Clothing the Emperor
Thomas A. Droleskey
One of the saddest aspects of the Modernist assault upon the Faith in the past forty to fifty years involves Catholics who do not dissent from anything contained in the Deposit of Faith having to oppose each other concerning the extent to which Modernism has infiltrated the Church in her human elements and how this infiltration can be best exposed and resisted. This particular commentary involves, therefore, an exercise of having to rebut untrue assertions made by a Catholic priest who knows that there are problems facing the Church today but who refuses to admit, at least publicly, that those problems go all the way to the top, that is to Pope Benedict XVI himself.
Although the facts of how Modernism influences the minds of the men of the Second Vatican Council are incontestable, there are some, including Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro, who resort to sloganeering to dismiss well-founded, well-documented concerns about the Modernist influences on the mind of our current Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. Monsignor Barreiro, who does not offer the Novus Ordo Missae, has written a "response" to Michael Matt's and John's Vennari's Joint Statement (Joint Statement of Michael Matt and John Vennari) about the status of the negotiations between the Society of Saint Pius X and the Holy See in which he terms any labeling of Pope Benedict as a disciple of the "New Theology" to be an insult to the Holy Father. Sadly, and this comes from one who knows Monsignor Barreiro and who bears him no animus at all, the insult in this case is to the intelligence of informed Catholics who know that Joseph Ratzinger is a disciple of the principal exponents of the so-called "New Theology," especially the late Henri de Lubac, a constant defender of Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the late Father Hans Urs von Balthasar, Father Yves Congar, and Father Johann Baptist Metz. It is Monsignor Barreiro who is engaging in gratuitous assertions in this instance, not Mr. Matt or Mr. Vennari, both of whom provided copious documentation from the words of the current Holy Father, both before and during his accession to the Throne of Saint Peter, as to his true theological proclivities.
Pope Benedict XVI has praised, repeatedly and without any qualification or reservation whatsoever, the work of Father Hans Urs von Balthasar. Monsignor Barreiro's ridiculous, laughable claim that it is an insult to the Holy Father to call him a disciple of the "New Theology" (which is nothing other than repackaged Modernism) can be exploded by simply citing the following lavish praise heaped on Father von Balthasar on the occasion of his centenary last October 7, 2005:
“Rome, Oct. 07, 2005 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI (news) has paid tribute to his friend, the late theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, in a statement released on October 7.
“The Pope's statement is addressed to participants in a seminar being held at the Pontifical Lateran University this weekend. The seminar, marking the 100th anniversary of the Swiss theologian's birth, is centered on a theme from von Balthasar's work: ‘Only love is credible.’
“In his message-- which was read to the seminar by Bishop Rino Fisichella, the rector of the Lateran University-- Pope Benedict writes of his treasured friendship with von Balthasar, and says that the Swiss theologian's work ‘still retains a profound relevance today.’
“Hans Urs von Balthasar, the Pope writes, ‘was a theologian who put his work at the service of the Church,’ because he was convinced that theology is useful only within the context of Catholic practice. ‘I can testify that his life was an authentic search for truth," the Pope adds. Pope Benedict says that he hopes the 100th-anniversary observance will stimulate a revival of interest in the work of von Balthasar, recalling Henri de Lubac's claim that the Swiss theologian was "the most cultured man of our century.’ The Lateran University seminar is co-sponsored by Communio, the international theological journal that was founded by von Balthasar in cooperation with theologians such as Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) and Angelo Scola (now the Patriarch of Venice). Partipants in the weekend's discussions include Cardinal Scola, Cardinal James Stafford, and Cardinal Marc Ouellet.”
The Holy Father praised Father Hans Urs von Balthasar for a life that involved “an authentic search for truth.” Huh? There is no need to search for truth. It has been deposited by Truth Incarnate in the Catholic Church. All a man needs to do is to submit his will to this truth, which has been revealed by God and proclaimed doctrinally when necessary by popes and dogmatic councils, without attempting to redefine anything that has been handed down to us because “we do not like” certain formulations. Von Balthasar’s life, therefore, was spent in vain searching for a truth that was readily accessible in the Deposit of Faith.
Does Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro want to go on the record praising the theology of Hans Urs von Balthasar as compatible with the Catholic Faith? If he does, then let him reckon with the article, focusing on von Balthasar's belief in "universal salvation" for all men, including Judas Iscariot, written by Father Regis Scanlon, O.F.M., Cap., in New Oxford Review in 1999:
“Thus, even though the Magisterium has not yet condemned Judas by name or the mere ‘hope’ for universal salvation, the Church is not in doubt about this matter. Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium certify that Judas and others have perished. Consequently, Balthasar's ‘hope’ for universal salvation would necessarily be a ‘hope’ that contradicts Scriptures, Tradition, and Magisterium.
“A look at Hegelian philosophy will help us understand why Balthasar thought that he could contradict Jesus' statement that Judas is ‘lost’ by hoping that Judas is saved. Eighteenth-century philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel claimed that no religious statement or concept is absolutely true. All are false or relative in some way. Only God is absolute truth. Therefore, according to Hegel's understanding, religious statements, concepts, or dogmas can be contradictory and only find their resolution or synthesis in God who is Absolute Truth. Hegel said that every concept contained a ‘Negative, which it carries within itself.’ For Hegel this positive-negative opposition within the concept was called the dialectic and it was ‘a necessary procedure of reason.’ Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines ‘dialectic’ as ‘the Hegelian process of change in which a concept or its realization passes over into and is preserved and fulfilled by its opposite.’ Thus, Hegel maintained ‘the Necessity of Contradiction’ for all thought to develop toward the Absolute, which is God.
“Similarly, Balthasar believed that contradiction is a part of truth. As he explained in Word and Revelation, he believed that expressions of' ‘worldly truth,’ like ‘worldly Being,’ can be ‘contradictory’ and even expressions of scriptural truths can be opposites or ‘contrary.’ Balthasar agreed with Hegel that ‘”only God is 'the absolute truth'" and "'all truth is not, negation itself is in God' " (emphasis added). Thus, statements in the Bible are not absolutely true but each is relative and in some way negative or false, and these statements will find their synthesis only when we come to the Father who is absolute truth. But, for now, one cannot have complete confidence even in the words of Christ. Balthasar stated: ‘The word of Christ, who spoke as no other had spoken, who alone spoke as one having power, is nonetheless an insecure bridge between the wordlessness of the world and the superword of the father’ (emphasis added).
“Thus, Balthasar argued in Dare We Hope, beside the condemnatory scriptural statements that teach that there are people in Hell, there are also redemptive scriptural statements that ‘hold out the prospect of universal redemption.’ He used this example: ‘God wills that all men be saved’ (1 Tim. 2:4). Balthasar claimed that these redemptive scriptural statements are "seemingly opposed" to the condemnatory scriptural statements such as ‘many ... will not be able... to enter.’ He maintained that, ‘we neither can nor may bring [them] into synthesis.’ Since these ‘contradictory’ statements can only be resolved in eternal life, we don't know the outcome. So, for Balthasar, we can still hope that Judas is saved.
“But these statements appear contradictory only because Balthasar interpreted God's statements of desire, such as ‘God wills that all men be saved,’ as if they were statements of future realities, like ‘many ... will not be able ... to enter.’ But, we cannot treat God's statements of desire as if they were statements about future realities. Just as we know that God willed or desired Adam and Eve not to eat of the ‘fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden’ (Gen. 3:3), so we know for certain that God desires that no one sin. But, Adam and Eve ate of the tree and sinned. Consequently, hoping that all will be saved -- when Scripture says that some are lost -- is like hoping that no one ever sins when we know that Adam and Eve have sinned. The hope is an absurdity.
“More importantly, however, Balthasar's philosophy of truth violates the first self-evident principle of the speculative reason (the natural law), which states that the same thing cannot be affirmed and denied at the same time (the principle of noncontradiction). One cannot say that Judas is ‘lost’ and that Judas is ‘not lost’ (saved) at the same time. And to ‘hope’ that Judas is saved when Scripture says that he is already lost is to hope for a contradiction in Scripture and in the Church's teachings. But, this violates the Church's defined teaching that ‘God cannot... ever contradict truth with truth’ (Denz. No. 1797), which guarantees that the meaning of Jesus' teachings in the New Testament and the Church's dogmas can never be different but always remain the same (Denz. No.1818).”
Has Pope Benedict XVI ever contradicted von Balthasar on any point of theology? Name one. The devastating critique of the heterodox, illogical nature of von Balthasar's thought written by Father Scanlon explains why our current Holy Father believes that past magisterial statements can be interpreted in "novel" ways, defying the entire patrimony of the Catholic Church in many instances.
As I noted a few days ago, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger personally cited the "thought" of Father Johann Baptist Metz in 1990 to justify his belief that past magisterial teaching, such as the anti-Modernist declarations and condemnations of religious liberty, is not the "final" word on a matter:
The text [of the Second Vatican Council] also presents the various forms of bonds that rise from the different degrees of magisterial teaching. It affirms -- perhaps for the first time with this clarity -- that there are decisions of the Magisterium that cannot be a last word on the matter as such, but are, in a substantial fixation of the problem, above all an expression of pastoral prudence, a kind of provisional disposition. Its nucleus remains valid, but the particulars, which the circumstances of the times have influenced, may need further ramifications.
In this regard, one may think of the declarations of Popes in the last century about religious liberty, as well as the anti-Modernist decisions at the beginning of this century, above all, the decisions of the Biblical Commission of the time. As a cry of alarm in the face of hasty and superficial adaptations, they will remain fully justified. A personage such as Johann Baptist Metz said, for example, that the Church's anti-Modernist decisions render the great service of preserving her from immersion in the liberal-bourgeois world. But in the details of the determinations they contain, they become obsolete after having fulfilled their pastoral mission at the proper moment.
Pope Benedict XVI, you see, has a view of magisterial teaching that is novel, relying upon a fellow practitioner of the New Theology, Father Johann Baptist Metz. The consistent teaching of the Church, reiterated by popes from Gregory XVI through Pius XII, never becomes obsolete. The Ordinary Magisterium of the Church clothes teaching that has been taught "always and everywhere" and believed by everyone with the charism of infallibility. The teaching of the Divine Redeemer is not subject to change. He is immutable. His teaching is immutable. And no legitimate development of doctrine can in any way contradict that which has preceded it. The novelties of the Second Vatican Council concerning religious liberty--and Pope Benedict XVI's rejection of the confessionally Catholic state--are contradictions of the Deposit of Faith. The same holds for the novelty of ecumenism. And the same holds for the Modernist approach to Biblical studies, which could lead one Father Bruno Forte, who was consecrated an archbishop by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger in 2004, to write that the Resurrection of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ was a legend. Father Johann Baptist Metz plays a major role, therefore, in the shaping of the mind of Pope Benedict XVI about how to deconstruct and then render into irrelevance, if not contempt, the binding statements of the popes of the past.
Unfortunately for the Holy Father and his fellow associate of the late Father Karl Rahner, Father Metz, the First Vatican Council states that we must hold the doctrines as as they have been handed down to us and in the exact manner as they have been understood:
Hence, that meaning of the sacred dogmata is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy Mother Church, and there must never be an abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.... If anyone says that it is possible that at some given time, given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmata propounded by the Church which is different from that which the Church has always understood and understands: let him be anathema.
There is no room for Father Johann Baptist Metz, who was born in 1928, to claim that the past decrees of the magisterium are in any way capable of being reinterpreted. What apostolic or patristic authority can Father Johann Baptist Metz cite for his specious contention that dogmas once defined lose their substance once they have fulfilled the meaning of the historical context in which they were declared? None, that's what. None whatsoever. The only "authority" Father Johann Baptist Metz can cite for his novel approach of substituting Modernist thought for authentic Catholic doctrine is Georg Hegel's dialectical principle, the belief that truth contains within itself the seeds of its own contradiction, producing a clash between itself and its antithesis that results in the creation of a new idea, a synthesis.
For Metz and other proponents of the "New Theology," one era of history closes and a new era dawns as a result of the first era's own internal contradictions. Christendom, therefore, has come and gone, never to be recaptured. The Church must make her accommodation to the ever-evolving realities of our present day, content to pay lip-service to what was taught in the past but intent to obliterate, under the specious pretext of a "more profound understanding," the consistent meaning of what was taught perennially.
Pope Benedict XVI cites men who believe in novelties that have been anathematized. Please tell me that it is an "insult" to the Holy Father, a self-identified progressivist at the Second Vatican Council who dressed in a suit jacket and tie, to assert that his thought processes are those of a man shaped by the scions of the "New Theology." This is simply a statement of well-documented fact.
Monsignor Barreiro was so bold to have stated that the "healthy secularity" promoted by Pope Benedict XVI is nothing other than a "prudential judgment" of His Holiness, not a denial of the Social Reign of Christ the King. Joseph Ratzinger has rejected the Catholic teaching of the confessional state throughout his priesthood. He stated in his Principles of Catholic Theology the following:
It is desirable to offer a diagnosis of the text (Gaudium et Spes) as a whole, we might say that (in conjunction with the texts on religious liberty, and world religions) it is a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of countersyllabus ... Let us be content to say here that the text serves as a countersyllabus and, as such, represents on the part of the Church, an attempt at an official reconciliation with the new era inaugurated in 1789. . . . the one-sidedness of the position adopted by the Church under Pius IX and Pius X in response to the situation created by the new phase of history inaugurated by the French Revolution was, to a large extent, corrected via facti, especially in Central Europe, but there was still no basic statement of the relationship that should exist between the Church and the world that had come into existence after 1789. In fact, an attitude that was largely pre-revolutionary continued to exist in countries with strong Catholic majorities. Hardly anyone will deny today that the Spanish and Italian Concordat strove to preserve too much of a view of the world that no longer corresponded to the facts. Hardly anyone will deny today that, in the field of education and with respect to the historico-critical method in modern science, anachronisms existed that corresponded closely to this adherence to an obsolete Church-state relationship.
Thus, the Holy Father believes that the era of Christendom has ended and that it should not be recaptured. He makes this clear in the second part of Deus Caritas Est, which I analyze in an article that will appear in the April issue of Catholic Family News. Pope Benedict XVI does not believe in the Social Reign of Christ the King. His whole view of the State is fundamentally opposed to the absolute Catholicity found in this passage from Pope Leo XIII's Tametsi Futura
Prospicientibus, November 1, 1900:
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.
Pope Benedict XVI does not believe this. He believes in the Masonic notion that men are capable of pursuing social order in a religiously indifferentist State. Pope Gregory XVI had a word in Mirari Vos to describe this notion: "insanity." Popes Gregory XVI and Leo XIII were not making "prudential judgments." They were reiterating Catholic truths rejected by Pope Benedict XVI under the very "specious pretext of a deeper understanding" condemned by the First Vatican Council. To belabor this point is unnecessary as it is made on this site repeatedly (and is covered in depth in the upcoming issue of Catholic Family News). Pope Benedict XVI rejects the confessionally Catholic State as unnecessary, unwise, and opposed to the "countersyllabus" of the Second Vatican Council.
Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro did not mention ecumenism in his response to the joint statement of Michael Matt and John Vennari. He did so, however, in a very ill-considered effort to try to refute the Society of Saint Pius X's Ecumenism: The Silent Apostasy in the pages of The Latin Mass: A Journal of Catholic Culture last year. A priest-friend of Monsignor Barreiro's told me on October 22, 2004, that the Society's essay on ecumenism was "irrefutable." Indeed, it is. Why try to make a novelty that has departed from the entire patrimony of the Church to appear to have borne "good fruits?" The wreckage of souls produced by the diabolical novelty of ecumenism is vast. Indeed, I had Monsignor Barreiro's article entirely in mind when I wrote the following in September of 2005 after the "good ole' boys in New Caney, Texas, sold us the flatbed trailer with rotted boards and dry rotted tires:
Thank you, Martin Luther. The world in these people, who are loved by God and whom He wants with Him for all eternity in Heaven, live is devoid of the spiritual compass that can guide them to their Last End. The world in which these people live is the fruit of the Protestant Revolt and the subsequent rise of Freemasonry. They do not give their salvation a second thought as they have been 'saved' by their 'profession of faith in the Lord Jesus' on their lips and in their hearts. They are steeped in a world of passing pleasures and irrelevancies, responding to this or that crisis in the world with a shrug of the shoulders as they concentrate on racing dirt cars and winning trophies on 'Roll Over Derbies' in the Astrodome.
"These people, who are trying their best to survive despite their living in a world of darkness that they are not even aware of, are furthermore the victims of Vatican II and the much heralded novelty of ecumenism wrought in its wretched wake. No 'nuanced judgment' is needed here to condemn ecumenism in its entirety and without any reservation or qualification whatsoever. Let those who have no contact at all with people such as these folks in rural Texas talk of nuance and the 'positive things' Protestantism has done for the true Church founded by Our Lord upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. Let those who want to slobber over Pope Benedict XVI and win what they think are 'brownie points' for Traditionalism by 'making the best case for Vatican II and ecumenism' irresponsibly try to convince fellow traditionalists that we must not be as rigid as, say, the Society of Saint Pius X in rejecting ecumenism in its entirety. Let such men and women go to visit the people we encounter on the highways and byways of the United States of America and dare to say that ecumenism has been anything other than a nightmare from Hell itself for the conversion of souls to the true Church. Who is trying to convert the people who worked on our motor home on the morning of the Feast of Saint Matthew, September 21, to the true Church? Who? Archbishop Joseph Fiorenza, in whose Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston these people live? Their local Catholic pastor, who probably doesn't even realize he has the obligation to tend to the eternal welfare of all of the souls in his parish's boundaries, Catholic and non-Catholic alike? Who is trying to win these souls for the true Church? Who? No one, that's who. And this is all the result of Vatican II and ecumenism. Period. Let anyone who talks of 'nuance' and 'reasoned judgments' look at the true state of the world and the wreckage of souls produced by the Protestant Revolt and its seepages into the Catholic Church by way of Vatican II and the erroneous novelty of ecumenism and say that the people in rural Texas who are stumbling their way through daily life have been well served by the recent popes and the rot of the Second Vatican Council. Let them say that and answer to God for their prominent and decided role in weakening the traditional Catholic resistance to these novelties at the moment of their own Particular Judgments."
We meet the victims of Protestantism and ecumenism all of the time in our extensive travels around the United States of America. Pope Benedict XVI does not believe that the Catholic Church must convert Protestants. Indeed, he believes that the Church must not try to convert Protestants. Are they all saved according to the erroneous view of his mentor, von Balthasar? How is this not from Hell itself? Popes from Saint Peter through Pius XII sought the conversion of others to the Catholic Church. This was not a matter of "prudential judgment" or a merely "pastoral approach." This was a matter of spiritual life and death fought with the weapons provided to Holy Mother Church by Our Lord Himself.
Can Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro say with total confidence (and a straight face) that Pope Benedict XVI accepts this dogmatic pronouncement of the Council of Florence, issued in 1442?
The holy Roman Church believes, professes, and preaches that 'no one remaining outside the Catholic Church, not just pagans, but also Jews or heretics or schismatics, can become partakers of eternal life; but they will go to the everlasting fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels,' unless before the end of life they are joined to the Church. For the union with the body of the Church is of such importance that the sacraments of the Church are helpful to salvation only for those who remaining in it; and fasts, almsgiving, other works of piety, and the exercise of Christian warfare bear eternal rewards from them alone. And no one can be saved, no matter how much alms, he has given, even if he sheds his blood for the name of Christ, unless he remains in the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict XVI has praised the work of the founder of "spiritual ecumenism," Abbe Paul Couturier, a disciple of Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., even though Abbe Couturier's syncretist work provided much of the reason why Pope Pius XI issued Mortalium Animos on January 6, 1928:
This being so, it is clear that the Apostolic See cannot on any terms take part in their assemblies, nor is it anyway lawful for Catholics either to support or to work for such enterprises; for if they do so they will be giving countenance to a false Christianity, quite alien to the one Church of Christ. Shall We suffer, what would indeed be iniquitous, the truth, and a truth divinely revealed, to be made a subject for compromise? For here there is question of defending revealed truth. Jesus Christ sent His Apostles into the whole world in order that they might permeate all nations with the Gospel faith, and, lest they should err, He willed beforehand that they should be taught by the Holy Ghost: has then this doctrine of the Apostles completely vanished away, or sometimes been obscured, in the Church, whose ruler and defense is God Himself? If our Redeemer plainly said that His Gospel was to continue not only during the times of the Apostles, but also till future ages, is it possible that the object of faith should in the process of time become so obscure and uncertain, that it would be necessary to-day to tolerate opinions which are even incompatible one with another? If this were true, we should have to confess that the coming of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles, and the perpetual indwelling of the same Spirit in the Church, and the very preaching of Jesus Christ, have several centuries ago, lost all their efficacy and use, to affirm which would be blasphemy. But the Only-begotten Son of God, when He commanded His representatives to teach all nations, obliged all men to give credence to whatever was made known to them by "witnesses preordained by God," and also confirmed His command with this sanction: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned." These two commands of Christ, which must be fulfilled, the one, namely, to teach, and the other to believe, cannot even be understood, unless the Church proposes a complete and easily understood teaching, and is immune when it thus teaches from all danger of erring. In this matter, those also turn aside from the right path, who think that the deposit of truth such laborious trouble, and with such lengthy study and discussion, that a man's life would hardly suffice to find and take possession of it; as if the most merciful God had spoken through the prophets and His Only-begotten Son merely in order that a few, and those stricken in years, should learn what He had revealed through them, and not that He might inculcate a doctrine of faith and morals, by which man should be guided through the whole course of his moral life.
These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith? Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems to reveal in his Gospel the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who never ceased to impress on the memories of his followers the new commandment "Love one another," altogether forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt version of Christ's teaching: "If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him: God speed you." For which reason, since charity is based on a complete and sincere faith, the disciples of Christ must be united principally by the bond of one faith. Who then can conceive a Christian Federation, the members of which retain each his own opinions and private judgment, even in matters which concern the object of faith, even though they be repugnant to the opinions of the rest?. . . .
Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is "the root and womb whence the Church of God springs," not with the intention and the hope that "the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government. Would that it were Our happy lot to do that which so many of Our predecessors could not, to embrace with fatherly affection those children, whose unhappy separation from Us We now bewail. Would that God our Savior, "Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,"would hear us when We humbly beg that He would deign to recall all who stray to the unity of the Church!
The contrast between the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church and the harmful, diabolical novelty of ecumenism cannot be more sharply defined than in Mortalium Animos--and in Pope Pius IX's Iam Vos Omnes. Our job is to seek the conversion of those outside of the true Church to her bosom, not to reaffirm them in their false religions or to treat their bogus "bishops" and "priests" and "ministers" as validly ordained members of the clergy.
The modernist influences on the mind of Pope Benedict XVI, his rejection of the Social Reign of Christ the King, and the erroneous novelty of ecumenism are simply incontestable. They were very well documented by Mr. Matt and Mr. Vennari. Very well-documented. Anyone who wants to disparage their solid research by saying that these good Catholic men are "insulting" the Holy Father by making "gratuitous" claims is misleading souls. Indeed, any effort made to defend a "healthy secularity" and religious liberty and ecumenism is harmful to souls and must be denounced as vigorously as possible. This is beyond debate.
What is debatable is how the single most organized force to defend the Catholic Faith, the Society of Saint Pius X, should proceed in its negotiations with the Holy See on the "regularization" of its canonical status. This is a matter of debate about which reasonable Catholics can disagree. There is no question about this at all. Is the time right for an agreement? Is it not? Will the Society of Saint Pius X become as coopted as the Ecclesia Dei communities that would not even have come into existence had it not been for the courage of the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre to resist the novelties of the Second Vatican Council and the Novus Ordo Missae? These are questions that Michael Matt and John Vennari sought to examine. They are questions that His Excellency, the Most Reverend Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X, has been raising recently in his conferences around the United States of America and Canada.
To come to the conclusion that the time is not right for an agreement is not, contrary to Monsignor Barreiro's discussion on this debatable matter, to defy God's Holy Will. Saint Basil separated himself from his Arian bishop when he was a lector. And a chap named Saint Athanasius had the following to say about "working within the structures" around the same time in the fourth century A.D.:
May God console you! ... What saddens you ... is the fact that others have
occupied the churches by violence, while during this time you are on the
outside. It is a fact that they have the premises - but you have the
Apostolic Faith. They can occupy our churches, but they are outside the true Faith. You remain outside the places of worship, but the Faith dwells within you. Let us consider: what is more important, the place or the Faith? The
true Faith, obviously. Who has lost and who has won in the struggle - the
one who keeps the premises or the one who keeps the Faith? True, the
premises are good when the Apostolic Faith is preached there; they are holy
if everything takes place there in a holy way ...
"You are the ones who are happy; you who remain within the Church by your
Faith, who hold firmly to the foundations of the Faith which has come down
to you from Apostolic Tradition. And if an execrable jealousy has tried to
shake it on a number of occasions, it has not succeeded. They are the ones
who have broken away from it in the present crisis. No one, ever, will
prevail against your Faith, beloved Brothers. And we believe that God will
give us our churches back some day.
"Thus, the more violently they try to occupy the places of worship, the more
they separate themselves from the Church. They claim that they represent the
Church; but in reality, they are the ones who are expelling themselves from
it and going astray. Even if Catholics faithful to Tradition are reduced to
a handful, they are the ones who are the true Church of Jesus Christ."
No, Monsignor Barreiro, it is not at all clear that "working within the structures" is the way to defend the Faith in the midst of the "New Theology." Indeed, many of us believe it is necessary to resist the novelties by supporting the defense of the Faith offered by the Society of Saint Pius X and and by other courageous priests who are on the frontlines to offer the Mass of the fathers--and the fullness of the Catholic Faith without paying a false, deceitful obeisance to such harmful novelties as ecumenism and religious liberty--to the starving faithful without any concessions to the unjust and illicit conditions imposed upon the offering of what is our baptismal birthright: the Immemorial Mass of Tradition. Defying God's will? How about keeping alive the spirit of Saint Athanasius himself in the midst of very similar circumstances?
Indeed, Monsignor Barreiro's "response" to the Joint Statement of Michael Matt and John Vennari is proof positive of how "working within the structures" hamstrings one's ability to "fight for the Church." After all, how can you "work within the structures to fight for the Church" when you won't face and/or can't speak to the fullness of the truth about what is going on within those structures to the detriment of the Faith? We must pray and pray and pray that some pope will provide us with the solution to our problems: the complete fulfillment of Our Lady's Fatima Message by the proper and explicit consecration of Russia to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart with all of the world's bishops, a goal that has been thwarted, not aided, by Pope Benedict XVI when he was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
The late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre came to recognize that he had to provide a public, visible resistance to the Novus Ordo Missae and to the errors of ecumenism and religious liberty. He was joined by Bishop Antonio Castro de Mayer and the priests of the Society of Saint John Mary Vianney in Campos, Brazil. Laymen, such as Walter Matt, who gave up his birthright at The Wanderer to found The Remnant, and Michael Davies and Hamish Frasier added their voices to the resistance from the outset of the revolution against Tradition and the fullness of the Deposit of Faith. Others joined in the ensuing decades. Among the most prominent voices to have been raised up in the past fifteen years or so have been those of Michael Matt, the son of the late Walter Matt, and John Vennari, the editor of Catholic Family News. Monsignor Barreiro should be recognizing the important contributions made by Michael Matt and John Vennari--and the Society of Saint Pius X to defend the Catholic Faith, not presenting himself as the oracle, especially to those who are so smug and arrogant in their belonging to "approved" communities and groups, who can discern the mind of the Holy Father, who has made it very clear throughout his priesthood that his mind in not shaped by Catholic Tradition.
Our Lady Help of Christians, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint Patrick, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Basil the Great, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Nicholas of Myra, pray for us.
Saint Nicholas of Flue, pray for us.
Pope Saint Gregory the Great, pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Siena, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Charles Borromeo, pray for us.
Saint Ignatius of Loyola, pray for us.
Saint Robert Bellarmine, pray for us.
Saint Peter Canisius, pray for us.
Saint Francis de Sales, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us.
Blessed Jacinta, pray for us
Blessed Francisco, pray for us.
Sister Lucia, pray for us.
Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, pray for us.
Fathers Karl Rahner, S.J., and Joseph Ratzinger, self-identified "progressivists" in "traditional" priestly attire in 1972, seven years after the close of the Second Vatican Council. (An earlier posting said, based upon information provided to me, that this photograph was taken during the Second Vatican Council. I have been informed that the actual date is 1972. I appreciate the correction. This shows that Father Ratzinger was in civilian clothes long after the Council ended.)
The Protestant syncretist heretic, Roger Schutz, receiving Holy Communion from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger at Pope John Paul II's funeral Mass, April 8,2005. Pope Benedict XVI, upon hearing that "Brother" Roger had been murdered, said that he had "attained eternal joy." Do you agree, Monsingor Barreiro? Do Protestant syncretists go straight to Heaven to receive their eternal joy?