Stay out of the Fog
Thomas A. Droleskey
Although some are trying quite hard not see the Modernist paradigm that permeates the entirety of Joseph Ratzinger's thought process, analyses by a number of individuals from across the ecclesiastical divide are noting that Benedict XVI has been committed to a "synthesis of the faith" with the "modern" world, including "science" and "technology," in every aspect of his intellectual life.
To wit, Mr. James Larson, who has sized up the irreconcilable nature of Joseph Ratzinger's writings with the authentic patrimony of the Catholic Church, wrote an analysis of Benedict's December 22, 2005, address to the curia that appeared in the May, 2006, issue of Christian Order (The Suffering Continues). Readers will see that Mr. Larson, who is not a sedevacantist and has no leanings at all in that direction, has cited a key passage in Pope Saint Pius X's Pascendi Dominici Gregis that applies directly to Benedict's agenda, reaffirmed five days ago during his visit to his native Germany, of "reconciling" the Faith to modern principles. Here is just one brief section from Mr. Larson's article, including a key passage from Pascendi:
According to our Holy Father, "the Council had to find a new definition of the relationship between the Church and the modern age." What is most revealing is that Benedict considers that the key to redefining this new relationship lies in our being able to express Catholic doctrine in "new ways." He says:
"Here I shall cite only John XXIII’s well-known words, which unequivocally express this hermeneutic when he says that the Council wishes ‘to transmit the doctrine pure and integral, without any attenuation or distortion’. And he continues: ‘Our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure, as if we were concerned only with antiquity, but to dedicate ourselves with an earnest will and without fear to that work which our age demands of us…’ It is necessary that ‘adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness…’ be presented in ‘faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another…’, ‘retaining the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another…’, retaining the same meaning and message (The Documents of Vatican II, Walter M. Abbott, S.J., p. 715).
And Pope Benedict adds:
"It is clear that this commitment to expressing a specific truth in a new way demands new thinking upon it and a new relationship with it." [All emphases mine unless otherwise indicated].
At this point the reader might try to imagine what it means to have "new thinking" and a "new relationship" with defined doctrine. Vatican Council I had some very powerful things to say about any such "new relationships" with doctrine:
"For the doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed like a philosophical invention, to be perfected by human ingenuity; but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ, to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared. Hence, also, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be retained which our holy Mother the Church has once declared; nor is that meaning ever to be departed from, under the pretence or pretext of a deeper comprehension of them."
The Council in fact pronounces a solemn anathema against anyone who would attempt to change the sense of such doctrine:
Canon III (from the chapter on Faith and Reason): "If anyone shall assert it to be possible that sometimes, according to the progress of science, a sense is to be given to doctrine propounded by the Church different from that which the Church has understood and understands; let him be anathema."
What then can possibly be meant by Pope Benedict’s proposal for a "new relationship" with doctrine?
Some, in defense of the Pope’s statements, might argue that when speaking of this new relationship with defined truth the Pope only intends us to understand a new penetration into the depths of the wisdom contained in these truths, and a consequent deeper commitment to living them.
I can only reply at this point that such a "penetration" and "deepening" of our faith would not at all necessitate Pope Benedict postulating "ever new forms" of "the perennial problem of the relationship between faith and reason" as the root reason for such new relationships with doctrine.
There certainly can be a change in the relationship which individual human reason possesses in regard to truth. Simply stated, an individual may come to know and accept a truth of faith which he did not know previously. Or he may come to a deeper understanding of this truth, and a more profound commitment to living out its implications. But the change is all on the side of human reason. There is no change, and never can be, between faith and reason when viewed from the perspective of the deposit of faith itself.
As I argue in the following analysis, Pope Benedict XVI indeed appears to be proposing a "new relationship" with defined doctrine which necessitates the changing of the sense of doctrine itself.
Specifics of the "New Relationship"
Pope Benedict espouses that this "new relationship with truth," and also with the world, is dependent upon redefining our relationships with the world in three fundamental "circles":
1. In the words of the Pope: "First of all, the relationship between faith and modern science had to be redefined."
I have purposely emphasized the words "first of all" in this passage. It confirms the thesis, proposed in my articles concerning The War Against Being, that the primary source of error and confusion in the Church today is the capitulation of its members to the worldview promoted by reductive analytical science.
This surrender necessitates the rejection of Thomistic cosmology and metaphysics, and has the effect of placing faith in a state of perpetual prostitution to secular science. In other words, it places the faith in an "ever changing relationship to science" which demands that faith be always ready to change in respect of new scientific discovery.
This fundamental posture of Modernistic thinking is profoundly analyzed and condemned by Pope Pius X in his encyclical Pascendi:
"It would be a great mistake, nevertheless, to suppose that, according to these theories, one is allowed to believe that faith and science are entirely independent of each other. On the side of science that is indeed quite true and correct, but it is quite otherwise with regard to faith, which is subject to science, not on one but on three grounds. For in the first place it must be observed that in every religious fact, when one takes away the divine reality [which, for the Modernist, is equivalent to the interior, subjective religious sense] and the experience of it which the believer possesses, everything else, and especially the religious formulas [defined doctrines], belongs to the sphere of phenomena and therefore falls under the control of science. Let the believer go out of the world if he will, but so long as he remains in it, whether he like it or not, he cannot escape from the laws, the observation, the judgments of science or of history. Further, although it is contended that God is the object of faith alone, the statement refers only to the divine reality [again, this refers to subjective "sense" or experience of the divine], not to the idea of God. The latter also is subject to science which, while it philosophizes in what is called the logical order, soars also to the absolute and the ideal. It is therefore the right of philosophy and of science to form its knowledge concerning the idea of God, to direct it in its evolution and to purify it of any extraneous elements which may have entered into it. Hence we have the Modernist axiom that the religious evolution ought to be brought into accord with the moral and intellectual, or as one whom they regard as their leader has expressed it, ought to be subject to it. Finally, man does not suffer a dualism to exist in himself, and the believer therefore feels within him an impelling need so to harmonize faith with science that it may never oppose the general conception which science sets forth concerning the universe." [All italics are part of the text]
The fundamental question which we must ask in the face of the Pope’s statement given above is this: How is it possible to "redefine the relationship between faith and modern science?"
When we consider faith as the human act of ascent of mind and will to defined doctrine, we are speaking of the submission of the mind to God’s Revelation. Reason, philosophy, and science are the handmaids of this Revelation. The proper relationship between faith and science, or faith and reason, is dogmatically taught by Vatican I:
"Man being wholly dependent upon God, as upon his Creator and Lord, and created reason being absolutely subject to uncreated truth, we are bound to yield to God, by faith in His revelation, the full obedience of our intelligence and will."
There can, in other words, be no redefinition of this relationship between faith and science without destroying the whole Divinely established order of truth.
Mr. Larson is entirely correct. Benedict spelled all of this out quite clearly in Principles of Catholic Theology. He is using his power as the ostensibly reigning pontiff (obviously, I disagree with Mr. Larson concerning the legitimacy of Benedict's pontificate) to implement his condemned efforts to arrive at a "synthesis of faith" with "modern" thought. Benedict believes that "modern" thought has something to contribute to the Faith, stating that such it is just as possible to "reconcile" the structure of "modern" thought with the Faith now as it was in the Middle Ages for the Church to borrow from what he terms the Hellenic systems of thought (that is, the thought of Plato and Aristotle). This is false. The ancient Greek philosophers wrote before the Incarnation. Modern thought is based on a rejection of the Incarnation and of the entirety of the Deposit of Faith. There is no reconciling "modern" thought with the Faith. Thus, there can never be any "necessity" of trying to effect such a reconciliation.
Pope Pius XII pointed this out in Humani Generis, condemning the very "reconciliation" that Joseph Ratzinger has spent his entire life trying to effect:
Of course this [Scholastic] philosophy deals with much that neither directly nor indirectly touches faith or morals, and which consequently the Church leaves to the free discussion of experts. But this does not hold for many other things, especially those principles and fundamental tenets to which We have just referred. However, even in these fundamental questions, we may clothe our philosophy in a more convenient and richer dress, make it more vigorous with a more effective terminology, divest it of certain scholastic aids found less useful, prudently enrich it with the fruits of progress of the human mind. But never may we overthrow it, or contaminate it with false principles, or regard it as a great, but obsolete, relic.
Pope Pius XII condemns the effort to contaminate scholastic aids "with false principles, or regard it as a great, but obsolete, relic." This is precisely what Joseph Ratzinger believes about Scholastic Philosophy. It is necessary, as Pope Saint Pius X noted in Pascendi Dominici Gregis, for the Modernists to do away with Scholastic Philosophy in order to empty the Magisterium of the Church of its defined doctrinal content, which is said to have been "time-conditioned" and thus rendered "obsolete," with novel ideas that that the Church has condemned consistently. Anyone who does not see that this is the case with Joseph Ratzinger is unwilling to come to grips with reality and to deal with the necessary questions that must be asked as a result. No pope has any authority to contaminate the Catholic Faith with ideas that have as their principal foundation a complete and total rejection of its tenets.
Pope Pius XII continued his discourse in Humani Generis:
For truth and its philosophic expression cannot change from day to day, least of all where there is question of self-evident principles of the human mind or of those propositions which are supported by the wisdom of the ages and by divine revelation. Whatever new truth the sincere human mind is able to find, certainly cannot be opposed to truth already acquired, since God, the highest Truth, has created and guides the human intellect, not that it may daily oppose new truths to rightly established ones, but rather that, having eliminated errors which may have crept in, it may build truth upon truth in the same order and structure that exist in reality, the source of truth. Let no Christian therefore, whether philosopher or theologian, embrace eagerly and lightly whatever novelty happens to be thought up from day to day, but rather let him weigh it with painstaking care and a balanced judgment, lest he lose or corrupt the truth he already has, with grave danger and damage to his faith.
If one considers all this well, he will easily see why the Church demands that future priests be instructed in philosophy "according to the method, doctrine, and principles of the Angelic Doctor," since, as we well know from the experience of centuries, the method of Aquinas is singularly preeminent both for teaching students and for bringing truth to light; his doctrine is in harmony with divine revelation, and is most effective both for safeguarding the foundation of the faith, and for reaping, safely and usefully, the fruits of sound progress.
Once again, what does Benedict XVI believe about the Scholastic Philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas? Let us turn to his own words:
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)
How can anyone in his right mind reconcile Joseph Ratzinger's rejection of Scholasticism with the clear condemnations of such a prideful rejection by Popes Saint Pius X and Pius XII? We are face to face, ladies and gentleman, with a Modernist monster who believes that the "Holy Spirit" has given him a mission to do away with the former "bastions" of the Catholic Church, opening the doors to contaminating the Faith with principles that are at odds with it. In other words, Ratzinger believes now what he has always believed: that the Hegelian system will produce a "synthesis" that is satisfactory to "modern" man while retaining what is said to be the "essence" of the Faith.
Leaving aside the fact that Ratzinger's "necessary adventure" has been condemned repeatedly by the Church, what has been modern man's response to all of conciliarism's efforts to appeal to him? Total disinterest. Men of all ages have responded to the clear communication of Catholic truth as it has been handed down over the centuries. This is how Saint Peter preached to the Jews to effect their conversion on Pentecost Sunday. This is how Saint Vincent Ferrer effected the conversion of thousands of Jews and Mohammedans in the late-Fourteenth and early-Fifteenth Centuries. This is how Saint Francis de Sales, the Apostle of gentleness, effected the conversion of thousands of Calvinists in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. This is how the Faith has been spread in all ages.
Pope Pius XII's complete and total rejection of the "new theology" that Ratzinger learned from Hans Urs von Balthasar and Henri de Lubac and Maurice Blondel is plain for all to see. Consider the following passage from Humani Generis:
How deplorable it is then that this philosophy, received and honored by the Church, is scorned by some, who shamelessly call it outmoded in form and rationalistic, as they say, in its method of thought. They say that this philosophy upholds the erroneous notion that there can be a metaphysic that is absolutely true; whereas in fact, they say, reality, especially transcendent reality, cannot better be expressed than by disparate teachings, which mutually complete each other, although they are in a way mutually opposed. Our traditional philosophy, then, with its clear exposition and solution of questions, its accurate definition of terms, its clear-cut distinctions, can be, they concede, useful as a preparation for scholastic theology, a preparation quite in accord with medieval mentality; but this philosophy hardly offers a method of philosophizing suited to the needs of our modern culture. They allege, finally, that our perennial philosophy is only a philosophy of immutable essences, while the contemporary mind must look to the existence of things and to life, which is ever in flux. While scorning our philosophy, they extol other philosophies of all kinds, ancient and modern, oriental and occidental, by which they seem to imply that any kind of philosophy or theory, with a few additions and corrections if need be, can be reconciled with Catholic dogma. No Catholic can doubt how false this is, especially where there is question of those fictitious theories they call immanentism, or idealism, or materialism, whether historic or dialectic, or even existentialism, whether atheistic or simply the type that denies the validity of the reason in the field of metaphysics.
Once again, ladies and gentlemen, please notice how the very idea proposed just a few days ago is rejected so completely by Pope Pius XII, who was merely expressing the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church. There is no reconciling these words of Pius XII, presented for the sake of reiteration, with the lecture that Benedict XVI gave in Germany five days ago:
They allege, finally, that our perennial philosophy is only a philosophy of immutable essences, while the contemporary mind must look to the existence of things and to life, which is ever in flux. While scorning our philosophy, they extol other philosophies of all kinds, ancient and modern, oriental and occidental, by which they seem to imply that any kind of philosophy or theory, with a few additions and corrections if need be, can be reconciled with Catholic dogma.
Contrast Pope Pius XII's words of warning with Benedict's embrace of the very things condemned in Humani Generis:
And so I come to my conclusion. This attempt, painted with broad strokes, at a critique of modern reason from within has nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age. The positive aspects of modernity are to be acknowledged unreservedly: We are all grateful for the marvelous possibilities that it has opened up for mankind and for the progress in humanity that has been granted to us. The scientific ethos, moreover, is the will to be obedient to the truth, and, as such, it embodies an attitude which reflects one of the basic tenets of Christianity.
The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening our concept of reason and its application. While we rejoice in the new possibilities open to humanity, we also see the dangers arising from these possibilities and we must ask ourselves how we can overcome them.
We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once more disclose its vast horizons. In this sense theology rightly belongs in the university and within the wide-ranging dialogue of sciences, not merely as a historical discipline and one of the human sciences, but precisely as theology, as inquiry into the rationality of faith.
Only thus do we become capable of that genuine dialogue of cultures and religions so urgently needed today. In the Western world it is widely held that only positivistic reason and the forms of philosophy based on it are universally valid. Yet the world's profoundly religious cultures see this exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions.
A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures. At the same time, as I have attempted to show, modern scientific reason with its intrinsically Platonic element bears within itself a question which points beyond itself and beyond the possibilities of its methodology. Modern scientific reason quite simply has to accept the rational structure of matter and the correspondence between our spirit and the prevailing rational structures of nature as a given, on which its methodology has to be based.
Yet the question why this has to be so is a real question, and one which has to be remanded by the natural sciences to other modes and planes of thought -- to philosophy and theology. For philosophy and, albeit in a different way, for theology, listening to the great experiences and insights of the religious traditions of humanity, and those of the Christian faith in particular, is a source of knowledge, and to ignore it would be an unacceptable restriction of our listening and responding.
Here I am reminded of something Socrates said to Phaedo. In their earlier conversations, many false philosophical opinions had been raised, and so Socrates says: "It would be easily understandable if someone became so annoyed at all these false notions that for the rest of his life he despised and mocked all talk about being -- but in this way he would be deprived of the truth of existence and would suffer a great loss." (Benedict XVI, "Faith, Reason and the University," address delivered at Regensburg University, September 12, 2006.)
What does Benedict believe that the Church "learned" from modernity? Well, the separation of Church and State is one concept he embraces as a "positive" "sign of the times." He eschews any and all efforts to seek a return to the confessionally Catholic State. Those days have passed, never to return, for which he is thankful as "pluralism" is an irreversible reality of the "synthesis of faith." No, it is not. The graces won for us by the shedding of every single drop of Our Lord's Most Precious Blood are as powerful now as they were when Saint Peter and the other Apostles left the Upper Room in Jerusalem to proclaim the Gospel of the Divine Redeemer throughout the quarters of the known world, including places, such as what is now modern-day Iraq and India, where "Western thought" did not prevail.
The power of the truth that Our Lord deposited in His Holy Church resonated in souls precisely because our very intellects and wills are made by God to know, to love, and to serve Him. It is not opposed to reason to trust in the Word of God as it has been entrusted to His true Church. That is, it is not opposed to reason to trust in the word of the disciples of the One Who has Revealed Himself to be God. People do not need advanced degrees in philosophy to respond to the truths of the Catholic Faith.
Did Saint Patrick engage in "inter-religious" dialogue with the Druids? Of course not. He proclaimed the truths of the true Faith, which come from God Himself and are meant to lead all men back to Him through His true Church. While it is true that disputations and discussions with unbelievers have taken place from time immemorial, it is also true that the Catholics who engaged in such disputations and discussions defended Catholic truth to seek converts to the maternal bosom of the true Church without believing that the unbelievers could "add" to their understanding of God's Revelation, quite a different thing than the "inter-religious" dialogue that is at the basis of conciliarism.
For Benedict, though, the Church can "learn" from modern science and thought, which in turn can be reconciled to Catholic teaching, such as Benedict admits it to be. To refuse to listen to false notions, he believes, would be to deprive oneself of the "truth of existence." Although it is important for scholars to study ideas in order to critique them from the perspective of the true Faith, no one is deprived of the "truth of existence" by refusing to listen to false ideas. False ideas are dangerous. Some of them contain kernels of truth, which makes it difficult for the average Catholic to discern truth from error, leading to confusion and the acceptance of ambiguity and contradiction as part and parcel of the "search for truth." There is no need to "search for truth," which has been deposited in the Catholic Church. There is simply a need to know the truth in exactly the manner that it has been taught by the Church over the centuries and to cooperate with Sanctifying Grace to live it out on a daily basis. Period.
Pope Saint Pius X dealt with this specious contention in Pascendi Dominici Gregis:
The Modernists completely invert the parts, and of them may be applied the words which another of Our predecessors Gregory IX, addressed to some theologians of his time: "Some among you, puffed up like bladders with the spirit of vanity strive by profane novelties to cross the boundaries fixed by the Fathers, twisting the meaning of the sacred text...to the philosophical teaching of the rationalists, not for the profit of their hearer but to make a show of science...these men, led away by various and strange doctrines, turn the head into the tail and force the queen to serve the handmaid."
Having rejected Scholasticism, the Modernist strives to make an appeal to "modern man" on the basis of novel approaches and ideas, as Pope Saint Pius X wrote in Pascendi:
To penetrate still deeper into the meaning of Modernism and to find a suitable remedy for so deep a sore, it behooves Us, Venerable Brethren, to investigate the causes which have engendered it and which foster its growth. That the proximate and immediate cause consists in an error of the mind cannot be open to doubt. We recognize that the remote causes may be reduced to two: curiosity and pride. Curiosity by itself, if not prudently regulated, suffices to account for all errors. Such is the opinion of Our predecessor, Gregory XVI, who wrote: "A lamentable spectacle is that presented by the aberrations of human reason when it yields to the spirit of novelty, when against the warning of the Apostle it seeks to know beyond what it is meant to know, and when relying too much on itself it thinks it can find the truth outside the Catholic Church wherein truth is found without the slightest shadow of error."
But it is pride which exercises an incomparably greater sway over the soul to blind it and lead it into error, and pride sits in Modernism as in its own house, finding sustenance everywhere in its doctrines and lurking in its every aspect. It is pride which fills Modernists with that self-assurance by which they consider themselves and pose as the rule for all. It is pride which puffs them up with that vainglory which allows them to regard themselves as the sole possessors of knowledge, and makes them say, elated and inflated with presumption, "We are not as the rest of men," and which, lest they should seem as other men, leads them to embrace and to devise novelties even of the most absurd kind. It is pride which rouses in them the spirit of disobedience and causes them to demand a compromise between authority and liberty. It is owing to their pride that they seek to be the reformers of others while they forget to reform themselves, and that they are found to be utterly wanting in respect for authority, even for the supreme authority. Truly there is no road which leads so directly and so quickly to Modernism as pride. When a Catholic layman or a priest forgets the precept of the Christian life which obliges us to renounce ourselves if we would follow Christ and neglects to tear pride from his heart, then it is he who most of all is a fully ripe subject for the errors of Modernism. For this reason, Venerable Brethren, it will be your first duty to resist such victims of pride, to employ them only in the lowest and obscurest offices. The higher they try to rise, the lower let them be placed, so that the lowliness of their position may limit their power of causing damage. Examine most carefully your young clerics by yourselves and by the directors of your seminaries, and when you find the spirit of pride among them reject them without compunction from the priesthood. Would to God that this had always been done with the vigilance and constancy which were required!
If we pass on from the moral to the intellectual causes of Modernism, the first and the chief which presents itself is ignorance. Yes, these very Modernists who seek to be esteemed as Doctors of the Church, who speak so loftily of modern philosophy and show such contempt for scholasticism, have embraced the one with all its false glamour, precisely because their ignorance of the other has left them without the means of being able to recognize confusion of thought and to refute sophistry. Their whole system, containing as it does errors so many and so great, has been born of the union between faith and false philosophy.
This is a completely accurate description of the whole work of the "new thinkers," including Benedict himself, whose methodology of a "synthesis of faith," which is the basis of his Principles of Catholic Theology, was critiqued prophetically by Pope Saint Pius X in 1907 in Pascendi:
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.''
The Modernists pass judgment on the holy Fathers of the Church even as they do upon tradition. With consummate temerity they assure the public that the Fathers, while personally most worthy of all veneration, were entirely ignorant of history and criticism, for which they are only excusable on account of the time in which they lived. Finally, the Modernists try in every way to diminish and weaken the authority of the ecclesiastical magisterium itself by sacrilegiously falsifying its origin, character, and rights, and by freely repeating the calumnies of its adversaries. To the entire band of Modernists may be applied those words which Our predecessor sorrowfully wrote: "To bring contempt and odium on the mystic Spouse of Christ, who is the true light, the children of darkness have been wont to cast in her face before the world a stupid calumny, and perverting the meaning and force of things and words, to depict her as the friend of darkness and ignorance, and the enemy of light, science, and progress.'' This being so, Venerable Brethren, there is little reason to wonder that the Modernists vent all their bitterness and hatred on Catholics who zealously fight the battles of the Church. There is no species of insult which they do not heap upon them, but their usual course is to charge them with ignorance or obstinacy. When an adversary rises up against them with an erudition and force that renders them redoubtable, they seek to make a conspiracy of silence around him to nullify the effects of his attack. This policy towards Catholics is the more invidious in that they belaud with admiration which knows no bounds the writers who range themselves on their side, hailing their works, exuding novelty in every page, with a chorus of applause. For them the scholarship of a writer is in direct proportion to the recklessness of his attacks on antiquity, and of his efforts to undermine tradition and the ecclesiastical magisterium. When one of their number falls under the condemnations of the Church the rest of them, to the disgust of good Catholics, gather round him, loudly and publicly applaud him, and hold him up in veneration as almost a martyr for truth. The young, excited and confused by all this clamor of praise and abuse, some of them afraid of being branded as ignorant, others ambitious to rank among the learned, and both classes goaded internally by curiosity and pride, not infrequently surrender and give themselves up to Modernism.
Thus, Joseph Ratzinger has felt free throughout his entire priesthood to ignore those doctrines he does not like or consider to be relevant to the "modern" experience (the confessionally Catholic State, the doctrine that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church, the fact that the Catholic Church is the sole Church of Christ and does not need to "search for truth" with those in heretical and/or schismatic sects, the teaching that false religions have no right to propagate themselves in civil society). He feels free to ignore dogmatic councils, such as the Council of Florence and the Council of Trent and the First Vatican Council when it suits the purposes of the "new theology" to do so. He continues to this very day to extol the Joint Lutheran-Catholic Declaration on Justification that endorses concepts anathematized by the Council of Trent. He does not believe that it is necessary to seek with urgency the conversion of Protestants to the Catholic Faith. Jews are saved by their "expectant waiting" for the Messiah.
What About the Mohammedans?
Indeed, Benedict's whole approach to the Mohammedans is to try to convince them to enter into a religious "dialogue" with which they want no part! Benedict wants Mohammedans to drop the "jihad" in order to be able to enter into the glories of the world of inter-religious dialogue. You see, the former Joseph Ratzinger is displeased with the Mohammedans because the structure of their false beliefs do not leave room for "dialogue" with others based on "reason," as he sees it. This is indeed true. Mohammedans are not interested in dialogue. They believe that they have the totality of revealed "truth." They are not now--nor will they ever be--ready to accommodate conciliarism's "vision" of how different "religions" can coexist.
To wit, a Mohammedan imam, who was the centerpiece of an inter-religious prayer meeting that featured himself, John Paul II and the Grand Rabbi of Jerusalem in March of 2000, got up and walked out of the ceremony after it got underway. He told the press later that he did not believe in the "ecumenical" nature of the event. He had the integrity of his false convictions. To expect, therefore, that Mohammedans will knuckle under to the "civilization of love" fostered by conciliarism shows just how delusional the counterfeit religion is in every respect.
Finally, if one is willing to raise Mohammedan hackles by discussing the violent nature of their "prophet's" religion, why not simply urge those steeped in it to convert to the true Faith. There have been a few success stories in this regard. Saint Vincent Ferrer, for one, comes to mind. Father Daniel Johnson, the former pastor of Saint Mary's by the Sea Church in Huntington Beach, California, did this during his twenty-five year pastorate. Relying upon the graces that flow to us through the loving hands of our dear Blessed Mother, to whom Father Johnson was so tenderly devoted, he brought some Mohammedans into the true Church. Alas, there can be no call for "conversion" from a conciliarist absent a "rational" basis for discussion and "dialogue," which, whether wittingly or not, disparages the power of the graces won for us by Our Lord on Calvary and that do indeed flow to us through the loving hands of Our Lady to reach the souls of all people, including Mohammedans, by simply proclaiming the truths of the true Faith and then entrusting all to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The first pope, Saint Peter, sort of did this with the Jews on Pentecost Sunday. Why is this not good enough for Benedict and conciliarism?
Do Not Get Lost in the Fog
One can get lost in all of the fog of Joseph Ratzinger and his Modernist system of thought and pastoral praxis. He is a Modernist to the core of his being. He may be very sincere in all that he believes and does. He just happens to be sincerely wrong. He knows what the Church has taught consistently. He believes that it is necessary, in order to appeal to "modern man," you understand, to jettison those things that are "non-essential" and to reformulate the rest in ways that will be more in conformity with the spirit of the times. No pope in the history of the Catholic Church prior to the advent of the reign of Angelo Roncalli dared to assert these things. Every pope prior to 1958 would have to be wrong for the conciliar popes and their desperate apologists to be correct. Once again, please consider the words of Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis:
These new opinions, whether they originate from a reprehensible desire of novelty or from a laudable motive, are not always advanced in the same degree, with equal clarity nor in the same terms, nor always with unanimous agreement of their authors. Theories that today are put forward rather covertly by some, not without cautions and distinctions, tomorrow are openly and without moderation proclaimed by others more audacious, causing scandal to many, especially among the young clergy and to the detriment of ecclesiastical authority. Though they are usually more cautious in their published works, they express themselves more openly in their writings intended for private circulation and in conferences and lectures. Moreover, these opinions are disseminated not only among members of the clergy and in seminaries and religious institutions, but also among the laity, and especially among those who are engaged in teaching youth.
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.
This is exactly why Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI has stated that The Syllabus of Errors and Pascendi Dominci Gregis no longer apply. He believes that the truths contained within them had become "distorted" by historical "realities" that are now obsolete:
If it is desirable to offer a diagnosis of the text (Gaudium et Spes) as a whole, we might say that (in conjunction with the texts on religious liberty, and world religions) it is a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of countersyllabus. Harnack, as we know, interpreted the Syllabus of Pius IX as nothing less than a declaration of war against his generation. This is correct insofar as the Syllabus established a line of demarcation against the determining forces of the nineteenth century: against the scientific and political world view of liberalism. In the struggle against modernism the twofold delimitation was ratified and strengthened. Since then many things have changed. The new ecclesiastical policy of Pius XI produced a certain openness toward a liberal understanding of the state. In a quiet but persistent struggle, exegesis and Church history adopted more and more the postulates of liberal science, and liberalism, too, was obliged to undergo many significant changes in the great political upheavals of the twentieth century. As a result, the one-sidedness of the position adopted by the Church under Pius IX and Pius X in response to the situation created by the new phase of history inaugurated by the French Revolution and was, to a large extent, corrected via facti, especially in Central Europe, but there was still no basic statement of the relationship that should exist between the Church and the world that had come into existence after 1789. In fact, an attitude that was largely pre-revolutionary continued to exist in countries with strong Catholic majorities. Hardly anyone will deny today that the Spanish and Italian Concordat strove to preserve too much of a view of the world that no longer corresponded to the facts. Hardly anyone will deny today that, in the field of education and with respect to the historico-critical method in modern science, anachronisms existed that corresponded closely to this adherence to an obsolete Church-state relationship. Only a careful investigation of the different ways in which acceptance of the new era was accomplished in various parts of the Church could unravel the complicated network of causes that formed the background of the "Pastoral Constitution". and only thus can the dramatic history of its influence be brought to light.
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.
While I pray by name for as many prelates, including Benedict XVI himself, in the conciliar structures whose names occur to me in my daily prayers, let me reiterate what I have been saying in recent months: it is my firm conviction some future pope or council will declare definitively for all Catholics to accept as binding upon their consciences that the conciliar popes defected from the Catholic Faith, that each and every single one of them were enemies of God and thus of souls, in that they held views, even as "private theologians," no less in their various papal allocutions and encyclical letters, contrary to the defined teaching of the Catholic Church, thus blaspheming God Himself, and in that they refused to seek the unconditional conversion of all men in the world to her maternal bosom.
There is no doubt in my mind at all that some future pope or council will indeed declare negatively on conciliarism and the conciliar prelates. The novelties of the past forty years cannot be reconciled with Catholicism. There are those who might disagree with my conclusion about the illegitimacy of the conciliar popes but still recognize the irreconcilable nature of conciliarism with Catholicism. Fine. I hope, though, that at least a few Catholics can admit that a counterfeit religion has been created that has resulted in most Catholics being lost in the fog of the ambiguity and contradiction and a "synthesis of faith" of the "new theology," which is but one aspect of Modernism itself. No matter our disagreements about the conclusions that can be reached as a result of this counterfeit religion, I think that we can agree that we must trust in Our Lady to "throw the bums out," as the late William C. Koneazny noted before he died in 2004, and to restore Tradition in the Church and Christendom in the world as the fruit of the Triumph of her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart when a man possessed of the totality of the Catholic Faith ascends to the Throne of Saint Peter, probably after a major chastisement, and fulfills her Fatima Message.
It is thus vital for us to stay out of the fog of conciliarism. A counterfeit dollar bill has the appearance of real money. Conciliarism has the appearance of Catholicism in many, many respects, which just provides its diabolical origins. A counterfeit remains what it is is, however: inauthentic. We must seek out the true Catholic Faith in the catacombs and do penance for our own sins, hoping to die in a state of Sanctifying Grace after having given each one of our thoughts, words and actions and crosses and humiliations to God as the consecrated slaves of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. We remain full of Faith, Hope, and Love in the meantime, knowing that Our Lady will have her victory and that it will be glorious beyond all imagining.
Vivat Christus Rex! Vivat Maria Regina Immaculata!
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.
Saint John the Beloved, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saint John Mary Vianney, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Martin of Tours, pray for us.
Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Alphonsus de Liguori, pray for us.
Saint Dominic, pray for us.
Saint Basil, 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 Bosco, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Blessed Pauline Jaricot, pray for us.
Blessed Miguel Augustin Pro, 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.