Planting Seeds of Revolutionary Change
Thomas A. Droleskey
There are many proximate causes that produced the triumph of conciliarism and its revolutionary doctrines and liturgical rites.
Some of these proximate (by which is meant closer in time our days as opposed to the remote cause of all problems, Original Sin) causes date back several centuries. Others have occurred in the last century or two. Still others have arisen in the past century.
Perhaps two of the least discussed proximate contributing factors that produced the diabolical triumph of conciliarism are the aftermaths of World War I and World War II on the intellectual lives of alleged Catholic theologians in liturgies in the forty years between the end of World War I on November 18, 1918, and the "election" of Angelo Roncalli/John XXIII on October 28, 1958.
Yes, you read that correctly. The aftermaths of World War I and World War II played major roles in the promotion of various Modernist precepts by some theologians and liturgists and Scripture "scholars" in books and journals as these authors sought to find some way to "deal" with the "new problems" (e.g. large scale social dislocation, the development of new means of warfare, what was viewed as the inequitable distribution of wealth) of the world in an ecumenical, interreligious and nondenominational manner in order to make some kind of rapprochement with the "new currents" (e.g. ecumenism, socialism, one world governance, advances in the means of travel and communications) at work in the world, which had been so devastated by the loss life and destruction of property and the dispiriting of souls that had taken place in the two World Wars.
So eager were these Modernists for "peace" and "comity" among men and their nations after the devastation of the two world wars that they were willing to look anywhere but their own Catholic Church for the means to "bring people together" and avoid future wars in order to build the "better world," themes that we have heard developed ad infinitum, ad nauseam by the conciliar "pontiffs." These so-called Catholic "scholars" did not realize that World War I was a chastisement visited upon Europe for the rise of an ugly, militaristic nationalism (the idolizing of a nation and its myths above all else, an ideology that is the antithesis of true patriotism, which wills the common good of one's country, the ultimate expression of which is her Catholicization) that was the antithesis of the Social Reign of Christ the King that led them to trust in the League of Nations and other such globalist enterprises to establish "peace," a proposition that was thoroughly demolished by Pope Pius XI in his first encyclical letter, Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, December 22, 1922, who described the postwar conditions and then explained the solution: Catholicism:
10. The belligerents of yesterday have laid down their arms but on the heels
of this act we encounter new horrors and new threats of war in the Near East.
The conditions in many sections of these devastated regions have been greatly
aggravated by famine, epidemics, and the laying waste of the land, all of which
have not failed to take their toll of victims without number, especially among
the aged, women and innocent children. In what has been so justly called the
immense theater of the World War, the old rivalries between nations have not
ceased to exert their influence, rivalries at times hidden under the
manipulations of politics or concealed beneath the fluctuations of finance, but
openly appearing in the press, in reviews and magazines of every type, and even
penetrating into institutions devoted to the cultivation of the arts and
sciences, spots where otherwise the atmosphere of quiet and peace would reign
supreme. . . .
45. 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.
46. 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. (Pope Pius XI, Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, December 23, 1922.)
This meant nothing to the early leaders of false ecumenism and the hijacked "liturgical movement." It means nothing to Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and his "bishops" today.
The Modernists of the early Twentieth Century merely went "underground," so to speak, after Pope Saint Pius X's anti-Modernist pronouncements, did not believe that Europe had been chastised during World I for the Protestant Revolution and for the rise of all of the social revolutions of modernity that, although differing in name and in the details of the naturalistic ideas that they advanced, have served the agenda of Judeo-Masonry. These Modernists, therefore, had to work "together" to find "solutions" to "world problems" in an interdenominational way that had been condemned by Pope Saint Pius X in Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910:
Here we have, founded by Catholics, an inter-denominational association
that is to work for the reform of civilization, an undertaking which is
above all religious in character; for there is no true civilization
without a moral civilization, and no true moral civilization without the
true religion: it is a proven truth, a historical fact. The new
Sillonists cannot pretend that they are merely working on “the ground of
practical realities” where differences of belief do not matter. Their
leader is so conscious of the influence which the convictions of the
mind have upon the result of the action, that he invites them, whatever
religion they may belong to, “to provide on the ground of practical
realities, the proof of the excellence of their personal convictions.”
And with good reason: indeed, all practical results reflect the nature
of one’s religious convictions, just as the limbs of a man down to his
finger-tips, owe their very shape to the principle of life that dwells
in his body.
This being said, what must be thought of the promiscuity in which young
Catholics will be caught up with heterodox and unbelieving folk in a
work of this nature? Is it not a thousand-fold more dangerous for them
than a neutral association? What are we to think of this appeal to all
the heterodox, and to all the unbelievers, to prove the excellence of
their convictions in the social sphere in a sort of apologetic contest?
Has not this contest lasted for nineteen centuries in conditions less
dangerous for the faith of Catholics? And was it not all to the credit
of the Catholic Church? What are we to think of this respect for all
errors, and of this strange invitation made by a Catholic to all the
dissidents to strengthen their convictions through study so that they
may have more and more abundant sources of fresh forces? What are we to
think of an association in which all religions and even Free-Thought may
express themselves openly and in complete freedom? For the Sillonists
who, in public lectures and elsewhere, proudly proclaim their personal
faith, certainly do not intend to silence others nor do they intend to
prevent a Protestant from asserting his Protestantism, and the skeptic
from affirming his skepticism. Finally, what are we to think of a
Catholic who, on entering his study group, leaves his Catholicism
outside the door so as not to alarm his comrades who, “dreaming of
disinterested social action, are not inclined to make it serve the
triumph of interests, coteries and even convictions whatever they may
be”? Such is the profession of faith of the New Democratic Committee for
Social Action which has taken over the main objective of the previous
organization and which, they say, “breaking the double meaning which
surround the Greater Sillon both in reactionary and anti-clerical
circles”, is now open to all men “who respect moral and religious forces
and who are convinced that no genuine social emancipation is possible
without the leaven of generous idealism.” (Pope Saint Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910.)
Pope Saint Pius X condemned the ideas of The Sillon, ideas that are the essence of conciliarism's world view, and it was those condemned ideas that formed the nucleus of the liturgical and ecumenical moles within the Catholic Church between the two world wars who wrote and taught with full ecclesiastical approval.
Planting Seeds, If Ever So Carefully, With Ecclesiastical Approval
Although the interwar Modernists filled their books and articles with care and nuance in order to pass under the radar screens of "integralists" who suspected various authors of being Modernists, they contained enough of a "code," if you will, to express "cutting edge" or avant-garde propositions that would be understood by their fellow travelers in Catholic intellectual and academic circles. A revolution was in the making that was being led by men who thumbed their noses collectively in the face of Lamentabili Sane, issued with the approval of Pope Saint Pius X on July 1, 1907, and our sainted pontiff's personal condemnation of all forms of Modernism in Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907, Praestina Scripturae, November 18, 1907, and The Oath Against Modernism, September 1, 1910. These authors also thumbed their noses collectively at Pope Saint Pius X's condemnation of The Sillon, whose leader Marc Sangnier was near and dear to the Modernist heart of one Angelo Roncalli, and its promotion of "interreligious collaboration" that is at the heart of the conciliar ethos and has been promoted very publicly and boldly by the conciliar "popes."
It means nothing, nothing at all, that these books were published with imprimaturs from diocesan bishops after first receiving nihil obstats from those bishops' censors. An imprimatur is not an infallible declaration of a bishop that a book is absolutely free of all doctrinal errors. Individual bishops do not possess the charism of infallibility. Bishops teach infallibly only when gathered together with the other bishops in the world in an general council that has been called for and is presided over by a true pope and at no other time. An imprimatur grants merely a permission that a certain book may be published and that, as far as can be determined with moral certainty (which is same degree of certitude with which an ecclesiastical marriage tribunal issued a decree of marital nullity, as rare as such decrees were, prior to the age of conciliarism, and it is a term still used by the conciliar marriage tribunals today), the book is free of doctrinal errors, and its issuance is accompanied by a proviso that states:
No implication is contained therein that those who have granted the
nihil obstat or imprimatur agree with the contents, opinions or
All manner of Modernist "opinions" were propagated in books published between the two world wars and in the thirteen years between the end of World War II and the advent of the age of conciliarism under Roncalli/John XXIII. The Modernist authors were careful to conceal their teaching by artfully crafted devices and endless nuances taught in seminaries and universities. They spoke at academic conferences. And they received protection from many bishops, a fact that was made clear to Pope Pius XI in 1923 at a time he was considering calling a general council:
A little-known drama that unfolded during the reign
of Pope Pius XI demonstrates that the underground current of Modernist
thought was alive and well in the immediate post-Pius X period.
Father Raymond Dulac relates that at the secret
consistory of May 23, 1923, Pope Pius XI questioned the thirty Cardinals
of the Curia on the timeliness of summoning an ecumenical council. In
attendance were such illustrious prelates as Cardinals Merry del Val, De
Lai, Gasparri, Boggiani and Billot. The Cardinals advised against it.
Cardinal Billot warned, "The existence of
profound differences in the midst of the episcopacy itself cannot be
concealed . . . [They] run the risk of giving place to discussions that
will be prolonged indefinitely."
Boggiani recalled the Modernist theories from
which, he said, a part of the clergy and of the bishops were not exempt.
"This mentality can incline certain Fathers to present motions, to
introduce methods incompatible with Catholic traditions."
Billot was even more precise. He expressed his
fear of seeing the council "maneuvered" by the worst enemies of the
Church, the Modernists, who are already getting ready, as certain
indications show, to bring forth the revolution in the Church, a new
In discouraging the idea of a council for such
reasons, these Cardinals showed themselves more apt at recognizing the
"signs of the times" than all the post-Vatican II theologians combined.
Yet their caution may have been rooted in something deeper. They may
also have been haunted by the writings of the infamous illumine, the
excommunicated Canon Roca (1830-1893), who preached revolution and
Church "reform" and who predicted a subversion of the Church that would
be brought about by a council. [John Vennari, The Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita: A Masonic Blueprint for the Subversion of the Catholic Church, pp. 15-16.]
A new 1789.
A new 1789.
A new 1789. (Yes, I meant to write that three times.)
Louis Cardinal Billot, a Jesuit who understood the Modernist currents at work within the Society of Jesus, had prophesied the exact thing that happened during the "Second" Vatican Council and that would have happened if a general council had been called by Pope Pius XI at that time, that is, in 1923.
Contrast Louis Cardinal Billot's prophetic words about avoiding a "French Revolution" within the Catholic Church and an apostate "cardinal's" praise of that very spirit:
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. Only from this perspective can we
understand, on the one hand, the ghetto-mentality, of which we have
spoken above; only from this perspective can we understand, on the other
hand, the meaning of the remarkable meeting of the Church and the
world. Basically, the word "world" means the spirit of the modern era,
in contrast to which the Church's group-consciousness saw itself as a
separate subject that now, after a war that had been in turn both hot
and cold, was intent on dialogue and cooperation. (Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, p. 382.)
The "Second" Vatican Council did not just "happen" spontaneously. It emerged as a result of a concerted effort on the part of a veritable legion of Modernists who networked together as they lectured and published books that provided the pseudo-intellectual framework for their version of French Revolution. Anyone who ignores the fact that these Modernists received protection and encouragement from cardinals and bishops, preferring to believe that "everything was just fine in the 1950s," is tragically mistaken. Many of the books and articles published in the decades before the "Second" Vatican Council were used by the periti (experts) at that council to formulate language that wound up in the council's documents and are still being cited today by apologists of the doctrinal and liturgical revolutions of conciliarism.
The Hijacked Liturgical Movement and Ecumenism
Some of the Modernists who were at work between the two world wars produced books and monographs that became the basis of at least some of the liturgical "reforms" that were presented to Pope Pius XII as "restorations" of past practices even though they were examples of the very antiquarianism (projecting back on to the past a false "history" that never existed) that he had specifically condemned in Mediator Dei, November 20, 1947, and would, of course become the very foundation of the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo itself.
Wearied and demoralized by World War I and the tremendous toll that it had taken upon the psyche of formerly Catholic Europe, these Modernists saw a glimmer of what they thought was "hope" for mankind in the nascent "ecumenical" movement that had begun in Edinburgh, Scotland, with a meeting of Protestants under the banner of the "World Missionary Conference," which met from June 14, 1910, to June 23, 1910. "World peace" could result if men could put aside their doctrinal differences for the "betterment" of mankind, a belief that is nothing other than an expression of Judeo-Masonry. It is no accident, of course, that this meeting, which served as the very foundation of conciliarism's own false ecumenism, has been praised by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI (see Getting Bolder In His Apostasy and Generic Christianity Is Not Good Enough For God). This is no accident at all.
The Catholics who were in the forefront of false ecumenism after World War I cared nothing for Pius Pius IX's simple reiteration of Catholic truth depended entirely upon men and their nations being gathered together in unity of faith and discipline under the Successor of Saint Peter, the Vicar of Christ, that was expressed so cogently in Iam Vos Omnes, September 13, 1868:
It is therefore by force of the right of Our supreme Apostolic ministry,
entrusted to us by the same Christ the Lord, which, having to carry out
with [supreme] participation all the duties of the good Shepherd and to
follow and embrace with paternal love all the men of the world, we send
this Letter of Ours to all the Christians from whom We are
separated, with which we exhort them warmly and beseech them with
insistence to hasten to return to the one fold of Christ; we desire in
fact from the depths of the heart their salvation in Christ Jesus, and
we fear having to render an account one day to Him, Our Judge, if,
through some possibility, we have not pointed out and prepared the way
for them to attain eternal salvation. In all Our prayers and
supplications, with thankfulness, day and night we never omit to ask for
them, with humble insistence, from the eternal Shepherd of souls the
abundance of goods and heavenly graces. And since, if also, we
fulfill in the earth the office of vicar, with all our heart we await
with open arms the return of the wayward sons to the Catholic Church, in
order to receive them with infinite fondness into the house of the
Heavenly Father and to enrich them with its inexhaustible treasures. By
our greatest wish for the return to the truth and the communion with
the Catholic Church, upon which depends not only the salvation of all of
them, but above all also of the whole Christian society: the entire
world in fact cannot enjoy true peace if it is not of one fold and one
shepherd. (Pope Pius IX, Iam Vos Omnes, September 13, 1868.)
No, the early Catholic proponents of false ecumenism cared nothing about such papal statements, and they were arrogant in the face of Pope Pius XI's direct condemnation of their own work that was rendered in no uncertain terms in Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928, as our next-to-last true pope explained that false ecumenism was founded in a mistaken belief that "peace" and "unity" could be had absent a due subordination of men and their nations to the Catholic Church in all that pertains to the good of souls:
Never perhaps in the past have we seen, as we see in these our own times, the
minds of men so occupied by the desire both of strengthening and of extending to
the common welfare of human society that fraternal relationship which binds and
unites us together, and which is a consequence of our common origin and nature. For since the nations do not yet fully enjoy the fruits of peace - indeed rather
do old and new disagreements in various places break forth into sedition and
civic strife - and since on the other hand many disputes which concern the
tranquillity and prosperity of nations cannot be settled without the active
concurrence and help of those who rule the States and promote their interests,
it is easily understood, and the more so because none now dispute the unity of
the human race, why many desire that the various nations, inspired by this
universal kinship, should daily be more closely united one to another.
2. A similar object is aimed at by some, in those matters which concern the
New Law promulgated by Christ our Lord. For since they hold it for certain that
men destitute of all religious sense are very rarely to be found, they seem to
have founded on that belief a hope that the nations, although they differ among
themselves in certain religious matters, will without much difficulty come to
agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a
common basis of the spiritual life. For which reason conventions, meetings and
addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of
listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join
in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who
have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity
deny His divine nature and mission. Certainly such attempts can nowise be
approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers
all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in
different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by
which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only
are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting
the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little. turn aside to
naturalism and atheism, as it is called; from which it clearly follows that one
who supports those who hold these theories and attempt to realize them, is
altogether abandoning the divinely revealed religion.
3. But some are more easily deceived by the outward appearance of good when
there is question of fostering unity among all Christians.
4. Is it not right, it is often repeated, indeed, even consonant with duty,
that all who invoke the name of Christ should abstain from mutual reproaches and
at long last be united in mutual charity? Who would dare to say that he loved
Christ, unless he worked with all his might to carry out the desires of Him, Who
asked His Father that His disciples might be "one." And did not the
same Christ will that His disciples should be marked out and distinguished from
others by this characteristic, namely that they loved one another: "By this
shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for
another"? All Christians, they add, should be as "one": for
then they would be much more powerful in driving out the pest of irreligion,
which like a serpent daily creeps further and becomes more widely spread, and
prepares to rob the Gospel of its strength. These things and others that class
of men who are known as pan-Christians continually repeat and amplify;
and these men, so far from being quite few and scattered, have increased to the
dimensions of an entire class, and have grouped themselves into widely spread
societies, most of which are directed by non-Catholics, although they are imbued
with varying doctrines concerning the things of faith. This undertaking is so
actively promoted as in many places to win for itself the adhesion of a number
of citizens, and it even takes possession of the minds of very many Catholics
and allures them with the hope of bringing about such a union as would be
agreeable to the desires of Holy Mother Church, who has indeed nothing more at
heart than to recall her erring sons and to lead them back to her bosom. But in
reality beneath these enticing words and blandishments lies hid a most grave
error, by which the foundations of the Catholic faith are completely destroyed.
5. Admonished, therefore, by the consciousness of Our Apostolic office that
We should not permit the flock of the Lord to be cheated by dangerous fallacies,
We invoke, Venerable Brethren, your zeal in avoiding this evil; for We are
confident that by the writings and words of each one of you the people will more
easily get to know and understand those principles and arguments which We are
about to set forth, and from which Catholics will learn how they are to think
and act when there is question of those undertakings which have for their end
the union in one body, whatsoever be the manner, of all who call themselves
Christians. (Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928.)
The early Catholic ecumenists, led by the likes of Abbe Paul Couturier, a disciple of Father Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., whose works have been cited favorably by Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II and Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI, ignored Mortalium Animos, which is held in complete and utter contempt by the man who had long made warfare against the nature of dogmatic truth and against the binding nature of papal reiterations of such truth, as he champions false ecumenism with evangelical fervor, Ratzinger/Benedict himself.
The early Catholic ecumenists had the full support of many bishops and religious superiors as they published books and articles and organized conferences.. Their successors now lead the counterfeit church of conciliarism.
Ecumenism leads to the Novus Ordo service: Some of the pioneers of the hijacked Liturgical Movement of the 1920s, such as Father Pius Parsch, C.R.S.A. (Canons Regular of Saint Augustine), would have been, it should be noted, aghast at the sorts of changes that eventually took place as a result of what some, including Michael Davies in his book Liturgical Time Bombs, referred to as "young wolves" (Fathers Annibale Bugnini, C.M., and Ferdinando Antonelli, O.F.M.) sought to implement in the 1950s and thereafter. As noted just two days ago, however, in Ratzinger's Revolution Unravels, part one), revolutions do produce unintended consequences that their progenitors do not foresee and are at a loss to explain, consequences that defy their every gargantuan effort to bring the revolution back to its "original intent." This is as true of social revolutions (American, French, Russian, et al.) as it is of theological-liturgical revolutions.
Michael Davies demonstrated the connection between false ecumenism and the hijacked Liturgical Movement that had begun with Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., in the Nineteenth Century and resulted in the issuance of the Missal of Pope Saint Pius X in 1910, restoring the chanting of Gregorian chant by the people in a review that he wrote for the late Father Didier Bonneterre's Liturgical Revolution: Roots, Radicals, Results (Angelus Press, 2002):
If there is a villain of the book he is
Dom Lambert Beauduin, but Father Bonneterre has no hesitation in paying
tribute to the great contribution that he made to the movement in its
The merit of having understood all that
could be learned from the teaching of St. Pius X falls to Dom Lambert
Beauduin (1873-1960). Alas, this monk was unable to maintain throughout
his life this hierarchy of the ends of the liturgy, i.e., worship first,
teaching second, as we shall see in the course of this study, but let us
Dom Lambert Beauduin at first was a
priest of the diocese of Liege, a "workers' missionary" under Pope Leo
XIII. In 1906, at the age of thirty-three, he entered the Abbey of Mont
Cesar, which had been founded by the monks of Maredsous at Louvain a few
years earlier (1899). Because of his previous activity among the secular
clergy, his mind had become habitually occupied by the problems of the
apostolate and pastoral work, and so he viewed the liturgy in light of
his habitual preoccupations. Very speedily he "discovered" in the
liturgy, following St. Pius X, a wonderful method for forming the
faithful in the Christian life. In 1909 he launched a Liturgical
Movement at Mont Cesar which was an immediate success.
It is important to set the Liturgical
Movement within the context of the Modernist crisis which is documented
in my book Partisans of Error. Father Bonneterre writes:
Crushed by St.
Pius X, the Modernists understood that they could not penetrate the
Church by theology, that is, by a clear exposé of their doctrines. They
had recourse to the Marxist notion of praxis, having understood that the
Church could become modernist through action, especially through the
sacred action of the liturgy. Revolutions always use the living energies
of the organism itself, taking control of them little by little and
finally using them to destroy the body under attack. It is the
well-known process of the Trojan horse.
The Liturgical Movement of Dom Guéranger,
of St. Pius X, and of the Belgian monasteries, in origin at any rate,
was a considerable force in the Church, a prodigious means of spiritual
rejuvenation which, moreover, brought forth good fruits. The Liturgical
Movement was thus the ideal Trojan horse for the modernist revolution.
It was easy for all the revolutionaries to hide themselves in the belly
of such a large carcass. Before Mediator Dei, who among the Catholic
hierarchy was concerned about liturgy? What vigilance was applied to
detecting this particularly subtle form of practical Modernism?
It was from the 1920's onward that it
became clear that the Liturgical Movement had been diverted from its
original admirable aims:
Dom Beauduin first
of all favored in an exaggerated way the teaching and preaching aspect
of the liturgy, and then conceived the idea of making it serve the
"Ecumenical Movement" to which he was devoted body and soul. Dom Parsch
tied the movement to Biblical renewal. Dom Casel made it the vehicle of
a fanatical antiquarianism and of a completely personal conception of
the "Christian mystery." These first revolutionaries were largely
overtaken by the generation of the new liturgists of the various
preconciliar liturgical commissions.
This new generation is described by
Father Bonneterre as the “young wolves.” In any revolution it is almost
routine for the first moderate revolutionaries to be replaced or even
eradicated by more radical revolutionaries, as was the case with the
Russian Revolution when the Mensheviks (majority) were ousted by the
Faced by this excessive acceleration of
the movement, Dom Beaudin was frightened... We witness here the first
phenomena of “permanent excesses,” a feature of all revolutions:
yesterday’s managers are overtaken by today’s agitators, the first
revolutionaries are overtaken by today’s agitators.
Just as nothing could prevent the rise to
power of the Bolsheviks, nothing could prevent the triumph of the young
After the Second
World War, the movement became a force that nothing could stop.
Protected from on high by eminent prelates, the new liturgists took
control little by little of the Commission for Reform of the Liturgy
founded by Pius XII, and influenced the reforms devised by this
Commission at the end of the pontificate of Pius XII and at the
beginning of that of John XXIII. Already masters, thanks to the Pope, of
the preconciliar liturgical commission, the new liturgists got the
Fathers of the Council to accept a self-contradictory and ambiguous
document, the constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium. Pope Paul VI,
Cardinal Lercaro and Fr. Bugnini, themselves very active members of the
Italian Liturgical Movement, directed the efforts of the Consilium which
culminated in the promulgation of the New Mass.
How could Pope Pius XII, the Pastor
Angelicus, the most scholarly Pope of the century, and one whose
orthodoxy could not possibly be questioned, have allowed the young
wolves of the liturgical movement to consolidate their power during his
pontificate? Father Bonneterre makes it clear that this saintly pontiff
was well-aware of the subversive elements within the Liturgical
Movement. In His Encyclical Mediator Dei, perhaps the most sublime
exposition of the true nature of the Mass ever to be written, Pope Pius
wrote: “We observe that certain people are too fond of novelty and go
astray from the oaths of sound doctrine and prudence.... They sully this
sacred cause with errors, errors which affect the Catholic faith and
ascetical teaching.” Father Bonneterre insists that, alas:
Pope Pius XII did
not know the true position of the Liturgical Movement. Its most
dangerous leaders were being supported and protected by the highest
dignitaries of the Church. How could the Pope have suspected that the
"experts" who were so highly praised by Cardinals Bea and Lercaro were
in fact the most dangerous enemies of the Church?
He laments the fact that: “Thus Pius XII
gave the most inopportune encouragement to the congress at Assisi:
Movement is like an indication of the plans of divine providence for the
present time, like the wind of the Holy Ghost blowing through the
Church, bringing men closer to the mysteries of the faith and the
treasures of grace, which flow from the active participation of the
faithful in the life of the liturgy.”
Father Bonneterre comments: “This
declaration could have been true and timely before 1920; in 1956 it was
no longer so. In the intervening years, the Liturgical Movement had
denied its origins and abandoned the principles laid down by Dom
Guéranger and St. Pius X.”
The most influential of the new
liturgists, the great architect of the post-Vatican II liturgical
revolution, was Father Annibale Bugnini. Father Bonneterre recounts a
visit by Father Bugnini to a liturgical convention held at Thieulin near
Chartres at which forty religious superiors and seminary rectors were
present, making clear the extent of the influence of the liturgical
Bolsheviks on the Church establishment in France. He cites a Father
Duployé as stating:
Some days before
the reunion at Thieulin, I had a visit from an Italian Lazarist, Fr.
Bugnini, who had asked me to obtain an invitation for him. The Father
listened very attentively, without saying a word, for four days. During
our return journey to Paris, as the train was passing along the Swiss
Lake at Versailles, he said to me: "I admire what you are doing, but the
greatest service I can render you is never to say a word in Rome about
all that I have just heard."
Father Bonneterre comments:
text shows us one of the first appearances of the "gravedigger of the
Mass," a revolutionary more clever than the others, he who killed the
Catholic liturgy before disappearing from the official scene. So it was
at this date that the "Counter-Church" completely pervaded the
Liturgical Movement. Until then it had been occupied by the modernist
and ecumenical forces: after the war it was rotten enough for
Freemasonry to take direct control of the reins: Satan got into the
The reference to Freemasonry is based on
the fact that in 1975 Pope Paul VI removed Bugnini, an Archbishop by
then, from his position as Secretary of the Sacred Congregation for
Divine Worship and the Sacraments, dissolved the entire Congregation,
and in 1976 exiled him as Nuncio to Iran. Pope Paul did this because he
had been given documentation which convinced him that the Archbishop was
a freemason. Bugnini denied that he was a mason, but accepted that he
was dismissed because the Pope believed him to be a member of the
Brotherhood. All the relevant documentation is contained in Chapter 24
of my book Pope Paul’s New Mass.
Father Bonneterre explains that:
reforms of Pius XII had given some satisfaction to the leaders of the
Movement, the implacable orthodoxy that the Pope had maintained
throughout had not been to their taste. New and more daring reforms were
called for, and they needed a pope who understood the problem of
ecumenism and who was a wholehearted supporter of the Movement.
He claims that “The news of the death of
the Angelic Pastor was received with almost delirious joy by the
deviated Liturgical Movement.” The aged Dom Lambert Beauduin had not the
least doubt as to the cardinal he hoped would be elected, and confided
his hopes to Father Bouyer:
If they elect Roncalli," he said "all
will be saved. He will be capable of calling a Council and canonizing
ecumenism..." Silence fell; then, with a return of his old
mischievousness, he said with flashing eyes, "I believe we have a good
chance. Most of the cardinals are not sure what to do. They are capable
of voting for him.
Father Bonneterre comments:
ecumenism, yes, indeed, but also to consecrate the Liturgical Movement,
such would be the task of the long-awaited Council. For more than forty
years the new liturgists had been spreading their errors, they had
succeeded in influencing a considerable portion of the Catholic
hierarchy, and they had won some encouraging reforms from the Holy See.
All this patient underground work was about to bear fruit. The
liturgical revolutionaries took advantage of the Constitution on the
Liturgy to get their ideas accepted. Then, when they were appointed
members of the Consilium, they only had to draw the extreme conclusions
from the principles of Vatican II.
Father Bonneterre insists that:
This new rite
carries on in its turn all the errors which have come forth since the
beginning of the deviations of the "Movement." This rite is ecumenical,
antiquarian, community-based, democratic, and almost totally
desacralized; it also echoes the theological deviations of the
modernists and the Protestants: toning down the sense of the Real
Presence and diminution of the ministerial role of the priesthood, of
the sacrificial character of the Mass, and especially of its
propitiatory character. The Eucharist becomes much more a communal love
feast than the renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross.
It is thus with the New Mass that the
Liturgical Movement which had started so well ended so badly. The 1959
liturgy of the Protestant Taizé community is printed as an appendix to
the book, and shows some disturbing similarities to the New Mass. Father
Bonneterre does not, however, refer to the alarming correspondence of
the changes, principally omissions, made to the Order of Mass in the
Missal of St. Pius V in the concoction of the order of Mass in the 1970
Missal and the almost identical omissions from the Sarum Missal made by
Thomas Cranmer in concocting his 1549 Communion Service. These are
documented in great detail in my book Pope Paul’s New Mass. Nor does he
refer to the equally alarming correspondence between the liturgical
principles permeating the Mass of Paul VI and those of the pseudo-synod
of Pistoia condemned as pernicious by Pope Pius VI in his encyclical
Auctorem Fidei of 1794. I would also say that, in places, Father
Bonneterre seems to presume that the rite of Mass concocted by Father
Bugnini’s Consilium represents what the leading members of the
Liturgical Movement were aiming at. This might be true in the case of
the “young wolves” who took over the movement, but is certainly not true
of priests such as Beauduin, Casel, Parsch, or Bouyer. The principal aim
of these men was to use the existing liturgy to achieve their pastoral
aims, and not to impose a radical reform which made the liturgy that
they knew, loved, and celebrated daily unrecognizable. In fairness to
Father Bonneterre he does state that the leading figures of the original
movement were frightened by the thinking of the young wolves. I have
quoted him to this effect in this review. It would have been useful had
he quoted the reaction of a priest such as Father Louis Bouyer, whom he
cites quite often, to the actual reform that has been foisted upon us.
He stated in 1969 that "We must speak plainly: there is practically no
liturgy worthy of the name today in the Catholic Church"; and
"Perhaps in no other area is there a greater distance (and even formal
opposition) between what the Council worked out and what we actually
have”; and that, in practice, “those who took it upon themselves to
apply [?] the Council’s directives on this point have turned their backs
deliberately on what Beauduin, Casel, and Pius Parsch had set out to do,
and to which I had tried vainly to add some small contribution of my
In 1975, Father Bouyer stated: "The Catholic liturgy has been overthrown
under the pretext of rendering it more acceptable to the secularised
masses, but in reality to conform it with the buffooneries that the
religious orders were induced to impose, whether they liked it or not,
upon the other clergy. We do not have to wait for the results: a sudden
decline in religious practice, varying between twenty and forty per cent
among those who were practising Catholics.... Those who were not have
not displayed a trace of interest in this pseudo-missionary liturgy,
particularly the young whom they had deluded themselves into thinking
that they would win over with their clowning. (The Liturgical Movement.)
The Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service did not just "happen." It emerged after the first generation of Modernists ecumenists, spawned by the events of World War I, was succeeded by a second generation intent on turning the Sacred Liturgy into a grand laboratory in which they could assemble various of the condemned propositions of the illegal Council of Pistoia, redolent of Jansenism, into the life of ordinary Catholics and thus use what they purported was the Holy Mass to serve as the means of teaching and institutionalizing their doctrinal errors.
Both generations of postwar liturgical revolutionaries were protected by cardinals and bishops. Both published books with imprimaturs. Behold the results as the seeds of revolutionary change were approved with episcopal approval and as the Vicar of Christ himself approved changes, although certainly not heretical in se, were based upon false representations that his trusted lieutenants knew would establish a road map to their true goal, the destruction of the Roman Rite. And we must not forget that the representations made by Talmudists about the nature and extent of the crimes committed by the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler have been used by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI to justify conciliarism's view of the false religion of Talmudic Judaism:
Thirdly, linked more generally to this was the problem of religious
tolerance - a question that required a new definition of the
relationship between the Christian faith and the world religions. In
particular, before the recent crimes of the Nazi regime and, in general,
with a retrospective look at a long and difficult history, it was
necessary to evaluate and define in a new way the relationship between
the Church and the faith of Israel.(Christmas greetings to the Members of the Roman Curia and Prelature, December 22, 2005.)
There is indeed a direct connection between the aftermath of the two world wars and the warfare against Catholic Faith and Worship that has been waged so relentless by the conciliar officials in the past fifty-three years in the name of the Catholic Church.
As True of Morals as of Faith and Worship
Seeds had been planted for revolutionary changes in Catholic moral teaching just as surely as had been done with Faith, especially as regards Scripture studies, and Worship.
One of the principal theses that I sought to develop in Forty-Three Years After Humanae Vitae, which was posted eight days ago now after several weeks of revisions, is that many of the old theology manuals in the 1940s and 1950s were trying to "push the envelope" on Catholic teaching concerning conjugal morality. This, too, was a result of a world war, the Second World War, as the myth of "overpopulation" began to gain currency in the popular media and as many Catholic married couples in developed countries, having been freed of the burdens of the Great Depression and the sacrifices made during World War II, began to settle into comfortable suburban lives of materialistic self-indulgence, replete with a total immersion in the bread and circuses of this passing, mortal vale of tears against which saint after saint has inveighed against as contrary to the love of God and the good of our own souls.
Many of these theologians exploited what they saw was an "opening" given them by Pope Pius XII's October 29, 1951, Address to Midwives and an address that he gave to the Association of Large Families in Italy exactly four weeks later, Monday, November 26, 1951 (which, you will note, was two days after November 24, 1951) through which they could drive an army of Mack trucks to attempt to justify the unrestricted use of the rhythm method for reasons considered "proportionate" by married couples. Although these moral theologians wrote cautiously and filled their weighty tomes with much sophistry and casuistry (case based reasoning, what is called in legal terms as "special pleading," making the facts fit preconceived conclusions) in the belief that Catholic married couples would practice outright contraception if their consciences were not eased from the "burden" of having to meet the level of the grave conditions, which Pope Pius XII noted in his November 26, 1951, address were "very wide" (meaning that they were meant to be generous to those couples who truly fell into the categories he had outlined). In other words, married couples could do whatever they wanted to do whenever they wanted to do it as long as they did not use contraception. "Better to give them an 'out' rather than they use contraception."
Yes, scrape away all of the sophistry and casuistry, what's left in some of those old 1940s and 1950s theology manuals and books and journal articles is an effort to justify "all me, all the time" as appeals were made to various utilitarian arguments that have nothing to do with any true sense of the Catholic moral principle of proportionality (which teaches that the pursuit of good end may be outweighed by a preponderance of foreseen evil consequences, thereby making it inadvisable or, quite possibly, immoral to pursue, something that is, of course, a subjective judgment in the practical order of things), but has everything to do with proportionalism (the belief that an inherently evil act may be made licit, without rendering it good in and of its nature, to pursue if there exists a weight of conditions that make it "necessary" to do so).
Mind you, not all of the authors of those old theology manuals subscribed to proportionalism. Some would wind up opposing it in the 1960s and 1970s. Eager, however, to advance utilitarian arguments for "limits" on family size, the Mensheviks (moderate revolutionaries) of Catholic moral theology in the two decades before the "Second" Vatican Council and its aftermath made it more possible for the Bolsheviks and their proportionalism to run amok.
As noted six days ago in Always Trying To Find A Way, one of those who, though adamantly opposed to contraception and to the personalist view of marriage that had been advanced by Dietrich von Hildebrand and Father Herbert Doms that was condemned by the Holy See in 1944 and noted as condemned by Pope Pius XII in his October 29, 1951, Address to Midwives on the Nature of Their Profession, was Father John C. Ford, S.J. He bided his time in the 1950s. So did many others, including his collaborator, Father Gerald Kelly, S.J., whose own utilitarian views on medical ethics can be reviewed in To Live and Let Die.
"Liberated" by the death of Pope Pius XII, Fathers Ford and Kelly were then able to speak more openly in what they admitted was a speculative manner, doing so in Volume 2 of Contemporary Moral Theology, thereby giving expression to beliefs that they had held all along but advanced only cautiously in the 1950s after the papal address to midwives:
The only explicit limits to the duty to procreate by the pope are the various excusing causes. But in the discussion of this important papal pronouncement, it was soon suggested that another limit is implicitly determined by the fact that the purpose of duty is the conservation of the the family, the state, the Church, the human race. This seems to mean that one measure of the duty as far as legal justice and piety to the race are concerned is the population need of the time. When this suggestion of an inherent limit to the obligation was first made, the best social scientists seemed to think that fertile couples should have four or five children in order to make provision for the conservation and slight increase of the human race. Since then, with increased consciousness of the population problem, this number has been slightly reduced, at least for some countries. For instances, it has been estimated that a family of three children would sufficiently provide for the needs of the United States.
Those who place the basis of this duty to procreate in the use of [the privileges of marriage] find it difficult to accept this theory. And in this they seem to be logical; for if use of [the privileges of marriage] is the basis for the obligation, the duty to procreate will depend, apart from excusing causes, entirely upon the fertile couples to use or abstain from the marriage act.
But to us, and to others who place the basis for the obligation in the married state itself, the idea of a legal justice or piety which is inherently limited by the population needs seems very reasonable. For one thing, it followed the analogy of other duties, whether to individuals or to society. For instance. the strict duty of charity to one's neighbor is measured, not only by one's ability to help, but also by the neighbor's need. No one is strictly obliged in charity to give as much as he conveniently can to a neighbor whose needs are satisfied by much less than that. Another analogy, this time in the social sphere, is the duty of paying taxes. No government can justly set up a tax rule that each citizen must give the government as much as he can. The just measure of taxes must begin with the society's need. Once the general need is determined, the the tax is levied on the citizen proportionately, according to norms that include their relative ability pay. [Thomas A. Droleskey interjection: On this point, of course, the authors were quite correct, without realizing that the cause of unjust taxation today was the growth of the monster civil state of Modernity caused by the Protestant Revolution's overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King.]
It has been objected that this theory of an inherent limit to the duty to procreate does not make allowance for the proportionate distribution of the duty to procreate. In our opinion, this objection misses the point of the theory. The theory is simply that there is a limit to the duty beyond which no couple is strictly obliged by legal justice or piety to have more children. The theory does not say that all couples have the same obligation as regards the number of children they should have. The excusing causes sufficiently take care of this need for proportion. As the pope himself mentions, by reason of excusing causes some couples would be entirely exempt from the duty of having children.
theory of the limited duty to procreate has decided merit, it seems to
us, in a Christian society which recognizes the important distinction
between duty and supererogation. It provides a workable norm of
child-spacing to those married couples whose main interest is to fulfill
their duty; and it acknowledges that even the wealthy and the healthy
can be acting beyond the call of duty to rearing large families.
This theory that the duty to procreate is limited by the population
needs seems to us, as we have already explained, intrinsically
reasonable. Moreover, though some have objected against it, it has won
favor among many theologians (here they cite in a footnote the work of
Fr. Thomas and Fr. Healy, Marriage and Rhythm, 1956, and of Father John
R. Connery, SJ, "Notes on Moral Theology" in Theological Studies, 1958);
and it certainly merits the status of a solidly probable opinion. There
may be difficulty in determining the exact limit for various countries;
but certainly in the United States a family of four would be sufficient
to satisfy the duty.
Before the Address to the Midwives in 1951 the question of the
gravity of the affirmative obligation to procreate was not generally
discussed because most theologians denied the obligation. At that time
the question took another form. Is it gravely sinful to practice rhythm,
at least for a long time, without a justifying cause? Only a handful of
theologians were of the opinion that it was gravely sinful. The
overwhelming weight of theological authority throughout the Catholic
world rejected this opinion (they cite Griese, The Rhythm in Marriage
and Catholic Morality).
Since the allocution, the weight of authority seems to have shifted,
because of certain language used by Pius XII in explaining the morality
of periodic continence. Today, apparently, the majority hold that to
practice rhythm without a serious justifying motive, at least for a long
time, or for the whole of marriage, or at least when no children have
already been born, would be a grave sin. But other theologians still
maintain that this would be only venially sinful (here they cite that
passage from Pope Pius XII's November 26, 1951, address, and book by a
chap named Father Joseph Fuchs. S.J., who became one of the chief promoters of proportionalism while serving on the "papal" birth control commission, placing him at odds with Father Ford, who opposed contraception but was pleased with the "broadening" of the restrictions for the use of the rhythm method in Humanae Vitae, July 25, 1968.)
Our question can be proposed in either of two forms which are almost
equivalent: Is it a mortal sin to practice rhythm without a justifying
cause? or: Does the affirmative obligation to procreate bind individual
couples under pain of mortal sin?
Our answer to these questions can be summarized as follows: Pius XII
did not settle the issue of mortal sin in practicing rhythm
unjustifiably. His words leave the question open for further discussion.
The affirmative obligation seems to be grave ex genere suo, and
therefore admits of parvitas materiae. Objective grave violations of the
affirmative obligation would, in our opinion, be rare. In pastoral
practice no one can legitimately impose on the consciences of the
faithful a grave obligation in this matter.
The principal passage quoted to invoke the authority of Pius XII in favor of the gravity of the obligation reads as follows:
to embrace the state of matrimony, to use continually the faculty
proper to it, and in it alone, and on the other hand to withdraw always
and deliberately, without a grave motive, from its primary duty, would
be to sin against the very meaning of conjugal life."
One thing is clear. In this passage Pius XII did not end the
controversy over mortal sin. Had he wished to do this, he could easily
have done so effectively and conclusively by inserting the one word
"mortally," after the word "sin" in this passage. He failed to do so. So
glaring an omission must have been deliberate.
But does the language perhaps provide grounds for a conclusive
inference that the obligation must be grave, by speaking of the
violation of it as "to sin against the very meaning of conjugal life";
by calling it the "primary duty" of marriage; and by requiring a "grave
motive" to excuse from the obligation?
The expression to "sin against the very meaning of conjugal life" is
not definite enough to be the basis of a conclusive inference as to the
gravity of the obligation. Lying is a sin against the very faculty of
human speech, but it does not follow that lying is gravely sinful.
To take the phrase "primary duty" in a literal theological sense
proves too much. For it is simply not true, in a literal theological
sense, this this duty is the primary duty of marriage. Pius XII would be
the first to defend the traditional Catholic doctrine that the primary
duty of marriage is the mutual duty that corresponds to the essential ius in corpus. It is a duty in commutative justice to perform acts which
are per se apt for generation, but it is a duty which the partners owe
not to society but to one another, in virtue of their contractual
consent." (Father John C. Ford, S.J., and Father Gerald Kelly, S.J., Contemporary Moral Theology, Volume 2, The Newman Press, 1964, pp. 420-425.)
Contemporary Catholic Moral Theology, Volume 2, is a mixture of Catholic truth on some matters and speculation on others that was designed to make it "easier" for Catholic married couples to restrict the number of children they have without resorting to contraception. In other words, "they're gonna do it anyway."
Pope Pius XII's words were very clear. There is no need to deconstruct them. They were understood perfectly by a number of theologians, including Monsignor George Kelly. They cannot get any plainer:
The matrimonial contract, which confers on the married couple the
right to satisfy the inclination of nature, constitutes them in a state
of life, namely, the matrimonial state. Now, on married couples, who
make use of the specific act of their state, nature and the Creator
impose the function of providing for the preservation of mankind. This
is the characteristic service which gives rise to the peculiar value of
their state, the bonum prolis. The individual and society, the
people and the State, the Church itself, depend for their existence, in
the order established by God, on fruitful marriages. Therefore, to
embrace the matrimonial state, to use continually the faculty proper to
such a state and lawful only therein, and, at the same time, to avoid
its primary duty without a grave reason, would be a sin against the very
nature of married life. (Pope Pius XII, Address to Midwives on the Nature of Their Profession, October 29, 1951.)
Fathers Ford and Kelly, however, were only giving expression to liberal views that had been expressed throughout the 1950s. Their book, it should be noted, had an imprimatur granted by none other than Patrick Cardinal O'Boyle, the Archbishop of Washington, District of Columbia, who had sought to fire Father Charles Curran, a priest of the Diocese of Rochester at a time when Bishop J. Sheen was the ordinary, from his faculty position at The Catholic University of America for the latter's support of contraception before being overturned by the other cardinals who served on the university's board of directors. That imprimatur does not mean all that very much. Neither did many of those that were issued in the 1950 as the men who waited patiently for the death of Pope Pius XII did not, at least for the most part (Father Fuchs would be an exception to this), have some sort of sudden "conversion" at the "Second" Vatican Council and thereafter. They had an agenda in the 1940s and 1950s that helped to bring about the conciliar revolution and that was designed to institutionalize it thereafter.
Indeed, the utilitarian argument advanced by Fathers Ford and Kelly concerning family limitation was premised in part upon a blithe acceptance of the myth of "overpopulation," stating that Pope Pius XII had to be wrong in his address to midwives when he asserted that it was necessary for married couples to have children to continue the human race as they considered this "unnecessary" given the alleged population crisis.
Oh, what poor prophets these men were! Look at the results of what the ethos of contraception, which both Fathers Ford and Kelly opposed, and that of "natural family planning" have wrought: the depopulation of Europe and the destabilization of families and family life in developed countries, including the Untied States of America, whose population is only increasing as a result of immigrant and whose nonwhite population will constitute a majority of the nation by the middle of this century precisely because of contraception, surgical abortion and the ethos of "natural family planning" that has convinced Catholics all across the vast expanse of the ecclesiastical divide that it is their "right" to limit the size of their families to pursue career goals, material comforts and "freedom" from excessive "concerns" about caring for and feeding progeny.
Unfortunately for these poor prophets, you see, their view of tying the procreation of children to population for purposes of economic stability and production, which was what the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics sought to do throughout the course of its history (surgical abortion between 1918 until after World War II; encouraging procreation thereafter to compensate for the loss of lives in the war) and what the Red Chinese do to this very day, was condemned by Pope Pius XII in his November 26, 1951, address to the Association of Large Families:
But there is an even deeper misery, from which we must preserve family, namely the terrible serfdom, which reduces a mentality, which tends to make a pure body to serve the community social, to procreate with it a sufficient mass of 'material' for the human race. (Pope Pius XII, Address to Association of Large Families, November 26, 1951; I used Google Translate to translate this address from the Italian as it is found at AAS Documents, p. 855; you will have to scroll down to page 855, which takes some time, to find the address.)
Italy's population rate has plummeted to well below replacement levels as a result of chemical abortifacients and surgical baby-killing and the prevalence of the ethos found in "natural family planning" that seeks to limit the size of families on a regular basis, including for reasons of emotional "stress" and "psychological health."
Indeed, a family with five children who were in Rome at the same time we were in May of 2005 was approached constantly with cries of great joy from older and invariably completely modestly dressed Italian women, who exclaimed:
Che un bel bambino. Che bellissimi bambini. Che bella famiglia. Non ci sono famiglie in Italia. Dio vi benedica per il vostro bebè.
(What a beautiful baby. What beautiful children. What a beautiful family. There are no families in Italy. God bless you for your babies.)
These women who were so excited to see a large family did not read Contemporary Moral Theology, Volume 2. They knew nothing of the nuance upon nuance upon nuance that was designed to deconstruct the plain words of a papal address and propagate a view of married life alien to the Catholic Faith. These simple women only knew the beauty of a large family (and five is not really that large of a number of children to have) because they loved God and knew what pleased Him. Fathers John Ford and Gerald Kelly sought to make complex that which is simple: obeying God by pleasing Him at all times, yes, even to the point of making sacrifices to give unto our own children what had been given to us by our own parents.
Pope Pius XII's overriding concern in that November 26, 1951, was the devastation that World War II had wrought on the displaced peoples of Europe, and it is in this context that his remarks about "wide limits" when referring to the conditions for the justified use of a woman's monthly infertile periods can be read as he had the needs of families that had been devastated by World War II uppermost in his mind and heart. They had, in his view, legitimate excusing conditions that fell well within the limits he outlined in his October 29, 1951 Address to Midwives on the Nature of Their Profession if they chose to avail themselves of them, noting that many European cities had been overrun with refugees, finding it difficult to provide adequate housing for those in need of it:
First, We must turn our attention to the calamities of war.
The damage caused by the first World War was far from being fully repaired, when the second, even more terrible conflagration occurred. It will take a long time and much effort on the part of men, and even greater divine assistance before we start to truly heal the deep wounds that those two world wars had inflicted on the family.
Another evil, which is also partly due to the devastating wars, but also a result of overpopulated [cities] and inept policies is the housing crisis. Legislators, statesmen and social workers must study these problems and find solutions to them. Your association can provide an apostolate of outstanding value in this regard.
The same applies to the fight against scourge of unemployment, for the settlement of a sufficient wage for families, enough so that a mother will not be forced, as too often happens, to look for a job outside the home, but can devote more time to her husband and children.
You must work also in favor the teaching of religion in school as this is [a] valuable contribution to the good of the family, as well as promoting its natural and simple customs, as religious beliefs strengthen and develop around it an aura of Christian purity, freeing our adolescents today from the harmful influences in the world today that fill them with morbid excitement and arouse their disordered passions against holy purity. (Pope Pius XII, Address to Association of Large Families, November 26, 1951, as it is found at AAS Documents, p. 855.)
Pope Pius XII favored no arbitrary limits devised by "social scientists" on the size of families in relation to a country's population. And Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, with whom, quite ironically, Father John C. Ford, S.J., would work to oppose Father Joseph Fuchs, S.J., and the work of the majority on the "papal birth control commission, noted that talk of such limits was without precedent in the history of the Catholic Church:
"I am not pleased with the statement in the text that married couples may determine the number of children they are to have. Never has this been heard of in the Church. My father was a laborer, and the fear of having many children never
entered my parents' minds, because they trusted in Providence. [I am
amazed] that yesterday in the Council it should have been said that
there was doubt whether a correct stand had been taken hitherto on the
principles governing marriage. Does this not mean that the inerrancy of
the Church will be called into question? Or was not the Holy Spirit with
His Church in past centuries to illuminate minds on this point of
doctrine?" (As found in Peter W. Miller, Substituting the Exception for the Rule; The Rhine Flows into the Tiber,
by Father Ralph Wiltgen, The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber, Tan Books and
Publishers, 1967, is cited as the source of this quotation.)
Although Monsignor George Kelly believed that married couples, having been formed properly according to the sensus Catholicus, could make decisions on the use of the rhythm on their own without consulting a confessor, the times have changed precisely because of the widespread acceptance and use of contraception and the indiscriminate use of what is called today "natural family planning." Even Monsignor Kelly, however, noted the following, in his The Catholic Marriage Manual, arriving at the exact opposite conclusions reached by Fathers John C. Ford and Gerald Kelly:
If the necessary conditions are not met in a particular case, would a couple commit sin in practicing periodic continence? And if it is sinful, how serious is the sin? Writing in The American Ecclesiastical Review, Father Goodwine has answered:
"If any one of the required conditions (that the parties be willing to abstain, that they be able to abstain without proximate danger of serious sin, and that they have a justifying reason) is not met, recourse to periodic continence will be sinful.
"In certain cases it may even be seriously sinful,"For instance, if the first condition is not verified and the practice of periodic continence is insisted on by the partner against the reasonable objections of the other, a sin of injustice would be committed. In such circumstances one partner would be unjustly depriving the other of his right to the marriage act during the fertile periods. So also, if the second condition is not met and the practice of periodic continence becomes a proximate occasion of sins against chastity, there would be serious sin. The otherwise permissible practice of periodic continence becomes seriously wrong when it leads to grave danger of other mortal sins. Similarly there would be serious sin if the practice involves a proximate danger of divorce or breakup of the marriage, or of other sins against the obligations of married life."
Large families the Christian ideal: Pope Pius XII has described large families as "those blessed by God, beloved by the
Church and considered by it as one of its most precious treasures."
In an address to the Association of Large Families of Rome and Italy, His Holiness restated a truth that is sometimes forgotten that "faith in God supplies parents with the strength necessary to face the sacrifices and renunciations required for the rearing of children; Christian principles guide and lighten the difficult task of education; the Christian spirit of love watches over the family's order and tranquillity while it dispenses, almost drawing upon nature itself, the intimate family joys common to parents, children and brothers. . . . "But God also visits large families with His providence, to which the parents, especially poor ones, give an open testimony by placing in it their entire trust when human efforts are not sufficient. It is a trust well founded, and not in vain . . . God does not deny the means to live to those He calls to life."
In this connection, the following comments by Father Goodwine should be carefully considered.
"There is a tendency to limit the discussion of periodic continence to questions of strict morality, to concentrate almost exclusively on right and wrong, to attempt to draw the line between what may and what may not be done without committing sin," Father Goodwine states. "All too often such discussions lose sight of the Christian ideal of family life. Hardly ever do we hear any mention of the ideal of parenthood or of family life as the ideal type of married life.
"God instituted marriage as the means for the propagation of the race. The fruitful marriage, therefore, and not the sterile marriage, is the marriage that falls in best with God's plan. Having children is the primary goal of marriage. The family, therefore, consisting of father, mother and children is the ideal for the Christian.
"There is something amiss when a couple wishes to marry, yet does not want to have any children; or determines to postpone having children for one, two or more years; or intends to have only three or four or six children but no more. A priest friend of mine likens such people to a young man seeking ordination to the priesthood who makes the stipulation that he will never have to say Mass, administer the sacraments, preach, or take duty. Such a young man would be seeking to avoid the very purposes for which men are ordained to the priesthood. So, too, the married couple who, without sufficient reason, seek to avoid children, fail to fulfill their purpose in life. Even
the couple who has a sufficient reason for practicing rhythm can be counseled to do more than is required by duty; to strive deliberately and consciously after the ideal.
"The present Holy Father has said: It is one of the fundamental demands of right moral order that a sincere inner acceptance of the office and duties (of parenthood) correspond to the use of conjugal rights.' There must then be a willingness on the part of married persons and on the part of couples entering marriage to 'serve' motherhood and fatherhood a willingness to become parents. Perhaps more attention should be paid to what Dr. John Kane, of Notre Dame, calls the 'almost unanimous conclusion' of sociological studies on marital happiness: 'Happiness in marriage is not associated with the presence or absence of children in the family, but with a strong desire to have children. (Text as found in Monsignor George Kelly, The Catholic Marriage Manual, Random House, 1958, pp.58- 60.)
This is a ringing condemnation of the views expressed by Fathers John C. Ford, S.J., and Gerald Kelly, S.J. It is also a ringing condemnation of anyone and everyone today who says that it is better that couples practice "natural family planning" under all circumstances rather than to sin by the use of contraceptive pills and devices. Condemned. Completely. Unequivocally.
Monsignor George Kelly and Father Goodwine both refused to limit a consideration of the morality of the use of rhythm to what was considered "legal" as they understood that God wanted His redeemed creatures to strive for the ideal. It is a strict legalistic minimalism that characterized much of doctrinal, liturgical and moral studies in the 1940s and 1950s that led to the widespread acceptance of the revolutionary dogmas and liturgical rites of the counterfeit church of conciliarism in the 1960s and thereafter. Those who refuse to accept this must simply refuse to open their very eyes to the evidence that has been presented before them, leaving souls, including their own, to wallow in the corruption of error and deception.
Fathers Ford and Kelly scoffed at such criticism as they tried to bring Pope Pius XII as a witness in their belief that the last true pope wanted the rhythm method practiced widely to ease the consciences of all Catholic married couples so that they could make "informed" decisions that put those consciences at ease. Fathers Ford and Kelly made this clear in the final pages of the book, justifying their view at the end of Contemporary Moral Theology, Volume 2:
"Responsible parenthood," writes Dr. Richard Fagley, "in the context of population explosion, more often than not means restricted to limited procreation in view of the total responsibilities of parenthood." And again, " 'Responsible parenthood,' in fact, is becoming the preferred term throughout Protestantism for limiting the number of progeny." Dr. Fagley's words suggest the reasons why little seems to have been said about responsible parenthood fifty years ago and why today the words are becoming a popular slogan with the occasional connotation that Catholics favor irresponsible parenthood. Everyone has always agreed, however, that parenthood is a serious, responsible business. Catholics have not differed from their neighbors on that pint. The truth is fifty years ago we heard very little if anything about responsible parenthood, as that phrase is understood today, whether from Protestants, Catholics or non-believers. Why?
Undoubtedly the reasons are complex and we do not wish to oversimplify. For one thing there was little fear of a population problem at that time. Nobody thought of demanding in those days, and nobody thinks of demanding today, that the average husband and wife give up, in the name of the social good, for very extended periods of time, their personal right to [the privileges of the married state]. Such a demand would not be considered reasonable by anyone except for the most pressing reasons, and usually for reasons of a very personal kind. Everyone has always recognized that such long periods of enforced abstinence, often for one, two or three years at a time, are an abnormal strain on the average couple, justified only by extraordinary circumstances. St. Paul's injunction to "defraud not one another" is common sense.
Fifty years ago, however, the only legitimate means of family planning either by Catholics, or by Protestants, or by the respectable public at large, was complete abstinence from [the privileges of the married state] over extended periods of time. Contraception was almost universally rejected as immoral. The sterile period had not been determined with sufficient accuracy. Consequently we heard very little from anyone about responsible family planning. There were few, if any, churchmen, few social planners, who had the hardihood to crusade for responsible parenthood when that meant for the average couple [married] abstinence for years at a time. Protestants and others would not be campaigning for it today, we may be sure, unless they had changed their beliefs about contraception. Such a campaign is for them feasible in practice only because they have found a method, in their eyes now morally acceptable, by which couples can plan a family while continuing to have [the privileges of the married state] regularly.
Something quite similar is true of Catholics, but not to the same extent. We, too, are talking more and more about responsible parenthood and family planning, though we may speak of it in terms of Christian prudence rather than of responsible planning. But as a practical matter we could not be talking thus unless we, too, had found a workable method, morally acceptable in our eyes, which enables many couples to plain a family responsibly while continuing to have [the privileges of the married state] more or less regularly. (Father John C. Ford, S.J., and Father Gerald Kelly, S.J., Contemporary Moral Theology, Volume 2, The Newman Press, 1964, pp. 451-453.)
Fathers Ford and Kelly did not believe that Catholics should reject what they asserted was the responsibility to address the "population problem" because the propagandists of Planned Parenthood were using this "problem" to promote contraception. No, they asserted that the "population problem" cannot be dismissed and must be considered, therefore, in decisions of family planning in some parts of the world, reiterating the assertions that they had made in passages cited previously herein:
Are we then to say that population problems have no bearing at all on the morality of periodic continence? No. In the first place, we have seen that there is a sense in which the affirmative obligation to procreate is based partly on legal justice, and this implies that population needs are in some way a partial measure of the obligation. Furthermore, we have seen that it is soundly probable that once a family has made its proper contribution to the population needs, there is no further obligation on that score to procreate. Finally, it may well be that population pressures in a given region may constitute a legitimate excusing cause form the affirmative obligation, and that at some future date population pressures could conceivably reach the point where there would be strict duties not to procreate. Father John C. Ford, S.J., and Father Gerald Kelly, S.J., Contemporary Moral Theology, Volume 2, The Newman Press, 1964, p. 457.)
Leaving aside the nasty, inconvenient little truth that there was no such "population problem" and that Pope Pius XII had specifically warned against procreation as a means of providing "a sufficient mass of 'material' for the human race," Fathers John C. Ford, S.J., and Gerald Kelly, S.J., were advancing a truly revolutionary agenda that paved the way for what is called today "natural family planning."
Although Fathers Ford and Kelly qualified their conclusions above by stating that the "population problem" did not provide a sufficient reason for Catholic married couples in the United States from an "affirmative obligation to procreate" (p. 458.), they really did believe that "family planning" by means of the rhythm method could be left almost entirely to the consciences of Catholic married couples, thereby feeding into expectation that "family limitation" is a normative in Catholic moral teaching, which it is not:
(4) But we do believe that moralists should open up further the question of a possible obligation to make use of periodic continence, not for mere demographic reasons, but for personal, or family, or social, or religious reasons--in a word, for all those reasons which have a proximate bearing on the family, and which therefore have a legitimate place in arriving at a prudent, Christian decision as to the size of the family. Father John C. Ford, S.J., and Father Gerald Kelly, S.J., Contemporary Moral Theology, Volume 2, The Newman Press, 1964, p. 458.)
Fathers Ford and Kelly contradicted themselves here without realizing it as there would be no need to "expand" the use of periodic continence if the limits that Pope Pius XII himself described as "very wide" were wide enough to justify the indiscriminate practice of what is called today "natural family planning" that they desired. Pope Pius XII taught no such thing. Volume 2 of their Contemporary Moral Theology provided a framework that was used to "expand" Pope Pius XII's limits as broadly as possible in Giovanni Montini/Paul VI's Humanae Vitae. Father John C Ford, S.J., himself may have opposed the personalist view of marriage that was advanced by Dietrich von Hildebrand and Father Herbert Doms. His work, however, helped to produce the exact same result: a "couple based" view of marriage in which the conception of children had to be planned according to their own needs and desires.
Those looking for a "liberal" view of Pope Pius XII's teaching can certainly "run" with the "opinions" Fathers Ford and Kelly held in the 1950s but expressed openly after the death of Pope Pius XII. Such a "liberal" view, however, is contrary to the entirety of the patrimony of Catholic teaching and the exhortations of our popes and saints. They wanted to be seen as defending Catholic teaching while they proceeded to undercut it. There is a name for this: conciliarspeak, and that has nothing to do with Catholicism.
The most that anyone who agrees with this liberal view of Pope Pius XII's teaching can assert is that they are adhering to the opinion of various theologians about it. Such an assertion, however, is only that, an assertion. It is not the de fide dogma of the Catholic Church as the whole notion of "family planning" was far from the mind of Pope Pius XII, a mind that was known so very well by Cardinal Ottaviani, who considered such talk to have been without precedent in the history of Holy Mother Church. Even Fathers Ford and Kelly recognized their work as being speculative in nature and that, as they saw things, Pope Pius XII attempted to "settle" various moral issues that they believe remained unsettled, which means that they understood, despite all of their protestations to the contrary, that the limits outlined by our last true pope were, too restrictive for their liking.
There is a body of theological thought opposed to the "liberal" view. Men such as Monsignor George Kelly and others sought to reaffirm the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church on
marriage and the family, and those who rely upon this reaffirmation of
Catholic teaching have not defected from the Catholic Faith, perhaps summarized best by Dr. Herbert Ratner: "Children help parents grow up."
A Chastisement for Refusing to Obey Our Lady's Fatima Message
France, the elder daughter of Holy Mother Church, was punished because King Louis XIV and the bishops who enabled him refused to consecrate the entirety of France to His Most Sacred Heart as Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ had instructed Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque to request.
We are suffering from a chastisement because both of our last true popes, Popes Pius XI and XII, refused to consecrate Russia collegially to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart as she requested in Fatima, Portugal, first in a general way on July 13, 1917, and then, fulfilling her promise that she would come to call for the consecration, to Sister Lucia dos Santos in Tuy, Spain, on June 13, 1929:
At this point Lucia
explained that she understood the apparition was a representation of the
Holy Trinity, as she heard Mary speak to her: "The moment has come in
which God asks the Holy Father, in union with all the Bishops in the
world, to make the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart,
promising to save it by this means. There are so many souls whom the
Justice of God condemns for sins committed against me, that I have come
to ask reparation: sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray."
Lucia told all
this to her confessor who ordered her to write it down, and she also
said that later on Jesus had spoken as follows to her: "They did not
wish to heed My request. Like the king of France, they will repent and
do it, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread her errors
throughout the world, provoking wars and persecutions of the Church; the
Holy Father will have much to suffer." (Our Lady's words at Fatima.)
Despite Pope Pius XI's ardent defense of the Faith, admitting errors of judgment in the practical order such as telling the Cristeros to lay down their arms in Mexico at a time when they were gaining the upper hand against the Masonic revolutionaries in Our Lady's beloved country, being slaughtered by the thousands after they did so, and his championing of the Social Reign of Christ the King and implacable opposition to the errors of the day (ecumenism, statism, Nazism, Communism), he failed us by refusing to obey Our Lady's simple request, thereby bringing about World War II as a chastisement.
Pope Pius XI's successor, Pope Pius XII, saw the devastation that World War II was bringing about early in his pontificate, recognizing this as the consequence of the overthrow of Catholicism by the Protestant Revolution:
29. The denial of the fundamentals of morality had its origin, in Europe,
in the abandonment of that Christian teaching of which the Chair of Peter is
the depository and exponent. That teaching had once given spiritual cohesion
to a Europe which, educated, ennobled and civilized by the Cross, had reached
such a degree of civil progress as to become the teacher of other peoples, of
other continents. But, cut off from the infallible teaching authority of the
Church, not a few separated brethren have gone so far as to overthrow the
central dogma of Christianity, the Divinity of the Savior, and have hastened
thereby the progress of spiritual decay.
30. The Holy Gospel narrates that when Jesus was crucified "there was
darkness over the whole earth" (Matthew xxvii. 45); a terrifying
symbol of what happened and what still happens spiritually wherever
incredulity, blind and proud of itself, has succeeded in excluding Christ from
modern life, especially from public life, and has undermined faith in God as
well as faith in Christ. The consequence is that the moral values by which in
other times public and private conduct was gauged have fallen into disuse; and
the much vaunted civilization of society, which has made ever more rapid
progress, withdrawing man, the family and the State from the beneficent and
regenerating effects of the idea of God and the teaching of the Church, has
caused to reappear, in regions in which for many centuries shone the splendors
of Christian civilization, in a manner ever clearer, ever more distinct, ever
more distressing, the signs of a corrupt and corrupting paganism: "There
was darkness when they crucified Jesus" (Roman Breviary, Good Friday,
31. Many perhaps, while abandoning the teaching of Christ, were not fully
conscious of being led astray by a mirage of glittering phrases, which
proclaimed such estrangement as an escape from the slavery in which they were
before held; nor did they then foresee the bitter consequences of bartering
the truth that sets free, for error which enslaves. They did not realize that,
in renouncing the infinitely wise and paternal laws of God, and the unifying
and elevating doctrines of Christ's love, they were resigning themselves to
the whim of a poor, fickle human wisdom; they spoke of progress, when they
were going back; of being raised, when they groveled; of arriving at man's
estate, when they stooped to servility. They did not perceive the inability of
all human effort to replace the law of Christ by anything equal to it;
"they became vain in their thoughts" (Romans i. 21).
32. With the weakening of faith in God and in Jesus Christ, and the
darkening in men's minds of the light of moral principles, there disappeared
the indispensable foundation of the stability and quiet of that internal and
external, private and public order, which alone can support and safeguard the
prosperity of States.
33. It is true that even when Europe had a cohesion of brotherhood through
identical ideals gathered from Christian preaching, she was not free from
divisions, convulsions and wars which laid her waste; but perhaps they never
felt the intense pessimism of today as to the possibility of settling them,
for they had then an effective moral sense of the just and of the unjust, of
the lawful and of the unlawful, which, by restraining outbreaks of passion,
left the way open to an honorable settlement. In Our days, on the contrary,
dissensions come not only from the surge of rebellious passion, but also from
a deep spiritual crisis which has overthrown the sound principles of private
and public morality. (Pope Pius XII, Summi Pontificatus, October 10, 1939.)
As Our Lady told Sister Lucia dos Santos would be the case, the Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, did indeed suffer much as a result of that chastisement, which resulted in such loss of life and physical destruction in Europe as the Soviet Union emerged as the effective occupier of almost half of the continent's population that he, so focused on these weighty matters, could not see the enemies within his own hierarchy and, quite indeed, within his own Vatican curia. We, however, are suffering a further chastisement because Pope Pius XII himself, like his predecessor before him, also refused to consecrate Russia collegially to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
It is thus the case that the disciples of Modernism of various stripes, including the "new theology" that was condemned by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis, August 12, 1950, were able to publish and speak freely in the late-1940s and 1950s as they planted the seeds for revolutionary changes from which we are still suffering at this very time. The souls of countless millions upon millions of Catholics have been swept away in the deluge that has followed in the wake of these changes, a deluge that Pope Pius XII saw coming but considered himself powerless to stop. This is all within the Providence of God, recognizing that His ways are not ours and that we must accept His mysterious designs for these our days included our last true pope's bemoaning future events that he could have forestalled, or at least have sought to lessen in their terrible intensity, if he had done exactly what the Mother of God herself had requested.
Our sins, of course, deserve no better, which is why we must, as the consecrated slaves of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, pray as many Rosaries each day as our state-in-life permits, seeking to live more penitentially so that we do indeed strive for the ideal of Catholic moral life, relying upon the graces Our Lady sends us to avoid the stultifying legalistic minimalism that helped to produce the current ecclesiastical crisis.
We must plant the seeds for true change, the restoration of the Church Militant on earth and thus of the Social Reign of Christ the King, by doing what we can in our own lives to fulfill Our Lady's Fatima Message as we seek all contact with the revolutionaries who have devastated the Faith:
"With those who have wandered form the unity of the Catholic faith, either through not celebrating Easter at the proper time or through evil living, you are to have no dealings. Never forget that if you should ever be forced to make the choice of two evils I would prefer that you left the island, taking my bones with you, than you should be a party to wickedness on any pretext whatsoever, bending your necks to the yoke of schism. Strive most diligently to learn the catholic statutes of the fathers and put them into practice. Make it your special care to carry out those rules of the monastic life which God in His divine mercy has seen fit to give you through my ministry. I know that, though some may see that my teachings are not to be easily dismissed." (Saint Cuthbert, as quoted by The Venerable Bede, The Life of Cuthbert. The Age of Bede, translated by J. F. Webb and edited with an introduction by D. H. Farmer, Penguin Books, published in 1965 and reprinted with revisions in 1988 and 1998, p. 95.)
Today is the Feast of Saint Peter's Chains. Saint Peter was rescued from imprisonment by an angel after he had been arrested upon the orders of Herod. Our first pope was in chains. He was rescued miraculously:
 And at the same time, Herod the king stretched forth his hands, to afflict some of the church.  And he killed James, the brother of John, with the sword.  And seeing that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to take up Peter also. Now it was in the days of the Azymes.  And when he had apprehended him, he cast him into prison, delivering
him to four files of soldiers to be kept, intending, after the pasch, to
bring him forth to the people.  Peter therefore was kept in prison. But prayer was made without ceasing by the church unto God for him.
 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was
sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers
before the door kept the prison.  And behold an angel of the Lord stood by him: and a light shined in the
room: and he striking Peter on the side, raised him up, saying: Arise
quickly. And the chains fell off from his hands.  And the angel said to him: Gird thyself, and put on thy sandals. And he
did so. And he said to him: Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.  And going out, he followed him, and he knew not that it was true which was done by the angel: but thought he saw a vision.  And passing through the first and the second ward, they came to the
iron gate that leadeth to the city, which of itself opened to them. And
going out, they passed on through one street: and immediately the angel
departed from him.
 And Peter coming to himself, said: Now I know in very deed, that the
Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of
Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.  And considering, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, who
was surnamed Mark, where many were gathered together and praying.  And when he knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, whose name was Rhode.  And as soon as she knew Peter's voice, she opened not the gate for joy,
but running in she told that Peter stood before the gate.  But they said to her: Thou art mad. But she affirmed that it was so. Then said they: It is his angel.
 But Peter continued knocking. And when they had opened, they saw him, and were astonished.  But he beckoning to them with his hand to hold their peace, told how
the Lord had brought him out of prison, and he said: Tell these things
to James, and to the brethren. And going out, he went into another
place.  Now when day was come, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.  And when Herod had sought for him, and found him not; having examined
the keepers, he commanded they should be put to death; and going down
from Judea to Caesarea, he abode there.  And he was angry with the Tyrians and the Sidonians. But they with one
accord came to him, and having gained Blastus, who was the king's
chamberlain, they desired peace, because their countries were nourished
by him. (Acts 12: 1-19.)
It was Our Lady who had prayed for our first pope while he was in chains. Her prayers secured the angel who rescued him miraculously from the clutches of Herod and the Jews. The event was so miraculous that the mother of Saint Mark the Evangelist, Saint Peter's trusted disciple, saw that our first pope stood before her. Those with her refused to believe her. They refused to believe that the first pope had been miraculously rescued. Saint Peter had to continue to knock to gain entry!
The papacy is held in chains today. Our Lady will rescue the papacy just as miraculously as she rescued our first pope by means of her prayers. We must believe that she will do so as the Church Militant undergoes her Mystical Passion, Death and Burial in these our days. She is indeed our life, our sweetness and our hope. Saint Peter relied upon her. So must we!