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April 29, 2005

One Way or the Other

by Thomas A. Droleskey

Some Catholics devoted to the restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass, gushing with enthusiasm over the new pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, have indicated that we should not be concerned about statements made by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger when he was the Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (or a teacher of theology in Germany). Our new Holy Father's past statements can be considered to be indicative of "weaknesses" from which we all suffer. Unfortunately, the former Cardinal Ratzinger's rejection of the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church on the State and of the necessity to oppose the principles of Modernity in their entirety does not suggest "weakness" but a manifest willfulness to dispense with the past in favor of the novelties of the present, novelties that are at complete variance with what was pronounced by Holy Mother Church prior to the Second Vatican Council.

Consider, for example, this passage from Father Paul Kramer's The Devil's Final Battle, which contains a quotation from then Cardinal Ratzinger's Principles of Catholic Theology, printed by Ignatius Press in 1987:

If 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.

Much has been written and posted on this site (and will be contained in the forthcoming Restoring Christ as the King of All Nations) that refutes the then Cardinal Ratzinger's adherence to the formulae of Modernity that have cost so many millions of lives and souls in the horrible bloodshed and endless revolutions that have now worked their way into the Church in her human elements. For present purposes, as there is much work I have to do to complete the remaining hours of recording for Politics III (which reviews the major encyclical letters on the State of Pope Pius XI, most of whose premises have been rejected consistently by our new Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI) of Christ the King College, consider the following passage from Pope Leo XIII's Custodi Di Quella Fede, his Encyclical Letter on the influence of Freemasonry in Italy.

Everyone should avoid familiarity or friendship with anyone suspected of belonging to Masonry or to affiliated groups. Know them by their fruits and avoid them. Every familiarity should be avoided, not only with those impious libertines who openly promote the character of the sect, but also with those who hide under the mask of universal tolerance, respect for all religions, and the craving to reconcile the maxims of the Gospel with those of the revolution. These men seek to reconcile Christ and Belial, the Church of God and the state without God.

It is either one way or the other. Did the perennial Social Teaching of the Catholic Church correspond to the Deposit of Faith even though it contradicted the facts of the day, lifting high the Sign of Contradiction that it is the Divine Redeemer's Holy Cross? Or does the novel approach of the past forty years completely obviate that perennial Social Teaching, consigning the great treasury of Catholic wisdom expressed by one pope after another to the status of anachronisms that adhere to an "obsolete" Church-state relationship? Is the latter merely weakness, or is it, more accurately, a prideful rejection of the authentic patrimony of the Catholic Church?

The hour is yet early in the new regime. We pray for our new Holy Father. There are days when he offers beautiful words that resonate with truth. There are others when he embraces the novelty of ecumenism as though all of the objective evidence of its harm to the Church and to the world does not exist and has not been empirically documented. This has led Father Lawrence C. Smith to offer the following observation:

Indeed, the good-cop/bad-cop, Jekyll/Hyde, Sybill-shpherd routine IS modernist. The Catholic knows and obeys Christ's command to let yes mean yes and no mean no. The Catholic knows that light has no concourse with darkness. Christ has nothing to do with Belial. The Catholic knows that in the New Jerusalem, no dialogue has occurred between the pure saints and the forever forbidden fornicators, idolaters, and liars. If we do not know from day to day with which Pope Benedict we are dealing, then we know for sure that we are dealing with a continuation of the audodemolition of the Church as described by that Hamlet of a Pope, Paul VI. God bless you, Father Smith.

While we pray fervently for our new Holy Father and hold out hope that he will indeed break from the paper trail that has painted him by and in his own words as one who rejects the perennial Social Teaching of the Church as "outdated," it is irresponsible for anyone to contend that those words are unimportant or merely indicative of some moment or two of "weakness." The words quoted above are indicative of a serious concern for Catholics about the willingness of Pope Benedict XVI to break from the failures of the past forty years and to embrace with humility and love the wisdom found in the prophetic warnings in the writings of Popes from Blessed Pius IX to Leo XIII to Saint Pius X to Benedict XV to Pius XI, no less than to fulfill completely and without delay Our Lady's Fatima Message by the proper consecration of Russia to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.

Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us.

Saint Benedict, pray for Pope Benedict XVI.





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