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Published on February 26, 2004, and Re-published on April 20, 2005

Deluding Themselves Unto the Grave, 2005

by Thomas A. Droleskey

Revolutionaries live in a world of their own creation. Posing themselves as the secular saviors of the world, revolutionaries claim to possess a “vision” and a “plan” to improve the lot of man here on earth. When their plans, usually conceived and implemented and maintained in blood at by the brute force of the state once power has been seized, fail to improve the lot of man here on earth, then the revolutionaries simply say that the lot of man has indeed improved. Things are better because they say they have made them better by their revolutionary schemes and programs. And anyone who dares to state that reality is otherwise must be dismissed by the use of slogans, disinformation, or summarily wiped off the face of the earth by means of execution. The history of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was replete with examples of this. The Red Chinese continue to do so in our own day, as does Fidel Castro in the political prison known as Cuba.

Indeed, the Soviet leadership assembled every year atop the Kremlin Wall on May Day to review the troops and to assure the enslaved masses that their appartchiks were in control of the plan to further the revolution. In 1973, shortly after the Pepsi Cola company had received a contract from the Soviet regime to sell its product within the fifteen republics of the Soviet Union, an advertisement appeared on the back page of Section 1 of The New York Times that contained a photograph of the aging Soviet leadership atop the Kremlin Wall. The advertisement simply read: The Pepsi Generation. Many Westerners then deluded themselves into thinking that “capitalism” would undermine the Soviet economy, just as many Westerners now delude themselves into thinking that “capitalism” is democratizing Red China. Even though the Soviet Union is no longer and formal Bolshevism is no longer the governing ideology, the Russian Federated Republic and many of the formal republics of the Soviet Union are indeed run in pretty much the same manner as they were before the end of the Soviet Union on December 25, 1991. After all, who is Vladmir Putin? The former head of the KGB, that's all. Oh, yes, both communist revolutionaries and their capitalist enablers have shown an infinite capacity for deluding themselves to the grave.

Sadly, though, the revolutionaries who unleashed an unprecedented wave of novelty in the Church over forty years ago continue to issue statements congratulating themselves for how well their novelties have worked to improve the Church Militant here on earth. We have seen this repeatedly with respect to statements made about the wonderful “enrichment” that has been enjoyed by the “People of God” as a result of the Novus Ordo Missae. We have seen this repeatedly with respect to statements made about the “fruits” of ecumenism. We have seen this repeatedly with respect to one theological and liturgical novelty after another. Never mind that these statements fly in the face of all empirical evidence to the contrary and are made to justify novelties that have undermined the Holy Faith. No, the statements just keep coming.

The latest involves statements from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, and His Holiness, Pope John Paul II. A Zenit report of February 4, 2004, contained the following reflection from Cardinal Ratzinger:

" In the 19th century, in fact, the opinion had spread that religion belonged to the subjective and private sphere, and that it should limit its influence to these realms," he writes. "Precisely because religion was relegated to the subjective sphere, it could not be presented as the determinant force for the great course of history. Once the working sessions of the Council ended, it had to be made clear again that the Christian faith encompasses the whole of existence, it is the central pivot of history and time, and is not destined to limit its realm of influence' to the subjective, the cardinal adds. He continues: ‘Christianity tried -- at least from the point of view of the Catholic Church -- to come out of the ghetto in which it was enclosed since the 19th century, and to be fully involved again in the world.”

The Holy Father, as if to underscore Cardinal Ratzinger's comments, called on February 23, 2004, for there to be an “adequate separation of Church and State. Again, to Zenit:

John Paul II advocated an adequate separation of church and state so that citizens, regardless of their religion, can make their contribution to society.

The Pope explained this on Saturday in his address to Osman Durak, Turkey's new ambassador to the Holy See, when the envoy presented his credentials.

The Holy Father began by saying that "the rule of law and equality of rights are essential traits for any modern society that truly seeks to safeguard and promote the common goo."'

“In fulfilling this task, the clear distinction between the civil and religious spheres allows each of these sectors to exercise its proper responsibilities effectively, with mutual respect and in complete freedom of conscience," he explained.

"In a pluralistic society the secularity of the state allows for communication between the different spiritual dimensions and the nation," the Pope added. "The church and the state, therefore, are not rivals but partners: In healthy dialogue with each other they can encourage integral human development and social harmony'”

Here we go again. The entire pre-1958 patrimony of the Church concerning the nature of her relationship with the state is being flushed down the memory hole. The secular state, one of the principal evils of modernity, is hailed by the Vicar of Christ as a protection of religious freedom and
freedom of conscience.

As Cardinal Ratiznger's comments came first chronologically, they will be dealt with first in this article.

The quotes of Cardinal Ratzinger taken from the Zenit report prove that he is trying to imply, however obscurely, that the popes of the past had kept Catholics in a ghetto by forcing an unnecessary confrontation with the currents of the modern world. This absurd premise ignores entirely, perhaps deliberately, the root source of the problems of modernity: Protestantism. The fact that many that Catholics succumbed to the ethos of secularism and materialism and various political ideologies in the Nineteenth Century is attributable as one of the long-term manifestations of the evil effects of the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ King begun by Martin Luther, expedited by Freemasonry and their various anti-Catholic allies, and brought to a conclusion by the work of the American and French Revolutionaries and their successors throughout the world. The popes of the past, unlike our more recent pontiffs, saw it as their duty to confront error with the fullness of Divine Revelation. Not so churchmen like Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II.

Father Denis Fahey covered the problems of modernity so very well in his The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World. Father Fahey quotes Luther as saying: “Assuredly, a prince may be a Christian, but it is not as Christian that he ought to rule.” This is a complete and total contradiction of the concept of civil governance that characterized, although never perfectly and never without problems and conflicts, much of the Middle Ages. Civil rulers, such as St. Louis IX, King of France, understood that they had been chosen in God's Providence to exercise governing authority over their subjects. St. Louis IX, for example, understood that he could lose his soul if he did not administer justice according to the mind of Christ Himself and did not recognize that his own civil authority could be circumscribed by the Church herself in the exercise of her duties to enforce the Social Reign of Christ the King. Luther rejected all of that.

As Father Fahey relates:

The organization of the Europe of the thirteenth century furnishes us with one concrete realization of the Divine Plan. It is hardly necessary to add that there were then to be seen defects in the working of the Divine Plan, due to the character of fallen man, as well as to an imperfect mastery of physical nature. Yet, withal, the formal principle of ordered social organization in the world, the supremacy of the Mystical Body, was grasped and, in the main, accepted. The Lutheran revolt, prepared by the cult of pagan antiquity at the Renaissance, and by the favour enjoyed by the Nominalist philosophical theories, led to the rupture of that order.

Although Christendom was not without its faults, it differed from modernity in three essential respects: first, there was, as has been noted, a recognition of the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ as exercised by Holy Mother Church. Second, the average person understood who he was in light of the Incarnation and the Redemption, being ever conscious to live in the shadow of the Cross. Third, as a result of the first two, the average person knew that the problems of the world were caused by Original and actual sins, and are thus ameliorated only by the daily conversion of souls in cooperate with the grace they received in the sacraments administered by Holy Mother Church. Martin Luther was to reject all of this, causing consequences he did not foresee but for which he is nevertheless responsible.

Father Fahey:

The great cardinal principle of Protestantism is that every man attains salvation by entering into an immediate relation with Christ, with the aid of that interior faith by which he believes that, though his sins persist, they are no longer imputed to him, thanks to the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ. All men are thus priests for themselves and carry out the work of their justification by treating directly and individually with God. The Life of Grace, being nothing else than the external favour of God, remains outside of us and we continue, in fact, in spite of Lutheran faith in Christ, corrupt and sinful. Each human being enters into an isolated relation with our Lord, and there is no transforming life all are called to share. Luther never understood the meaning of faith informed by sanctifying grace and charity. Accordingly, the one visible Church and the Mystical Body is done away with, as well as the priesthood and the sacrifice of the Mystical Body, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The only purpose of preaching and such ceremonies were retained by Protestants was to stir up the individual's faith.

As influential as Niccolo Machiavelli was becoming among many European leaders in the early Sixteenth Century, his amorality could not have triumphed had it not been for the Protestant Revolt. Many princes of what were then the independent German kingdoms and of Scandinavia and the Low Countries embraced Lutheranism precisely because it enabled them to be free of the "yoke" of the Roman pontiffs. They could be free to rule as they wanted without having to fear a public reprimand from a national primate or from the Sovereign Pontiff himself. This is what would lead to the rise of absolutism and the modern totalitarian state, populated as it is by all manner of professional criminals known as careerist politicians.

The Lutheran Revolt against the visible, hierarchical church is nothing other than an exercise in religious anarchism. In essence, Luther was saying that a Christian does not need a visible authority to direct him in his path to Heaven, which is assured to begin with by his individual profession of faith in Jesus Christ as his personal savior. As the religious indifferentism engendered by the different sects that developed in the Protestant world within a century of 1517 had its own internal logic of decay, it would only be a matter of time that the religious anarchism of Martin Luther would lead to a social anarchism that rejected entirely any concept of religion in popular culture and national life, no less admitting that there could be a true Faith to bind all peoples in all circumstances at all times until the end of the world. Lutheranism leads by its own warped illogic and internal contradictions to statism.

Father Fahey:

Hence the True Church of Christ, according to the Protestant view, is noting else than the assembly of those who, on account of the confidence interiorly conceived of the remission of their sins, have the justice of God imputed to them by God and are accordingly predestined to eternal life. And this Church, known to God alone, is the unique Church of the promises of indefectibility, to which our Lord Jesus Christ promised His assistance to the consummation of the world. Since, however, true believers, instructed by the Holy Ghost, can manifest their faith exteriorly, can communicate their impressions and feelings to other and may employ the symbols of the Sacraments to stir up their faith, they give rise to a visible church which, nevertheless, is not the Church instituted by Christ. Membership of this Church is not necessary for salvation, and it may assume different forms according to different circumstances. The true invisible Church of Christ is always hidden, unseen in the multitude.

Protestantism, therefore, substituted for the corporate organization of society, imbued with the spirit of the Mystical Body and reconciling the claims of personality and individuality in man, a merely isolated relation with our Divine Lord. This revolt of human individual against order on the supernatural level, this uprise of individualism, with its inevitable chaotic self-seeking, had dire consequences both in regard to ecclesiastical organization and in the realms of politics and economics. Let us take these in turn.

The tide of revolt which broke away from the Catholic Church had the immediate effect of increasing the power of princes and rulers in Protestant countries. The Anabaptists and the peasants in Germany protested in the name of 'evangelical liberty,' but they were crushed. We behold the uprise of national churches, each of which organizes its own particular form of religion, mixture of supernatural and natural elements, as a department of State. The orthodox Church in Russia was also a department of State and as such exposed to the same evils. National life was thus withdrawn from ordered subjection to the Divine Plan and the distinction laid down by our Divine Lord Himself, between the things that are God's and the things that are Caesar's, utterly abolished. Given the principle of private judgment or of individual relation with Christ, it was inevitable that the right of every individual to arrange his own form of religion should cause the pendulum to swing from a Caesarinism supreme in Church and State to other concrete expressions of 'evangelical liberty.' One current leads to the direction of indefinite multiplication of sects. Pushed to its ultimate conclusion, this would, this would give rise to as many churches as there are individuals, that is, there would not be any church at all. As this is too opposed to man's social nature, small groups tend to coalesce. The second current tends to the creation of what may be termed broad or multitudinist churches. The exigencies of the national churches are attenuated until they are no longer a burden to anybody. The Church of England is an example of this. As decay in the belief of the Divinity of Jesus continues to increase, the tendency will be to model church organization according to the political theories in favour at the moment. The democratic form of society will be extolled and a 'Reunion of Christendom,' for example, will be aimed at, along the lines of the League of Nations. An increasing number of poor bewildered units will, of course, cease to bother about any ecclesiastical organization at all.

The destruction of the order intended by Our Lord in His Mystical Body, the Church, not only gave rise to the triumph of statism over time. It also paved the way for Freemasonry, formed exactly two hundred years after Martin Luther posted his ninety-five theses to the church door in Wittenberg, to start the process of the deification of man, an essential ingredient of the man-centered State.

Father Fahey:

One consequence of the doctrine of private judgment must here be expressed, as it is of special importance for the explanation of the spread of Masonry. This theory attuned men's minds to the deification of man, which is, the doctrine underlying Masonic symbolism. . . . The autonomous man, who decides on his own authority what he will accept of the Gospel God Himself came to deliver to us, is already well on the way to self-deification. "The first [political] result was an enormous increase in the power of the Temporal Rulers, in fact a rebirth of the pagan regime of Imperial Rome. The Spiritual Kingship of Christ, participated in by the Pope and the Bishops of the Catholic Church being no longer acknowledged, authority over spiritual affairs passed to Temporal Rulers. They were thus, in Protestant countries, supposed to share not only in His Temporal Kingship of Christ the King, but also in His spiritual Kingship. As there was no Infallible Guardian of order above the Temporal Rulers, the way was paved for the abuses of State Absolutism. The Protestant oligarchy who ruled England with undisputed sway, from Charles the Second's time on, and who treated Ireland to the Penal Laws, may be cited, along with that cynical scoundrel, Frederick of Prussia, as typical examples of such rulers. Catholic monarchs, like Louis XIV of France and Joseph II of Austria, by their absolutist tendencies and pretensions to govern the Catholic Church show the influence of the neighboring Protestant countries. Gallicanism and Josephism are merely a revival of Roman paganism.

Indeed. As I have noted on many occasions, it is likely that the conditions that bred the American Revolution might never have existed if King Henry VIII had not broken from Rome. The rise of absolutism in England is the result of the English Revolt, which is also, obviously, responsible for many of the economic problems in the world. The modern State - and its influence upon Catholics of the left and the right - is thus born, so corrupting the State that a lot of well-meaning people believe it is beyond repair.

Religious indifferentism was one of the chief consequences of the Protestant Revolt. If no one is the Pope, then everyone is the Pope. It is a short step from there to assert that religion itself is but a mere matter of opinion, and that it is actually best for a State to be neutral with respect to all matters pertaining to private belief. This is cited even by Catholic apologists for the Constitution of the United States as one of this country's principal strengths. After all, these apologists contend, it is impossible to roll back the clock to the Middle Ages. This country was founded in the framework of religious and cultural pluralism. The Constitution provides an opportunity for all ideas to flourish in the marketplace of ideas, giving flesh to James Madison's expectations in The Federalist (Numbers Ten and Fifty-one) that there would be no one "opinion" to unite men of disparate backgrounds.

Thus, the Constitution is exalted for its ability to force competing opinions to debate with one another in the policy making process, providing the possibility, although not a guarantee, of preventing the tyranny of the majority. As the late Dr. Martin Diamond and Dr. Daniel Elazar noted in their careers, the complexity of the Constitution is designed to permit all "opinions" a chance to be heard in the policy-making process. No one is guaranteed to have their way in that process; he is only guaranteed a say in it. Such an effort is premised upon the belief the Incarnation and the Redemptive Act of the God-Man on the wood of the Holy Cross can be ignored in the context of the foundation and operation of the State. The modern democratic republic, founded in the acceptance and promotion of religious indifferentism and cultural pluralism, has proven itself to be deleterious to even the private beliefs of Catholics concerning the infallible nature of Revealed Truth. After all, if everything is negotiable in the public realm, then why can't matters of "Church teaching" be open to discussion and debate, which is precisely the situation that Catholics found themselves faced with in this country in the late Nineteenth Century, and precisely why Pope Leo XIII warned about the effects of an culture hostile to the Faith on Catholics in Testem Benevolentiae on January 22, 1899.

Thus, Cardinal Ratzinger fails to identify the root cause of the problems that the popes of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries wrote to correct. He implies that their efforts “ghettoized'‘ Catholics. This is a common affliction of revolutionaries, men who want to claim for themselves an undeserved credit for remedying problems that actually have gotten worse under their watch. Cardinal Ratzinger recklessly implies that Vatican II was the first to involve Catholics with the world, which rejects the notion that the popes of the past sought to involve Catholics in the world as Catholics in order to convert the world. By claiming undeserved credit for Vatican II, which actually enshrines the errors of modernity, Cardinal Ratzinger pours down the Orwellian memory hole the work of the popes of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries that sought to meet the de-Catholicization of the world head on by insisting on the reunion of Church and State in the happy concord that existed in the Middle Ages.

Pope John Paul II's own comments are completely–and I mean completely–at odds with Pope Leo XIII's Immortale Dei. It was in that encyclical letter on the Christian Constitution of States, issued by Pope Leo in 1885, that we find a clear and cogent summary of the authentic patrimony of the Church's teaching about her relationship with the state. Pope Leo XIII noted that the problems of modernity had their source in the pagan aspects of the Renaissance and in the Protestant Revolt. He contrasted the Middle Ages with the false foundations of modernity and described modernity's disastrous consequences:

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

A similar state of things would certainly have continued had the agreement of the two powers been lasting. More important results even might have been justly looked for, had obedience waited upon the authority, teaching, and counsels of the Church, and had this submission been specially marked by greater and more unswerving loyalty. For that should be regarded in the light of an ever-changeless law which Ivo of Chartres wrote to Pope Paschal II: "When kingdom and priesthood are at one, in complete accord, the world is well ruled, and the Church flourishes, and brings forth abundant fruit. But when they are at variance, not only smaller interests prosper not, but even things of greatest moment fall into deplorable decay."

But that harmful and deplorable passion for innovation which was aroused in the sixteenth century threw first of all into confusion the Christian religion, and next, by natural sequence, invaded the precincts of philosophy, whence it spread amongst all classes of society. From this source, as from a fountain-head, burst forth all those later tenets of unbridled license which, in the midst of the terrible upheavals of the last century, were wildly conceived and boldly proclaimed as the principles and foundation of that new conception of law which was not merely previously unknown, but was at variance on many points with not only the Christian, but even the natural law.

Amongst these principles the main one lays down that as all men are alike by race and nature, so in like manner all are equal in the control of their life; that each one is so far his own master as to be in no sense under the rule of any other individual; that each is free to think on every subject just as he may choose, and to do whatever he may like to do; that no man has any right to rule over other men. In a society grounded upon such maxims all government is nothing more nor less than the will of the people, and the people, being under the power of itself alone, is alone its own ruler. It does choose, nevertheless, some to whose charge it may commit itself, but in such wise that it makes over to them not the right so much as the business of governing, to be exercised, however, in its name.

The authority of God is passed over in silence, just as if there were no God; or as if He cared nothing for human society; or as if men, whether in their individual capacity or bound together in social relations, owed nothing to God; or as if there could be a government of which the whole origin and power and authority did not reside in God Himself. Thus, as is evident, a State becomes nothing but a multitude which is its own master and ruler. And since the people is declared to contain within itself the spring-head of all rights and of all power, it follows that the State does not consider itself bound by any kind of duty toward God. Moreover. it believes that it is not obliged to make public profession of any religion; or to inquire which of the very many religions is the only one true; or to prefer one religion to all the rest; or to show to any form of religion special favor; but, on the contrary, is bound to grant equal rights to every creed, so that public order may not be disturbed by any particular form of religious belief.

And it is a part of this theory that all questions that concern religion are to be referred to private judgment; that every one is to be free to follow whatever religion he prefers, or none at all if he disapprove of all. From this the following consequences logically flow: that the judgment of each one's conscience is independent of all law; that the most unrestrained opinions may be openly expressed as to the practice or omission of divine worship; and that every one has unbounded license to think whatever he chooses and to publish abroad whatever he thinks.

Now, when the State rests on foundations like those just named -- and for the time being they are greatly in favor -- it readily appears into what and how unrightful a position the Church is driven. For, when the management of public business is in harmony with doctrines of such a kind, the Catholic religion is allowed a standing in civil society equal only, or inferior, to societies alien from it; no regard is paid to the laws of the Church, and she who, by the order and commission of Jesus Christ, has the duty of teaching all nations, finds herself forbidden to take any part in the instruction of the people. With reference to matters that are of twofold jurisdiction, they who administer the civil power lay down the law at their own will, and in matters that appertain to religion defiantly put aside the most sacred decrees of the Church. They claim jurisdiction over the marriages of Catholics, even over the bond as well as the unity and the indissolubility of matrimony. They lay hands on the goods of the clergy, contending that the Church cannot possess property. Lastly, they treat the Church with such arrogance that, rejecting entirely her title to the nature and rights of a perfect society, they hold that she differs in no respect from other societies in the State, and for this reason possesses no right nor any legal power of action, save that which she holds by the concession and favor of the government. If in any State the Church retains her own agreement publicly entered into by the two powers, men forthwith begin to cry out that matters affecting the Church must be separated from those of the State.

Pope Leo XIII went on to decry religious indifferentism as one of the linchpins of the modern state:

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

Do Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger agree or disagree with Pope Leo XIII? Or, as is demonstrated by the authors of the General Instruction to the Roman Missal in their arrogant dismissal of the Council of Trent as having been a “captive” of the controversies of its day, do they believe “we are beyond” Pope Leo's insights now?

One final passage from Immortale Dei shows how clearly Pope Leo XIII saw the dangers posed to the souls of individual Catholics and to the common good in society posed by the modern state:

So, too, the liberty of thinking, and of publishing, whatsoever each one likes, without any hindrance, is not in itself an advantage over which society can wisely rejoice. On the contrary, it is the fountain-head and origin of many evils. Liberty is a power perfecting man, and hence should have truth and goodness for its object. But the character of goodness and truth cannot be changed at option. These remain ever one and the same, and are no less unchangeable than nature itself. If the mind assents to false opinions, and the will chooses and follows after what is wrong, neither can attain its native fullness, but both must fall from their native dignity into an abyss of corruption. Whatever, therefore, is opposed to virtue and truth may not rightly be brought temptingly before the eye of man, much less sanctioned by the favor and protection of the law. A well-spent life is the only way to heaven, whither all are bound, and on this account the State is acting against the laws and dictates of nature whenever it permits the license of opinion and of action to lead minds astray from truth and souls away from the practice of virtue. To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, from life, from laws, from the education of youth, from domestic society is a grave and fatal error. A State from which religion is banished can never be well regulated; and already perhaps more than is desirable is known of the nature and tendency of the so-called civil philosophy of life and morals. The Church of Christ is the true and sole teacher of virtue and guardian of morals. She it is who preserves in their purity the principles from which duties flow, and, by setting forth most urgent reasons for virtuous life, bids us not only to turn away from wicked deeds, but even to curb all movements of the mind that are opposed to reason, even though they be not carried out in action.

To exclude the Church founded by Our Lord from the organic documents and civil life of any government is a “grave and fatal error.” This statement is either true or false. What do the Holy Father and Cardinal Ratzinger believe?

Pope Leo XIII exhorted Catholics to defend the Faith in public life in Sapientiae Christianae , issued in 1890:

The chief elements of this duty consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine, and in propagating it to the utmost of our power. For, as is often said, with the greatest truth, there is nothing so hurtful to Christian wisdom as that it should not be known, since it possesses, when loyally received, inherent power to drive away error. So soon as Catholic truth is apprehended by a simple and unprejudiced soul, reason yields assent. Now, faith, as a virtue, is a great boon of divine grace and goodness; nevertheless, the objects themselves to which faith is to be applied are scarcely known in any other way than through the hearing. "How shall they believe Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? Faith then cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ." Since, then, faith is necessary for salvation, it follows that the word of Christ must be preached. The office, indeed, of preaching, that is, of teaching, lies by divine right in the province of the pastors, namely, of the bishops whom "the Holy Spirit has placed to rule the Church of God." It belongs, above all, to the Roman Pontiff, vicar of Jesus Christ, established as head of the universal Church, teacher of all that pertains to morals and faith.

No one, however, must entertain the notion that private individuals are prevented from taking some active part in this duty of teaching, especially those on whom God has bestowed gifts of mind with the strong wish of rendering themselves useful. These, so often as circumstances demand, may take upon themselves, not, indeed, the office of the pastor, but the task of communicating to others what they have themselves received, becoming, as it were, living echoes of their masters in the faith. Such co-operation on the part of the laity has seemed to the Fathers of the Vatican Council so opportune and fruitful of good that they thought well to invite it. "All faithful Christians, but those chiefly who are in a prominent position, or engaged in teaching, we entreat, by the compassion of Jesus Christ, and enjoin by the authority of the same God and Savior, that they bring aid to ward off and eliminate these errors from holy Church, and contribute their zealous help in spreading abroad the light of undefiled faith." Let each one, therefore, bear in mind that he both can and should, so far as may be, preach the Catholic faith by the authority of his example, and by open and constant profession of the obligations it imposes. In respect, consequently, to the duties that bind us to God and the Church, it should be borne earnestly in mind that in propagating Christian truth and warding off errors the zeal of the laity should, as far as possible, be brought actively into play.

How can Cardinal Ratzinger say with a straight face that the Second Vatican Council, which made accommodations with the spirit of the world, spoke to Catholics with the authority and directness of Pope Leo XIII in Sapientiae Christianae ? How can the Holy Father ignore totally the patrimony of his pre-1958 predecessors?

As Pope Leo XIII neared the end of his pontificate, he wrote an encyclical letter, Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus , on the importance of Our Lord to all men in all nations:

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 Saint Pius X noted the Modernist tendency to reject the past and to embrace novelty out of both pride and curiosity in Pascendi Dominici Gregis , issued on September 8, 1907:

The error of Protestantism made the first step on this path; that of Modernism makes the second; atheism makes the next. To penetrate still deeper into the meaning of Modernism and to find a suitable remedy for so deep a sore, it behooves Us, Venerable Brethren, to investigate the causes which have engendered it and which foster its growth. That the proximate and immediate cause consists in an error of the mind cannot be open to doubt. We recognize that the remote causes may be reduced to two: curiosity and pride. Curiosity by itself, if not prudently regulated, suffices to account for all errors. Such is the opinion of Our predecessor, Gregory XVI, who wrote: "A lamentable spectacle is that presented by the aberrations of human reason when it yields to the spirit of novelty, when against the warning of the Apostle it seeks to know beyond what it is meant to know, and when relying too much on itself it thinks it can find the truth outside the Catholic Church wherein truth is found without the slightest shadow of error."

But it is pride which exercises an incomparably greater sway over the soul to blind it and lead it into error, and pride sits in Modernism as in its own house, finding sustenance everywhere in its doctrines and lurking in its every aspect. It is pride which fills Modernists with that self-assurance by which they consider themselves and pose as the rule for all. It is pride which puffs them up with that vainglory which allows them to regard themselves as the sole possessors of knowledge, and makes them say, elated and inflated with presumption, ‘We are not as the rest of men,' and which, lest they should seem as other men, leads them to embrace and to devise novelties even of the most absurd kind. It is pride which rouses in them the spirit of disobedience and causes them to demand a compromise between authority and liberty. It is owing to their pride that they seek to be the reformers of others while they forget to reform themselves, and that they are found to be utterly wanting in respect for authority, even for the supreme authority. Truly there is no road which leads so directly and so quickly to Modernism as pride. When a Catholic layman or a priest forgets the precept of the Christian life which obliges us to renounce ourselves if we would follow Christ and neglects to tear pride from his heart, then it is he who most of all is a fully ripe subject for the errors of Modernism. For this reason, Venerable Brethren, it will be your first duty to resist such victims of pride, to employ them only in the lowest and obscurest offices. The higher they try to rise, the lower let them be placed, so that the lowliness of their position may limit their power of causing damage. Examine most carefully your young clerics by yourselves and by the directors of your seminaries, and when you find the spirit of pride among them reject them without compunction from the priesthood. Would to God that this had always been done with the vigilance and constancy which were required!

Pope Saint Pius X also denounced the Modernist view of the separation of Church and State, describe with exquisite accuracy the effect this has upon the Catholic as a citizen:

Formerly it was possible to subordinate the temporal to the spiritual and to speak of some questions as mixed, conceding to the Church the position of queen and mistress in all such, because the Church was then regarded as having been instituted immediately by God as the author of the supernatural order. But this doctrine is today repudiated alike by philosophers and historians. The state must, therefore, be separated from the Church, and the Catholic from the citizen. Every Catholic, from the fact that he is also a citizen, has the right and the duty to work for the common good in the way he thinks best, without troubling himself about the authority of the Church, without paying any heed to its wishes, its counsels, its orders -- nay, even in spite of its rebukes. For the Church to trace out and prescribe for the citizen any line of action, on any pretext whatsoever, is to be guilty of an abuse of authority, against which one is bound to protest with all one's might. Venerable Brethren, the principles from which these doctrines spring have been solemnly condemned by Our predecessor, Pius VI, in his Apostolic Constitution Auctorem fidei .

Pope Pius XI was unstinting in his scathing, almost mocking, criticism of the inability of secular politics and secular world bodies to resolve the problems within nations and among nations. In his first encyclical letter, Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio , issued in 1922, he stated:

All nations, great and small, suffer acutely from the sad effects of the late War. Neither can those nations which were neutral contend that they have escaped altogether the tremendous sufferings of the War or failed to experience its evil results almost equally with the actual belligerents. These evil results grow in volume from day to day because of the utter impossibility of finding anything like a safe remedy to cure the ills of society, and this in spite of all the efforts of politicians and statesmen whose work has come to naught if it has not unfortunately tended to aggravate the very evils they tried to overcome. Conditions have become increasingly worse because the fears of the people are being constantly played upon by the ever-present menace of new wars, likely to be more frightful and destructive than any which have preceded them. Whence it is that the nations of today live in a state of armed peace which is scarcely better than war itself, a condition which tends to exhaust national finances, to waste the flower of youth, to muddy and poison the very fountainheads of life, physical, intellectual, religious, and moral.

Do these conditions sound familiar? Judge for yourself. Pope Pius XI went on to state that all secular efforts to secure peace in the world are bound always to fail completely:

Since the Church is the safe and sure guide to conscience, for to her safe-keeping alone there has been confided the doctrines and the promise of the assistance of Christ, she is able not only to bring about at the present hour a peace that is truly the peace of Christ, but can, better than any other agency which We know of, contribute greatly to the securing of the same peace for the future, to the making impossible of war in the future. For the Church teaches (she alone has been given by God the mandate and the right to teach with authority) that not only our acts as individuals but also as groups and as nations must conform to the eternal law of God. In fact, it is much more important that the acts of a nation follow God's law, since on the nation rests a much greater responsibility for the consequences of its acts than on the individual.

When, therefore, governments and nations follow in all their activities, whether they be national or international, the dictates of conscience grounded in the teachings, precepts, and example of Jesus Christ, and which are binding on each and every individual, then only can we have faith in one another's word and trust in the peaceful solution of the difficulties and controversies which may grow out of differences in point of view or from clash of interests. An attempt in this direction has already and is now being made; its results, however, are almost negligible and, especially so, as far as they can be said to affect those major questions which divide seriously and serve to arouse nations one against the other. No merely human institution of today can be as successful in devising a set of international laws which will be in harmony with world conditions as the Middle Ages were in the possession of that true League of Nations, Christianity. It cannot be denied that in the Middle Ages this law was often violated; still it always existed as an ideal, according to which one might judge the acts of nations, and a beacon light calling those who had lost their way back to the safe road. “There exists an institution able to safeguard the sanctity of the law of nations. This institution is a part of every nation; at the same time it is above all nations. She enjoys, too, the highest authority, the fullness of the teaching power of the Apostles. Such an institution is the Church of Christ. She alone is adapted to do this great work, for she is not only divinely commissioned to lead mankind, but moreover, because of her very make-up and the constitution which she possesses, by reason of her age-old traditions and her great prestige, which has not been lessened but has been greatly increased since the close of the War, cannot but succeed in such a venture where others assuredly will fail.

It is apparent from these considerations that true peace, the peace of Christ, is impossible unless we are willing and ready to accept the fundamental principles of Christianity, unless we are willing to observe the teachings and obey the law of Christ, both in public and private life. If this were done, then society being placed at last on a sound foundation, the Church would be able, in the exercise of its divinely given ministry and by means of the teaching authority which results therefrom, to protect all the rights of God over men and nations.

Finally, Pope Pius XI issued Quas Primas, which instituted the Feast of Universal Kingship of Jesus Christ. Written in 1925, Quas Primas is a direct rejoinder to Dignitatis Humanae. Quas Primas is nothing other than a call for Catholics to hold up the banner of Christ the King and to work zealously for the restoration of his social kingship over men and their nations. So much for Cardinal Ratzinger's implying that nothing had been done prior to the Second Vatican Council. To Pope Pius XI:

The empire of Christ over all nations was rejected. The right which the Church has from Christ himself, to teach mankind, to make laws, to govern peoples in all that pertains to their eternal salvation, that right was denied. Then gradually the religion of Christ came to be likened to false religions and to be placed ignominiously on the same level with them. It was then put under the power of the state and tolerated more or less at the whim of princes and rulers. Some men went even further, and wished to set up in the place of God's religion a natural religion consisting in some instinctive affection of the heart. There were even some nations who thought they could dispense with God, and that their religion should consist in impiety and the neglect of God. The rebellion of individuals and states against the authority of Christ has produced deplorable consequences. We lamented these in the Encyclical Ubi arcano; we lament them today: the seeds of discord sown far and wide; those bitter enmities and rivalries between nations, which still hinder so much the cause of peace; that insatiable greed which is so often hidden under a pretense of public spirit and patriotism, and gives rise to so many private quarrels; a blind and immoderate selfishness, making men seek nothing but their own comfort and advantage, and measure everything by these; no peace in the home, because men have forgotten or neglect their duty; the unity and stability of the family undermined; society in a word, shaken to its foundations and on the way to ruin. We firmly hope, however, that the feast of the Kingship of Christ, which in future will be yearly observed, may hasten the return of society to our loving Savior. It would be the duty of Catholics to do all they can to bring about this happy result. Many of these, however, have neither the station in society nor the authority which should belong to those who bear the torch of truth. This state of things may perhaps be attributed to a certain slowness and timidity in good people, who are reluctant to engage in conflict or oppose but a weak resistance; thus the enemies of the Church become bolder in their attacks. But if the faithful were generally to understand that it behooves them ever to fight courageously under the banner of Christ their King, then, fired with apostolic zeal, they would strive to win over to their Lord those hearts that are bitter and estranged from him, and would valiantly defend his rights.

Moreover, the annual and universal celebration of the feast of the Kingship of Christ will draw attention to the evils which anticlericalism has brought upon society in drawing men away from Christ, and will also do much to remedy them. While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm his rights. . . .

Nations will be reminded by the annual celebration of this feast that not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ. It will call to their minds the thought of the last judgment, wherein Christ, who has been cast out of public life, despised, neglected and ignored, will most severely avenge these insults; for his kingly dignity demands that the State should take account of the commandments of God and of Christian principles, both in making laws and in administering justice, and also in providing for the young a sound moral education.

The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God. If all these truths are presented to the faithful for their consideration, they will prove a powerful incentive to perfection. It is Our fervent desire, Venerable Brethren, that those who are without the fold may seek after and accept the sweet yoke of Christ, and that we, who by the mercy of God are of the household of the faith, may bear that yoke, not as a burden but with joy, with love, with devotion; that having lived our lives in accordance with the laws of God's kingdom, we may receive full measure of good fruit, and counted by Christ good and faithful servants, we may be rendered partakers of eternal bliss and glory with him in his heavenly kingdom.

No, the Second Vatican Council did not “discover” the problem of Catholics having been coopted by the cultures in which they lived. If anything, the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath worsened that problem by the injection of various aspects of false cultures into the context of the worship of God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, thereby making a mockery of God and His immutability. The popes of the past did what they could to warn Catholics of the dangers they faced. No, they did not do everything they could have. Not even Pope Pius XI consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary after Our Lady's words to Sister Lucy in 1929 were made known. However, they at least recognized the problems that existed and wanted the bishops to deal with them.

If by saying that Christianity came out of the “ghetto” at the Second Vatican Council Cardinal Ratzinger means to imply that the popes of the past had kept Christianity in the ghetto, then he is guilty of a grave offense against the memory and the work of pontiffs who sought to defend the Faith as it had been handed down to them over the course of nearly two millennia. For by escaping from the “ghetto” of the Nineteenth Century, the Church has been plunged into the gutters of Modernism itself, which Pope John Paul II seems to have endorsed quite heartily by referring to an “adequate separation of Church and State.” There is no essential difference between the statements of Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger and the spirit of Protestantism and Freemasonry concerning the relationship of Holy Mother Church to the State. Indeed, the Holy Father is guilty of pridefully ignoring the wisdom of his great and prophetic predecessors of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, thus keeping the sheep of the flock entrusted to his pastoral care unto eternity ignorant of the rights of Christ the King and Mary our Queen.

Praying that some Pope will actually consecrate Russia to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart, we entrust ourselves entirely to her protection as the Ship of Peter travels over waters made ever so much more rocky by the captain and his crew.


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