Capitol were echoed the terrible cries of "Death to the Christians!"--"Away with the Christians!" But the hour of another and grander triumph had come for our hero. Let us hurry through the dark picture of cruelty and ingratitude that closed his career on this side of the grave, to usher in the triumph that was to last for ever.
The noble general and his family were brought before the Emperor. Was Adrian glad to have Placidus brought before him as a criminal? Doubtless he looked with a jealous eye on the glory, popularity and real triumph of one who, a few months before, was his equal as a commander of the army, and his acknowledged superior in skill and attainments, whilst his own triumph was but a mockery--the borrowed plumes of a deceased hero, whose panegyric he reluctantly preached from the chariot of triumph. Moreover, weak-minded and servile, he must have rejoiced in an opportunity of pandering to the depraved taste of a cruel and brutal mob, who were accustomed to look on all authority as usurpation and oppression, and who hated Christianity with satanic virulence. Like Trajan, he determined to prove his piety towards the gods by the public execution of the greatest man in the Empire. He received the old chief in the Temple of Apollo, and in a prepared speech, pretended what he never felt--sympathy for his folly. When asked by the haughty Adrian why he would not sacrifice to the gods, Placidus answered, bravely and fearlessly, "I am a Christian, and adore only the true God."
"Whence comes this infatuation?" asked the Emperor, quickly. "Why lose all the glory of the triumph, and bring the grey hairs to shame? Dost thou not know that I have the power to put thee to a miserable death?"
Placidus meekly replied: "My body is in your power, but my soul belongs to Him who created it. Never shall I forget the mercy He has down me in calling me to the knowledge of Himself, and I rejoice to be able to suffer for Him. You may command me to lead your legions against the enemies of the Empire, but never will I offer sacrifice to any other god than the One great and powerful God who created all thins, stretched out the heavens in their glory, decked the earth in its beauty, and created man to serve Him; He alone is worthy of sacrifice; all other gods are but demons who deceive men."
So also answered his wife and two sons. They bantered the Emperor himself for his folly in worshipping senseless pieces of marble and wood. In vain did Adrian try promises and threats, and all the silly arguments which were used in the defense of paganism. The faithful family were inflexible; the eloquence of Placidus was simple, but powerful and earnest; and the palpable defeat of Adrian in his attempt to reason with one gifted with the eloquence promised to those dragged before earthly tribunals, roused his pride and his cruelty, and the desire of revenge. the Coliseum stood but a few paces from them; the games were going on; the criminals and slaves of the Empire were the daily victims of its amusements. The condemnation of Placidus would be a stroke of policy to enhance the prosperity of his reign; it was the fullest gratification of the cruel passions of jealousy and revenge which the demon had stirred up in his heart; he ordered the Christian general and his family to be exposed to the wild beasts in the amphitheatre. [Father A. J. O'Reilly, The Martyrs of the Coliseum, pp. 105-109.]
No nation could be sunk more deeply in idolatry, sensuality and vices than the great Empire whose capital has been considered the Babylon of impiety spoken o fin The Apocalypse. "Our wrestling," says St. Paul, "is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places" (Eph. vi. 12). It was not in an amphitheatre stained with the blood of wild beasts and gladiators, and filled with an exited and unfeeling crowd, that the voice of pity or reason could be heard; the impatient clamours of the multitude denounced the Christians as the enemies of the gods and men, and the public condemnation of the Christian general had already rung loudly and repeatedly through the benches of the Coliseum. The coming of the Emperor was announced, the buzz of conversation was hushed, and all eyes were turned towards the entrance on the side of the Esquiline, which was specially reserved for the royal cortege. As soon as he entered the amphitheatre, all rose; the lictors lowered their fasces, and the senators and vestals bowed profoundly. Shouts of "great," "immortal, "divine," resounded from every seat. The crowd of spectators was nothing more than an assembly of miscreant slaves, who trembled at the beck of their rulers. Although the spectators of the Coliseum frequently hated the Emperor as an oppressor and a tyrant, yet, i the wild frenzy of fear, they cried out with lying tongues that he alone was great and powerful. He carried a sceptre of ivory, surrounded with a golden eagle, and a slave followed, bearing over his head a crown of solid gold and precious stones. As soon as he was seated, the shrill blast of a trumpet called for silence and the commencement of the games. After the process of the unfortunate wretches who were to take part in the cruel sport of that day's programme and the sham fight of the gladiators, it was usual to commence with sports of agility and skill, but on this day the order was changed. The crowd called for the condemnation of the Christians, and the Emperor gave the order that Placidus and his family be exposed to the wild beasts.
They were led into the arena in chains. They were silent and rapt in prayer. The editor of the games asked them again to sacrifice to the gods, they refused. The keepers were told to let in some wild beasts to devour them. A death-like stillness reigned around. Every one was struck with their fortitude; no screams of terror, no trembling, no supplications for mercy, no heart-rending and frantic farewells; all was calm and tranquil; they awaited on bended knees with majestic resignation their awful doom. The iron doors of the subterranean keeps grated on their hinges; two lions and four bears rushed into the arena.
They would not touch the martyrs but gambolled around them; one of the lions endeavoured to get his head under the feet of Placidus; the saint permitted it, and a more beautiful or thrilling sight was never seen in the arena of the Coliseum. The king of the forest voluntarily put himself under the foot of the unarmed old man, and crouched down as if with fear and reverence. "Goad the animals!" should the enraged Emperor to the keepers. "Goad them on!" "Make them devour!" rang from every tier, from the senators, the vestals, and the maddened populace of the upper circles; but the animals turned on their keepers, and drove them from the arena. Other animals were called for, but they only served to enhance the sense of triumph, and respectfully licked the feet of their intended victims. He who made use of an animal to bring Placidus to the light of faith, and afterwards to be the instruments of his trial and his sorrow, now made them declare His love and protection over His servants.
The indignation and shame of the pagan Emperor was roused to the highest pitch; his impotent rage and natural cruelty broke forth, and to gratify his brutal passion, he commanded the martyrs to be placed in the bronze bull, and to be consumed by a slow fire. This was a horrible instrument of torture and execution used for the persecution of the Christians. It was made in the shape of a bull, and could hold several persons at the same time in its hollow womb; when fire was applied beneath, it became an oven, and it is not difficult to imagine the excruciating torture a slow fire must have caused to its living victims. We find from several authorities that this dreadful instrument of execution was in use both before and long after the time of Adrian, and thus many martyrs were put to death.
In this way Placidus and his family received their crown. Almighty God wished to show it was His will, and not the commands of the Emperor, or the instruments of torture that deprived his servants of life, by performing a great miracle. After three days the bodies of the Saints were taken out in the presence of the Emperor; no trace of fire was to be seen upon them; they exhaled a beautiful odour, and seemed to be lying in a sweet sleep. Their relics were laid on the ground for several days, and the whole city rushed to see the wonder. As Almighty God does nothing in vain, many were converted by this miracle, and became fervent Christians. The bodies of the glorious martyrs were stolen by the Christians, and were afterwards buried, together with the brazen bull in which they suffered, on the spot where their martyrdom took place. A beautiful church sprung up in the very earliest ages of Christianity over the shrine of Eustachius and his family. That divine institution which spreads its maternal wings over every sacred deposit left in her bosom has preserved with scrupulous care the shrines and relics of the heroes of the past. In the very heart of modern Rome there now stands a favourite church, which has been rebuilt and repaired several times in the past fifteen hundred years, and still commemorates the name and preserves the relics of the brave and virtuous Placidus. In the same urn lie the hallowed remains of his faithful spouse and children, awaiting the trumpet call of the angel of the last day.
They would not touch the martyrs but gambolled around them; one of the lions endeavored to get his head under the food of Placidus; the saint permitted it, and a more beautiful or thrilling sight was never seen in the arena of the Coliseum.
The Bollandists enter into a long and learned discussion concerning the authenticity of the Acts of Eustachius, which they give in the original Greek version. Although in the above narrative we have endeavored the avoid the monotony of isolated facts, and have cast around the romantic history of this great Saint an imaginary dress, yet we have substantially adhered to the facts given in the Acts. The obscurity and doubt which the lapse of seventeen centuries, and the extraordinary character of the facts recorded, must necessarily make us hesitate to declare this strange story an incontestable fact. Yet it seems to stand the test of the strictest examination. Some of the oldest and most remarkable Martyrology mention his extraordinary conversion through a stag, and his martyrdom in the brazen bull. St. John Damascene quotes the history of Eustachius in a sermon in preached in A.D. 734. Tradition points out the very spot in the apennines where this extraordinary vision took place. A small chapel was built there in the fourth century, supposed to have been erected by the order of Constantine, whose first care, after his conversion and triumph, was to dedicated and preserve the shrines of the early Church. A rude mosaic of the fourth century, representing a stag, with a figure between its horns, and other events in the life of Eustachius, was removed from this little church, and is still preserved in the Kircherian Collection. The learned and trustworthy Baronius, after a close examination of the Acts, can only use those words ("We think, however, many things have been added to them."). The Bollandists, however, seem to learn to their probability.
It is useless and absurd to ask why Almighty God used these extraordinary means for the conversion of Placidus. There are enigmas in the dispensation of the divine favours that can be solved only by the illuminated intelligence of the beatified vision. You may as well ask why St. Paul was converted on the road to Damascus and not in the city, and why made a vessel of election before so many others more deserving? Why did our Blessed Lord perform one of His greatest miracles with clay moistened with spittle? Why did he make a poor, simple fisherman the head of his Church? There are things written in the sacred records of revelation more extraordinary than anything in the above narrative. Around us, in every moment of our existence, and in every portion of the Church of God, there are supernatural interpositions of mercy and love--miracles if you wish to call them--that no human intelligence can understand. It is the height of pride, and the first mark of infidelity, to scoff at the works of God because they appear strange.
Who shall set limits to the power or the love of God? He who has not the humility and simplicity of faith. Although we are not bound under pain of anathema to accept all that is recorded in the lives of the Saints, yet we are not prepared to say that they are nothing but romances and idle tales. But some of them are, you will add. It may be so, but it is difficult to name them. The moment you come to examine any one of those strange lives that the Church has put under the seal of her recommendation, you are driven back with a storm of proofs and authority that make you ashamed of your doubt. We have tried it, and we speak from experience; there is no fair and honest student of history who will not acknowledge the same. But there are many ignorant and conceited persons in the world, who look at everything through the coloured glasses of prejudice; all that is strange, consoling, or terrific in the sacred annals of the past are to them but glimpses from the regions of fancy, and are condemned with the smile of sarcasm; their faith, their past, and their future, is nought but tinsel, shadow and unreality.*
*We can scarcely give the reader a better proof of the authenticity of these Acts than by referring him to the sanction given by the Church; for in the oldest editions of the Roman Breviary, the lessons for the feast of the 20th of September give this strange tale in an abbreviated form. [Father A. J. O'Reilly, The Martyrs of the Coliseum, pp. 114-119.]
While Valerian was prosecuting his horrible and impure studies in magic, the Christians were aware of the change that had come over his character, and prepared themselves for the impending storm. The Catacombs were opened again, and provisions were brought to those dreary abodes of the dead; the altar and the tabernacle were shorn of their ornaments, and the dread mysteries were celebrated once more by the tombs of the martyrs in the gloomy passages under ground. The catechumens were all baptized, and the faithful were exhorted and fortified by frequent Communion and unceasing prayer. Valerian showed by many signs his altered feelings towards the Christians, and whilst he was premeditating a dreadful carnage of the followers of Christ, an heroic act of zeal and courage by one of the domestics of the palace roused the latent fire of his cruel and perverted heart, and unsheathed the sword for the bloodshed of thousands.
One day a poor woman was seen weeping and distracted with grief outside the gates of the royal palace. A Christian servant of the household was passing, and learned that she was robbed of her child by the Emperor, and she knew they were cutting it to pieces inside. The Christian went to the apartments of the Emperor, and found him with the impious Macrian bending over the lifeless body of a beautiful infant; their hands were stained with blood; they looked more like furies than men. Roused to holy indignation at the dreadful sight, the fearless servant of God reproved the Emperor for his impiety. She threatened him with the judgments of the Eternal God, and made him tremble at the terrible retribution that hangs over the murderer and the oppressor of the poor; but the spirit of evil had already taken possession of the wretched Valerian; the language of reproof grated harshly on his haughty soul, and bursting into rage, he ordered the lictors to remove and torture the Christian that dared to correct him. In the same breath in which he condemned his first martyr, he ordered the bronze plates that announced the decrees of persecution and bloodshed to be hung from the walls of the Capitol and the columns of the Forum.
Pope Stephen called his trembling flock around him, and exhorted them to martyrdom; by holy admonitions and by love of sacred writ he imbued their minds with sentiments of pious confidence. Amongst other things, say the Acts of the martyrdom of this holy Pontiff, which we quote from Baronius (A.D. 259) he addressed them in these words: "My beloved little children, listen to me a sinner, While there is yet time, let us be instant in good works, and that not only to our neighbours, but to ourselves; and, in the first place, let me admonish each one to take up his cross and follow our Lord Jesus Christ, who has vouchsafed to say to us, 'He that loves his life shall lose it, but she that loses his life for my sake shall find it in eternity.' Wherefore, I beseech you all to be most solicitous, not only for your own, but for your neighbours' salvation, so that if any among you have friends or relations still in heathenism, let him hasten to conduct them hither to receive baptism at our hands." [Father A. J. O'Reilly, The Martyrs of the Coliseum, pp. 270-272.]
After some days, special edicts were issued for the apprehension and punishment of [Pope Saint] Stephen [I] and the clergy of the Roman Church. Twelve of the latter were immediately seized and put to death without any hearing. Amongst them was that venerable priest named Bonus, or the Good, who had made that glorious declaration when the clergy were addressed in the Catacombs by Pope Stephen. Their bodies were collected, and laid near those of two other holy martyrs in a crypt near the Via Latina, by Tertullian, freedman of Olympius. On learning this, the blessed Stephen sent for Tertullian, and having instructed him regarding the kingdom of God and life eternal, baptized him, and gave him in charge, while yet in his white robes, to a priest, who specially enjoined him to seek out the bodies of the holy martyrs. After two days, he was taken and brought before Valerian, by whom he was interrogated as to the property of Olympius; and having answered, and sustained every species of torture with heroic constancy, he was finally beheaded at the second milestone on the Via Latina. His remains were collected by the blessed Stephen and interred in the same crypt.
The next day soldiers were sent to seize Stephen, and the clergy who were with him; and when they had led him into the presence of Valerian, the Emperor said : "Is it your who are endeavouring to overthrow the Republic, and by your persuasion to induce the people to abandon the worship of the gods?"
To which Stephen replied: "I indeed do not overthrow the Republic; but I admonish and exhort the people that, forsaking the demons whom they worship in their idols, they would pay homage to the true God, and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent." Then Valerian commanded him to be led to the Temple of Mars, where his sentence was to be read from the tablets.
Blessed Stephen, being led out of the city on the Via Appia, when he had come to the Temple of Mars, said, lifting his eyes to heaven: "Lord God and Father, who didst destroy the tower of confusion at Babel, destroy this place in which the devil deceives people to superstition." It then began to thunder; and the lightning flashes struck the temple, which in part fell to the ground. The soldiers having fled, Stephen, who remained alone, went with his attendant priests and deacons to the neighbouring cemetery of Lucina, where encouraged the Christians to martyrdom by many exhortations. After this, he offered sacrifice to the Omnipotent God. The soldiers who were sent in pursuit, found in him the act of celebrating mass; but, without being terrified, he continued intrepidly the mysteries which he had commenced until they struck off his head as he sat in the pontifical chair before the altar, on the 4th of the Nones of August. Great were the lamentations made by the Christians at having been deprived of so great a pastor, and they interred his body, which the chair drenched with his blood, in the same crypt, in the place called the cemetery of Callistus. (See Baronius, An. 260.) [Father A. J. O'Reilly, The Martyrs of the Coliseum, pp. 284-285.]
The saints we commemorate today, Saints Primus and Felician, were brothers in life who become brothers in death, refusing to worship the false idols at the orders of the hateful Diocletian.
Primus and Felician were brothers, and, being accused of professing the Christian religion during the persecution of Diocletian and Maximian, they were thrown into irons, which an angel broke, and they were delivered. But, being soon led again before the praetor, and as they most earnestly clung to the Christian faith, they were separated one from the other. The steadfastness of Felician was the first to be put to the test in divers ways. As they who strove to persuade him to impiety found it hopeless to gain aught from him by words, he was fastened hand and foot to a stake, and there left to hang three days without either food or drink. The day after that, the praetor having called Primus before him, thus addressed him: "Seest thou how much wiser is thy brother than thou art? He hath obeyed the emperors, and they have made him honourable. Thou hast only to follow his example to be made partaker of his honours and favours." Primus replied: "What hath befallen my brother I know, for an angel hath told me. Would to God, that seeing I have the same will that he heath, I were not divided from him in the same martyrdom." These words raised the wrath of the praetor, and in addition to the torments he had already inflicted on Primus, he ordered boiling lead to be poured into his mouth, and this in presence of Felician. After that, he had them both dragged into the amphitheatre, and two lions let loose upon them, in presence of about twelve thousand people, who were gathered together to see the show. The lions only fawned upon the knees of the saints, making friends with them, caressingly moving their heads and tails. This spectacle converted five hundred persons of the assembled crowd, together with their households, to the Christian religion. The praetor, moved to anger by what had passed, caused Primus and Felician to be beheaded with an axe. (Roman Breviary, quoted in Dom Prosper Gueranger's The Liturgical Year.)
Joseph Ratzinger esteems the very false idols that saints such as the ones described above refused to acknowledge in the slightest. Such is the difference between the true religion, Catholicism, and its counterfeit ape, conciliarism.
Indeed, Catholics yet attached to the conciliar structures are being told by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI to work with the idolaters in order to fight secularism as he treats their symbols with profound respect and esteem. How can this not adversely influence how ordinary Catholics in the conciliar structures view false religions, refusing to believe that God hates these false religions and that He wants their adherents to convert unconditionally to the Catholic Faith as soon as possible?
Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI offends God greatly by his words in support of conciliarism and his deeds that esteem false religions, each of which is loathed by God. Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict does not believe that he is offending God, demonstrating his thorough immersion in the subjectivism of Modernism. Ratzinger's subjectivism is such that he views God through the lens of his own interior projections and motivations, not as a result of Who He has revealed Himself to be in the Deposit of Faith. Joseph Ratzinger has demonstrated throughout his priesthood that one must understand the Faith not in terms of a "system of knowledge" but as response of one's heart to the God.
Mr. James Larson, a writer who is opposed to sedevacantism, has done excellent work exploring the influences of Modernism and the New Theology in the writings of the former Father Joseph Ratzinger. One of his many groundbreaking articles, now located on his own website, discussed the evolutionary bent of Ratzinger's view of God and the Faith:
Because of this "gulf" which exists between the traditional faith and the world of science, Father Ratzinger informs us that the "plethora of definitions" which the Church has "accumulated in the course of history" has become a "burden." The irreconcilable nature of such dogmas with the modern positivistic and scientific intellectual consciousness makes the traditional content of the faith "oppressive" to the modern believer. Thus we are faced with the supposed necessity of either setting aside these doctrines as historically provisional, or of engaging in a task of "essentialization" which seeks to determine what constitutes the “content” behind the “form” of such definitions, and therefore altering the traditional understanding of the terms used in these definitions. This, of course, is precisely what Cardinal Ratzinger did in regard to the terms "original sin" and "transubstantiation."
I think we must pause at this moment to understand the broader implications of these teachings. Any truly "sensitive" Catholic, if he accepts the truth of Joseph Ratzinger's analysis and conclusions, should feel betrayed not only by the Church but also by God. This betrayal is multi-leveled. The Bible, which for two thousand years was considered to be inspired and a totally reliable source of truths on all levels of man's existence is now shredded of virtually all meaning except the symbolical and the allegorical. Catholic dogma which was the absolute sure foundation of faith, and especially catechetical instruction of the young, is now to be essentialized, even to the point of self-contradiction. But even more important the entire traditional understanding of the epistemological structure of the human intellect has now been negated
At the core of all traditional Catholic understanding of both Who God is and also the nature of man, lies the fundamental Biblical idea that man is created in the image of God with an intellect and will that truly reflect, through the analogy of being, God's intellect and will.
St. Thomas is very specific in this regard. He writes:
"We must needs say that the human soul knows all things in the eternal types, since by participation of these types we know all things. For the intellectual light itself which is in us, is nothing else than a participated likeness of the uncreated light, in which are created the eternal types," (Pt. I, Q. 84, A.5).
The world of St. Thomas (and therefore the world of traditional Catholicism) is a trustworthy world, because it is a world in which man – his senses, mind and heart – are intimately connected to and reflective of Who God is, and also basically reliable in their knowledge of His creation. It is under such conditions of reliability and correspondence to an objective order of Truth, that trust truly takes root, and hope flourishes.
The world of Joseph Ratzinger, on the other hand, is one in which the disconnect between the human intellect and objective reality and truth is a fundamentally proven fact of historical evolution. It is one in which there is little harmony between human perception and objective reality. The obvious logical conclusion of postulating such a world is that God created man with an intellect oriented towards delusion – towards the perception of shadows that mask reality.
We were led by God and His Church for 2,000 years to believe in creation ex nihilo, in the unique creation of man with a spiritual soul, in an original Paradise free from death and sin, in original sin, in Noah and his ark, in the divine inspiration present in every word of scripture, in sanctifying grace, and in transubstantiation. We are now told these are the "forms” of particular stages in the evolution of human consciousness which must be abandoned or essentialized because they were only provisional expressions of truths which always go beyond the ability of the human intellect to grasp. And it is in the midst of this world of delusions that Fr. Ratzinger asks us now to forget about God and reality as being knowable, and informs us that our new form of faith is not to be founded in knowledge, but rather in trust (we shall examine this point in a moment). One is left with the inevitable question: Why should a man or woman trust such a God?
Having apparently shredded the objective content (defined dogmas) of the faith, Fr. Ratzinger goes on to tell us that there was one thing however which August Comte failed to understand or foresee: namely, that the world of science would also prove to be oppressive, and that man would continue "yearning for faith." Modern man, now "a prisoner of his own methods" [and an intellectual prisoner of reductive scientific knowledge], longs for a form of faith which will not contradict science, but at the same time will liberate him from the oppressive reductionism of science. We might say that Joseph Ratzinger has spent his entire adult life trying to supply an answer to this yearning, and that his agenda of "essentialization" is entirely devoted to this goal.
His answer, in Faith and the Future, runs as follows:
"The basic form of Christian faith is not: I believe something [particular content or doctrine], but I believe you. Faith is a disclosure of reality that is granted only to him who trusts, loves, and acts as a human being; and as such it is not a derivative of knowledge, but is sui generis, like knowledge, although it is indeed more basic and more central to our authentically human nature than knowledge is.
This insight has important consequences; and these can be liberating, if taken seriously. For this means that faith is not primarily a colossal edifice of numerous supernatural facts [I believe that we can only understand this demeaning phrase to refer to the Deposit of Faith], standing like a curious second order of knowledge alongside the realm of science, but an assent to God who gives us hope and confidence. Obviously this assent to God is not without content: it is confidence in the fact that he has revealed himself in Christ and that we may now live safe in the assurance that God is like Jesus of Nazareth, in the certainty, that is, that God is looking after the world – and me in it. We will have to consider this definition of content more closely in the next chapter. It is already clear, however, that the content is not comparable with a system of knowledge, but represents the form of our trust." ( p. 20-21).
In other words, the real content of our Faith is not to be identified with the Deposit of Faith. Joseph Ratzinger is absolutely emphatic on this point which is the cornerstone of his new approach to the Faith:
"Let us repeat: at its core faith is not a system of knowledge, but trust. Christian faith is: 'the discovery of a You…." (Ibid, p.24)
Further, this "discovery of a You" can be fully redemptive without requiring assent to the "content" (dogmas) of the faith:
"A man remains a Christian as long as he makes the effort to give the central assent, as long as he tries to utter the fundamental Yes of trust, even if he is unable to fit in or resolve many of the details [which, of course, are constituted by the Church's infallible teachings on faith and morals]….As long as this core remains in place, a man is living by faith, even if for the moment he finds many of the details of faith obscure and impracticable [this, of course, means that he cannot or will not practice them]." (Ibid, p. 24-25)
At this point I think we need to understand how much this way of thinking is integral to Pope Benedict XVI. We may have been surprised that the subject of his second encyclical was Hope. It should not have surprised us at all, however, if we had understood this basic structure of his thinking – a structure which entailed the overturning of virtually all the intellectual content (doctrine) of our faith in favor of a faith rooted not in knowledge, but rather in hope and trust. For Pope Benedict XVI, "'hope' is equivalent to 'faith'." (Spe Salvi, #2). There is no way, however, in which this "hope" of Benedict XVI can be seen as necessarily related to an assent to all the previously defined doctrines of the Church.
To understand how wrong all this, we need the help of St. Thomas. Thomas teaches us that hope is an act of the will (the intellectual appetency) which, like all acts of the will, is a choice based on knowledge which resides in the intellect. Now, "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not." (Heb 11:1). The knowledge which we call faith is, in other words, not ordinary knowledge. It does not originate through the senses or in our own thinking, but rather through Revelation and Sacred Doctrine. In speaking of Sacred Doctrine as a science, St. Thomas quotes St. Augustine:
"to this science alone belongs that whereby saving faith is begotten, nourished, protected, and strengthened." (ST, Pt. I, Q.1, A.2)
Hope, in other words, is totally rooted in Faith as its substance, and Faith is rooted in the content of what God has revealed to us. This is why in order to possess Catholic faith, submission to all the defined doctrines of our faith is necessary. Faith is constituted by a submission of both intellect and will to the Sacred Deposit of Faith which God has revealed to us through His Church. Because all doctrine is not, and cannot, be fully understood does not mean that this submission is, or should be, or may be, any less. Faith is not, therefore, equivalent to hope, but rather its requisite. And contrary to what Fr. Ratzinger said in regard to a man remaining a Christian despite the fact that he may "find many of the details of faith obscure and impracticable” (read: cannot be used, accepted or practiced), the absolute obligation to accept the entire Deposit of Faith in order to retain Catholic Faith is still imperative. St. Thomas writes:
"Just as mortal sin is contrary to charity, so is disbelief in one article of faith contrary to faith. Now charity does not remain in a man after one mortal sin. Therefore neither does faith, after a man disbelieves one article." (Ibid, II-II, Q.5, A.3).
In the entire length of Spe Salvi, not a single reference is made to Revealed Truth, the Deposit of Faith, Doctrine, or Dogma as having any relation whatsoever to our Hope.
Having sundered both hope and faith from the absolutely objective content of the Deposit of Faith, Joseph Ratzinger is left merely with the existential choice of continuing to believe in the "You" of Jesus Christ, but not the "something" of this Divine Deposit. And since (Christ's) claim to be both man and God is just as absurd from the positivistic viewpoint as transubstantiation or original sin, then this choice, this hope, this trust, this faith becomes essentially an existential choice with no objective foundation. As such, it can make no claims to exclusivity, and therefore demand no conversion. It must, in other words, adjust itself to pluralism and ecumenism. Again, from Faith and the Future:
"As things are, faith cannot count on a bundle of philosophical certainties [thus Thomism is sent entirely packing) which lead up to faith and support it. It will be compelled, rather, to prove its own legitimacy in advance by reflecting on its own inner reasonableness and by presenting itself as a reasonable whole, which can be offered to men as a possible and responsible choice. To say this is to imply that faith must clearly adjust itself to an intellectual pluralism that cannot ever be reversed, and within this intellectual climate must present itself as a comprehensible offer of meaning, even if it can find no prolegomena in a commonly accepted philosophical system. That means, in the end, that the meaning which man needs becomes accessible in any case only through a decision for a meaningful structure. It may not be proved, but can be seen as meaningful." (p. 74-75)
Imagine trying to teach such a faith to all the little children who Our Lord instructed us to "suffer" to come unto Him. The victim in all this is not only the Truth. It is also the Innocent. (James Larson,
Article 12: The Quintessential Evolutionist. Please do read Mr. Larson's entire article. It is quite good, and I thank him for letting me know of the existence of his website and his collection of writings.)
Yes, at the essence of how Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI can engage in the very sorts of acts that prompted millions upon millions of Catholics to give up their lives rather than acquiesce to in the slightest is his utter lack of understanding of Who God is in light of what He has revealed Himself to be through His Catholic Church. To truly love God and to serve Him faithfully one needs to know Him as He has revealed Himself through His true Church. It is difficult enough frequently because of our fallen human nature to follow His truths even though we know and accept each and every one of them without one iota of dissent. He has, however, give us Holy Mother Church to be our mater and our magister. There is no need for us or for the Church to "rediscover" Who He is and what He has revealed. no less than attempt to redefine His truths in ways that contradict dogmatic definitions and make the true popes of the past out be little more than time-conditioned fools who were "boxed in" by the rigors of Scholasticism. The Catholic Faith is certain, not ever changeable. It is clear, not murky.
Alas, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI views God and the Faith through the condemned prisms of Henri de Lubac and Hans Urs von Balthasar and others of the New Theology, critiqued and condemned by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis, August 12, 1950. No one can understand God and the Faith He has deposited in His Catholic Church through the neo-Modernist lenses of such New Theologians. It is precisely through such lenses, however, that Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI views God and the Faith, which is why he does not see how his words and actions offend God and undermine the Catholic Faith.
Indeed, let me propose for those who have any sense of objectivity to consider that the true "quiet revolution" being undertaken by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI at this time has nothing to do about the restoration of Catholic Tradition. The true "quiet revolution" being undertaken by the false "pontiff" is how he is working most insistently and insidiously to incorporate the names and the views of his neo-Modernist mentors of the New Theology into his encyclical letters and public allocutions and addresses and "homilies." Ratzinger/Benedict is indeed attempting to use the conciliar "papacy" as the means by which a definitive break can be made once and for all with Scholasticism and thus with "rigid" interpretations of dogmatic declarations that no longer "conform" to the needs of "modern man" and to the alleged insights of science.
What makes this all the more insidious is how the poisons of the New Theology are being wrapped inside the "candy" of putative offerings of the modernized version of the Immemorial Mass of Tradition, mostly by men who are not truly ordained to the Catholic priesthood (why be concerned about the integrity of the rites of episcopal consecration or priestly ordination when we can "essentialize" the Faith as we see fit?), thereby blinding the eyes and/or muting the voices of at least some people who would otherwise see the dangers posed by Ratzinger's attacks upon the nature of truth, which are nothing other than attacks on the very nature of God Himself.
The resultant admixture of truth and error is so vast and interwoven that it will be next-to-impossible, humanly speaking, for most believing Catholics in the counterfeit church of conciliarism to understand what is authentically Catholic and what has been corrupted by the influence of Modernism and its many progenies, including the New Theology. Others will simply continue to do what so many are doing at the present time: trying to discern Catholicism where it is not, overlooking the multiple apostasies contained in Ratzinger/Benedict's writings and many of his public actions. The finishing touches of the work of confusion and disarray begun by the adversary during the "Second" Vatican Council are put in place by Ratzinger/Benedict as a means of institutionalizing conciliarism's fundamental sea-change away from the certitudes of Catholicism so that "accommodations" can be made with the modern world and with the "diversity" of religions that exist within it.
Although it took me quite some time to admit that such confusion and disarray can not come from the Catholic Church and that those who profess the ideas that lead to confusion and disarray have expelled themselves from the rank of the Catholic Church, it did finally dawn on me, thanks, I am sure, to the prayers of many people who were praying for me to "get it," that these words of Pope Leo XIII, found in Satis Cognitum, June 29, 1896, apply to the conciliarists:
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).
The need of this divinely instituted means for the preservation of unity, about which we speak is urged by St. Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians. In this he first admonishes them to preserve with every care concord of minds: "Solicitous to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Eph. iv., 3, et seq.). And as souls cannot be perfectly united in charity unless minds agree in faith, he wishes all to hold the same faith: "One Lord, one faith," and this so perfectly one as to prevent all danger of error: "that henceforth we be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive" (Eph. iv., 14): and this he teaches is to be observed, not for a time only - "but until we all meet in the unity of faith...unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ" (13). But, in what has Christ placed the primary principle, and the means of preserving this unity? In that - "He gave some Apostles - and other some pastors and doctors, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (11-12).
Catholics do indeed care about offending God, which is why we are sorry for our sins and seek to make frequent use of the Sacred Tribunal of Penance. Despite the fact that we have offended God, sometimes grievously, by means of our sins, most of us, I am sure, would rather die than to violate the First Commandment.by having false gods before us, by seeking to esteem false religions, by treating the "ministers" of those false religions as valid representatives of the the true God and/or of asserting that their false beliefs can contribute to world peace and aid in the fight against secularism within nations. Having denied one of the very essences of God, the immutability of His truths, Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has shown himself capable of offending Him in many and varied ways precisely because he does not know Him as He has revealed Himself exclusively through His Catholic Church. To attack the nature of dogmatic truth is to attack the nature of God Himself, which leads to agnosticism and outright disbelief as the only possible consequences, something we see in so many places (parishes, colleges, universities, chancery offices) throughout the structures of the counterfeit church of conciliarism.
We can be sure that our true bishops and our true priests who make no concessions to conciliarism or its false shepherds will protect us during this time of apostasy and betrayal as they feed us with the sacraments and teach us the true Faith without one iota of dissent. These brave bishops and priests fear not to confess Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and His Holy Faith before men, being willing to accept whatever calumnies come their way as a result. We must stand with them, being unafraid to confess Christ the King with them no matter who rejects us or insults us as a result.
It is with great confidence as the consecrated slaves of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, therefore, that we offer up all of our daily prayers and sufferings and penances and humiliations to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, praying fervently for those who propagate the lies of conciliarism and for those are yet enmeshed in its web of apostasy and betrayal. Our goal is the possession of Heaven for all eternity. It is impossible to obtain that goal without Our Lady's help as we place our trust in her Divine Son's Most Sacred Heart, Which will help us to love the entirety of the Catholic Faith as It has been handed down to us through the centuries without any alteration of change or novelty or innovation.
There is nothing more efficacious, after Holy Mass itself, of course, that we can do to console the good God and to make reparation for our sins than to pray as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit. Our Lady gave the Rosary to Saint Dominic as a weapon to fight heresy. It is still that weapon today. We had better use that weapon well lest we find ourselves confessing a synthetic "faith" that is not of her Divine Son rather than confessing Him before men as we are required to do on the peril of the very loss of our souls.
Dom Prosper Gueranger offered a prayer to the saints we commemorate today, Primus and Felician:
O ye brave veterans of the Lord's battles, teach us what energy we must bring to the service of God, whatsoever be our age. Less favoured than we are, ye came late in life to the knowledge of the Gospel and of those inestimable treasures promised to the Christian. But in holy Baptism your youth was renewed as that of the eagle, and for thirty years the Holy Ghost continued to produce rich fruits in you. When, in extreme old age, the hour of final victory at last sounded, your courage was equal to that of the most vigorous warriors. You were nerved up to such heroism and sustained therein, through prayer constantly kept alive within you by the words of the psalms, as your Acts attest. Revive then amongst us faith in the word of God; his promises will make us despise, as ye did, this present life. Lead our piety back to those true sources which strengthen the soul: the knowledge and daily use of those sacred formulas which bind our earth unfailingly to heaven, whence they were brought down to us.
Saints Primus and Felician, pray for us we use Our Lady's Most Holy Rosary to defeat the idols of our own day, including those of conciliarism itself.
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saints Primus and Felician, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints