Popes, Redefined Doctrines
Thomas A. Droleskey
elder daughter of the Church, why have you strayed?" Thus asked
Pope John Paul II when he arrived for his first pastoral visit as pope
in 1980. Those of us who did not understand how far the Church in her
human elements had strayed from her authentic patrimony thought that
order was being restored to the Church. Pope John Paul II was unafraid,
so we thought, to call Catholic countries back to Catholicism. The long
nightmare of Pope John XXIIII's and Pope Paul VI's accommodation
with the modern world was over.
Well, of course,
the nightmare was not over. Pope John Paul II used novel language from
the very beginning of his pontificate that I did not recognize as such,
wanting to believe that he wanted to restore Christendom. I even ignored
his admonition against "avoiding all semblance of Triumphalism"
when he spoke to Catholic university and college educators at the Catholic
University of America's field house on the morning of October 7, 1979,
an address for which I was present and during which I applauded furiously
(being shown, I was told later, on the NBC-TV telecast as a sort of
papal cheerleader when the Pope told theologians that they had to respect
the magisterium). The reference to "Triumphalism" was dismissed
by me as unimportant. "Oh, well," I said to myself at the
time, "he has a plan." In other words, I was doing what so
many earnest pro-life Catholic Americans do with George W. Bush: I was
projecting into the mind of the Holy Father my fondest hopes and desires.
I was, shall we say, delusional and caught up with the cult of the personality
of the pope. I mean, I sang "Stolat, Stolat, may you live a hundred
years" outside of of what was then called the Apostolic Delegation
(now the Papal Nunciature) on Massachusetts Avenue in Washington, D.C.,
on the evening of October 6, 1979.
much I had to learn (like just about everything) about the state of
the Church and of the inherent harm of the Novus Ordo Missae,
which enshrines the spirit of both Modernity and Modernism. I had yet
to be exposed to the prophetic wisdom of Popes Leo XIII and Saint Pius
X and Pius XI. While I knew that the Second Vatican Council was problematic,
I thought that Pope John Paul II could "fix" the problems
with Vatican II and that Dominicae Cenae and Inaestimabile
Donum would, if enforced, bring to an end the liturgical abuses
in the Novus Ordo Missae that I came later to understand had
their origin in the Novus Ordo Missae itself. I was wrong,
and I am grateful to the many good people who attempted to remonstrate
with me about my errors, recognizing that many of them were probably
quite frustrated at my continued defense of the indefensible at the
Once the scales
came off my eyes, though, it became very clear to me that there was
no reconciling the state of Modernity with Christendom. The two are
irreconcilable. There is no reconciling the spirit of novelty of the
past forty years within the Church with the specific condemnation of
most of these novelties by the popes of the past, including the relatively
Well, such is the
case with a new document that has been issued in the name of the Holy
Father, Pope John Paul II. Less than forty-eight hours after returning
to his apartment in the Vatican following his release from Gemelli Hospital
in Rome, the following report, dated February 12, 2005, appeared on
John Paul acknowledged the potentially positive role of secularism in
France as a way to balance power, on the 100th anniversary of the separation
of church and state in the once largely Roman Catholic country.
principle of secularism, to which your country is very attached, if
it is correctly understood, also belongs to the church's social doctrine,"
the ailing pope wrote in a lengthy letter to France's Catholic bishops
dated on Friday. "It is a reminder of the necessity of a just separation
has strictly separated the church from the state for the last 100 years
to prevent discrimination and the bloody religious wars of prior centuries.
The government has vigilantly kept religious symbols out of public institutions
such as state schools.
the frail 84-year-old Pope, who suffers from Parkinson's disease and
arthritis and just spent 10 days in hospital after a breathing crisis,
also stressed Europe's Christian roots and said such values must be
in large part shaped the face of Europe, and today's men must build
European society on the values that presided over its birth and that
are part of its richness," the Pope wrote.
Pope said the 1905 French law separating church and state was a "sad
and traumatic" event for the French Church. Still, the French government
by 1920 had begun to recognize the role of religion in the country,
current peace between the church and state, obtained gradually over
the years, was now a reality to which the French were profoundly attached,
the Pope wrote.
permits the Church in France to fulfil its own mission with confidence
and serenity, and to take an ever more active role in the life of society,
respecting the competencies of each," the Pope wrote.
Pope also wrote of the crisis of values and lack of hope seen in France
and other Western countries.
This is worse
than farcical theatre. The French government "permits the Church
in France to fulfil its own mission with confidence and serenity, and
to take an every more active role in the life of society, respecting
the competencies of each"? Huh? Why did thousands upon thousands
of French Catholics have to take to the streets during the regime of
the late President Francois Mitterand to protest plans to end state
subsidies of Catholic schools? It was not because of the "respect"
for the Church that motivated Mitterand and his Socialist/Masonic minions
to threaten to impose policies that were inimical to French Catholics.
A recently passed law in France, aimed principally at "protecting"
Mohammedan women from having to be forced by Mohammedan men to wear
head coverings, banned the wearing of religious symbols and apparel
in public places, including large Crucifixes. Indeed, the spirit of
the French Revolution, which has been embraced by the likes of Joseph
Cardinal Ratzinger in a book written in the early 1980s, has decimated
the life of the Church in France. Only five to ten percent of French
Catholics actually assist at Holy Mass on Sundays. About 50,000 of these,
I have been informed by a Canadian reader who assists at a Society of
Saint Pius X chapel, go to Mass at chapels administered by the
Society of Saint Pius X, seeking refuge from the very errors and profanations
that attacked the Church head on with violent fury in 1789 and thereafter.
The French government
has pursued policies, both domestically and internationally, that violate
the binding precepts of the Divine positive law and the natural law.
After all, RU-486 is referred to as the "French abortion pill,"
a pesticide that was actually endorsed by a French bishop in 1994 and
who was not removed from his episcopal see until there was a virtual
revolution on the part of the laity against him, which forced the Holy
See's hand to demand his resignation in early 1995. Reality must be
stood on its head to make the separation of Church and State in France
appear to be something that is in accord with the social doctrine of
the Catholic Church. Then again, this is a relatively easy thing to
do if one can claim with a straight face that we are living in "the
springtime of the Church" and that we are undergoing a "qualitative
renewal" and that the new Mass has borne positive results beyond
following passage from Pope John Paul II's February 12, 2005, letter
to Archbishop Jean-Pierre Richard of Bordeaux, France, the President
of the Conference of the Bishops of France (as taken from a report issued
by the Vatican Information Service, VIS):
Pope closes by expressing his "confidence in the future for a good
understanding between all components of French society. ... May no one
be afraid of the religious path of people and special groups! If it
is lived in respect for a healthy secularity, it can only be the source
of dynamism and the promotion of man."
is lived in respect for a healthy secularity, it can only be the source
of dynamism and the promotion of man"? The Popes of Tradition never
called secularity healthy. They were concerned about the right ordering
of man's existence in this world in light of his eternal destiny. Pope
John Paul II has collided with one of his canonized predecessors, Pope
Saint Pius X, and few seem to care about the contradiction.
very separation of Church and State in France that is praised by Pope
John Paul II was met with great alarm ninety-eight years ago by Pope
Saint Pius X. Here is the complete text of Une Fois Encore,
the sainted pope's encyclical letter on the tragedy of what had happened
in France two years before, in 1905, when laicism became entrenched
once and for all in France:
Our Venerable Brethren, the Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops of France
and to the French Clergy and People.
Venerable Brethren and Beloved Sons, Health and Apostolic Benediction.
Once again the serious events which have been precipitated in your noble
country compel Us to write to the Church of France to sustain her in
her trials, and to comfort her in her sorrow. When the children are
suffering the heart of the Father ought more than ever to go out to
them. And so, now that We see you suffer, from the depths of our fatherly
heart floods of tenderness break forth more copiously than ever, and
flow to you with the greater comfort and sweetness.
2. These sufferings, Venerable Brethren and beloved sons, now find a
sorrowful echo throughout the whole Catholic Church; but We feel them
more deeply still and We sympathize with a pity which grows with your
trials and seems to increase day by day.
3. But with these cruel sorrows the Master has, it is true, mingled
a consolation than which none can be dearer to our heart. It springs
from your unshakable attachment to the Church, from your unfailing fidelity
to this Apostolic See, and from the firm and deeply founded unity that
reigns amongst you. On this fidelity and union We confidently reckoned
from the first, for we were too well aware of the nobleness and generosity
of the French heart to have any fear that on the field of battle disunion
would find its way into your ranks. Equally great is the joy that We
feel at the magnificent spectacle you are now giving to the world; and
with our high praise of you before the whole Church, We give thanks
from the depths of Our heart to the Father of mercies, the Author of
4. Recourse to God, so infinitely good, is all the more necessary because,
far from abating, the struggle grows fiercer and expands unceasingly.
It is no longer only the Christian faith that they would uproot at all
costs from the hearts of the people; it is any belief which lifting
man above the horizon of this world would supernaturally bring back
his wearied eyes to heaven. Illusion on the subject is no longer possible.
War has been declared against everything supernatural, because behind
the supernatural stands God, and because it is God that they want to
tear out of the mind and heart of man.
5. The war will be bitter and without respite on the part of those who
wage it. That as it goes on harder trials than those which you have
hitherto known await you is possible and even probable. Common prudence
calls on each of you to prepare for them. And this you will do simply,
valiantly, and full of confidence, sure that however fiercely the fight
may rage, victory will in the end remain in your hands.
6. The pledge of this victory is your union first of all amongst yourselves,
and secondly with this Apostolic See. This twofold union will make you
invincible, and against it all efforts will break.
7. Our enemies have on this been under no misapprehensions. From the
outset, and with the greatest clearness of vision, they determined on
their objective; first to separate you from Us and the Chair of Peter,
and then to sow disorder among you. From then till now they have made
no change in their tactics; they have pursued their end without rest
and by every means; some with comprehensive and catching formulas; others
with the most brutal cynicism. Specious promises, dishonorable bribes
offered to schism, threats and violence, all these have been brought
into play and employed. But your clear-sighted fidelity has wrecked
all these attempts. There- upon, thinking that the best way to separate
you from Us was to shatter your confidence in the Apostolic See, they
have not hesitated, from the tribune and in the press, to throw discredit
upon Our acts by misrepresenting and sometimes even by calumniating
8. The Church, they said, is seeking to arouse religious war in France,
and is summoning to her aid the violent persecution which has been the
object of her prayers. What a strange accusation! Founded by Him who
came to bring peace to the world and to reconcile man with God, a Messenger
of peace upon earth, the Church could only seek religious war by repudiating
her high mission and belying it before the eyes of all. To this mission
of patient sweetness and love she rests and will remain always faithful.
Besides, the whole world now knows that if peace of conscience is broken
in France, that is not the work of the Church but of her enemies. Fair-minded
men, even though not of our faith, recognize that if there is a struggle
on the question of religion in your beloved country, it is not because
the Church was the first to unfurl the flag, but because war was declared
against her. During the last twenty-five years she has had to undergo
this warfare. That is the truth and the proof of it is
seen in the declarations made and repeated over and over again in the
Press, at meetings, at Masonic congresses, and even in Parliament, as
well as in the attacks which have been progressively and systematically
directed against her. These facts are undeniable, and no argument can
ever make away with them. The Church then does not wish for war, and
religious war least of all. To affirm the contrary is an outrageous
9. Nor has she any desire for violent persecution. She knows what persecution
is, for she has suffered it in all times and in all places. Centuries
passed in bloodshed give her the right to say with a holy boldness that
she does not fear it, and that as often as may be necessary she will
be able to meet it. But persecution is in itself an evil, for it is
injustice and prevents man from worshipping God in freedom. The Church
then cannot desire it, even with a view to the good which Providence
in its infinite wisdom ever draws out of it. Besides, persecution is
not only evil, it is also suffering, and there we have a fresh reason
why the Church, who is the best of mothers, will never seek it.
10. This persecution which she is reproached as having provoked, and
which they declare they have refused, is now being actually inflicted
upon her. Have they not within these last days evicted from their houses
even the Bishops who are most venerable by their age and virtues, driven
the seminarists from the grands and petits seminaries, and entered upon
the expulsion of the cures from their presbyteries? The whole Catholic
world has watched this spectacle with sadness, and has not hesitated
to give the name which they deserved to such acts of violence.
11. As for the ecclesiastical property which we are accused of having
abandoned, it is important to remark that this property was partly the
patrimony of the poor and the patrimony, more sacred still, of the dead.
It was not permissible to the Church to abandon or surrender it; she
could only let it be taken from her by violence. Nobody will believe
that she has deliberately abandoned, except under the pressure of the
most overwhelming motives, what was confided to her keeping, and what
was so necessary for the exercise of worship, for the maintenance of
sacred edifices, for the instruction of her clergy, and for the support
of her ministers. It was only when perfidiously placed in the position
of having to choose between material ruin and consent to the violation
of her constitution, which is of divine origin, that the Church refused,
at the cost of poverty, to allow the work of God to be touched by her.
Her property, then, has been wrested from her; it was not she that abandoned
it. Consequently, to declare ecclesiastical property unclaimed on a
given date unless the Church had by then created within herself a new
organism; to subject this creation to conditions in rank opposition
to the divine constitution of the Church, which was thus compelled to
reject them; to transfer this property to third parties as if it had
become "sans maitre," and finally to assert that in thus acting
there was no spoliation of the Church but only a disposal of the property
abandoned by her -- this is not merely argument of transparent sophistry
but adding insult to the most cruel spoliation. This spoliation is undeniable
in spite of vain attempts at palliating it by declaring that no moral
person existed to whom the property might be handed over; for the state
has power to confer civil personality on whomsoever the public good
demands that it should be granted to, establishments that are Catholic
as well as others. In any case it would have been easy for the state
not to have subjected the formation of "associations cultuelles"
to conditions in direct opposition to the divine constitution of the
Church which they were supposed to serve.
12. And yet that is precisely what was done in the matter of the "associations
cultuelles." They were organized under the law in such a way that
its dispositions on this subject ran directly counter to those rights
which, derived from her constitution, are essential to the Church, notably
as affecting the ecclesiastical hierarchy, the inviolable base given
to His work by the Divine Master himself. Moreover, the law conferred
on these associations powers which are the exclusive prerogative of
ecclesiastical authority both in the matter of the exercise of worship
and of the proprietorship and administration of property. And lastly,
not only are these associations withdrawn from ecclesiastical jurisdiction
but they are made judicially answerable to the civil authority. These
are the reasons which have driven Us in Our previous Encyclicals to
condemn these "associations cultuelles" in spite of the heavy
sacrifices which such condemnation involved.
13. We have also been accused of prejudice and inconsistency. It has
been said that We had refused to approve in France what We had approved
in Germany. But this charge is equally lacking in foundation and justice.
For although the German law was blameable on many points, and has been
merely tolerated in order to avoid greater evils, the cases were quite
different, for that law contained an express recognition of the Catholic
hierarchy, which the French law does not do.
14. As regards the annual declaration demanded for the exercise of worship,
it did not offer the full legal security which one had a right to desire.
Nevertheless -- though in principle gatherings of the faithful in church
have none of the constituent elements proper to public meetings, and
it would, in fact, be odious to attempt to assimilate them -- the Church
could, in order to avoid greater evils, have brought herself to tolerate
this declaration. But by providing that the "cure or officiating
priest would no longer," in his church, "be anything more
than an occupier without any judicial title or power to perform any
acts of administration," there has been imposed on ministers of
religion in the very exercise of their ministry a situation so humiliating
and vague that, under such conditions, it was impossible to accept the
declaration. There remains for consideration the law recently voted
by the two Chambers.
15. From the point of view of ecclesiastical property, this law is a
law of spoliation and confiscation, and it has completed the stripping
of the Church. Although her Divine Founder was born poor in a manger,
and died poor on the Cross, although she herself has known poverty from
her cradle, the property that came to her was nonetheless hers, and
no one had the right to deprive her of it. Her ownership, indisputable
from every point of view, had been, moreover, officially sanctioned
by the state, which could not consequently violate it. From the point
of view of the exercise of worship, this law has organized anarchy;
it is the consecration of uncertainty and caprice. Uncertainty whether
places of worship, always liable to be diverted from their purpose,
are meanwhile to be placed, or not placed, at the disposition of the
clergy and faithful; uncertainty whether they shall be reserved from
them or not, and for how long; whilst an arbitrary administrative regulates
the conditions of their use, which is rendered eminently precarious.
Public worship will be in as many diverse situations as the other. On
the other hand, there is an obligation to meet all sorts of heavy charges,
whilst at the same time there are draconian restrictions upon the resources
by which they are to be met. Thus, though but of yesterday, this law
has already evoked manifold and severe criticisms from men belonging
indiscriminately to all political parties and all shades of religious
belief. These criticisms alone are sufficient judgment of the law.
16. It is easy to see, Venerable Brethren and beloved sons, from what
We have just recalled to you, that this law is an aggravation of the
Law of Separation, and we can not therefore do otherwise than condemn
17. The vague and ambiguous-wording of some of its articles places the
end pursued by our enemies in a new light. Their object is, as we have
already pointed out, the destruction of the Church and the dechristianization
of France, but without people's attending to it or even noticing it.
If their enterprise had been really popular, as they pretend it to be,
they would not have hesitated to pursue it with visor raised and to
take the whole responsibility. But instead of assuming that responsibility,
they try to clear themselves of it and deny it, and in order to succeed
the better, fling it upon the Church their victim. This is the most
striking of all the proofs that their evil work does not respond to
the wishes of the country.
18. It is in vain that after driving Us to the cruel necessity of rejecting
the laws that have been made -- seeing the evils they have drawn down
upon the country, and feeling the universal reprobation which, like
a slow tide, is rising round them -- they seek to lead public opinion
astray and to make the responsibility for these evils fall upon Us.
Their attempt will not succeed.
19. As for Ourselves, We have accomplished Our duty, as every other
Roman Pontiff would have done. The high charge with which it has pleased
Heaven to invest Us, in spite of Our unworthiness, as also the Christian
faith itself, which you profess with Us, dictated to Us Our conduct.
We could not have acted otherwise without trampling under foot Our conscience,
without being false to the oath which We took on mounting the chair
of Peter, and without violating the Catholic hierarchy, the foundation
given to the Church by our Savior Jesus Christ.
await, then, without fear, the verdict of history. History will tell
how We, with Our eyes fixed immutably upon the defense of the higher
rights of God, have neither wished to humiliate the civil power, nor
to combat a form of government, but to safeguard the inviolable work
of Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. It will say that We have defended
you, Our beloved sons, with all the strength of Our great love; that
what We have demanded and now demand for the Church, of which the French
Church is the elder daughter and an integral part, is respect for its
hierarchy and inviolability of its property and liberty; that if Our
demand had been granted religious peace would not have been troubled
in France, and that, the day it is listened to that peace so much desired
will be restored in the country.
20. And, lastly, history will say, that if, sure beforehand of your
magnanimous generosity. We have not hesitated to tell you that the hour
for sacrifice had struck, it is to remind the world, in the name of
the Master of all things, that men here below should feed their minds
upon thoughts of a higher sort than those of the perishable contingencies
of life, and that the supreme and intangible joy of the human soul on
earth is that of duty supernaturally carried out, cost what it may and
so God honored, served and loved, in spite of all.
21. Confident that the Immaculate Virgin, Daughter of the Father, Mother
of the Word, and Spouse of the Holy Ghost, will obtain for you from
the most holy and adorable Trinity better days, and as a token of the
calm which We firmly hope will follow the storm, it is from the depths
of Our heart that We impart Our Apostolic Blessing to you, Venerable
Brethren, as well as to your clergy and the whole French people.
Given at Rome, at St. Peter's on the Feast of the Epiphany, January
6, 1907, the fourth year of Our pontificate.
is easy to see, Venerable Brethren and beloved sons, from what We have
just recalled to you, that this law is an aggravation of the Law of
Separation, and we can not therefore do otherwise than condemn it."
you have it. Pope Saint Pius X condemned what Pope John Paul II and
his cardinalate minions praise as being compatible with the Church's
social doctrine and that they claim has produced such good fruits for
the Church in France. The verdict of history, referred to by Pope Saint
Pius X in Paragraph 19 above, is clearly on the side of the sainted
pontiff, not Pope John Paul II. No wonder that the late Arc bishop Marcel
Lefebvre chose Pope Saint Pius X as the patron of his priestly association
of common life in 1970. No wonder at all. The contrast between authentic
Catholic teaching and the novelties of the last forty-seven years are
on display for all who have the grace to see it in Une Fois Encore.
The model for authentic
cooperation between Church and State, with each genuinely respecting
the legitimate competencies of each, is to be found not in the 1905
law of separation in France. No, the model and inspiration for authentic
cooperation between Church and State is to be found in the letter written
by Saint Louis IX, King of France, to his son:
dearest son, my first instruction is that you should love the Lord your
God with all your heart and all your strength. Without this there is
no salvation. Keep yourself, my son, from everything that you know displeases
God, that is to say, from every mortal sin. You should permit yourself
to tormented by every kind of martyrdom before you would allow yourself
to commit a mortal sin.
the Lord has permitted you to have some trial, bear it willingly and
with gratitude, considering that it has happened for your good and that
perhaps you well deserve it. If the Lord bestows upon you any kind of
prosperity, thank Him humbly and see that you become no worse for it,
either through vain pride or anything else, because you ought not to
oppose God or offend Him in the matter of His gifts.
to the divine office with pleasure and devotion. As long as you are
in church, be careful not to let your eyes wander and not to speak empty
words, but pray to the Lord devoutly, either aloud or with the interior
prayer of the heart.
kindhearted to the poor, the unfortunate and the afflicted. Give them
as much help and consolation as you can. Thank God for all the benefits
he has bestowed upon you, that you may be worthy to receive greater.
Be just to your subjects, swaying neither to the right nor left, but
holding the line of justice. Always side with the poor rather than with
the rich, until you are certain of the truth. See that all your subjects
live in justice and peace, but especially those who have ecclesiastical
rank and those who belong to religious orders.
devout and obedient to our mother the Church of Rome and the Supreme
Pontiff as your spiritual father. Work to remove all sin from your land,
particularly blasphemies and heresies.
no longer a monarchy. Granted. Saint Louis IX, though, remains an exemplar
of the spirit of Christendom, when "kingdom and priesthood"
were mutually united in a "happy cooperation," as Pope Leo
XIII quoted Ivo of Chartres in Immortale Dei. The contemporary
Church, in her human elements, has abandoned this spirit in favor of
a spirit of accommodation with the seemingly irreversible realities
of the world. Those seemingly irreversible realities, though, will be
wiped away in an instant once some pope actually does consecrate Russia
to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, thereby bringing about
the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. It will be then that the
errors of the recent past will be rightly forgotten and the current
forgotten popes restored to their rightful place of honor and doctrines
that have been defined wrongly will be judged aright in light of the
Church's perennial teaching.
As Pope Leo
XIII noted in A Review of his Pontificate:
in proportion as society separates itself from the Church, which is
an important element of its strength, by so much does it decline, or
its woes are multiplied for the reason that they are separated whom
God wished to join together.
as I noted in "The Time is Always Proclaim and to Defend the Social
Reign of Christ the King," we must do our part to point out error
and to try to plant the seeds that might help more and more people work
for a new Christendom. We must work for a day when all men everywhere
live in the shadow of the Holy Cross and exclaim "Vivat Christus
Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!"
Our Lady, Help of
Christians, pray for us.