Selectively Excusing Modernism
Thomas A. Droleskey
It is not normally my policy to respond to critics. However, an effort has been undertaken by Jacob Michael to "respond" to what he calls the "intellectually inept" essay of mine, "A New Theology for a New Religion," which critiqued Joseph Ratzinger's Principles of Catholic Theology. The selective nature of the "response," which ignores the entire thrust of Modernism condemned by Pope Saint Pius X in Pascendi Dominci Gregis and of the " new thinkers" by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis, reveals that Mr. Michael is unwilling to look objectively at the overall theological methodology of Joseph Ratzinger, which is indeed at odds with Catholicism.
This is important to point out as Mr. Michael selects given passages from my essay which he believes can be disproved by a "proper" reading of Ratzinger by someone who is far more competent than I am, namely, himself. Mr. Michael, however, refuses to consider the fact that Ratzinger's theological approach is entirely Modernist and it is through this lens that his, Ratzinger's works must be analyzed. This is not "pessimism." This is simple Catholic realism.
To wit, Pope Saint Pius X wrote the following in Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907:
It remains for Us now to say a few words about the Modernist as reformer. From all that has preceded, it is abundantly clear how great and how eager is the passion of such men for innovation. In all Catholicism there is absolutely nothing on which it does not fasten. They wish philosophy to be reformed, especially in the ecclesiastical seminaries. They wish the scholastic philosophy to be relegated to the history of philosophy and to be classed among absolute systems, and the young men to be taught modern philosophy which alone is true and suited to the times in which we live. They desire the reform of theology: rational theology is to have modern philosophy for its foundation, and positive theology is to be founded on the history of dogma. As for history, it must be written and taught only according to their methods and modern principles. Dogmas and their evolution, they affirm, are to be harmonized with science and history. In the Catechism no dogmas are to be inserted except those that have been reformed and are within the capacity of the people. Regarding worship, they say, the number of external devotions is to be reduced, and steps must be taken to prevent their further increase, though, indeed, some of the admirers of symbolism are disposed to be more indulgent on this head. They cry out that ecclesiastical government requires to be reformed in all its branches, but especially in its disciplinary and dogmatic departments They insist that both outwardly and inwardly it must be brought into harmony with the modern conscience which now wholly tends towards democracy; a share in ecclesiastical government should therefore be given to the lower ranks of the clergy and even to the laity and authority which is too much concentrated should be decentralized The Roman Congregations and especially the index and the Holy Office, must be likewise modified The ecclesiastical authority must alter its line of conduct in the social and political world; while keeping outside political organizations it must adapt itself to them in order to penetrate them with its spirit. With regard to morals, they adopt the principle of the Americanists, that the active virtues are more important than the passive, and are to be more encouraged in practice. They ask that the clergy should return to their primitive humility and poverty, and that in their ideas and action they should admit the principles of Modernism; and there are some who, gladly listening to the teaching of their Protestant masters, would desire the suppression of the celibacy of the clergy. What is there left in the Church which is not to be reformed by them and according to their principles? (Pascendi Dominici Gregis, No. 38)
Let me repeat here what was on this site a few days ago as it places the work of Joseph Ratzinger in its proper context:
With the sole exception of the issue of clerical celibacy, which has been an issue for a few conciliarists over the past forty years, the list of "reforms" that Pope Saint Pius X knew that the Modernists wanted to implement stands out as a prophetic warning as to the agenda that was formed by Modernist theologians in the years before the Second Vatican Council and became the fundamental basis for the whole ethos of conciliarism. Consider the prophetic nature of Pope Saint Pius X's list of "reforms" that the Modernists wanted to implement:
1) The passion for innovation. Innovation, which the Church has always eschewed, has become the very foundation of conciliarism. Indeed, Benedict XVI said last year that Catholics would have to learn to live with novelty. Since when has this been the case in the history of the Catholic Church? It is standard practice in the counterfeit church of conciliarism.
2) "They wish the scholastic philosophy to be relegated to the history of philosophy and to be classed among absolute systems, and the young men to be taught modern philosophy which alone is true and suited to the times in which we live." This is a cogent summary of the belief of Joseph Ratzinger himself, which he outlined in Principles of Catholic Theology (a little treatise, A New Theology for a New Religion. which we are endeavoring to put into book form,.done on this book two weeks ago).
Here is Ratzinger's own rejection of Scholastic Philosophy, proving that he does indeed fall into the prophetic warning issued by Pope Saint Pius X in Pascendi Dominci Gregis:
"In a certain sense, the theology of the first half of the [20th] century was more balanced, but also more closed within itself. Much of that theology lived inside the box of Neo-Scholasticism. It had greater certainty and logical lucidity than today's theology, but it was far removed from the real world. The adventure that began in the Council took theology out of that box and exposed it to the fresh air of today's life.
"Consequently this exposed it to the risk of new unbalances, since it was subject to divergent tendencies without the protection of a system. This caused theology to look for new balances in the context of an open and lively dialogue with today's reality.
"This step seems to me not only justified, but also necessary, because theology should serve faith and evangelization, and, for this reason, must face reality as it is today .... Therefore, it was a just and necessary step, although also a risky one .... But risk is part of a necessary adventure." (30 Dias, April 1994, p. 62, found on the Tradition in Action website)
This is a textbook apologia for the Modernist view of Thomism and the necessity of conforming the Faith to the "needs" of modern man, points that I made at the beginning of "A New Theology for a New Religion."
3) "Dogmas and their evolution, they affirm, are to harmonized with science and history." Thus it is, of course, that Joseph Ratzinger believes that such things as The Syllabus of Errors and even Pascendi Dominci Gregis itself served a useful purpose at one point in history but that they lose their binding force over time. In other words, we must harmonize Catholicism with the events of history (the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King, the institutionalization of Protestant "churches," the rise of the secular state) and not be "tied down" by a "time-centered" view of the Faith. Does Mr. Michael deny that this is an accurate interrelation of the thought of Joseph Ratzinger?
The text [of the Second Vatican Council] also presents the various forms of bonds that rise from the different degrees of magisterial teaching. It affirms -- perhaps for the first time with this clarity -- that there are decisions of the Magisterium that cannot be a last word on the matter as such, but are, in a substantial fixation of the problem, above all an expression of pastoral prudence, a kind of provisional disposition. Its nucleus remains valid, but the particulars, which the circumstances of the times have influenced, may need further ramifications.
“In this regard, one may think of the declarations of Popes in the last century about religious liberty, as well as the anti-Modernist decisions at the beginning of this century, above all, the decisions of the Biblical Commission of the time. As a cry of alarm in the face of hasty and superficial adaptations, they will remain fully justified. A personage such as Johann Baptist Metz said, for example, that the Church's anti-Modernist decisions render the great service of preserving her from immersion in the liberal-bourgeois world. But in the details of the determinations they contain, they become obsolete after having fulfilled their pastoral mission at the proper moment.” (Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, L'Osservatore Romano, July 2, 1990)
This is of the essence of Modernism, which is founded in the acceptance of the dialectical principle of Hegelianism, that truth itself is evolving as a result of the inherent contradictions contained therein. Thus it is, you see, that the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger can contend that he is adhering to “Tradition” while interpreting it in light of the Modernist presuppositions of the “new thinkers” (Karl Rahner, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Yves Congar, Henri de Lubac, Johann Baptist Metz).
As repetition is the mother of learning, perhaps it is good to repeat once again that this Modernist view of dogma was specifically condemned by the First Vatican Council. No Catholic is free to ignore these binding words and remain a Catholic in good standing:
Hence, that meaning of the sacred dogmata is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy Mother Church, and there must never be an abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding.... If anyone says that it is possible that at some given time, given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmata propounded by the Church which is different from that which the Church has always understood and understands: let him be anathema.”
Does Mr. Michael want to contend that Joseph Ratzinger believes this? Is it not the case, proved above with the quote from L'Osservatore Romano, that Joseph Ratzinger rejects it, believing that doctrine can be understood in new ways so as to meet the "needs" of modern man?
4) "Regarding worship, they say, the number of external devotions is to be reduced, and steps must be taken to prevent their further increase, though, indeed, some of the admirers of symbolism are disposed to be more indulgent on this head." This describes the liturgical thrust of conciliarism quite accurately. Indeed, the last sentence in this sentence has particular application to Joseph Ratzinger, who is more disposed to be "indulgent" to the symbolism of the liturgy but is nevertheless committed to "reforming" the conciliar "reform." The Mass of Tradition can have its place, possibly, for those who are "attached" to it. There is no turning back on the "reform" itself, including the reduction of the saints commemorated on conciliarism's universal calendar. Indeed, then Cardinal Ratzinger wrote the following in Principles of Catholic Theology in 1982:
Among the more obvious phenomena of the last years must be counted the increasing number of integralist groups in which the desire for piety, for the sense of mystery, is finding satisfaction. We must be on our guard against minimizing these movements. Without a doubt, they represent a sectarian zealotry that is the antithesis of Catholicity. We cannot resist them too firmly. (pp. 389-390)
5) "They cry out that ecclesiastical government requires to be reformed in all its branches, but especially in its disciplinary and dogmatic departments They insist that both outwardly and inwardly it must be brought into harmony with the modern conscience which now wholly tends towards democracy; a share in ecclesiastical government should therefore be given to the lower ranks of the clergy and even to the laity and authority which is too much concentrated should be decentralized The Roman Congregations and especially the index and the Holy Office, must be likewise modified." The conciliarists have summarized Pope Saint Pius X's description of their Modernist view of Church governance very succinctly: Collegiality. It is no accident that Paul VI gave away his Papal Tiara, which is on display in the crypt of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., and that John Paul I and John Paul II and Benedict XVI each refused to be crowned. This was quite symbolic, perhaps in ways that they did not even intend to signify as I have come to realize in the last half year. Benedict has gone so far as to remove the tiara from his coat-of-arms, which is reflective of episcopal collegiality with his own bishops and a gesture in the direction of those steeped in the heresies of Photius, the Orthodox.
6) "The ecclesiastical authority must alter its line of conduct in the social and political world; while keeping outside political organizations it must adapt itself to them in order to penetrate them with its spirit." This is of the essence of Gaudium et Spes. And it is of the essence of Joseph Ratzinger's belief that the the Second Vatican Council represented an "official reconciliation" with the principles of 1789. Just as a little reminder so that readers with short memories do not think that I am misrepresenting the thought of the man who does not believe it to be the mission of the Catholic Church to seek with urgency the conversion of Protestants and Jews and the Orthodox and all others who are outside her maternal bosom:
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. From this perspective, too, we can understand the different emphases with which the individual parts of the Church entered into the discussion of the text. While German theologians were satisfied that their exegetical and ecumenical concepts had been incorporated, representatives of Latin American countries, in particular, felt that their concerns, too, had been addressed, topics proposed by Anglo-Saxon theologians likewise found strong expression, and representatives of Third World countries saw, in the emphasis on social questions, a consideration of their particular problems. (Principles of Catholic Theology, pp. 381-382)
Pope Saint Pius X wrote the following in Vehementer Nos, February 11, 1906 about those who would dare to contend that the Church had to "reconcile" herself to the separation of Church and State, which the Catholic Church condemned repeatedly and vigorously throughout her history prior to the Second Vatican Council:
That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error. Based, as it is, on the principle that the State must not recognize any religious cult, it is in the first place guilty of a great injustice to God; for the Creator of man is also the Founder of human societies, and preserves their existence as He preserves our own. We owe Him, therefore, not only a private cult, but a public and social worship to honor Him. Besides, this thesis is an obvious negation of the supernatural order. It limits the action of the State to the pursuit of public prosperity during this life only, which is but the proximate object of political societies; and it occupies itself in no fashion (on the plea that this is foreign to it) with their ultimate object which is man's eternal happiness after this short life shall have run its course. But as the present order of things is temporary and subordinated to the conquest of man's supreme and absolute welfare, it follows that the civil power must not only place no obstacle in the way of this conquest, but must aid us in effecting it. The same thesis also upsets the order providentially established by God in the world, which demands a harmonious agreement between the two societies. Both of them, the civil and the religious society, although each exercises in its own sphere its authority over them. It follows necessarily that there are many things belonging to them in common in which both societies must have relations with one another. Remove the agreement between Church and State, and the result will be that from these common matters will spring the seeds of disputes which will become acute on both sides; it will become more difficult to see where the truth lies, and great confusion is certain to arise. Finally, this thesis inflicts great injury on society itself, for it cannot either prosper or last long when due place is not left for religion, which is the supreme rule and the sovereign mistress in all questions touching the rights and the duties of men. Hence the Roman Pontiffs have never ceased, as circumstances required, to refute and condemn the doctrine of the separation of Church and State. Our illustrious predecessor, Leo XIII, especially, has frequently and magnificently expounded Catholic teaching on the relations which should subsist between the two societies. "Between them," he says, "there must necessarily be a suitable union, which may not improperly be compared with that existing between body and soul.-"Quaedam intercedat necesse est ordinata colligatio (inter illas) quae quidem conjunctioni non immerito comparatur, per quam anima et corpus in homine copulantur." He proceeds: "Human societies cannot, without becoming criminal, act as if God did not exist or refuse to concern themselves with religion, as though it were something foreign to them, or of no purpose to them.... As for the Church, which has God Himself for its author, to exclude her from the active life of the nation, from the laws, the education of the young, the family, is to commit a great and pernicious error. -- "Civitates non possunt, citra scellus, gerere se tamquam si Deus omnino non esset, aut curam religionis velut alienam nihilque profuturam abjicere.... Ecclesiam vero, quam Deus ipse constituit, ab actione vitae excludere, a legibus, ab institutione adolescentium, a societate domestica, magnus et perniciousus est error."
Pope Saint Pius X condemned as "absolutely false" the thesis that the State must be separated from the Church. Absolutely false. Benedict XVI accepts as true and good that which a canonized pope, repeating the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church, which no one has any authority to contradict, condemned as absolutely false. No wonder that Mr. Michael refuses to deal with Joseph Ratzinger's views concerning the separation of Church and State, which have been condemned repeatedly by Holy Mother Church prior to the advent of conciliarism. Ratzinger does not embrace a "healthy secularity" and separation of the Church and State as merely pragmatic tools that must be used in our modern era. He embraces them in principle as an expression of the Church's "reconciliation" to the principles of 1789. No Catholic pontiff dared to speak in such a manner prior to the advent of the pontificate of Angelo Roncalli, whose own ecclesiology (that the Catholic Church is "growing" in "increasingly wider concentric circles) mirrors that of Ratzinger himself. There is no reconciling the unprecedented novelties of conciliarism and conciliarists, including one of the chief conciliarists, Joseph Ratzinger, with the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church.
In addition to the above-noted paragraph in Pascendi Dominci Gregis, Pope Saint Pius X went on to note the arrogance of the Modernists in their desire for novelty and in their contempt for scholastic theology and their efforts to view the Fathers in light of their own Modernist predilections:
Would that they had but displayed less zeal and energy in propagating it! But such is their activity and such their unwearying labor on behalf of their cause, that one cannot but be pained to see them waste such energy in endeavoring to ruin the Church when they might have been of such service to her had their efforts been better directed. Their artifices to delude men's minds are of two kinds, the first to remove obstacles from their path, the second to devise and apply actively and patiently every resource that can serve their purpose. They recognize that the three chief difficulties which stand in their way are the scholastic method of philosophy, the authority and tradition of the Fathers, and the magisterium of the Church, and on these they wage unrelenting war. Against scholastic philosophy and theology they use the weapons of ridicule and contempt. Whether it is ignorance or fear, or both, that inspires this conduct in them, certain it is that the passion for novelty is always united in them with hatred of scholasticism, and there is no surer sign that a man is tending to Modernism than when he begins to show his dislike for the scholastic method. Let the Modernists and their admirers remember the proposition condemned by Pius IX: "The method and principles which have served the ancient doctors of scholasticism when treating of theology no longer correspond with the exigencies of our time or the progress of science." They exercise all their ingenuity in an effort to weaken the force and falsify the character of tradition, so as to rob it of all its weight and authority. But for Catholics nothing will remove the authority of the second Council of Nicea, where it condemns those "who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions, to invent novelties of some kind...or endeavor by malice or craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church"; nor that of the declaration of the fourth Council of Constantinople: "We therefore profess to preserve and guard the rules bequeathed to the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, by the Holy and most illustrious Apostles, by the orthodox Councils, both general and local, and by everyone of those divine interpreters, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church." Wherefore the Roman Pontiffs, Pius IV and Pius IX, ordered the insertion in the profession of faith of the following declaration: "I most firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and other observances and constitutions of the Church.'' (Pascendi Dominici Gregis, No. 42)
This paragraph is a ringing condemnation of the work of conciliarism and of its progenitors, the so-called "new thinkers" (Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Karl Rahner, Joseph Ratzinger, et al.). Look at how Pope Saint Pius X zeroed in on the three things that Joseph Ratzinger spent nearly 400 pages trying to deconstruct and explain away in Principles of Catholic Theology: (1) The Scholastic Method of Philosophy; (2) The Authority and Tradition of the Fathers; and (3) the Magisterium of the Church. Although I dealt with each in A New Theology for a New Religion, suffice it to say for present purposes that the then Cardinal Ratzinger had to rely upon his Hegelian view of the world to explain away dogmatic pronouncements and articles contained in the Deposit of Faith that constituted part of the Church's Ordinary Magisterium. The Syllabus of Errors? Well, right for its time perhaps, Ratzinger and other conciliarists say, but we can see now that it was a "hasty" and "superficial" overreaction to events of the day.
As Pope Saint Pius X noted; "They exercise all their ingenuity in an effort to weaken the force and falsify the character of tradition, so as to rob it of all of its weight and authority." This is so very important. Benedict's use of the word "tradition" does not mean what the Church has always taught it to mean. He desires to "weaken the force" and to "falsify the character of tradition" precisely so as to "rob it of all its weight and authority," considering the word "tradition" to be an empty vessel into which he can pour whatever meaning he believes is appropriate for "modern man."
Pope Pius XII, writing in Humani Generis, also condemned the whole theological approach used by Ratzinger and the other new thinkers to "understand" Catholicity, which is much broader, as Ratzinger points out in Principles of Catholic Theology, than Catholicism:
In theology some want to reduce to a minimum the meaning of dogmas; and to free dogma itself from terminology long established in the Church and from philosophical concepts held by Catholic teachers, to bring about a return in the explanation of Catholic doctrine to the way of speaking used in Holy Scripture and by the Fathers of the Church. They cherish the hope that when dogma is stripped of the elements which they hold to be extrinsic to divine revelation, it will compare advantageously with the dogmatic opinions of those who are separated from the unity of the Church and that in this way they will gradually arrive at a mutual assimilation of Catholic dogma with the tenets of the dissidents.
Moreover they assert that when Catholic doctrine has been reduced to this condition, a way will be found to satisfy modern needs, that will permit of dogma being expressed also by the concepts of modern philosophy, whether of immanentism or idealism or existentialism or any other system. Some more audacious affirm that this can and must be done, because they hold that the mysteries of faith are never expressed by truly adequate concepts but only by approximate and ever changeable notions, in which the truth is to some extent expressed, but is necessarily distorted. Wherefore they do not consider it absurd, but altogether necessary, that theology should substitute new concepts in place of the old ones in keeping with the various philosophies which in the course of time it uses as its instruments, so that it should give human expression to divine truths in various ways which are even somewhat opposed, but still equivalent, as they say. They add that the history of dogmas consists in the reporting of the various forms in which revealed truth has been clothed, forms that have succeeded one another in accordance with the different teachings and opinions that have arisen over the course of the centuries.
Anyone who does not see that this summarizes the entirely of Joseph Ratzinger's thought will never be convinced of the simple fact that Ratzinger does indeed believe that "theology should substitute new concepts in place of the old ones in keeping with the various philosophies which in the course of time it uses as its instruments." Here is a passage from Principles of Catholic Theology:
Our principal need today is not primarily new formulas; on the contrary, we must confess to a superfluity of unheeded words. Our principal need is for a reconstruction of the existential context of catechumenal training in the faith as the source of a common experience of the Spirit that can also become the foundation of a realistic reflection. Undoubtedly, this will give rise to new formulations in which the central truths of the Christian faith will be expressed in a way that is both easily remembered and easily understood. Even more important than the brief answers that can be found in any catechism will be a coherent logic of faith in which even partial answers have their place. Formulas live by the logic that supports them; but logic lives by the logos, the meaning, which does not reveal itself without the cooperation of life--it is bound to the "circle" of communio that can be penetrated only by the union of thought and life. (p. 26.)
This is the context in which Joseph Ratzinger is either understood as Modernist to the core or it is not. As I noted in "A New Theology for a New Religion," Ratzinger, as a disciple of Hans Urs von Balthasar, whose thought seems to pose no difficulties at all for Mr. Michael, lives in a world of contradiction and paradox. There are so many contradictions in Ratzinger's writing, I noted in the essay, for those seeking to exculpate Ratzinger's Modernism to be able to do so. Mr. Michael makes good use of this throughout his response to my essay, finding, for instance, as "irrelevant" an understanding of Henri de Lubac's treatment of salvation so as to understand Ratzinger's own notions on the subject in Principles of Catholic Theology.
The Salvation of Jews and Protestants
To wit, Mr. Michael states that, contrary to my interpretation of Principles of Catholic Theology, Joseph Ratzinger noted in An Introduction to Christianity:
"Thus the Sinai covenant is indeed superseded. But once what was provisional in it has been swept away, we see what is truly definitive in it. So the expectation of the New Covenant ... does not conflict with the Sinai covenant; rather, it fulfills the dynamic expectation found in that very covenant. "(Ratzinger, Many Religions, One Covenant, pp. 70-71, emphasis added)
The same Joseph Ratzinger, serving as the cardinal-prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved the Pontifical Biblical Commission's Hebrew People and its Holy Scriptures in the Christian Bible, that said that the Jews were saved by the expectant waiting for the Messiah:
"The verification of a discontinuity between the two Testaments and an overemphasis on the old perspectives should not lead to a one-sided spiritualization. That which was already fulfilled in Christ should still be fulfilled in us and in the world. The definitive fulfillment will be that [which takes place] at the end, with the resurrection of the dead, the new heaven and the new earth. The messianic hope of the Hebrews is not in vain. It can become for us a strong stimulus to keep alive the eschatological dimension of our faith. We also, like them [the Jews], are alive to the hope. The difference lies in the fact that for us He who will come will have the features of that Jesus who already came and is already present and active in us" (pp. 52-3)
Atila Sinka Guimarães noted the following on this part of the text of The Hebrew People and its Holy Scriptures in the Christian Bible:
The fulfillment of the redemptive or messianic mission of Our Lord does not depend, contrary to what the PBC affirms, on our response to it and the events at the end of the world. The universal Redemption made by Our Lord was completed at the moment in which He expired on the cross and said: Consumatum est. Correspondence to grace and the individual salvation of each one of us are realities that exist as consequences of the Redemption. There is nothing confusing or complex about it. The second coming of Our Lord is different from His redemptive mission. Jesus Christ will come at the end of the world as judge in order to close History. Creation, Redemption, and the end of History are three distinct realities. This is the Catholic thinking on the matter. Therefore, the PBC's statement I quoted is wrong. And this error would be committed deliberately in order to favor the Jewish perfidy.
Joseph Ratzinger cannot believe that the Old Testament has been superseded. If he did, you see, he would seek with urgency the conversion of the Jews as Saint Peter, the first pope, did, as such great saints as Saint Vincent Ferrer did, as Alphonse Ratisbonne, a Jew, did following his conversion to the Faith after Our Lady's apparition to him and his subsequent ordination to the priesthood as he worked in Palestine for the conversion of his Jewish brethren. Joseph Ratzinger does not believe that Jews need to convert to the Catholic Faith to save their souls.
Can Mr. Michael assert with a straight face that Joseph Ratzinger believes the following dogmatic pronouncement issued by Pope Eugene IV during the Council of Florence?
The Holy Roman Church firmly believes, professes and teaches that the matter pertaining to the law of the Old Testament, of the Mosaic Law, which are divided into ceremonies, sacred rites, sacrifices, and sacraments, because they were established to signify something in the future, although they were suited to divine worship at that time, after our Lord's coming had been signified by them, ceased, and the sacraments of the New Testament began; and that whoever, even after the passion, placed hope in these matters of the law and submitted himself to them as necessary for salvation, as if faith in Christ could not save without them, sinned mortally. Yet it does not deny that after the passion of Christ up to the promulgation of the Gospel they could have been observed until they were believed to be in no way necessary for salvation; but after the promulgation of the Gospel it asserts that they cannot be observed without the loss of eternal salvation. All, therefore, who after that time (the promulgation of the Gospel) observe circumcision and the Sabbath and the other requirements of the law, it declares alien to the Christian faith and not in the least fit to participate in eternal salvation, unless someday they recover from these errors. . .
It firmly believes, professes, and proclaims that those not living within the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics cannot become participants in eternal life, but will depart "into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels" [Matt. 25:41], unless before the end of life the same have been added to the flock; and that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is so strong that only to those remaining in it are the sacraments of the Church of benefit for salvation, and do fastings, almsgiving, and other functions of piety and exercises of Christian service produce eternal reward, and that no one, whatever almsgiving he has practiced, even if he has shed blood for the name of Christ, can be saved, unless he has remained in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.
Joseph Ratzinger does not believe this. I defy anyone to say that he does. He dissents from dogmatic truths he does not like and/or that he believes need to be reformulated. He is, as I have noted before, a mortal enemy of souls in that he does not believe that the Catholic Church has a mission given her by her Divine Bridegroom Himself, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, to seek with urgency the conversion of those outside of her maternal bosom.
Atila Sinka Guimarães elaborates on this precise point on the Tradition in Action website:
In the aftermath of Vatican II many studies were made to explain the consequences of the conciliar documents. One of these was the book La Fine della Chiesa come Societa Perfetta [The End of the Church as a Perfect Society]. The work was composed of 13 articles by authors with a progressivist point-of-view regarding how the Church should change to be inserted in the evolution of the world.
Joseph Ratzinger was one of the progressivist theologians who gave his opinion. He wrote two articles for this book. In one of them Ratzinger takes as a consummate fact that the dogma "extra Ecclesia nulla salus" [there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church] changed. Without presenting any argument he considered that the dogma doesn't make sense when compared to the modern geographic discoveries that "prove" that the world has millions of years, instead of the 4,000 years of the biblical history. He implies that it cannot be true that all the people that lived during these millions of years were not saved. Based solely on this imaginary "evidence" of the disputable modern discoveries, Ratzinger considers it obsolete to defend the mentioned Catholic dogma. No argument was presented. He jumped over it and went on to investigate the future of the Church without the dogma "extra Ecclesia nulla salus."
We thought it would be interesting to present to our readers a close-up in which Ratzinger, today Benedict XVI, clearly denied that dogma.
""Regarding the future, it seems likely that, in global terms, the influence of the Church over the world will constantly diminish. The numeric triumph of Catholicism over other religions, which today can still be admitted, probably will not continue. ....
"In this state of things, one should no longer be concerned with the salvation of 'the others,' who for some time now have become 'our brothers.' Above all, the central question is to have an intuition of the Church's position and mission in History under a positive new point-of-view. This new point-of-view should allow one to believe in the universal offer of the grace of salvation as well as the essential part that the Church plays in this. Therefore, in this sense the problem changed.
"What concerns us is no longer how 'the others' will be saved. Certainly we know, by our faith in divine mercy, that they can be saved. How this happens, we leave to God. The point that does concern us is principally this: Why, despite the wider possibility of salvation, is the Church still necessary? Why should faith and life still continue to come through her? In other words, the present day Christians no longer question if their non-believer brothers can reach salvation. Overall, they desire to know what is the meaning of their union with the universal embrace of Christ and their union with the Church" (Joseph Ratzinger, "Necessita della missione della Chiesa nel mondo," in La Fine della Chiesa come Societa Perfetta, Verona: Mondatori, 1968, pp 69-70).
This is why, you see, Joseph Ratzinger does not believe that non-Catholics, whether Protestants or Jews or other non-Christians, need to be converted to save their souls. Despite his typically contradictory treatment of the subject of the "day of wrath" in An Introduction to Christianity, he believes that men who die outside of the Catholic Church will not face such a day of wrath. This is why he specifically rejects the "theology of the return" of Protestants to the true Church, outside of which there is no salvation. Does Mr. Michael deny that Joseph Ratzinger rejects the "theology of the return?" Does he believe, therefore, that Pope Pius IX and Pope Pius XI, writing in Iam Vos Omnes and Mortalium Animos, respectively, were wrong to insist on the return of Protestants to the true Church? Is this just a time-conditioned "pastoral approach" that one is free to reject because "he does not like it." Does Joseph Ratzinger really and truly believe in the picture of the Particular Judgment portrayed by Saint Alphonsus de Liguori's sermon that was quoted in "A New Theology for a New Religion?"
The passage quoted by Atila Sinka Guimarães represents Ratzinger's thorough embrace of his mentor von Balthasar's notion of "universal salvation," nuanced above as the "universal embrace of Christ and their union with the Church." Once again, it is necessary to point out that Ratzinger's view of what constitutes "unity" with the Church is slightly different from that of, say, every pope and dogmatic council prior to Vatican II.
Alas, Joseph Ratzinger and the rest of the "new thinkers," including De Lubac, believe that they ignore whatever it is they wish while they contend that they are not ignoring anything. Ratzinger praised De Lubac for actually discovering a new meaning of the word Catholic:
De Lubac, for his part, is convinced that Christianity is, by its very nature, a mystery of union. The essence of original sin is the split into individuality, which knows only itself. The essence of redemption is the mending of the shattered image of God, the union of the human race through and in the One who stands for all and in whom, as Paul says (Gal 3: 28), all are one: Jesus Christ. On this premise, the world Catholic became for de Lubac the main theme of all his theological speculation: to be a Christian means to be a Catholic, means to be on one's way to an all-embracing unity Union is redemption, for it is the realization of our likeness to God, the Three-in-One. But union with him is, accordingly, inseparable from and a consequence of our own unity. The concentration on what is Catholic, which seems at first glance to be directed inward, thus is revealed in its original impulse to be an emphatic orientation toward those today who are searching: only when the most inward aspect of Christianity is proclaimed and lived does it reveal itself as both the answer to and a force equivalent to the dynamism of atheism--that that humanism that seeks the unification of mankind. Only when we see this clearly can we rightly understand the purpose of Vatican Council II, which in all its comments about the Church, was moving in the direction of de Lubac's thought." (pp. 49-50)
In other words, formal membership in the Catholic Church for De Lubac was not a precondition to being called a Catholic. To be a "Christian means to be a Catholic, means to be on one's way to an all-embracing unity." What is De Lubac saying? Quite simply, this: the "Church" has not achieved unity. All Christians, if they desire "redemption," must be on the search for this unity. This denies the teaching of the Catholic Chuch that she is one and that she is indivisible. Once again, although couched in ambiguity and artful tones, is a slap in the face to the Received Teaching of the Divine Redeemer.
Pope Leo XIII stated the following truth about the unity of the Catholic Church in Satis Cognitum, June 29, 1896:
He who seeks the truth must be guided by these fundamental principles. That is to say, that Christ the Lord instituted and formed the Church: wherefore when we are asked what its nature is, the main thing is to see what Christ wished and what in fact He did. Judged by such a criterion it is the unity of the Church which must be principally considered; and of this, for the general good, it has seemed useful to speak in this Encyclical.
It is so evident from the clear and frequent testimonies of Holy Writ that the true Church of Jesus Christ is one, that no Christian can dare to deny it. But in judging and determining the nature of this unity many have erred in various ways. Not the foundation of the Church alone, but its whole constitution, belongs to the class of things effected by Christ's free choice. For this reason the entire case must be judged by what was actually done. We must consequently investigate not how the Church may possibly be one, but how He, who founded it, willed that it should be one. But when we consider what was actually done we find that Jesus Christ did not, in point of fact, institute a Church to embrace several communities similar in nature, but in themselves distinct, and lacking those bonds which render the Church unique and indivisible after that manner in which in the symbol of our faith we profess: "I believe in one Church." "The Church in respect of its unity belongs to the category of things indivisible by nature, though heretics try to divide it into many parts...We say, therefore, that the Catholic Church is unique in its essence, in its doctrine, in its origin, and in its excellence...Furthermore, the eminence of the Church arises from its unity, as the principle of its constitution - a unity surpassing all else, and having nothing like unto it or equal to it" (S. Clemens Alexandrinus, Stronmatum lib. viii., c. 17). For this reason Christ, speaking of the mystical edifice, mentions only one Church, which he calls His own - "I will build my church; " any other Church except this one, since it has not been founded by Christ, cannot be the true Church. This becomes even more evident when the purpose of the Divine Founder is considered. For what did Christ, the Lord, ask? What did He wish in regard to the Church founded, or about to be founded? This: to transmit to it the same mission and the same mandate which He had received from the Father, that they should be perpetuated. This He clearly resolved to do: this He actually did. "As the Father hath sent me, I also send you" (John xx., 21). "Ad thou hast sent Me into the world I also have sent them into the world" (John xvii., 18).
But the mission of Christ is to save that which had perished: that is to say, not some nations or peoples, but the whole human race, without distinction of time or place. "The Son of Man came that the world might be saved by Him" (John iii., 17). "For there is no other name under Heaven given to men whereby we must be saved" (Acts iv., 12). The Church, therefore, is bound to communicate without stint to all men, and to transmit through all ages, the salvation effected by Jesus Christ, and the blessings flowing there from. Wherefore, by the will of its Founder, it is necessary that this Church should be one in all lands and at all times. to justify the existence of more than one Church it would be necessary to go outside this world, and to create a new and unheard - of race of men.
That the one Church should embrace all men everywhere and at all times was seen and foretold by Isaias, when looking into the future he saw the appearance of a mountain conspicuous by its all surpassing altitude, which set forth the image of "The House of the Lord" - that is, of the Church, "And in the last days the mountain of the House of the Lord shall be prepared on the top of the mountains" (Isa. ii., 2).
But this mountain which towers over all other mountains is one; and the House of the Lord to which all nations shall come to seek the rule of living is also one. "And all nations shall flow into it. And many people shall go, and say: Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the House of the God of Jacob, and He will teach us His ways, and we will walk in His paths" (Ibid., ii., 2-3).
Explaining this passage, Optatus of Milevis says: "It is written in the prophet Isaias: 'from Sion the law shall go forth and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.' For it is not on Mount Sion that Isaias sees the valley, but on the holy mountain, that is, the Church, which has raised itself conspicuously throughout the entire Roman world under the whole heavens....The Church is, therefore, the spiritual Sion in which Christ has been constituted King by God the Father, and which exists throughout the entire earth, on which there is but one Catholic Church" (De Schism. Donatist., lib. iii., n. 2). And Augustine says: "What can be so manifest as a mountain, or so well known? There are, it is true, mountains which are unknown because they are situated in some remote part of the earth But this mountain is not unknown; for it has filled the whole face of the world, and about this it is said that it is prepared on the summit of the mountains" (In Ep. Joan., tract i., n. 13).
Furthermore, the Son of God decreed that the Church should be His mystical body, with which He should be united as the Head, after the manner of the human body which He assumed, to which the natural head is physiologically united. As He took to Himself a mortal body, which He gave to suffering and death in order to pay the price of man's redemption, so also He has one mystical body in which and through which He renders men partakers of holiness and of eternal salvation. God "hath made Him (Christ) head over all the Church, which is His body" (Eph. i., 22-23). Scattered and separated members cannot possibly cohere with the head so as to make one body. But St. Paul says: "All members of the body, whereas they are many, yet are one body, so also is Christ" (I Cor. xii., 12). Wherefore this mystical body, he declares, is "compacted and fitly jointed together. The head, Christ: from whom the whole body, being compacted and fitly jointed together, by what every joint supplieth according to the operation in the measure of every part" (Eph. iv., 15-16). And so dispersed members, separated one from the other, cannot be united with one and the same head. "There is one God, and one Christ; and His Church is one and the faith is one; and one the people, joined together in the solid unity of the body in the bond of concord. This unity cannot be broken, nor the one body divided by the separation of its constituent parts" (S. Cyprianus, De Cath. Eccl. Unitateccl. Unitate, n. 23). And to set forth more clearly the unity of the Church, he makes use of the illustration of a living body, the members of which cannot possibly live unless united to the head and drawing from it their vital force. Separated from the head they must of necessity die. "The Church," he says, "cannot be divided into parts by the separation and cutting asunder of its members. What is cut away from the mother cannot live or breathe apart" (Ibid.). What similarity is there between a dead and a living body? "For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the Church: because we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones" (Eph. v., 29-30).
Once again, by way of emphasis, it is necessary to contrast Joseph Ratzinger's views of the salvation of Protestants with the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church enunciated by Pope Pius XI in Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928:
Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is "the root and womb whence the Church of God springs," not with the intention and the hope that "the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government. Would that it were Our happy lot to do that which so many of Our predecessors could not, to embrace with fatherly affection those children, whose unhappy separation from Us We now bewail. Would that God our Savior, "Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth," would hear us when We humbly beg that He would deign to recall all who stray to the unity of the Church! In this most important undertaking We ask and wish that others should ask the prayers of Blessed Mary the Virgin, Mother of divine grace, victorious over all heresies and Help of Christians, that She may implore for Us the speedy coming of the much hoped-for day, when all men shall hear the voice of Her divine Son, and shall be "careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
You, Venerable Brethren, understand how much this question is in Our mind, and We desire that Our children should also know, not only those who belong to the Catholic community, but also those who are separated from Us: if these latter humbly beg light from heaven, there is no doubt but that they will recognize the one true Church of Jesus Christ and will, at last, enter it, being united with us in perfect charity.
There is no reconciling Joseph Ratzinger's views of Protestants and Protestantism and the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church. The entirety of Joseph Ratzinger's ecumenical bent, which is covered fully in "A New Religion for a New Theology," is premised upon the reaching of some kind of consensus, a synthesis, as he himself calls it, that proceeds from the "building stones" he proposed in Principles of Catholic Theology, not from an unconditional acceptance by Protestants and the Orthodox of the nature of the Catholic Church as she has taught herself to be from time immemorial. There are no Christian "churches" outside of the Catholic Church, which is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.
Ratzinger on the Resurrection and the Redemption
Mr. Michael defends Joseph Ratzinger's views of the Resurrection in Principles of Catholic Theology, claiming that those views are obviously "too lofty" for this inept soul to understand. There is no evidence, Mr. Michael contends, to suggest that Joseph Ratzinger has denied the historical fact of the Resurrection of Our Lord, that Ratzinger is placing the Resurrection in its proper theological context. Mr. Michael claims that my quotation from Lamentabili Sane is totally irrelevant to Ratzinger's theological exposition on the Resurrection.
Here is the passage from Mr. Michael's essay, which includes quotes from "A New Theology for a New a New Religion:"
Ratzinger concludes by stating that belief in the Resurrection "means ... to believe in the eschaton in history, in the historicity of God's eschatological action." (ibid., p. 187) In other words, Ratzinger affirms that an eschatological, end-of-the-world event has entered into history itself - hence his earlier statement that the Resurrection "both reaches above history," and is also "founded and anchored in history."
Profoundly missing anything of the substance of Ratzinger's words, Droleskey offers this rather simplistic criticism:
Are we ... to consider [the Apostles] unreliable witnesses to the historical fact of the Resurrection of Our Lord on Easter Sunday? Did the Ascension actually take place forty days after Our Lord's Resurrection? No time in history is given? Who is Benedict/Ratzinger trying to kid? The time frame is there for all to see. Those who reject it reject Our Lord's Divine Revelation. They reject Him, in other words. (Droleskey, "New Religion")
According to Droleskey, then, Ratzinger has denied the historicity of the Resurrection and has, in fact, rejected both Divine Revelation and Jesus Christ Himself. Droleskey goes on to say that Ratzinger's "thoroughly Modernist propositions were condemned in Lamentabili Sane," the document of Pope St. Pius X, condemning various modernist errors. Droleskey, of course, treats us to a quote of two of those condemnations, neither of which have anything to do with what Ratzinger wrote:
36. The Resurrection of the Savior is not properly a fact of the historical order. It is a fact of merely the supernatural order (neither demonstrated nor demonstrable) which the Christian conscience gradually derived from other facts.
37. In the beginning, faith in the Resurrection of Christ was not so much in the fact itself of the Resurrection as in the immortal life of Christ with God.
One simply staggers at Droleskey's ability to produce irrelevant documents in response to writings he has not bothered to try to understand. Lest the reader think this a harsh thing to say, he should consider that the alternative is to conclude that Droleskey is simply too intellectually inept to understand Ratzinger; considering that the man has a doctorate, it would seem that the more logical conclusion is that he simply doesn't want to understand Ratzinger. He has rendered his verdict against Ratzinger already; the rest is just mere formality. In light of this, Droleskey's protestations ring rather hollow:
"One must admire Ratzinger's boldness as he sets out for the belief of his readers propositions condemned by the Church as Modernist and thus contrary to the Received Teaching of the Divine Redeemer. What is not admirable is the refusal of those who, when confronted by these incontrovertible facts [!], start blaming the messenger for pointing them out rather than recognizing the author is an enemy of the Catholic Faith and thus an enemy of the souls for whom Our Lord shed every single drop of His Most Blessed Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross."(Droleskey, "New Religion", emphasis added)
Is my interpretation of Joseph Ratzinger's views on the Resurrection in error? If Ratzinger did not want to shroud the actual, bodily Resurrection of Our Lord in obscurity so that inepts like me could not grasp his nuances, then why did he, Ratzinger, consecrate as a bishop a man who did indeed deny the bodily Resurrection of Our Lord without demanding that the new archbishop, Bruno Forte, abjure his errors? Is the historical fact of the Resurrection an open question?
Perhaps it will be instructive to review a commentary on Forte's consecration as a bishop that was written in 2004 (the source and place of publication will be noted below)
Whatever happens, it is undeniable that the Pope no longer has effective control over the governance of the Church. Various essentially autarchic eminences are now conducting Vatican business according to the Pope’s “indications,” which they will interpret for us until the Pope is finally dead. Another example of this alarming situation, which threatens to make the Pope’s disciplinary laxity seem strictly conservative by comparison, is the little-noticed story of how Bruno Forte, a priest of the Archdiocese of Naples, was suddenly made a bishop five months ago. Forte, who last year was brought to the Vatican to preach a Lenten retreat to an already incapacitated Pope, is rumored to be Cardinal Ratzinger’s replacement as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. How this happened is anybody’s guess. The rumor has caused a great deal of consternation for one simple reason: Forte is a flaming neo-modernist. As noted in the Winter 2005 issue of The Latin Mass in a report by its Italian correspondent, Alessandro Zangrando, Forte was a pupil of none other than the infamous Cardinal Walter Kasper. (In yet another sign of things falling apart at the top, immediately after Kasper’s own elevation to the rank of cardinal he publicly declared to the press that the Old Covenant remains in force and is salvific for the Jews, and that Protestants are under no obligation to convert and become Catholics.)
Worse still, Zangrando, a respected journalist not given to reckless claims, relates that Forte’s 1994 essay Gesu di Nazaret, storia di Dio, Dio della storia (Jesus of Nazareth, history of God, God of history) reveals Forte as nothing less than “the standard-bearer of theories so radical as to the point of putting in doubt even the historicity of the resurrection of Christ. The empty tomb, he argues, is a legend tied into the Jewish-Christian ritual performed at the place of Jesus’ burial. It is a myth inherited by the Christians from Jesus’ early disciples. Therefore, the empty tomb, along with other details surrounding the resurrection, is nothing but a ‘proof’ made up by the community. In other words, Forte is trying to change the resurrection of Christ into a myth, into a kind of fairy tale that cannot be proven.”
Forte’s elevation to bishop was rather mysterious. Zangrando notes that Forte’s name did not appear in any list of possible candidates submitted to the Italian Nunciature, and even his ordinary, Cardinal Michele Giordano, Archbishop of Naples, “was reportedly against that appointment.” But, “in an apparent attempt at putting to rest a growing controversy” over Forte’s candidacy, he was personally consecrated a bishop by none other than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger,the very man Forte will succeed as head of the CDF, according to the rumors. Yes, “our only friend in the Vatican” has struck again. More and more it becomes apparent that this man is perhaps the most industrious ecclesial termite of the post-conciliar epoch, tearing down even as he makes busy with the appearance of building up. The longer Ratzinger “guards” Catholic doctrine, the more porous the barriers that protect it become.
Indeed, as I have pointed out more than once on these pages, it was Ratzinger who wrote in 1987 (in the second edition of his Principles of Catholic Theology) that the “demolition of bastions” in the Church is “a long-overdue task.” The Church, he declared, “must relinquish many of the things that have hitherto spelled security for her and that she has taken for granted. She must demolish longstanding bastions and trust solely the shield of faith.” Now it seems that with the bastions all but demolished, even the shield of faith is about to clatter to the ground. (Christopher A. Ferrara, The Remnant, 2004)
I know. Someone will try to exculpate Archbishop Bruno Forte the way that Jacob Michael has attempted to exculpate Joseph Ratzinger, who does indeed apply the "historical-critical" method to both Scripture and doctrine with disastrous results in both fields.
Much better minds than my own inept one have, however, come to the same conclusions I expressed in the essay Mr. Michael has written about. Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of Saint Pius X wrote the following in Si Si, No No, in May of 1999:
The best known work of the Cardinal [Ratzinger] is the book, Introduction to Christianity, published in 1968 and translated into 17 languages. He speaks of it with satisfaction. Not withstanding, the Christology that he sets forth is scarcely orthodox. Sometimes he only very narrowly avoids the theology of heretics, which has been passively absorbed by the majority of Catholic theologians. He also affirms that Jesus the Messiah is a product of the faith of the primitive community: "He is the One who died on the cross, and Who, to the eyes of faith, rose" (Italian ed., Brescia, 1971, 4th ed., p.171) . The Resurrection is not then an historical fact, but a simple belief of the disciples. Like examples from the book could be multiplied. (Bishop Richard Williamson, "The Memories of a Destructive Mind," Si Si, No No, May, 1999)
Another inept mind at work? I think not. Indeed, let me propose, without being too harsh, you understand, that Jacob Michael is trying to read Catholicism into the mind and the works of Joseph Ratzinger where it does not exist. He was willing to claim that Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, a trained theologian, did not understand Ratzinger's words in An Introduction to Christianity, attempting to refute a bishop who has studied the matter thoroughly by, once again, reading things into Ratzinger's works that are not there. He does this throughout his refutation of my original article.
However, I did note in my original article that there is enough of contradiction and paradox and obscurity in the writing of Joseph Ratzinger for those desirous of exculpating him on various points to be able to try to do so. That others with far superior minds to mine have come to the same conclusion should provide Mr. Michael with a bit of caution concerning a man who, as was noted before, is a mortal enemy of souls because he does not seek with urgency their conversion to the Catholic Church. A mortal enemy of souls is thus, whether wittingly or not, a mortal enemy of God Himself.
It should be pointed out that a number of other inept minds, belonging to men in the Holy Office under the pontificate of Pope Pius XII, had Joseph Ratzinger under suspicion for heresy, along with his mentor Hans Urs von Balthasar and his on-again/off-again confederate, Karl Rahner:
On 28 April 1969, Paul VI announced the foundation of the International Theological Commission, a organ intended to be parallel to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
On that occasion, the serious French magazine Informations Catholiques Internationales (n. 336 - May 15, 1969, p. 9), reported the story and gave the list of the 30 theologians chosen for the Commission (below in French). Among them, we translate this description:
"Joseph RATZINGER: German, age 45, dogmatic theology, ecumenism; previously suspect [of heresy] by the Holy Office; member of the Faith and Ecumenism Commission; outstanding work in collaboration with Karl Rahner: Primacy and Episcopate."
Other theologians also under suspicion by the Holy Office were Yves Congar, Henri de Lubac, Karl Rahner, and Hans Urs von Balthasar. (from Tradition in Action)
Insofar as the Redemption of Our Lord is concerned, how is it exactly that Our Lord exhibited His love for us on the wood of the Holy Cross? By shedding his Most Precious Blood. Yes, Our Lord chose to shed His Most Precious Blood voluntarily out of love for us. He chose to pay back the blood debt of sin that we owed God. The late Father John J. Sullivan, quoting from a dogmatic manual he used as a seminarian at Saint Bernard's Seminary in Rochester. New York, in the 1930's summarized the matter this way in a course at Holy Apostles Seminary in 1983:
Our Lord had to take upon Himself a perfect human nature in the virginal and immaculate womb of Our Lady so as to pay back in His Sacred Humanity the blood debt of our sins that was owed to Him in His Infinity as God.
The human race owed a debt to God because of Adam's fall that God chose out of His infinite love for us to repay in His own Blood, with Which we have been redeemed. There is no conflict between the blood debt incurred by our sins and the love Our Lord showed for us by choosing to redeem us in His own Flesh by the shedding of every single drop of His Most Precious Blood. (See the "discussion" between Saint Anselm and Boso on the subject of the satisfaction of the debt of sins below)
Saint Paul noted in his Epistles to the Hebrews:
And almost all things, according to the law, are cleansed with blood: and without shedding of blood there is no remission. It is necessary therefore that the patterns of heavenly things should be cleansed with these: but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these For Jesus is not entered into the holies made with hands, the patterns of the true: but into heaven itself, that he may appear now in the presence of God for us. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holies, every year with the blood of others:
For then he ought to have suffered often from the beginning of the world: but now once at the end of ages, he hath appeared for the destruction of sin, by the sacrifice of himself. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment: So also Christ was offered once to exhaust the sins of many; the second time he shall appear without sin to them that expect him unto salvation. (Hebrews 9: 22-28)
As the Roman Cathechism notes:
The reasons why the Saviour suffered are also to be explained, that thus the greatness and intensity of the divine love toward us may the more fully appear. Should anyone inquire why the Son of God underwent His most bitter Passion, he will find that besides the guilt inherited from our first parents the principal causes were the vices and crimes which have been perpetrated from the beginning of the world to the the present day and those which will be committed to the end of time. In His Passion and death the Son of God, our Saviour, intended to atone for and blot out the sins of all ages, and to offer them to his Father a full and abundant satisfaction. . . .
It only remains now that the pastor carefully explain the blessings and advantages that flow from the Passion of Christ. In the first place, then, the Passion of our Lord was our deliverance from sin; for, as St. John says, He hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood. He hath quickened you together with him, says the Apostle, forgiving you all offences, blotting out the handwriting of the decree that was against us, which was contrary to us. And he hath taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the cross.
A debt was owed God because of our sins. Acting freely and without compulsion, Our Lord chose out of love for us to pay back this debt through the merits of His Passion and Death, shedding every single drop of His Most Precious Blood in the process. We are privileged to have the unbloody re-presentation of this Sacrifice offered on our altars in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Creating an Alternative Universe
Joseph Ratzinger is a master of obfuscation and complexity. He uses this methodology of contradiction and paradox, drawn straight from Georg Hegel by way of Hans Urs von Balthasar, to discuss the entirety of the Catholic Faith. He used it to deconstruct Our Lady's Fatima Message:
Cardinal Ratzinger's attempt to dismantle the Message of Fatima under the guise of learned "interpretation" reminds one of Our Lord's admonition to His disciples to "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Mt. 16:6) At first the disciples, who were eating bread at the moment, did not understand. What did this talk of leaven in bread have to do with the Pharisees? Soon, however, they grasped Our Lord's meaning: "Then they understood that he had not said that they should beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and the Sadducees." (Mt. 16:12)
As Archbishop Alban Goodier, S.J., explained in his classic commentary on this passage in Scripture, Our Lord was teaching the disciples to be on their guard against the subtleties of the Pharisees, which were far more dangerous than any open opposition to Christ:
"It was not so much their opposition that He feared for His own, it was their [the Pharisees'] subtlety. Before the Pharisees had blamed Him for His miracles and other good deeds; He knew that this would not take His friends away from Him. Now this morning they [the Pharisees] had come, with an affected simplicity, a show of desire to know the truth, an appeal to the prophets, a zeal for tradition, a respect for law and order and obedience to the powers that be; and all this, He knew, would be likely to affect His own more than any open enmity. Like leaven, unless they were careful, it would spread unconsciously among them."
The Virgin of Fatima, like Our Lord Himself, was quite straightforward in Her message. But Cardinal Ratzinger, like the Pharisees of old, is full of subtleties and citations to Scripture, which, artfully arranged, obscure the simplicity of God's truth. And like the Pharisees, the Cardinal presents his obfuscation with a great show of respect for the Messenger and the Message; but beneath the appearance of respect is a thinly disguised contempt. By the time the Cardinal is done with his pharisaical "tribute" to Fatima, nothing is left of it. For him, the matter is all very subtle-so subtle that it vanishes away (Father Paul Kramer, ed., The Devil's Final Battle, pp. 141-142)
Precisely. This is Joseph Ratzinger's methodology in all of his work, to seek to use subtlety to destroy the meaning of the Faith as it has been handed down to us over the centuries under the infallible guidance and protection of the Holy Ghost. Anyone who does not see that Joseph Ratzinger has been attempting to create a "synthesis of faith" (his term, by the way, expressed in Principles of Catholic Theology) by the use of the very methodologies condemned by Pope Saint Pius X and Pope Pius XII is choosing to be willfully blind.
The Devil's Final Battle goes on to note:
But the apparitions at Fatima are not so subtle. They were given to little children, who could not read, for the edification and guidance of the wise and learned of this world, including theologians at the Vatican. Either Our Lady appeared at Fatima or She did not. Either She gave a distinct message to the children, which they could remember and repeat just as they had heard it, or She did not. Either She intended this message to be passed on to the world or She did not. either She insured that Her message would be accurately transmitted or She did not. Either She guaranteed beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt, by the Miracle of the Sun, that it was indeed She, the Queen of Heaven and Earth, Who came, Who spoke and Who commanded, or She did not. The answer in each case is, obviously, that She did, for She is the Mother of God.
Like the disciples in their encounter with the Pharisees, we must be on guard against Pharisaical subtleties which have spread like poisonous leaven through the Church over the past forty years. Now the latter day leaven of the Pharisees seeks to penetrate the Message of Fatima, as Cardinal Ratzinger tells us that any heart can be like the Immaculate Heart, and that "in the end My Immaculate Heart will triumph" means the Annunciation 2,000 years ago. The Pharisees of old were dangerous precisely because they seemed to have a genuine respect for the truth. Today a feigned respect for the Message of Fatima conceals its most determined opponents. (The Devil's Final Battle, pp. 142-143)
I stand by the analysis of Principles of Catholic Theology that was published in "A New Theology for a New Religion."
An Enemy of Souls and of God Himself
Joseph Ratzinger does not believe that the Catholic Church must seek the conversion of Protestants to the Catholic Church so as to safeguard their immortal souls unto eternity.
Joseph Ratzinger does not believe that the Catholic Church must seek the conversion of the Jews to the Catholic Church so as to safeguard their immortal souls unto eternity.
Joseph Ratzinger does not believe that the Catholic Church must be recognized as the true religion by the civil state, thereby denying the right of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to reign as the King of men and their nations, contradicting the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church prior to conciliarism.
Joseph Ratzinger believes that adherents of false religions have the right to propagate their errors publicly--and that those errors can contribute to the "building up" of "justice" in society, contradicting the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church prior to conciliarism.
Joseph Ratzinger believes that the Church of Christ is broader than the Catholic Church, stating quite clearly (without any subtlety) that the Catholic Church does not seek the "destruction" of the "traditions" or "structures" of Protestant "churches."
Joseph Ratzinger believes that Catholics should engage in "interreligious prayer meetings: with adherents of false religions.
Joseph Ratzinger believes that some magisterial pronouncements lose their force over time and/or can be interpreted in different ways to suit the needs of "modern" man.
Joseph Ratzinger rejects Scholasticism as the Church's bulwark against error, distrusting it as a reliable source to interpret the Fathers of the Church, in total contradistinction to Pope Saint Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis and to Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis.
Joseph Ratzinger, ignoring the warnings of Pope Pius VIII as he agrees thoroughly with Hans Urs von Balthasar, believes that the "bastions of the Faith" must be razed" to make way for the new "realities" facing "modern man."
This list could go on and on and on.
Some will contend that these are just "private opinions" of Benedict XVI as a "private theologian," that they do not bind the universal church. They can't bind the universal church. They are erroneous, each and every one of them. They do, however, have a little bearing on the Catholicity, properly understood (not in the "broad" sense of de Lubac endorsed by Ratzinger in Principles of Catholic Theology), of Joseph Ratzinger. No one can hold the views that he holds, yes, even privately, and remain a Catholic in good standing.
Pope Leo XIII noted this in Satis Cognitum, December 8, 1896:
The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavour than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own. The Arians, the Montanists, the Novatians, the Quartodecimans, the Eutychians, did not certainly reject all Catholic doctrine: they abandoned only a certain portion of it. Still who does not know that they were declared heretics and banished from the bosom of the Church? In like manner were condemned all authors of heretical tenets who followed them in subsequent ages. "There can be nothing more dangerous than those heretics who admit nearly the whole cycle of doctrine, and yet by one word, as with a drop of poison, infect the real and simple faith taught by our Lord and handed down by Apostolic tradition" (Auctor Tract. de Fide Orthodoxa contra Arianos).
The practice of the Church has always been the same, as is shown by the unanimous teaching of the Fathers, who were wont to hold as outside Catholic communion, and alien to the Church, whoever would recede in the least degree from any point of doctrine proposed by her authoritative Magisterium. Epiphanius, Augustine, Theodore :, drew up a long list of the heresies of heir times. St. Augustine notes that other heresies may spring up, to a single one of which, should any one give his assent, he is by the very fact cut off from Catholic unity. "No one who merely disbelieves in all (these heresies) can for that reason regard himself as a Catholic or call himself one. For there may be or may arise some other heresies, which are not set out in this work of ours, and, if any one holds to one single one of these he is not a Catholic" (S. Augustinus, De Haeresibus, n. 88).
Joseph Ratzinger drops poison into the well of Catholicism little by little. Either Our Lord gave the Catholic Church the mission to seek the conversion of all men to her maternal bosom or He did not. Either Our Lord has the right to reign as the King of all men and all nations or He does not. Either the Catholic Church has the fullness of the Deposit of Faith--and the means to explicate it--or she does not. It cannot be, as almost everything is in the Hegelian mind of Benedict XVI, a little bit of this and a little bit of that, producing his heralded "synthesis of faith."
Joseph Ratzinger's work can be understood only in the context of his lifelong desire to "reform" the Catholic Church according to the thought of the "new thinkers." Everything about the Faith, therefore, must be "re-thought" and "re-formulated" without the "filter" of Scholasticism, borrowing heavily from the mind of a man he admires greatly, Martin Luther.
Indeed, Ratzinger's own adherence to separation of Church and State, that "healthy secularity," you understand, is textbook Luther. It is this separation that has produced the reign of the devil in civil society as the consequence of the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King.
Consider this excerpt from Monsignor Patrick O'Hare's The Facts About Luther:
It is well to remember that when Christ organized His Church, He commissioned her not only to save each individual in the human family from the wrath to come; but He commanded her to teach the peoples, in their organized capacity, that God is Sovereign Lord over all, that righteousness exalteth a nation, and that the body politic, no less than the individual body, must be kept pure, undefiled and uncorrupted. This saving teaching of the Catholic Church has always an unflinchingly proclaimed from her pulpit, in the confessional, and in the schoolhouse. The nations that heeded the lesson and the governments that did not dispute the authority of the teacher became the powerful empires and kingdoms of the world, the framers of a system of jurisprudence which has never been excelled, the husbandmen of a civilization that was most glorious and enduring, the benefactors a humanity and the patrons of art and science--everything that adorns human life and makes for the uplift and ennobling of society. Those docile nations received their strength, their influence and their support from the Church, whose protector in turn they were.
But in the sixteenth century a most disastrous calamity swept over Christendom. The old bonds of religion and authority were broken. Civil governments became envious of God's sovereignty and forthwith aided and manipulated a fearful and blighting heresy which demoralized national life, stimulated revolution and encouraged lawlessness. Then rebellion against the Church of Christ became a dogma of civil authority, and the aim of subjecting her to civil power was openly and shamelessly advocated. The new goddess of liberty, "the sovereignty of the people," with an extinguished light in her hand, was proclaimed the Queen of the World; and while the people were enticed to her coquettish ways to worship at her shrines, the rulers forged the chains for the victims which they were to lead away captives.
Every since the rebellion of Luther, genius and learning, wit and satire, eloquence and poetry, sophistry and specious reasoning have been employed to ridicule, destroy and stamp out of the mind and action of men the principle of divine and human authority. Protestant Christianity squeezed it out of its system; it has been driven out of domestic life; and it is treated with scorn in governmental circles. Indeed there is today little or no regard for legitimate authority, either in the home or in organized society. The authority entrusted to the head of the family is almost entirely disregarded. The person of the chief magistrate of city, state or nations is treated with disrespect, and the tribunal of justice is hailed with contempt. Majesty is no loner attached to law. The denial of authority has demoralized all conception of respect for superiors, for property rights, and for individual liberty; and the very foundation stones of the national structures are being moved one by one, so that the structure itself is in danger of tottering and falling asunder. The general aversion to the guidance of legitimate and divinely established law, which Luther's loose and immoral teachings introduced into the world and which have come down to our day, must be removed if domestic happiness and national prosperity would bless the land. It is only when men render to God the things that are God's and to Caesar the things that are Caesar's that there shall be brother love, a common feeling of kinship and a readiness to stand shoulder to shoulder, one for all and all for one, forming one powerful army, and that the uplift, advancement and sanctification of mankind shall bless the earth. "Unless the Lord,. as the Holy Spirit says, "keep the city, he watcheth in vain that keepeth it. (Ps. 126:1)
Luther and his Protestantism, on the contrary, proclaimed the false doctrine of the Divine Rights of Kings and the unequalled absolutism of rulers, and, as might be expected, freedom was destroyed, sedition promoted, and the security not only of all kinds of property but even of human life was endangered./
When we consider Luther's teaching and practical behavior and that of his fellow instigators of rebellion regarding civil and religious liberty, and see how they struck at the free institutions brought down from the Middle Ages, only to introduce in their stead a reign of centralized despotism from which we are slowly recovering, we may well and justly say with the Protestant Hallam: "It is strange to see men, professing all the time our modern creed of charity and toleration, extol these sanguinary spirits of the sixteenth century." (Const. History, Vol. 1, ch. III.. p. 147) (Monsignor Patrick O'Hare, The Facts About Luther, 1916, pp. 253-255)
Father Denis Fahey elaborated on the same theme, noting that it is Satan, who desires the separation of Church and State:
Satan aims at preventing the acknowledgement by States and Nations of the Catholic Church as the One Way established by God for ordered return to Him. When this acknowledgement has been brought about in spite of his efforts and those of his satellites, he strives to get it undone and to induce the State to persecute the Catholic Church. The first step towards this is to get all religions, including the Jewish religion, put on the same level as the Catholic Church. The granting of full citizenship to the Jews, who as a nation are engaged in preparing for the Natural Messiah, tends in the same direction. This putting of all religious on the same level is usually called in the newspapers separation of Church and State. (Cf. Accounts of Revolutions from the French Revolution of 1789 to the Spanish Revolution of 1931).
Satan spreads perplexity and disorder in minds by confusing the false tolerance of Liberalism, by which equal rights are granted to truth and error, with the true tolerance of the Catholic Church. “As to tolerance,” writes Leo XIII (Encyclical Letter, Libertas, On Human Liberty), “it is surprising how far removed from the equity and prudence of the Church are those who profess what is called Liberalism. For, in allowing that boundless licence of which we have spoken, they exceed all limits and end at last by making no apparent distinction between truth and error, honesty and dishonesty . . . it is contrary to reason that error and truth should have equal rights . . . For right is a moral power which it is absurd to suppose that nature has accorded indifferently to truth and falsehood, justice and injustice.”
“The Church,” writes the same learned Pontiff (Encyclical Letter, Immortale Dei, On the Christian Constitution of States), “deems it unlawful to place the various forms of divine worship on the same footing as the true religion, but does not on that account, condemn those rulers who for the sake of securing some great good or of hindering some great evil, patiently allow custom or usage to be a kind of sanction for each kind of religion having its place in the State. And, in fact, the Church is wont to take earnest heed that no one shall be forced to embrace the Catholic Faith against his will.”
Satan also spreads perplexity and disorder in minds by introducing confusion between Anti-Semitism, which is the detestable hatred of the Jews as a race, and the duty incumbent upon Catholics of combating valiantly for the integral rights of Christ the King and opposing Jewish Naturalism. We see this clearly in the following quotation from the Jewish writer Bernard Lazare: “The Jew is the living testimony of the disappearance of the State based on theological principles, that state which the Anti-Semites hope to restore. From the day a Jew first occupied a public position, the Christian State was in danger. That is perfectly accurate and the Anti-Semites who say that the Jews have destroyed the correct idea of the State could more justly assert that the entrance of the Jews into Christian Society has symbolized the destruction of the State, I mean, of course, the Christian State” (L’Antisémitisme, p. 361).
Satan wants us to forget that there is one True Religion, the Supernatural Religion established by Our Lord Jesus Christ, True God and True Man. He wants us also to lose sight of the fact that there are organized forces working for the advent of the Natural Messias.
“By the fact that the indiscriminate freedom of all forms of worship is proclaimed, truth is confused with error, and the Holy and Immaculate Spouse of Christ is placed on the same level as heretical sects and even as Jewish perfidy” (Pius VII, Letter, Post tam diuturnas).
Satan has not left us in doubt about his enthusiasm for the Declaration of the “rights of man” and the principles of the French Revolution of 1789. “Long live Liberty, Equality, Fraternity! That is the favourable time for us” are amongst the expressions used by the possessed children of Illfurt, Alsace. (Cf. The Devil, his words and actions in the possessed children of Illfurt, from the official documents).
What was that Joseph Ratzinger saying about a reconciliation with the principles of 1789? There can be no such "reconciliation." No Catholic can for one moment propose such a thing, as Pope Leo XIII noted in Custodi Di Quella Fide, December 8, 1892:
Everyone should avoid familiarity or friendship with anyone suspected of belonging to masonry or to affiliated groups. Know them by their fruits and avoid them. Every familiarity should be avoided, not only with those impious libertines who openly promote the character of the sect, but also with those who hide under the mask of universal tolerance, respect for all religions, and the craving to reconcile the maxims of the Gospel with those of the revolution. These men seek to reconcile Christ and Belial, the Church of God and the state without God.
The contrast is clear. Which statement is eternally Catholic? Which statement helps to feed the Satanic madness that Modernity hath wrought, that it is possible for man to know order in his own life and peace in the world absent membership in the Catholic Church and adherence to the perennial teachings entrusted to her by the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man in Our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb by the power of the Holy Ghost at the Annunciation?
Joseph Ratzinger's views of the Church and her role in the world are at odds with the Deposit of Faith. If this be treason, then make the most of it. Truth is what it is. There is no reconciling Ratzinger's praise of Luther's "insights" on many theological subjects, including Justification, and the actual adoption of his heresies, such as the separation of Church and State, with Catholicism.
Readers will either see the errors in the work of the former Joseph Ratzinger or they will not. There is no need to find "building stones" for a "new theology" that will unite Christians, which is the whole premise of Principles of Catholic Theology. There is simply a need for all who profess the Holy Name of the Divine Redeemer to return to the Catholic Church and to adhere to the Deposit of Faith entrusted to her exclusively by Him. There is no need to search "for truth" or to search for "unity." The fullness of Divine Truth and Unity inhere in the Catholic Church and nowhere else. Conciliarism, of which Joseph Ratzinger is both a progenitor and an apologist, is incompatible with Catholicism. Pay no attention to that "man behind the curtain" who is pretending to be a Catholic when he is a Modernist to the core.
We turn, as always, to Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart in these trying times. We must seek out her Divine Son in the catacombs, praying to Him in His Real Presence and being totally consecrated to her Immaculate Heart so that we can plant a few seeds for the restoration of Tradition in the Church and of Christendom in the world. She alone is our life, our sweetness and our hope in this valley of tears. She alone will see us out of the morass of Modernity in the world and Modernism in the Church when we have a pope who will fulfill her Fatima Message and usher in the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart, and what a glorious Triumph it will be!
Never lose heart. Stay close to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Say your Rosaries. Pray for our own conversion on a daily basis so that we can be better able to cooperate with grace to make our prayers for the enemies of the Faith more efficacious and powerful before the Throne of the Blessed Trinity.
Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saints Michael, Gabriel and Raphael the Archangels, pray for us.
Saint Jerome, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Peter Claver, pray for us.
Saint Gorgonius, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us.
Saint Basil, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Augustine, pray for us.
Saint Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Sebastian, pray for us.
Saint Tarcisius, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Agnes, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Blessed Francisco, pray for us.
Blessed Jacinta, pray for us.
Sister Lucia, pray for us.
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.
Saint Anselm on the Satisfaction of Sins
What it is to sin, and to make satisfaction for sin.
Anselm.. We must needs inquire, therefore, in what manner God puts away men's sins; and, in order to do this more plainly, let us first consider what it is to sin, and what it is to make satisfaction for sin.
Boso. It is yours to explain and mine to listen.
Anselm.. If man or angel always rendered to God his due, he would never sin.
Boso. I cannot deny that.
Anselm.. Therefore to sin is nothing else than not to render to God his due.
Boso. What is the debt which we owe to God?
Anselm.. Every wish of a rational creature should be subject to the will of God.
Boso. Nothing is more true.
Anselm.. This is the debt which man and angel owe to God, and no one who pays this debt commits sin; but every one who does not pay it sins. This is justice, or uprightness of will, which makes a being just or upright in heart, that is, in will; and this is the sole and complete debt of honor which we owe to God, and which God requires of us. For it is such a will only, when it can be exercised, that does works pleasing to God; and when this will cannot be exercised, it is pleasing of itself alone, since without it no work is acceptable. He who does not render this honor which is due to God, robs God of his own and dishonors him; and this is sin. Moreover, so long as he does not restore what he has taken away, he remains in fault; and it will not suffice merely to restore what has been taken away, but, considering the contempt offered, he ought to restore more than he took away. For as one who imperils another's safety does not enough by merely restoring his safety, without making some compensation for the anguish incurred; so he who violates another's honor does not enough by merely rendering honor again, but must, according to the extent of the injury done, make restoration in some way satisfactory to the person whom he has dishonored. We must also bserve that when any one pays what he has unjustly taken away, he ought to give something which could not have been demanded of him, had he not stolen what belonged to another. So then, every one who sins ought to pay back the honor of which he has robbed God; and this is the satisfaction which every sinner owes to God.
Boso. Since we have determined to follow reason in all these things, I am unable to bring any objection against them, although you somewhat startle me.
Whether it were proper for God to put away sins by compassion alone, without any payment of debt.
Anselm.. Let us return and consider whether it were proper for God to put away sins by compassion alone, without any payment of the honor taken from him.
Boso. I do not see why it is not proper.
Anselm.. To remit sin in this manner is nothing else than not to punish; and since it is not right to cancel sin without compensation or punishment; if it be not punished, then is it passed by undischarged.
Boso. What you say is reasonable.
Anselm.. It is not fitting for God to pass over anything in his kingdom undischarged.
Boso. If I wish to oppose this, I fear to sin.
Anselm.. It is, therefore, not proper for God thus to pass over sin unpunished.
Boso. Thus it follows.
Anselm.. There is also another thing which follows if sin be passed by unpunished, viz., that with God there will be no difference between the guilty and the not guilty; and this is unbecoming to God.
Boso. I cannot deny it.
Anselm.. Observe this also. Every one knows that justice to man is regulated by law, so that, according to the requirements of law, the measure of award is bestowed by God.
Boso. This is our belief.
Anselm.. But if sin is neither paid for nor punished, it is subject to no law.
Boso. I cannot conceive it to be otherwise.
Anselm.. Injustice, therefore, if it is cancelled by compassion alone, is more free than justice, which seems very inconsistent. And to these is also added a further incongruity, viz., that it makes injustice like God. For as God is subject to no law, so neither is injustice.
Boso. I cannot withstand your reasoning. But when God commands us in every case to forgive those who trespass against us, it seems inconsistent to enjoin a thing upon us which it is not proper for him to do himself.
Anselm.. There is no inconsistency in God's commanding us not to take upon ourselves what belongs to Him alone. For to execute vengeance belongs to none but Him who is Lord of all; for when the powers of the world rightly accomplish this end, God himself does it who appointed them for the purpose.
Boso. You have obviated the difficulty which I thought to exist; but there is another to which I would like to have your answer. For since God is so free as to be subject to no law, and to the judgment of no one, and is so merciful as that nothing more merciful can be conceived; and nothing is right or fit save as he wills; it seems a strange thing for us to say that be is wholly unwilling or unable to put away an injury done to himself, when we are wont to apply to him for indulgence with regard to those offences which we commit against others.
Anselm.. What you say of God's liberty and choice and compassion is true; but we ought so to interpret these things as that they may not seem to interfere with His dignity. For there is no liberty except as regards what is best or fitting; nor should that be called mercy which does anything improper for the Divine character. Moreover, when it is said that what God wishes is just, and that what He does not wish is unjust, we must not understand that if God wished anything improper it would be just, simply because he wished it. For if God wishes to lie, we must not conclude that it is right to lie, but rather that he is not God. For no will can ever wish to lie, unless truth in it is impaired, nay, unless the will itself be impaired by forsaking truth. When, then, it is said: "If God wishes to lie," the meaning is simply this: "If the nature of God is such as that he wishes to lie;" and, therefore, it does not follow that falsehood is right, except it be understood in the same manner as when we speak of two impossible things: "If this be true, then that follows; because neither this nor that is true;" as if a man should say: "Supposing water to be dry, and fire to be moist;" for neither is the case. Therefore, with regard to these things, to speak the whole truth: If God desires a thing, it is right that he should desire that which involves no unfitness. For if God chooses that it should rain, it is right that it hould rain; and if he desires that any man should die, then is it right that he should die. Wherefore, if it be not fitting for God to do anything unjustly, or out of course, it does not belong to his liberty or compassion or will to let the sinner go unpunished who makes no return to God of what the sinner has defrauded him.
Boso. You remove from me every possible objection which I had thought of bringing against you.
Anselm.. Yet observe why it is not fitting for God to do this.
Boso. I listen readily to whatever you say.
So should we, ladies and gentlemen!