The Work of Fools
Thomas A. Droleskey
At the heart of the Modernist ethos is the belief that truth can contradict itself. As God is the author all truth, Modernists believe that God can contradict Himself, that He has not revealed anything that can be defined definitively, that it is up to believers to "reinterpret" the meaning of "truth" time and events unfold. This is, of course, the work of fools. Nevertheless, the Modernist acceptance of the Hegelian view of the world (that ideas contain within themselves the seeds of their own inherent contradiction, thus creating a conflict that is resolved in the evolution of a new idea, a synthesis, from the first idea and its antithesis) is the foundation of the work of men such as the late Fathers Hans Urs von Balthasar and Henri de Lubac and their protege, Father Joseph Ratzinger.
Although the critique of the work of Hans Urs von Balthasar offered by Father Regis Scanlon, O.F.M. Cap., has been cited a lot on this site in the past six months, it is important to emphasize, especially for new readers and for those who, quite understandably, want to think that our ecclesiastical situation is not as perilous as it actually is, the fact that Benedict XVI's use of the words "Tradition" and "Faith" do not meant what the Church has taught over the centuries. Benedict, as a disciple of Von Balthasar, believes that these words, which appeal to the hearts of believing Catholics, are mere empty vessels into which "new wine" may be poured as the Church "matures" and "evolves" in her understanding of the Revelation that has been entrusted to her.
A penetrating analysis of the work of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Henri de Lubac was written recently by Mr. James Larson and published, respectively, in the March and April, 2006, issues of Christian Order. It must be stipulated here that Mr. Larson is evidently quite upset that his articles have been used by writers to prove that Benedict XVI is possessed of a non-Catholic mind. Mr. Larson's analysis, though, stands on its own merits. He may not want to draw the inevitable conclusions that flow from his excellent work. The conclusions, however, are necessary to draw in order to realize the dangers that face the Church today in the form of real wolf in sheep's clothing.
A review of Mr. Larson's analysis indicates quite clearly the dangers to which traditional Catholics are exposed by succumbing to any blandishments from Benedict concerning platitudes about "Tradition." Benedict XVI does not believe in the Catholic Faith as it has been handed down to us from the Apostles. Even the word "Christ" does not signify the Divine Redeemer as He has revealed Himself through His true Church. All of the "bastions" of Catholic understanding must be "razed" (that is, torn down) to begin the work of our "understanding" of Who Christ is and how we are to relate to Him.
Mr. Larson begins his article on Henri de Lubac, By Arts Entirely New, by quoting from a 1971 essay written by Father Joseph Ratzinger, found in Zum Problem Unfehlbarkeit ("The Problem of Infallibility), a series of essays edited by Father Karl Rahner, S.J. Here is the quote from then Father Ratzinger:
"I want to emphasize again that I decidedly agree with Küng when he makes a clear distinction between Roman theology (taught in the schools of Rome) and the Catholic Faith. To free itself from the constraining fetters of Roman Scholastic Theology represents a duty upon which, in my humble opinion, the possibility of the survival of Catholicism seems to depend."
This is a very important element to understand the dangers posed to us by Benedict XVI. He hates the Church's endorsed system of philosophy, Scholasticism, believing that the cloudiness and the murkiness of the Hegelian view of truth endorsed by von Balthasar and de Lubac and others is needed to "make Christ alive" to modern man. A rejection of the immutability of truth is a rejection of the immutability of God. A rejection of the immutability of truth is, whether wittingly or not, an exercise in immanentism, something spelled out quite specifically by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis, August 12, 1950:
Hence to neglect, or to reject, or to devalue so many and such great resources which have been conceived, expressed and perfected so often by the age-old work of men endowed with no common talent and holiness, working under the vigilant supervision of the holy magisterium and with the light and leadership of the Holy Ghost in order to state the truths of the faith ever more accurately, to do this so that these things may be replaced by conjectural notions and by some formless and unstable tenets of a new philosophy, tenets which, like the flowers of the field, are in existence today and die tomorrow; this is supreme imprudence and something that would make dogma itself a reed shaken by the wind. The contempt for terms and notions habitually used by scholastic theologians leads of itself to the weakening of what they call speculative theology, a discipline which these men consider devoid of true certitude because it is based on theological reasoning.
Unfortunately these advocates of novelty easily pass from despising scholastic theology to the neglect of and even contempt for the Teaching Authority of the Church itself, which gives such authoritative approval to scholastic theology. This Teaching Authority is represented by them as a hindrance to progress and an obstacle in the way of science. Some non Catholics consider it as an unjust restraint preventing some more qualified theologians from reforming their subject. And although this sacred Office of Teacher in matters of faith and morals must be the proximate and universal criterion of truth for all theologians, since to it has been entrusted by Christ Our Lord the whole deposit of faith -- Sacred Scripture and divine Tradition -- to be preserved, guarded and interpreted, still the duty that is incumbent on the faithful to flee also those errors which more or less approach heresy, and accordingly "to keep also the constitutions and decrees by which such evil opinions are proscribed and forbidden by the Holy See," is sometimes as little known as if it did not exist. What is expounded in the Encyclical Letters of the Roman Pontiffs concerning the nature and constitution of the Church, is deliberately and habitually neglected by some with the idea of giving force to a certain vague notion which they profess to have found in the ancient Fathers, especially the Greeks. The Popes, they assert, do not wish to pass judgment on what is a matter of dispute among theologians, so recourse must be had to the early sources, and the recent constitutions and decrees of the Teaching Church must be explained from the writings of the ancients.
Hans Urs von Balthasar and Henri de Lubac and Karl Rahner and Joseph Ratzinger and Johann Baptist Metz, among others of the "new thinkers," believe that no dogmatic statement of the Church is beyond review and reinterpretation to adapt to to the "needs of modern man." This how, for example, the decree issued by the Council of Florence in 1442 that Jews go to Hell can be so readily ignored by the "new thinkers," including Benedict XVI. Truth is not immutable. Dogmatic pronouncements are not irreformable. All that is needed to be done is to convince the faithful that our understanding of doctrine can "deepen over time" (which it can, obviously, without contradicting itself) and even present the "paradox" of an apparent contradiction. In other words, the "new theology," which is nothing other than repackaged Modernism, is founded in an effort to convince the faithful that the laws of logic do not apply in matters of Faith, that it is only the "law of love," emptied of its authentically Catholic definition, that matters. In the name of "love" therefore, dogmatic pronouncements and the authentic Tradition of the Church can be ignored with impunity while Catholic-sounding terms are used to fool the people that there is no contradiction between conciliarism and Catholicism when the truth of the matter is that the two are completely incompatible.
Consider this quotation from von Balthasar's Razing the Bastions, found in James Larson's March, 2006, article in Christian Order, by way of demonstrating that Pope Pius XII knew full well there was an effort to empty the doctrine of the Church of its authentic meaning by the use of clever tricks and ambiguity:
"To honor the tradition does not excuse one from the obligation of beginning everything from the beginning each time, not with Augustine or Thomas or Newman, but with Christ. And the greatest figures of Christian salvation history are honored only by the one who does today what they did then, or what they would have done if they had lived today. The cross-check is quickly done, and it shows the tremendous impoverishment, not only in spirit and life, but also quite existentially: in thoughts and points of view, themes and ideas, where people are content to understand tradition as the handing-on of ready made results. Boredom manifests itself at once, and the neatest systematics fails to convince, remains of little consequence. The little groups of those who have come to an understanding with one another and cultivate what they take to be the tradition become more and more esoteric, foreign to the world, and more and more misunderstood, although they do not condescend to take notice of their alienation. And one day the storm that blows the dried-up branch away can no longer be delayed, and this collapse will not be great, because what collapses had been a hollow shell for a very long time. (Razing the Bastions, pp. 34-35)
Pope Pius XII had noted earlier in Humani Generis a characteristic of the "new thinkers" that applies directly to Benedict and his mentors and colleagues, including von Balthasar and de Lubac:
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.
It is evident from what We have already said, that such tentatives not only lead to what they call dogmatic relativism, but that they actually contain it. The contempt of doctrine commonly taught and of the terms in which it is expressed strongly favor it. Everyone is aware that the terminology employed in the schools and even that used by the Teaching Authority of the Church itself is capable of being perfected and polished; and we know also that the Church itself has not always used the same terms in the same way. It is also manifest that the Church cannot be bound to every system of philosophy that has existed for a short space of time. Nevertheless, the things that have been composed through common effort by Catholic teachers over the course of the centuries to bring about some understanding of dogma are certainly not based on any such weak foundation. These things are based on principles and notions deduced from a true knowledge of created things. In the process of deducing, this knowledge, like a star, gave enlightenment to the human mind through the Church. Hence it is not astonishing that some of these notions have not only been used by the Oecumenical Councils, but even sanctioned by them, so that it is wrong to depart from them.
Pope Pius demonstrated a keen grasp of the constituent elements of the thought of the likes of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Henri de Lubac and Maurice Blondel, each of whom was in the process of influencing a young seminarian at the time Humani Generis was issued, a certain Joseph Ratzinger. How can anyone "negotiate" with a man who is possessed of a notion of the Faith that is founded on the fallacious belief that our understanding of truth can change substantially, meaning that God can change substantially?
Change the Mass, Change the Faith
In this regard, you see, the Novus Ordo Missae plays a crucial role. One of the ways to best "raze the bastions" of Catholicism is attack the form of worship that Our Lord Himself gave the Apostles to offer Him before He Ascended to the Father's right hand in glory forty days after His Resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday. The Immemorial Mass of Tradition, which unmistakably communicates its sacrificial nature in all of its component parts, provided the faithful with a clear understanding that God, not man, is the center of our worship and our our lives, that the Mass is the unbloody re-presentation of the Sacrifice of the Cross, offered by an alter Christus acting in persona Christi, not an exercise in community self-congratulations.
Attack the Mass of Tradition and get the people accustomed to ceaseless change, founded in Protestant and Jansenist and Hegelian principles, and it will be much easier for the people to accept the contention that doctrine itself is subject to change. Lex orendi, lex credendi. The law of praying is the law of believing. We pray as we believe. We also believe as we pray. If we pray according to the Tradition of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church we will believe the Deposit of Faith that Our Lord has entrusted to her with certainty and clarity. If we pray according to the dictates of ever-changing novelties then we will come to believe that there is nothing about the Faith that is beyond the capacity of the Church to "alter" in light of "modern" conditions. Has this not, in fact, happened? Have not most Catholics today been convinced that doctrine is mutable and that God Himself is mutable (which is why so many people think that women can be ordained to the priesthood) because the Mass no longer conveys the immutability and transcendence of God?
The Hegelianism of Henri de Lubac and Hans Urs von Balthasar
Demonstrating the Hegelian mindset of Henri de Lubac in the article linked above, Mr. Larson quotes de Lubac about the nature of spiritual truth and then provides his own commentary:
"Paradoxical in its substance, spiritual truth is also paradoxical in its rhythm. When we discover it and hold it in our hands we do not have time to bring our first look of satisfaction to rest upon it before it has already fled. The eternal story of the Pharisee starts afresh in each of us. To get hold of this elusive truth again, we should perhaps seek it in its opposite, for it has changed its sign. But often we prefer to hug its rotten corpse. And we go rotten with it. [Ibid. p.14]"
Clearly, from his perspective, the Catholic Traditionalist is a "rotten corpse."
To use that forbidden thing, Aristotelian logic, for a moment, let us examine how we should seek truth in its "opposite." Our Lord, for example, said the following:
Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me (Jn. 14:6)
According to the logic of de Lubac, therefore we must examine this statement by exploring the opposite, that is, that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is not the way, the truth, and the life. Can anyone out there in cyberspace provide just one Patristic source for contending that we must explore the negative of Our Lord's statements--and the dogmatic degrees of the Church--in order to accept them or to understand them? Exploring the "opposite" of the clear statements of Our Lord might lead one to the rather unfortunate end that was met by Arius, at a time he thought he had been triumphant:
The frightful death of Arius is a terrible example of the just anger of God against the teachers of false doctrine. ...He had many followers and powerful support, and even secured that he should be solemnly received again into the Church. One the day appointed, a great procession was formed in Constantinople, and, with songs of triumph, Arius was led toward the Church, boasting of the victory he had gained over the Bishops. Then suddenly he was seized with frightful spasms, which compelled him to retire, till he should be able to resume his journey. Time passed away and he did not reappear; his followers became alarmed, and at length went to his room. There a fearful sight awaited them: Arius, lay stretched on the group, his face pale and livid, his body stiff in death, and the floor covered with his blood and intestines. His body had burst asunder, like that of Judas. (Canon Howe, Stories from the Catechist, quoted in Fathers Francisco and Dominic Radecki, CMRI, Tumultuous Times, pp. 17-18.)
Arius denied the Sacred Divinity of Our Lord. The "new thinkers" also deny this, although not outright, preferring to mask their disbelief in the true essences of God by the use of clouded language and what is called the "double mind," convincing unsuspecting Catholics that words and statements that appear to mean one thing clearly could actually mean many things, either simultaneously or over the course of time.
Attacking Our Lord Himself
Henri de Lubac and Hans Urs von Balthasar offenses against Our Lord and His holy truths are no less egregious than those of Arius and his followers. Mr. Larson explained this in his article about de Lubac:
"Remember, after all, that the Gospel is full of paradoxes, that man is himself a living paradox, and that according to the Fathers of the Church, the Incarnation is the supreme Paradox." [Paradoxes of the Faith, p.81. Emphasis mine, James Larson.]
As Catholics, we do not deny that there are profoundly paradoxical elements in the Incarnation of Christ. Infinite God becomes finite man. Such an Infinite Love and Being is virtually incomprehensible to us, and so we are rightly left with a sense of paradox. In this case, paradox is food for our humility.
This love which is incomprehensible to us, however, is not incomprehensible to God. It is Who He is (without this implying any necessity on the part of God’s in regard to His creatures in general, or the Incarnation in particular). There is, in other words, no paradox in God. There is, therefore, no Paradox in Jesus Christ Himself, or in the Incarnation per se.
Henri de Lubac did not agree. Nor did von Balthasar. At this point, it is important to note the connection between these two "Fathers" of the New Theology.
It is de Lubac who introduced the principle of self-contradiction into the very heart of truth. For him, paradox is the very "stuff" of creation, and "the Incarnation is the supreme Paradox." It is von Balthasar, however, who is the great popularizer of this method of thinking which has become the primary source of confusion in Catholic philosophy and theology.
In a section titled "The Heightened Paradox", in his book Truth is Symphonic: Aspects of Christian Pluralism (pp.38-40), von Balthasar writes:
"Now the final word [concerning the meaning and effectiveness of the Incarnation] is not revelation and precept but participation, communio.
"And that in turn, beyond word and deed, implies suffering. It means occupying the place of total and universal closedness, that is, God-forsakenness. God’s Word in Jesus Christ wishes to die with us in this God-forsakenness and descend with us into eternal banishment from God.
"Luther’s dictum, that at this point revelation ' latet sub contrario' (lies hidden in its opposite) is not too strong, provided it means no more than it formally says. Jesus is in fact the Lord who empties himself, taking the form of a slave. He is the Son, defined by his ultimate intimacy with the Father, but he dies in complete estrangement.
"...We must note, however, that in the formula latet sub contrario both aspects (the attribute and its opposite, the proposition and what contradicts it) have the same subject.
"…on the Cross itself, he [Christ] experiences this forsakenness so deeply, for the sake of sinners, that he no longer feels or knows anything of the Father’s presence. His relationship with the Father is indestructible, he says, ‘My God’ - but this God is hidden sub contrario. Indeed, the very profundity of his forsakenness is the sign of him who so profoundly conceals himself. Since the subject, God’s Son - in this case identical with his abiding connaturality with the Father-God - holds on so tenaciously through the contrary modes of experience, it is superfluous to go against all the evidence of the text and ascribe particular attributes of his first state (that is, the beatific vision of the Father) to him in his second state. His forsakenness affects his entire relationship with the Father."
All this is a denial of the very essence of Christianity - a denial of the hypostatic union, and the absolutely central Christian dogma that the human soul of Jesus is united with the Nature of God in the One Divine Person Jesus Christ. The human soul of Jesus uninterruptedly possessed the beatific vision throughout His conception, birth, life, and death. St. Thomas writes:
On the contrary, Damascene says (De Fide Orthod. iii): Christ’s Godhead permitted His flesh to do and to suffer what was proper to it. In like fashion, since it belonged to Christ’s soul, inasmuch as it was blessed, to enjoy fruition [the beatific vision], His Passion did not impede fruition." [ST, III, Q.46, A.8]
Uninterrupted possession of the beatific vision is, in other words, absolutely integral to the doctrine of the hypostatic union. To say that Christ died in "God-forsakenness", "eternal banishment from God", "complete estrangement", and "universal closedness" does not express "paradox", but rather total self-contradiction and heresy.
My friends, Benedict XVI believes in this. He has only had the highest words of praise for von Balthasar and de Lubac and Metz and others. No man can be a faithful teacher of the Catholic Faith when his mind is clouded by such errors and heresies, when his mind is steeped in the darkness of the fallacy that truth can contradict itself, that the binding doctrinal pronouncements of Holy Mother Church can be "re-thought" over time to appeal to "modern man." This is a deviation from the Faith, something that Pope Paul IV wrote in Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio, 1559, deprived a prelate of his office and that he could never do anything to acquire it. This is more than the "drop of poison," discussed by Pope Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum, that causes one to be considered no longer a Catholic. The "new theology" (aka Modernism) is incompatible with Catholicism. Those who hold its tenets are not Catholics. They lead people into profound theological and philosophical errors, not the least of which is committing the Lutheran sin of the presumption of their salvation.
Conciliarism's Rotten Foundations
The conciliarist error of ecumenism flies in the face of perennial teaching and pastoral praxis of the Catholic Church, starting, say, from Pentecost Sunday when the first pope, Saint Peter, sought to convert the Jews. This is no problem for those possessed of the Hegelian mind by means of de Lubac and von Balthasar. What was valid for Saint Peter is no longer valid. Things change. Get over it. Use a little smokescreen, forget about dogmatic councils, forget about the plain words of the Divine Redeemer Himself. Assert the opposite of what is true as true and see what sticks to the wall. Given the fact that this is the work of the devil himself, sadly, a lot of what the "new thinkers" propagate has "stuck" to the wall of the great facade of conciliarism.
The conciliarist error of religious liberty, which is actually a blasphemy against God in that it contends that He positively wills false religions to offer false worship to false gods in direct violation of the First Commandment, flies in the face of the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church. Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar, the three kings from the East, bowed down in worship before the King of Kings. The leaders of all nations at all times are to do the same. Although the Church might, as Pope Leo XIII noted in Libertas, June 20, 1888, have to make practical accommodations to the situations in the real world that do not always correspond to her teaching concerning the Social Reign of Christ the King, she nevertheless continues to insist on seeing herself recognized as the one and only true religion of the State, which thus has an obligation to suppress the propagation of false religions as offensive to God, hurtful to the citizenry and thus disruptive of the common good domestically and authentic peace internationally.
Pope Leo XIII gave a concrete example of this reiteration in Longiqua Oceani, January 6, 1895, reminding the American bishops that the Church-State relationship in the United States is not the ideal and that the separation of Church and State in this country should be remedied:
For the Church amongst you, unopposed by the Constitution and government of your nation, fettered by no hostile legislation, protected against violence by the common laws and the impartiality of the tribunals, is free to live and act without hindrance. Yet, though all this is true, it would be very erroneous to draw the conclusion that in America is to be sought the type of the most desirable status of the Church, or that it would be universally lawful or expedient for State and Church to be, as in America, dissevered and divorced. The fact that Catholicity with you is in good condition, nay, is even enjoying a prosperous growth, is by all means to be attributed to the fecundity with which God has endowed His Church, in virtue of which unless men or circumstances interfere, she spontaneously expands and propagates herself; but she would bring forth more abundant fruits if, in addition to liberty, she enjoyed the favor of the laws and the patronage of the public authority.
Pope Leo XIII had noted in Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885, that religious indifferentism leads to atheism as the lowest common denominator in society and that he state had a duty to suppress things contrary to the good of souls and thus contrary to its own good:
To hold, therefore, that there is no difference in matters of religion between forms that are unlike each other, and even contrary to each other, most clearly leads in the end to the rejection of all religion in both theory and practice. And this is the same thing as atheism, however it may differ from it in name. Men who really believe in the existence of God must, in order to be consistent with themselves and to avoid absurd conclusions, understand that differing modes of divine worship involving dissimilarity and conflict even on most important points cannot all be equally probable, equally good, and equally acceptable to God.
So, too, the liberty of thinking, and of publishing, whatsoever each one likes, without any hindrance, is not in itself an advantage over which society can wisely rejoice. On the contrary, it is the fountain-head and origin of many evils. Liberty is a power perfecting man, and hence should have truth and goodness for its object. But the character of goodness and truth cannot be changed at option. These remain ever one and the same, and are no less unchangeable than nature itself. If the mind assents to false opinions, and the will chooses and follows after what is wrong, neither can attain its native fullness, but both must fall from their native dignity into an abyss of corruption. Whatever, therefore, is opposed to virtue and truth may not rightly be brought temptingly before the eye of man, much less sanctioned by the favor and protection of the law. A well-spent life is the only way to heaven, whither all are bound, and on this account the State is acting against the laws and dictates of nature whenever it permits the license of opinion and of action to lead minds astray from truth and souls away from the practice of virtue. To exclude the Church, founded by God Himself, from the business of life, from the making of laws, from the education of youth, from domestic society is a grave and fatal error. A State from which religion is banished can never be well regulated; and already perhaps more than is desirable is known of the nature and tendency of the so-called civil philosophy of life and morals. The Church of Christ is the true and sole teacher of virtue and guardian of morals. She it is who preserves in their purity the principles from which duties flow, and, by setting forth most urgent reasons for virtuous life, bids us not only to turn away from wicked deeds, but even to curb all movements of the mind that are opposed to reason, even though they be not carried out in action.
In other words, the false foundation of the Modern State, including the United States of America, has doomed it from the very beginning to chaos and disorder? This country, with all of the evils it has exported abroad from its inception (Protestantism, Freemasonry, "civil liberty," "pluralism," etc.), is reaping the rotten fruit of Benedict's "healthy secularity."
Does any of this matter to the "new thinkers," including Benedict XVI. Not at all. The reiterations of the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church by the popes prior to 1958 are just brushed aside as "obsolete," "outdated," "hasty," "superficial." This is all so easy to do when one possesses the mind of Hegel by means of von Balthasar and de Lubac and others. How can any Catholic believe that he can have any contact with one drop of this poison, either liturgically or doctrinally, and not be influenced, even if little by little, over the course of time to rejecting the entirety of the patrimony of the Faith in order to live a comfortable life without conflict with others, without having to make the sacrifice of seeking out the Faith in the catacombs to which it has gone in our days as it had during Arianism and during the times of the Protestant Revolt in England, to name just two instances in Church history?
Once again, here is the stark contrast. Joseph Ratzinger defends what Pope Leo XIII condemned. First, then Cardinal Ratzinger, writing in The Principles of Catholic Theology, 1982:
It is desirable to offer a diagnosis of the text (Gaudium et Spes) as a whole, we might say that (in conjunction with the texts on religious liberty, and world religions) it is a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of countersyllabus ... Let us be content to say here that the text serves as a countersyllabus and, as such, represents on the part of the Church, an attempt at an official reconciliation with the new era inaugurated in 1789. . . . the one-sidedness of the position adopted by the Church under Pius IX and Pius X in response to the situation created by the new phase of history inaugurated by the French Revolution was, to a large extent, corrected via facti, especially in Central Europe, but there was still no basic statement of the relationship that should exist between the Church and the world that had come into existence after 1789. In fact, an attitude that was largely pre-revolutionary continued to exist in countries with strong Catholic majorities. Hardly anyone will deny today that the Spanish and Italian Concordat strove to preserve too much of a view of the world that no longer corresponded to the facts. Hardly anyone will deny today that, in the field of education and with respect to the historico-critical method in modern science, anachronisms existed that corresponded closely to this adherence to an obsolete Church-state relationship.
Pope Leo XIII condemned Joseph Ratzinger's "reconciliation" with the "new era inaugurated in 1789," calling it an alliance with the devil himself. Writing in Custodi Di Quella Fede, December 8, 1892, Pope Leo stated in no uncertain terms:
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 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?
This is, of course, no problem for the "new thinkers," including Benedict XVI, who believe that the Faith is a tabula rasa on which can be written what they want.
Mr. James Larson, while not at all questioning the legitimacy of Benedict's pontificate, as I have been doing quite publicly--after a long time of holding my tongue about important questions that need to be raised and considered prayerfully, does get to the heart of the matter in his article about Henri de Lubac. Mr. Larson sees very clearly that the mind of Joseph Ratzinger is poisoned by the "new theology," that his own "program" for the Church is slated to "raze" the remaining bastions of the Faith. Writing at the end of his article, Mr. Larson notes:
What we may be sure of is the enormously destructive consequences of their effort. Again, we have the wisdom of Pope St. Pius X in Pascendi [#34]:
"The domineering overbearance of those who teach these errors, and the thoughtless compliance of the more shallow minds who assent to them, create a corrupted atmosphere which penetrates everywhere, and carries infection with it."
It has penetrated everywhere. It penetrated to the heart of Fr. Joseph Ratzinger when he said that the survival of Catholicism depended on it being freed from the "constraining fetters of Roman Scholastic Theology." We are now experiencing that freedom - the very freedom which has virtually destroyed the faith of Catholic Europe and much of the rest of the world. It is this atmosphere, created by Modernist philosophy and theology in response to reductive secular science, which must be combated as the primary source of decay in the Church.
We must pray that Pope Benedict XVI receives the grace to engage in this contest. It is a battle which, to a large extent, must be waged against his own past: "The fact is," he wrote in his Principles of Catholic Theology, "as Hans Urs von Balthasar pointed out as early as 1952, that the ‘demolition of the bastions’ is a long-overdue task."
The Holy Father’s sweeping agenda for the Church, set out in his speech to the Roman curia on 22 December 2005, can only be properly understood and analysed in the light of that alarming statement of intent and all its disturbing implications. For whatever his view of the de Lubac-von Balthasar ‘paradox agenda’ may be, the "New Theology" has provided Pope Benedict with his own particular means to achieve the same "demolition."
I, for one, do not see how any Catholic prelate can "negotiate" with a man not possessed of a Catholic mind. We are not dealing with some minor theological differences on matters open to legitimate debate and discussion. We are dealing with a manifest rejection of the Church's authentic patrimony in favor of an "opening to the world" that has offended God and devastated souls. This is not a matter of negotiation. This is a matter that calls for a firm and clear public defense of the Catholic Faith, such as Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais has undertaken recently, and a denunciation of those who propagate the errors of conciliarism and the false philosophical systems upon which they are based.
It matters a great deal that there is not one man who holds ostensibly ecclesiastical power (a cardinal or a bishop) who understands the Faith sufficiently to defend it publicly. There is no Athanasius and no Basil in the official structures of the conciliar church today. Thus, we need all traditional bishops, no matter their differences, to raise their voices publicly in unison to warn the sheep that there are wolves in shepherds' clothing who hate the Faith of our fathers and who have been imposing a counterfeit religion upon us for the past for decades, a counterfeit religion that is designed to do precisely what Pope Saint Pius X warned about in Notre Charge Apostolique: August 15, 1910, the One World Church:
This, nevertheless, is what they want to do with human society; they dream of changing its natural and traditional foundations; they dream of a Future City built on different principles, and they dare to proclaim these more fruitful and more beneficial than the principles upon which the present Christian City rests.
No, Venerable Brethren, We must repeat with the utmost energy in these times of social and intellectual anarchy when everyone takes it upon himself to teach as a teacher and lawmaker - the City cannot be built otherwise than as God has built it; society cannot be setup unless the Church lays the foundations and supervises the work; no, civilization is not something yet to be found, nor is the New City to be built on hazy notions; it has been in existence and still is: it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic City. It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants. omnia instaurare in Christo. . . .
We fear that worse is to come: the end result of this developing promiscuousness, the beneficiary of this cosmopolitan social action, can only be a Democracy which will be neither Catholic, nor Protestant, nor Jewish. It will be a religion (for Sillonism, so the leaders have said, is a religion) more universal than the Catholic Church, uniting all men become brothers and comrades at last in the "Kingdom of God". - "We do not work for the Church, we work for mankind."
And now, overwhelmed with the deepest sadness, We ask Ourselves, Venerable Brethren, what has become of the Catholicism of the Sillon? Alas! this organization which formerly afforded such promising expectations, this limpid and impetuous stream, has been harnessed in its course by the modern enemies of the Church, and is now no more than a miserable affluent of the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world (if such a Church could overcome) the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak, and of all those who toil and suffer.
Discussing the aftermath of the Council of Serdica in the year 343 A.D., Fathers Francisco and Dominci Radecki note the following in Tumultuous Times:
The Latin bishops who attended the Council of Serdica drafted a Profession of Faith and approved canons that recognized the papacy as the Supreme Court of Appeal. This action publicly acknowledged the popes' jurisdiction over the Universal Church. These bishops also exonerated St. Athanasius and the other Catholic bishops who defended Nicea and were "excommunicated" by the Arians. Clergy who previously accused St. Athanasius of various crimes repented and were received into the Church by Pope St. Julius I.
The rift between East and West grew progressively wider during the council as the doctrinal and jurisdictional disputes could not be resolved. The Eusebian bishops stormed out of the council and held a rival council of their own at Phillippoplis (Plovdiv, Bulgaria), a city named after Alexander the Great's father, King Philip of Macedonia.
"The Western group, however, remained at Serdica, excommunicated the Eastern leaders, confirmed the Nicaeanum [the teachings of the First Council of Nicea], reject the anomois and inserted in their letters addressed to all the Churches the doctrine of consubstantiality." Catholic bishops taught that Chris is the Son of God by nature and that Christians become holy through God's grace.
St. Robert Bellarmine in his work De Conciliis et Ecclesia wrote of a later council held at Serdica in 351 AD at which 300 Eastern bishops confirmed the Catholic Faith while 76 Eastern bishops subscribed to the Arian faith.
"What may be surprising in this story is that the Church should have been so vulnerable in what matter most, its faith. [Cardinal] Newman expressed his astonishment that eminent bishops did not see what was at stake even though the faithful sensed it... Despite the excessive caution of [Pope] Liberius, the Nicene faith was saved by the convergence of the faith of the people with that of a few clear-headed and courageous bishops. It was saved against power and the friends of power, against the clever, the cunning, and the submissive. The like of it has not been seen again on the same scale--though it is not perhaps ruled out of the future of the Church." (quoted by Fathers Radecki from Jean Guitton, Great Heresies and Church Councils, 1965, p. 88)
We must flee from all contact with the contagion that is known as conciliarism, including the Novus Ordo Missae. The ethos of conciliarism is indeed the sort of poison spoken about by Pope Leo XIII in Satis Cognitum. We must flee to the patronage of Our Lady as the consecrated slaves of her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, keeping her company in prayer before her Divine Son's Real Presence. We must beseech her that the counterfeit religion wrought by Modernism, which has made its accommodation with Modernity, will be vanquished once a pope fulfills her Fatima Message. We must intercede with her that we will bear with each other in Charity, pray for each other despite our differences, and seek first and foremost the singular most important contribution that we can make to the restoration of Tradition in the Church and to Christendom in the world: the sanctification of our souls.
Never losing heart in these difficult times as we attempt to transmit the Faith to our children as it has been handed down to us from the Apostles, may we remain steadfast in our commitment to restore all things in Christ the King and Mary our Immaculate Queen.
Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of Good Success, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Martha, pray for us.
Saint Mary Magdalene, pray for us.
Saint Anne, pray for us.
Saint Joachim, pray for us.
Saint Athanasius, pray for us.
Saint Basil, pray for us.
Saints Felix, Simplicitas, Faustinas and Beatrice, pray for us.
Saints Abdon and Sennen, 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 John Mary Vianney, 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.