Without Regard for the Truth
Thomas A. Droleskey
In all Catholicism there is absolutely nothing on which it does not fasten. (Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominci Gregis, September 8, 1907, Number 38.)
Conciliarism is but a manifestation of Modernism. Modernism has made its reconciliation with the very forces that overthrew the Social Reign of Christ the King in the civil realm and then infected the life of the Church herself as not a few clerics dabbled in the Masonic lodges and permitted themselves to be influenced by Hegelian and Darwinian concepts of the evolution of ideas and the species, opening themselves up for the acceptance of the sort of rationalism and skepticism discussed and condemned by Pope Saint Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis, September 8, 1907.
All revolutions, including the Protestant Revolution, must seek to distort and then to deconstruct the history of the past. That is, the truth of the past must be emptied in order to represent it falsely as something that it was not in order to advance a particular revolution's agenda. This effort goes by different names, including "purification of memory" (an Orwellian term that comes straight from 1984 and has been popularized not only by Bolshevik revolutionaries but by Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II and his "successor" Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI). It is sometimes the case that the revolutionaries are honest enough to call this attack upon historical truth to be what it is: rank deconstructionism.
Mind you, honest historical revisionism, which seeks to re-examine assumptions popularized in historical texts that are meant to serve ideological or geopolitical ends, certainly does have its place in scholarship. What is being criticized here, however, is the effort to engage in what is called "special pleading," which is an exercise in "reinterpreting" facts in order to "fit" an vision of an alternative reality create by revolutionaries whose very revolutionary concepts are alien to the past and were condemned in the past repeatedly, especially by the true popes of the Catholic Church.
Pope Saint Pius X noted how the Modernists had adapted this technique to advance their own attack on the Faith:
It remains for Us now to say a few words about the Modernist as reformer. From all that has preceded, it is abundantly clear how great and how eager is the passion of such men for innovation. In all Catholicism there is absolutely nothing on which it does not fasten. They wish philosophy to be reformed, especially in the ecclesiastical seminaries. They wish the scholastic philosophy to be relegated to the history of philosophy and to be classed among absolute systems, and the young men to be taught modern philosophy which alone is true and suited to the times in which we live. They desire the reform of theology: rational theology is to have modern philosophy for its foundation, and positive theology is to be founded on the history of dogma. As for history, it must be written and taught only according to their methods and modern principles. Dogmas and their evolution, they affirm, are to be harmonized with science and history. In the Catechism no dogmas are to be inserted except those that have been reformed and are within the capacity of the people. Regarding worship, they say, the number of external devotions is to be reduced, and steps must be taken to prevent their further increase, though, indeed, some of the admirers of symbolism are disposed to be more indulgent on this head. They cry out that ecclesiastical government requires to be reformed in all its branches, but especially in its disciplinary and dogmatic departments They insist that both outwardly and inwardly it must be brought into harmony with the modern conscience which now wholly tends towards democracy; a share in ecclesiastical government should therefore be given to the lower ranks of the clergy and even to the laity and authority which is too much concentrated should be decentralized The Roman Congregations and especially the index and the Holy Office, must be likewise modified The ecclesiastical authority must alter its line of conduct in the social and political world; while keeping outside political organizations it must adapt itself to them in order to penetrate them with its spirit. With regard to morals, they adopt the principle of the Americanists, that the active virtues are more important than the passive, and are to be more encouraged in practice. They ask that the clergy should return to their primitive humility and poverty, and that in their ideas and action they should admit the principles of Modernism; and there are some who, gladly listening to the teaching of their Protestant masters, would desire the suppression of the celibacy of the clergy. What is there left in the Church which is not to be reformed by them and according to their principles? (Pascendi Dominici Gregis, No. 38)
Far from paving the way for conciliarism, as a two volume book on the pontificate of Pope Saint Pius X that was reviewed recently in L'Osservatore Romano and highlighted in the influential Chiesa magazine contends, Pope Saint Pius X condemned its antecedent Modernist roots in no uncertain terms. This single paragraph, number thirty-eight, from Pascendi quoted above describes much of the life's work of Joseph Ratzinger.
Hasn't Joseph Ratzinger praised one innovation after another? Doesn't Joseph Ratzinger despise the official philosophy of the Catholic Church, scholastic philosophy? Does he not want to his own "New Theology" taught in seminaries, including the seminaries operated by the existing Motu communities? Has not Joseph Ratzinger stated on innumerable occasions that dogmatic truths can be understood in different ways at different times according to the circumstances of "modern" man. Joseph Ratzinger, although firmly in the camp of the "ordinary form of the Roman Rite," that is, the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service, he is one of "the admirers of symbolism" who is "disposed to be more indulgent" about liturgical "antiquity" solely for reasons of aesthetics having nothing whatsoever to do with the integrity of the Catholic Faith.
These undeniable facts are lost on those who want to make of Pope Saint Pius X a veritable precursor of the "Second" Vatican Council. It does not take a thirteen hundred page refutation of such an effort at conciliar deconstructionism to demonstrate the simple fact that those who planned the conciliar revolution hated Pope Saint Pius X because they knew that he had condemned quite prophetically their own Modernist schemes to deconstruct the Catholic Faith of its true meaning order to use the word "Catholic" to refer to the precepts of their own synthetic religion. This hatred was expressed in very graphic terms right next to the altar of Pope Saint Pius X in the Basilica of Saint Peter as a grotesque image of the obese Angelo Roncalli/John XXIII was placed onto the wall on the right side of the altar under which rests the mortal remains of the last truly canonized saint of the Catholic Church.
Pope Saint Pius X condemned the evolution of dogma. Joseph Ratzinger endorses it:
Hence it is quite impossible to maintain that they [dogmatic statements and papal pronouncements] absolutely contain the truth: for, in so far as they are symbols, they are the images of truth, and so must be adapted to the religious sense in its relation to man; and as instruments, they are the vehicles of truth, and must therefore in their turn be adapted to man in his relation to the religious sense. But the object of the religious sense, as something contained in the absolute, possesses an infinite variety of aspects, of which now one, now another, may present itself. In like manner he who believes can avail himself of varying conditions. Consequently, the formulas which we call dogma must be subject to these vicissitudes, and are, therefore, liable to change. Thus the way is open to the intrinsic evolution of dogma. Here we have an immense structure of sophisms which ruin and wreck all religion.
It is thus, Venerable Brethren, that for the Modernists, whether as authors or propagandists, there is to be nothing stable, nothing immutable in the Church. Nor, indeed, are they without forerunners in their doctrines, for it was of these that Our predecessor Pius IX wrote: "These enemies of divine revelation extol human progress to the skies, and with rash and sacrilegious daring would have it introduced into the Catholic religion as if this religion were not the work of God but of man, or some kind of philosophical discovery susceptible of perfection by human efforts." On the subject of revelation and dogma in particular, the doctrine of the Modernists offers nothing new. We find it condemned in the Syllabus of Pius IX, where it is enunciated in these terms: ''Divine revelation is imperfect, and therefore subject to continual and indefinite progress, corresponding with the progress of human reason"; and condemned still more solemnly in the Vatican Council: ''The doctrine of the faith which God has revealed has not been proposed to human intelligences to be perfected by them as if it were a philosophical system, but as a divine deposit entrusted to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted. Hence also that sense of the sacred dogmas is to be perpetually retained which our Holy Mother the Church has once declared, nor is this sense ever to be abandoned on plea or pretext of a more profound comprehension of the truth." Nor is the development of our knowledge, even concerning the faith, barred by this pronouncement; on the contrary, it is supported and maintained. For the same Council continues: "Let intelligence and science and wisdom, therefore, increase and progress abundantly and vigorously in individuals, and in the mass, in the believer and in the whole Church, throughout the ages and the centuries -- but only in its own kind, that is, according to the same dogma, the same sense, the same acceptation." [Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominci Gregis, September 8, 1907.]
It is precisely in this combination of continuity and discontinuity at different levels that the very nature of true reform consists. In this process of innovation in continuity we must learn to understand more practically than before that the Church's decisions on contingent matters - for example, certain practical forms of liberalism or a free interpretation of the Bible - should necessarily be contingent themselves, precisely because they refer to a specific reality that is changeable in itself. It was necessary to learn to recognize that in these decisions it is only the principles that express the permanent aspect, since they remain as an undercurrent, motivating decisions from within.
On the other hand, not so permanent are the practical forms that depend on the historical situation and are therefore subject to change. (Christmas greetings to the Members of the Roman Curia and Prelature (December 22, 2005)
Pope Saint Pius X reaffirmed the decrees of Lamentabili Sane and Pascendi Dominici Gregis and the decisions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Joseph Ratzinger rejects such decrees and decisions.
In his encyclical letter "Providentissimus Deus," given on November 18, 1893, our predecessor, Leo XIII, of immortal memory, after describing the dignity of Sacred Scripture and commending the study of it, set forth the laws which govern the proper study of the Holy Bible; and having proclaimed the divinity of these books against the errors and calumnies of the rationalists, he at the same time defended them against the false teachings of what is known as the higher criticism, which, as the Pontiff most wisely wrote, are clearly nothing but the commentaries of rationalism derived from a misuse of philology and kindred studies. Our predecessor, too, seeing that the danger was constantly on the increase and wishing to prevent the propagation of rash and erroneous views, by his apostolic letters "Vigilantes studiique memores," given on October 30, 1902, established a Pontifical Council or Commission on Biblical matters, composed of several Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church distinguished for their learning and wisdom, to which Commission were added as consulters a number of men in sacred orders chosen from among the learned in theology and in the Holy Bible, of various nationalities and differing in their methods and views concerning exegetical studies. In so doing the Pontiff had in mind as an advantage most adapted for the promotion of study and for the time in which we live that in this Commission there should be the fullest freedom for proposing, examining and judging all opinions whatsoever, and that the Cardinals of the Commission were not to reach any definite decision, as described in the said apostolic letters, before they had examined the arguments in favor and against the question to be decided, omitting nothing which might serve to show in the clearest light the true and genuine state of the Biblical questions under discussion. Only after all this had been done were the decisions reached to be submitted for the approval of the Supreme Pontiff and then promulgated.
After mature examination and the most diligent deliberations the Pontifical Biblical Commission has happily given certain decisions of a very useful kind for the proper promotion and direction on safe lines of Biblical studies. But we observe that some persons, unduly prone to opinions and methods tainted by pernicious novelties and excessively devoted to the principle of false liberty, which is really immoderate license and in sacred studies proves itself to be a most insidious and a fruitful source of the worst evils against the purity of the faith, have not received and do not receive these decisions with the proper obedience.
Wherefore we find it necessary to declare and to expressly prescribe, and by this our act we do declare and decree that all are bound in conscience to submit to the decisions of the Biblical Commission relating to doctrine, which have been given in the past and which shall be given in the future, in the same way as to the decrees of the Roman congregations approved by the Pontiff; nor can all those escape the note of disobedience or temerity, and consequently of grave sin, who in speech or writing contradict such decisions, and this besides the scandal they give and the other reasons for which they may be responsible before God for other temerities and errors which generally go with such contradictions.
Moreover, in order to check the daily increasing audacity of many modernists who are endeavoring by all kinds of sophistry and devices to detract from the force and efficacy not only of the decree "Lamentabili sane exitu" (the so-called Syllabus), issued by our order by the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition on July 3 of the present year, but also of our encyclical letters "Pascendi dominici gregis" given on September 8 of this same year, we do by our apostolic authority repeat and confirm both that decree of the Supreme Sacred Congregation and those encyclical letters of ours, adding the penalty of excommunication against their contradictors, and this we declare and decree that should anybody, which may God forbid, be so rash as to defend any one of the propositions, opinions or teachings condemned in these documents he falls, ipso facto, under the censure contained under the chapter "Docentes" of the constitution "Apostolicae Sedis," which is the first among the excommunications latae sententiae, simply reserved to the Roman Pontiff. This excommunication is to be understood as salvis poenis, which may be incurred by those who have violated in any way the said documents, as propagators and defenders of heresies, when their propositions, opinions and teachings are heretical, as has happened more than once in the case of the adversaries of both these documents, especially when they advocate the errors of the modernists that is, the synthesis of all heresies.
Wherefore we again and most earnestly exhort the ordinaries of the dioceses and the heads of religious congregations to use the utmost vigilance over teachers, and first of all in the seminaries; and should they find any of them imbued with the errors of the modernists and eager for what is new and noxious, or lacking in docility to the prescriptions of the Apostolic See, in whatsoever way published, let them absolutely forbid the teaching office to such; so, too, let them exclude from sacred orders those young men who give the very faintest reason for doubt that they favor condemned doctrines and pernicious novelties. We exhort them also to take diligent care to put an end to those books and other writings, now growing exceedingly numerous, which contain opinions or tendencies of the kind condemned in the encyclical letters and decree above mentioned; let them see to it that these publications are removed from Catholic publishing houses, and especially from the hands of students and the clergy. By doing this they will at the same time be promoting real and solid education, which should always be a subject of the greatest solicitude for those who exercise sacred authority.
All these things we will and order to be sanctioned and established by our apostolic authority, aught to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given at Rome in Saint Peter's, the 18th November, 1907, the fifth year of our Pontificate. (Pope Saint Pius X,
Praestantia Scripturae, November 18, 1907.)
The text [of the Second Vatican Council] also presents the various forms of bonds that rise from the different degrees of magisterial teaching. It affirms -- perhaps for the first time with this clarity -- that there are decisions of the Magisterium that cannot be a last word on the matter as such, but are, in a substantial fixation of the problem, above all an expression of pastoral prudence, a kind of provisional disposition. Its nucleus remains valid, but the particulars, which the circumstances of the times have influenced, may need further ramifications.
“In this regard, one may think of the declarations of Popes in the last century about religious liberty, as well as the anti-Modernist decisions at the beginning of this century, above all, the decisions of the Biblical Commission of the time. As a cry of alarm in the face of hasty and superficial adaptations, they will remain fully justified. A personage such as Johann Baptist Metz said, for example, that the Church's anti-Modernist decisions render the great service of preserving her from immersion in the liberal-bourgeois world. But in the details of the determinations they contain, they become obsolete after having fulfilled their pastoral mission at the proper moment.” (Joseph Ratzinger, L'Osservatore Romano, July 2, 1990)
Anyone who would contend that Pope Saint Pius X's Praestantia Scripturae was not aimed precisely at the beliefs expressed by Joseph Ratzinger throughout his priesthood--and as Benedict XVI since April 19, 2005, is either intellectually dishonest or hopelessly blind.
Pope Saint Pius X condemned the separation of Church and State as a thesis absolutely false, stating that the civil state has an obligation to assist man in the pursuit of his Last End. Joseph Ratzinger endorses the separation of Church and State as a "great progress for humanity," content only to let his conciliar church have a role to play along with other religions in providing "ethical guidelines" to civil rulers:
That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error. Based, as it is, on the principle that the State must not recognize any religious cult, it is in the first place guilty of a great injustice to God; for the Creator of man is also the Founder of human societies, and preserves their existence as He preserves our own. We owe Him, therefore, not only a private cult, but a public and social worship to honor Him. Besides, this thesis is an obvious negation of the supernatural order. It limits the action of the State to the pursuit of public prosperity during this life only, which is but the proximate object of political societies; and it occupies itself in no fashion (on the plea that this is foreign to it) with their ultimate object which is man's eternal happiness after this short life shall have run its course. But as the present order of things is temporary and subordinated to the conquest of man's supreme and absolute welfare, it follows that the civil power must not only place no obstacle in the way of this conquest, but must aid us in effecting it. The same thesis also upsets the order providentially established by God in the world, which demands a harmonious agreement between the two societies. Both of them, the civil and the religious society, although each exercises in its own sphere its authority over them. It follows necessarily that there are many things belonging to them in common in which both societies must have relations with one another. Remove the agreement between Church and State, and the result will be that from these common matters will spring the seeds of disputes which will become acute on both sides; it will become more difficult to see where the truth lies, and great confusion is certain to arise. Finally, this thesis inflicts great injury on society itself, for it cannot either prosper or last long when due place is not left for religion, which is the supreme rule and the sovereign mistress in all questions touching the rights and the duties of men. Hence the Roman Pontiffs have never ceased, as circumstances required, to refute and condemn the doctrine of the separation of Church and State. Our illustrious predecessor, Leo XIII, especially, has frequently and magnificently expounded Catholic teaching on the relations which should subsist between the two societies. "Between them," he says, "there must necessarily be a suitable union, which may not improperly be compared with that existing between body and soul.-"Quaedam intercedat necesse est ordinata colligatio (inter illas) quae quidem conjunctioni non immerito comparatur, per quam anima et corpus in homine copulantur." He proceeds: "Human societies cannot, without becoming criminal, act as if God did not exist or refuse to concern themselves with religion, as though it were something foreign to them, or of no purpose to them.... As for the Church, which has God Himself for its author, to exclude her from the active life of the nation, from the laws, the education of the young, the family, is to commit a great and pernicious error. -- "Civitates non possunt, citra scellus, gerere se tamquam si Deus omnino non esset, aut curam religionis velut alienam nihilque profuturam abjicere.... Ecclesiam vero, quam Deus ipse constituit, ab actione vitae excludere, a legibus, ab institutione adolescentium, a societate domestica, magnus et perniciousus est error." (Pope Saint Pius X, Vehementer Nos, February 11, 1906.)
Lastly, I would like to share with you the concern that motivates you with regard to the good of Italy. As I have had the opportunity to point out in the Encyclical Deus Caritas Est (nn. 28-29), the Church is well aware that "fundamental to Christianity is the distinction between what belongs to Caesar and what belongs to God" (cf. Mt 22: 21), in other words, the distinction between Church and State, that is, the autonomy of the temporal sphere, as the Second Vatican Council underlined in Gaudium et Spes.
Not only does the Church recognize and respect this distinction and autonomy but she rejoices in it, as a great progress for humanity and a fundamental condition for her freedom itself and for the fulfilment of her universal mission of salvation among all people. At the same time and precisely by virtue of this same mission of salvation, the Church cannot fail to carry out her duty to purify reason through the proposal of her own social teaching, reasoned "on the basis of what is in conformity with the nature of every human being" and of reawakening moral and spiritual forces, opening the will to the authentic requirements of good.
In turn, a healthy secularism of the State indisputably entails the government of temporal realities in accordance with their own norms, to which also belong those ethical elements that are rooted in the very essence of the human being and which, therefore, in the ultimate analysis, refer to the Creator.
In the present circumstances, recalling the value that certain fundamental ethical principles have not only for private but especially for public life rooted in the great Christian heritage of Europe and of Italy in particular, we do not, therefore, commit any violation of the State secularism, but rather contribute to guaranteeing and promoting the dignity of the person and the common good of society. (Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI,
To the participants in the General Assembly of the Italian Episcopal Conference, May 18, 2006. )
Pope Saint Pius X condemned the entire conciliar approach of inter-denominationalism or nondenominationalism as the means of "resolving" social problems that was foreshadowed by the Sillon, of which none other than one Father Angelo Roncalli was an unbent supporter before and after Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910. Pope Saint Pius X once again puts the lie to the separation of Church and State and to any concept of "interdenominationalism" based on "common interests:"
The same applies to the notion of Fraternity which they found on the love of common interest or, beyond all philosophies and religions, on the mere notion of humanity, thus embracing with an equal love and tolerance all human beings and their miseries, whether these are intellectual, moral, or physical and temporal. But Catholic doctrine tells us that the primary duty of charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas, however sincere they may be, nor in the theoretical or practical indifference towards the errors and vices in which we see our brethren plunged, but in the zeal for their intellectual and moral improvement as well as for their material well-being. Catholic doctrine further tells us that love for our neighbor flows from our love for God, Who is Father to all, and goal of the whole human family; and in Jesus Christ whose members we are, to the point that in doing good to others we are doing good to Jesus Christ Himself. Any other kind of love is sheer illusion, sterile and fleeting.
Indeed, we have the human experience of pagan and secular societies of ages past to show that concern for common interests or affinities of nature weigh very little against the passions and wild desires of the heart. No, Venerable Brethren, there is no genuine fraternity outside Christian charity. Through the love of God and His Son Jesus Christ Our Saviour, Christian charity embraces all men, comforts all, and leads all to the same faith and same heavenly happiness.
By separating fraternity from Christian charity thus understood, Democracy, far from being a progress, would mean a disastrous step backwards for civilization. If, as We desire with all Our heart, the highest possible peak of well being for society and its members is to be attained through fraternity or, as it is also called, universal solidarity, all minds must be united in the knowledge of Truth, all wills united in morality, and all hearts in the love of God and His Son Jesus Christ. But this union is attainable only by Catholic charity, and that is why Catholic charity alone can lead the people in the march of progress towards the ideal civilization.
Finally, at the root of all their fallacies on social questions, lie the false hopes of Sillonists on human dignity. According to them, Man will be a man truly worthy of the name only when he has acquired a strong, enlightened, and independent consciousness, able to do without a master, obeying only himself, and able to assume the most demanding responsibilities without faltering. Such are the big words by which human pride is exalted, like a dream carrying Man away without light, without guidance, and without help into the realm of illusion in which he will be destroyed by his errors and passions whilst awaiting the glorious day of his full consciousness. And that great day, when will it come? Unless human nature can be changed, which is not within the power of the Sillonists, will that day ever come? Did the Saints who brought human dignity to its highest point, possess that kind of dignity? And what of the lowly of this earth who are unable to raise so high but are content to plow their furrow modestly at the level where Providence placed them? They who are diligently discharging their duties with Christian humility, obedience, and patience, are they not also worthy of being called men? Will not Our Lord take them one day out of their obscurity and place them in heaven amongst the princes of His people? . . . .
The breath of the Revolution has passed this way, and We can conclude that, whilst the social doctrines of the Sillon are erroneous, its spirit is dangerous and its education disastrous.
But then, what are we to think of its action in the Church? What are we to think of a movement so punctilious in its brand of Catholicism that, unless you embrace its cause, you would almost be regarded as an internal enemy of the Church, and you would understand nothing of the Gospel and of Jesus Christ! We deem it necessary to insist on that point because it is precisely its Catholic ardor which has secured for the Sillon until quite recently, valuable encouragements and the support of distinguished persons. Well now! judging the words and the deeds, We feel compelled to say that in its actions as well as in its doctrine, the Sillon does not give satisfaction to the Church.
In the first place, its brand of Catholicism accepts only the democratic form of government which it considers the most favorable to the Church and, so to speak, identifies it with her. The Sillon , therefore, subjects its religion to a political party. We do not have to demonstrate here that the advent of universal Democracy is of no concern to the action of the Church in the world; we have already recalled that the Church has always left to the nations the care of giving themselves the form of government which they think most suited to their needs. What We wish to affirm once again, after Our Predecessor, is that it is an error and a danger to bind down Catholicism by principle to a particular form of government. This error and this danger are all the greater when Religion is associated with a kind of Democracy whose doctrines are false. But this is what the Sillon is doing. For the sake of a particular political form, it compromises the Church, it sows division among Catholics, snatches away young people and even priests and seminarists from purely Catholic action, and is wasting away as a dead loss part of the living forces of the nation.. . .
Here we have, founded by Catholics, an inter-denominational association that is to work for the reform of civilization, an undertaking which is above all religious in character; for there is no true civilization without a moral civilization, and no true moral civilization without the true religion: it is a proven truth, a historical fact. The new Sillonists cannot pretend that they are merely working on “the ground of practical realities” where differences of belief do not matter. Their leader is so conscious of the influence which the convictions of the mind have upon the result of the action, that he invites them, whatever religion they may belong to, “to provide on the ground of practical realities, the proof of the excellence of their personal convictions.” And with good reason: indeed, all practical results reflect the nature of one’s religious convictions, just as the limbs of a man down to his finger-tips, owe their very shape to the principle of life that dwells in his body.
This being said, what must be thought of the promiscuity in which young Catholics will be caught up with heterodox and unbelieving folk in a work of this nature? Is it not a thousand-fold more dangerous for them than a neutral association? What are we to think of this appeal to all the heterodox, and to all the unbelievers, to prove the excellence of their convictions in the social sphere in a sort of apologetic contest? Has not this contest lasted for nineteen centuries in conditions less dangerous for the faith of Catholics? And was it not all to the credit of the Catholic Church? What are we to think of this respect for all errors, and of this strange invitation made by a Catholic to all the dissidents to strengthen their convictions through study so that they may have more and more abundant sources of fresh forces? What are we to think of an association in which all religions and even Free-Thought may express themselves openly and in complete freedom? For the Sillonists who, in public lectures and elsewhere, proudly proclaim their personal faith, certainly do not intend to silence others nor do they intend to prevent a Protestant from asserting his Protestantism, and the skeptic from affirming his skepticism. Finally, what are we to think of a Catholic who, on entering his study group, leaves his Catholicism outside the door so as not to alarm his comrades who, “dreaming of disinterested social action, are not inclined to make it serve the triumph of interests, coteries and even convictions whatever they may be”? Such is the profession of faith of the New Democratic Committee for Social Action which has taken over the main objective of the previous organization and which, they say, “breaking the double meaning which surround the Greater Sillon both in reactionary and anti-clerical circles”, is now open to all men “who respect moral and religious forces and who are convinced that no genuine social emancipation is possible without the leaven of generous idealism.”
Alas! yes, the double meaning has been broken: the social action of the Sillon is no longer Catholic. The Sillonist, as such, does not work for a coterie, and “the Church”, he says, “cannot in any sense benefit from the sympathies that his action may stimulate.” A strange situation, indeed! They fear lest the Church should profit for a selfish and interested end by the social action of the Sillon, as if everything that benefited the Church did not benefit the whole human race! A curious reversal of notions! The Church might benefit from social action! As if the greatest economists had not recognized and proved that it is social action alone which, if serious and fruitful, must benefit the Church! But stranger still, alarming and saddening at the same time, are the audacity and frivolity of men who call themselves Catholics and dream of re-shaping society under such conditions, and of establishing on earth, over and beyond the pale of the Catholic Church, "the reign of love and justice" with workers coming from everywhere, of all religions and of no religion, with or without beliefs, so long as they forego what might divide them - their religious and philosophical convictions, and so long as they share what unites them - a "generous idealism and moral forces drawn from whence they can" When we consider the forces, knowledge, and supernatural virtues which are necessary to establish the Christian City, and the sufferings of millions of martyrs, and the light given by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the self-sacrifice of all the heroes of charity, and a powerful hierarchy ordained in heaven, and the streams of Divine Grace - the whole having been built up, bound together, and impregnated by the life and spirit of Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, the Word made man - when we think, I say, of all this, it is frightening to behold new apostles eagerly attempting to do better by a common interchange of vague idealism and civic virtues. What are they going to produce? What is to come of this collaboration? A mere verbal and chimerical construction in which we shall see, glowing in a jumble, and in seductive confusion, the words Liberty, Justice, Fraternity, Love, Equality, and human exultation, all resting upon an ill-understood human dignity. It will be a tumultuous agitation, sterile for the end proposed, but which will benefit the less Utopian exploiters of the people. Yes, we can truly say that the Sillon, its eyes fixed on a chimera, brings Socialism in its train.
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.
We know only too well the dark workshops in which are elaborated these mischievous doctrines which ought not to seduce clear-thinking minds. The leaders of the Sillon have not been able to guard against these doctrines. The exaltation of their sentiments, the undiscriminating good-will of their hearts, their philosophical mysticism, mixed with a measure of illuminism, have carried them away towards another Gospel which they thought was the true Gospel of Our Savior. To such an extent that they speak of Our Lord Jesus Christ with a familiarity supremely disrespectful, and that - their ideal being akin to that of the Revolution - they fear not to draw between the Gospel and the Revolution blasphemous comparisons for which the excuse cannot be made that they are due to some confused and over-hasty composition.
We wish to draw your attention, Venerable Brethren, to this distortion of the Gospel and to the sacred character of Our Lord Jesus Christ, God and man, prevailing within the Sillon and elsewhere. As soon as the social question is being approached, it is the fashion in some quarters to first put aside the divinity of Jesus Christ, and then to mention only His unlimited clemency, His compassion for all human miseries, and His pressing exhortations to the love of our neighbor and to the brotherhood of men. True, Jesus has loved us with an immense, infinite love, and He came on earth to suffer and die so that, gathered around Him in justice and love, motivated by the same sentiments of mutual charity, all men might live in peace and happiness. But for the realization of this temporal and eternal happiness, He has laid down with supreme authority the condition that we must belong to His Flock, that we must accept His doctrine, that we must practice virtue, and that we must accept the teaching and guidance of Peter and his successors. Further, whilst Jesus was kind to sinners and to those who went astray, He did not respect their false ideas, however sincere they might have appeared. He loved them all, but He instructed them in order to convert them and save them. Whilst He called to Himself in order to comfort them, those who toiled and suffered, it was not to preach to them the jealousy of a chimerical equality. Whilst He lifted up the lowly, it was not to instill in them the sentiment of a dignity independent from, and rebellious against, the duty of obedience. Whilst His heart overflowed with gentleness for the souls of good-will, He could also arm Himself with holy indignation against the profaners of the House of God, against the wretched men who scandalized the little ones, against the authorities who crush the people with the weight of heavy burdens without putting out a hand to lift them. He was as strong as he was gentle. He reproved, threatened, chastised, knowing, and teaching us that fear is the beginning of wisdom, and that it is sometimes proper for a man to cut off an offending limb to save his body. Finally, He did not announce for future society the reign of an ideal happiness from which suffering would be banished; but, by His lessons and by His example, He traced the path of the happiness which is possible on earth and of the perfect happiness in heaven: the royal way of the Cross. These are teachings that it would be wrong to apply only to one's personal life in order to win eternal salvation; these are eminently social teachings, and they show in Our Lord Jesus Christ something quite different from an inconsistent and impotent humanitarianism. (Pope Saint Pius X, Vehementer Nos, February 11, 1906.)
These words are a complete rebuke to conciliarism's distortion of rendering to God what is God's and to Caesar what is Caesar's. These words are a prophetic condemnation of conciliarism's embrace of the separation of Church and State and its concomitant belief that it something other than Catholicism alone, pure and undefiled, can serve as the basis of personal and social order. (Lest anyone question the eternally binding of the social encyclical letters reiterating the constant teaching of the Catholic Church that the civil state has a positive obligation before God to recognize her as the true religion and to foster those conditions wherein its citizens could better sanctify and save their souls as her members, please see: Reference Resource: The Binding Nature of Catholic Social Teaching.)
Indeed, the two volume work attempting to deconstruct Pope Saint Pius X to transform him into a veritable precursor of conciliarism (Revisionist bio paints Pope Saint Pius X as precursor of Vatican II) attempts to prove this point by, among things, noting that the sainted pontiff lifted the ban imposed by Pope Leo XIII on the participation by Catholics in the elections held by the Masonic regime of Italy. Pope Saint Pius X did so not to make any concessions to the "new realities" of Italy. He did so in order to afford Italian Catholics the possibility, as he saw it (yes, differently than how Pope Leo XIII saw it), of recapturing Italy, an historically Catholic country, for the Faith! Pope Saint Pius X desired to restore all things in Christ. He wanted to restore the Catholic City, as he made clear in Notre Charge Apostolique, not concede anything at all to the separation of Church and State, to which he was as fiercely opposed in Italy as he was in the elder daughter of the Church, France:
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.
The two volume work by Carlo Fontappie, a professor of canon law at the University of Urbino, seeks to claim Pope Saint Pius X as a "modernizer" by means of starting the process for the reform of canon law, which was promulgated by Pope Benedict XV in 1917 and contains various provisions not be found in the 1983 Code of Canon Law issued by Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II, and for his reform of liturgical music. However, as Novus Ordo Watch points out, Pope Saint Pius X's "reform" of liturgical music was an effort to restore a sense of the sacred in those areas where abuses had crept up. Indeed, he sought to stamp out some of the very abuses that are attendant today with the liturgical abuse par excellence, the Protestant and Masonic Novus Ordo service:
To equate the true reforms of St. Pius X , who sought to restore all things in Christ with the Vatican II revolution besmirches the memory of one of the Church's greatest popes, and is hopelessly out of touch with the spirit of his glorious pontificate. His reforms weren't about "updatedness" or change for change's sake any more than were those of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila's reform of the Carmelites, which strove for a return to the true spirit and rule of an order that had been greatly harmed by innovators. St. Pius' reform of liturgical music, for example, the 1903 motu proprio [Tra Le Sollectiudini], had nothing to do with "modernization," but quite the opposite strove to banish the profane and theatrical compositions that had become quite prevalent in Catholic churches over the previous century, and to return to chant, polyphony and hymns that contain the features necessary for good sacred music: sanctity, goodness of form and universality, along with sobriety and gravity. And here's an instance where the post-conciliar church would later overturn this wholesome Pian decree to restore more edifying music, not only in spirit (banal "pop" songs that center on the congregation instead of God, and that exhibit none of the essential features enumerated above, have become the model for Novus Ordo "hymns"), but at times against the very letter of the motu (the sainted pope expresslyforbade pianos, yet their defiant presence is a standard feature in Novus Ordo churches). (Novus Ordo Watch.)
Take a look at some of the provisions of Tra Le Sollectiudini, November 22, 1903:
Among the cares of the pastoral office, not only of this Supreme Chair, which We, though unworthy, occupy through the inscrutable dispositions of Providence, but of every local church, a leading one is without question that of maintaining and promoting the decorum of the House of God in which the august mysteries of religion are celebrated, and where the Christian people assemble to receive the grace of the Sacraments, to assist at the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar, to adore the most august Sacrament of the Lord’s Body and to unite in the common prayer of the Church in the public and solemn liturgical offices. Nothing should have place, therefore, in the temple calculated to disturb or even merely to diminish the piety and devotion of the faithful, nothing that may give reasonable cause for disgust or scandal, nothing, above all, which directly offends the decorum and sanctity of the sacred functions and is thus unworthy of the House of Prayer and of the Majesty of God. We do not touch separately on the abuses in this matter which may arise. Today Our attention is directed to one of the most common of them, one of the most difficult to eradicate, and the existence of which is sometimes to be deplored in places where everything else is deserving of the highest praise—the beauty and sumptuousness of the temple, the splendor and the accurate performance of the ceremonies, the attendance of the clergy, the gravity and piety of the officiating ministers. Such is the abuse affecting sacred chant and music. And indeed, whether it is owing to the very nature of this art, fluctuating and variable as it is in itself, or to the succeeding changes in tastes and habits with the course of time, or to the fatal influence exercised on sacred art by profane and theatrical art, or to the pleasure that music directly produces, and that is not always easily contained within the right limits, or finally to the many prejudices on the matter, so lightly introduced and so tenaciously maintained even among responsible and pious persons, the fact remains that there is a general tendency to deviate from the right rule, prescribed by the end for which art is admitted to the service of public worship and which is set forth very clearly in the ecclesiastical Canons, in the Ordinances of the General and Provincial Councils, in the prescriptions which have at various times emanated from the Sacred Roman Congregations, and from Our Predecessors the Sovereign Pontiffs.
It is with real satisfaction that We acknowledge the large amount of good that has been effected in this respect during the last decade in this Our fostering city of Rome, and in many churches in Our country, but in a more especial way among some nations in which illustrious men, full of zeal for the worship of God, have, with the approval of the Holy See and under the direction of the Bishops, united in flourishing Societies and restored sacred music to the fullest honor in all their churches and chapels. Still the good work that has been done is very far indeed from being common to all, and when We consult Our own personal experience and take into account the great number of complaints that have reached Us during the short time that has elapsed since it pleased the Lord to elevate Our humility to the supreme summit of the Roman Pontificate, We consider it Our first duty, without further delay, to raise Our voice at once in reproof and condemnation of all that is seen to be out of harmony with the right rule above indicated, in the functions of public worship and in the performance of the ecclesiastical offices. Filled as We are with a most ardent desire to see the true Christian spirit flourish in every respect and be preserved by all the faithful, We deem it necessary to provide before anything else for the sanctity and dignity of the temple, in which the faithful assemble for no other object than that of acquiring this spirit from its foremost and indispensable font, which is the active participation in the most holy mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church. And it is vain to hope that the blessing of heaven will descend abundantly upon us, when our homage to the Most High, instead of ascending in the odor of sweetness, puts into the hand of the Lord the scourges wherewith of old the Divine Redeemer drove the unworthy profaners from the Temple.
Hence, in order that no one for the future may be able to plead in excuse that he did not clearly understand his duty and that all vagueness may be eliminated from the interpretation of matters which have already been commanded, We have deemed it expedient to point out briefly the principles regulating sacred music in the functions of public worship, and to gather together in a general survey the principal prescriptions of the Church against the more common abuses in this subject. We do therefore publish, motu proprio and with certain knowledge, Our present Instruction to which, as to a juridical code of sacred music (quasi a codice giuridice della musica sacra), We will with the fullness of Our Apostolic Authority that the force of law be given, and We do by Our present handwriting impose its scrupulous observance on all.. . . .
15. Although the music proper to the Church is purely vocal music, music with the accompaniment of the organ is also permitted. In some special cases, within due limits and with proper safeguards, other instruments may be allowed, but never without the special permission of the Ordinary, according to prescriptions of the Caeremoniale Episcoporum.
16. As the singing should always have the principal place, the organ or other instruments should merely sustain and never oppress it.
17. It is not permitted to have the chant preceded by long preludes or to interrupt it with intermezzo pieces.
18. The sound of the organ as an accompaniment to the chant in preludes, interludes, and the like must be not only governed by the special nature of the instrument, but must participate in all the qualities proper to sacred music as above enumerated.
19. The employment of the piano is forbidden in church, as is also that of noisy or frivolous instruments such as drums, cymbals, bells and the like.
20. It is strictly forbidden to have bands play in church, and only in special cases with the consent of the Ordinary will it be permissible to admit wind instruments, limited in number, judiciously used, and proportioned to the size of the place—provided the composition and accompaniment be written in grave and suitable style, and conform in all respects to that proper to the organ.
21. In processions outside the church the Ordinary may give permission for a band, provided no profane pieces be executed. It would be desirable in such cases that the band confine itself to accompanying some spiritual canticle sung in Latin or in the vernacular by the singers and the pious associations which take part in the procession. (Pope Saint Pius X,
Tra Le Sollectiudini, November 22, 1903.)
This is a condemnation, not an endorsement, of conciliarism's liturgical "reform" that has offended God and deprived most of the Catholics in the world of true offerings of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, thereby depriving them of Sanctifying Grace flowing forth from those profanations.
Yes, to be sure, Pope Saint Pius X did institute legitimate reforms, including the administration of First Holy Communion to children of a young age and the encouragement of the reception of Holy Communion on a frequent, if not daily, basis. Pope Saint Pius X, who taught catechism lessons to children when he was a pastor and Bishop of Mantua and the Cardinal Archbishop of Venice, Italy, realized that children needed to have the graces that flow forth from the reception of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament sooner rather than later. He did not proceed rashly in this regard. He prayed for a sign, receiving it when he heard of the story of Nellie Organ in Ireland, "little Nellie of Holy God," saying There! That is the sign for which I have been waiting" when he heard of Nellie Organ's first Holy Communion at the age of four on December 6, 1907, just thirty-three days before her death on January 8, 1908, a little over one hundred years ago now. Pope Saint Pius X wanted to provide children with the Heavenly means of resisting the influences of the world, the Flesh and the devil, influences to which they are exposed right in the heart of Catholic schools and universities and colleges and seminaries that are in the control, at least for the present time, of the conciliar revolutionaries whose Modernist ideas he condemned so forcefully, so consistently and so repeatedly.
Pope Saint Pius X was no precursor of conciliarism. He did not reaffirm anyone in their false religions. He specifically told the founder of international Zionism, Theodore Herzl, that the Catholic Church would open churches in Palestine to baptize all of the Jews who might choose to settle in the Holy Land:
HERZL: I thank Your Holiness for the favor of granting me this audience. [I begged him to excuse my miserable Italian, but he said:
POPE: No, Signor Commander, you speak very well.
HERZL: [He is an honest, rough-hewn village priest, to whom Christianity has remained a living thing even in the Vatican. I briefly laid my request before him. But annoyed perhaps by my refusal to kiss his hand, he answered in a stern categorical manner.
POPE: We are unable to favor this movement [of Zionism]. We cannot prevent the Jews from going to Jerusalem—but we could never sanction it. The ground of Jerusalem, if it were not always sacred, has been sanctified by the life of Jesus Christ. As the head of the Church I cannot answer you otherwise. The Jews have not recognized our Lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people.
HERZL: [The conflict between Rome and Jerusalem, represented by the one and the other of us, was once again under way. At the outset I tried to be conciliatory. I said my little piece. . . . It didn’t greatly impress him. Jerusalem was not to be placed in Jewish hands.] And its present status, Holy Father?
POPE: I know, it is disagreeable to see the Turks in possession of our Holy Places. We simply have to put up with it. But to sanction the Jewish wish to occupy these sites, that we cannot do.
HERZL: [I said that we based our movement solely on the sufferings of the Jews, and wished to put aside all religious issues].
POPE: Yes, but we, but I as the head of the Catholic Church, cannot do this. One of two things will likely happen. Either the Jews will retain their ancient faith and continue to await the Messiah whom we believe has already appeared—in which case they are denying the divinity of Jesus and we cannot assist them. Or else they will go there with no religion whatever, and then we can have nothing at all to do with them. The Jewish faith was the foundation of our own, but it has been superceded by the teachings of Christ, and we cannot admit that it still enjoys any validity. The Jews who should have been the first to acknowledge Jesus Christ have not done so to this day.
HERZL: [It was on the tip of my tongue to remark, “It happens in every family: no one believes in his own relative.” But, instead, I said:] Terror and persecution were not precisely the best means for converting the Jews. [His reply had an element of grandeur in its simplicity:]
POPE: Our Lord came without power. He came in peace. He persecuted no one. He was abandoned even by his apostles. It was only later that he attained stature. It took three centuries for the Church to evolve. The Jews therefore had plenty of time in which to accept his divinity without duress or pressure. But they chose not to do so, and they have not done it yet.
HERZL: But, Holy Father, the Jews are in a terrible plight. I do not know if Your Holiness is aware of the full extent of their tragedy. We need a land for these harried people.
POPE: Must it be Jerusalem?
HERZL: We are not asking for Jerusalem, but for Palestine—for only the secular land.
POPE: We cannot be in favor of it.
[Editor Lowenthal interjects here] Here unrelenting replacement theology is plainly upheld as the norm of the Roman Catholic Church. Further, this confession, along with the whole tone of the Pope in his meeting with Herzl, indicates the perpetuation of a doctrinal emphasis that has resulted in centuries of degrading behavior toward the Jews. However, this response has the “grandeur” of total avoidance of that which Herzl had intimated, namely that the abusive reputation of Roman Catholicism toward the Jews was unlikely to foster conversion. Further, if, “It took three centuries for the Church to evolve,” it was that very same period of time that it took for the Church to consolidate and launch its thrust of anti-Semitism through the following centuries.
HERZL: Does Your Holiness know the situation of the Jews?
POPE: Yes, from my days in Mantua, where there are Jews. I have always been in friendly relations with Jews. Only the other evening two Jews were here to see me. There are other bonds than those of religion: social intercourse, for example, and philanthropy. Such bonds we do not refuse to maintain with the Jews. Indeed we also pray for them, that their spirit see the light. This very day the Church is celebrating the feast of an unbeliever who became converted in a miraculous manner—on the road to Damascus. And so if you come to Palestine and settle your people there, we will be ready with churches and priests to baptize all of you. (January 25, 1904.)
Has Joseph Ratzinger ever spoken thus to demonstrate his true Charity for those steeped in the throes of a false, superseded religion?
The deconstruction of Pope Saint Pius X is just part of what passes for "normal" in the life of the counterfeit church of conciliarism. We were told by a then student at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, in 2003 that she had been taught in one of her theology classes that the Fathers and the Doctors of the Church had to be understood in the light of the documents of the "Second" Vatican Council and the Catechism of the [Conciliar] Church. This is an inversion and perversion of the right ordering of how a Catholic is to understand the Faith. We view later documents and decrees in light of what has preceded them, which is how, you see, we can judge for ourselves that conciliarism is not Catholicism.
This inversion and distortion of Catholic truth is at the heart of Modernism. It is at the heart of Joseph Ratzinger's own efforts as Benedict XVI to try to deconstruct the Fathers of the Church so as to make them out to be champions of such things as "religious liberty" and false ecumenism. His modus operandi in this regard has been made possible by his rejection of Scholasticism, which he believes, as he wrote in Principles of Catholic Theology, has "distorted" and "misrepresented" the mind of the Fathers. This is an incredible assertion, as it means that all of the popes prior to 1958 who quoted the Fathers and Doctors of the Church to support the consistent Catholic condemnation of such errors as religious liberty and the separation of Church and State were wrong.
To wit, Pope Pius VII had to be wrong when quoting Saint Augustine to condemn religious liberty as a heresy for Joseph Ratzinger to be correct in claiming Saint Augustine for the conciliar cause of championing this heresy:
For when the liberty of all "religions" is indiscriminately asserted, by this very fact truth is confounded with error and the holy and immaculate Spouse of Christ, the Church, outside of which there can be no salvation, is set on a par with the sects of heretics and with Judaic perfidy itself. For when favour and patronage is promised even to the sects of heretics and their ministers, not only their persons, but also their very errors, are tolerated and fostered: a system of errors in which is contained that fatal and never sufficiently to be deplored HERESY which, as St. Augustine says (de Haeresibus, no.72), "asserts that all heretics proceed correctly and tell the truth: which is so absurd that it seems incredible to me." (Post Tam Diuturnas, April 29,1814.)
To wit, Pope Gregory XVI had to be wrong when quoting Saint Augustine to condemn the "freedom of speech" and the "freedom of conscience" and the "freedom of press" that is at the heart of the false, naturalistic, religiously indifferentism and semi-Pelagian principles of the Modern civil state and conciliarism's Modernist "reconciliation" to such falsehoods:
This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. "But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error," as Augustine was wont to say. When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly "the bottomless pit" is open from which John saw smoke ascending which obscured the sun, and out of which locusts flew forth to devastate the earth. Thence comes transformation of minds, corruption of youths, contempt of sacred things and holy laws -- in other words, a pestilence more deadly to the state than any other. Experience shows, even from earliest times, that cities renowned for wealth, dominion, and glory perished as a result of this single evil, namely immoderate freedom of opinion, license of free speech, and desire for novelty. (Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari, Vos, August 15, 1832.)
Joseph Ratzinger's contempt of Scholasticism and his belief that the Catholic Church's official philosophy "distorts" the Fathers of the Church is part of the New Theology in which he was trained as a seminarian and has been a principle exponent and proponent in the nearly fifty-seven years since his ordination to the priesthood on June 29, 1951. Such a contempt of Scholasticism was condemned by Pope Saint Pius X in Pascendi Dominci Gregis and by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis, August 12, 1950:
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.'' (Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominci Gregis, September 8, 1907.)
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.
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. (Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis, August 12, 1950.)
Pope Leo XIII explained in Aeterni Patris, August 4, 1879, that a rejection of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Scholasticism results in a loss of the Catholic Faith:
But, furthermore, Our predecessors in the Roman pontificate have celebrated the wisdom of Thomas Aquinas by exceptional tributes of praise and the most ample testimonials. Clement VI in the bull "In Ordine;" Nicholas V in his brief to the friars of the Order of Preachers, 1451; Benedict XIII in the bull "Pretiosus," and others bear witness that the universal Church borrows luster from his admirable teaching; while St. Pius V declares in the bull "Mirabilis" that heresies, confounded and convicted by the same teaching, were dissipated, and the whole world daily freed from fatal errors; others, such as Clement XII in the bull "Verbo Dei," affirm that most fruitful blessings have spread abroad from his writings over the whole Church, and that he is worthy of the honor which is bestowed on the greatest Doctors of the Church, on Gregory and Ambrose, Augustine and Jerome; while others have not hesitated to propose St. Thomas for the exemplar and master of the universities and great centers of learning whom they may follow with unfaltering feet. On which point the words of Blessed Urban V to the University of Toulouse are worthy of recall: "It is our will, which We hereby enjoin upon you, that ye follow the teaching of Blessed Thomas as the true and Catholic doctrine and that ye labor with all your force to profit by the same." Innocent XII, followed the example of Urban in the case of the University of Louvain, in the letter in the form of a brief addressed to that university on February 6, 1694, and Benedict XIV in the letter in the form of a brief addressed on August 26, 1752, to the Dionysian College in Granada; while to these judgments of great Pontiffs on Thomas Aquinas comes the crowning testimony of Innocent VI: "His teaching above that of others, the canonical writings alone excepted, enjoys such a precision of language, an order of matters, a truth of conclusions, that those who hold to it are never found swerving from the path of truth, and he who dare assail it will always be suspected of error."
The ecumenical councils, also, where blossoms the flower of all earthly wisdom, have always been careful to hold Thomas Aquinas in singular honor. In the Councils of Lyons, Vienna, Florence, and the Vatican one might almost say that Thomas took part and presided over the deliberations and decrees of the Fathers, contending against the errors of the Greeks, of heretics and rationalists, with invincible force and with the happiest results. But the chief and special glory of Thomas, one which he has shared with none of the Catholic Doctors, is that the Fathers of Trent made it part of the order of conclave to lay upon the altar, together with sacred Scripture and the decrees of the supreme Pontiffs, the "Summa" of Thomas Aquinas, whence to seek counsel, reason, and inspiration.
A last triumph was reserved for this incomparable man -- namely, to compel the homage, praise, and admiration of even the very enemies of the Catholic name. For it has come to light that there were not lacking among the leaders of heretical sects some who openly declared that, if the teaching of Thomas Aquinas were only taken away, they could easily battle with all Catholic teachers, gain the victory, and abolish the Church. A vain hope, indeed, but no vain testimony. (Pope Leo XIII, Aeterni Patris, August 4, 1879.)
Who despises Scholastic Philosophy and the thought of Saint Thomas Aquinas?
In the two years Ratzinger spent at the diocesan seminary of Freising, he studied literature, music, modern philosophy, and he felt drawn towards the new existentialist and modernist theologies. He did not like St. Thomas Aquinas. The formation described does not correspond to the exclusively Catholic formation that is necessary to one called to be a priest, even taking into account the extenuating circumstances of the time, that is, anti-Christian Nazism, the war and defeat, and the secularization of studies within seminaries. It seems that His Eminence, with all due respect, gave too much place to profane culture, with its "openness" to everything, and its critical attitude...Joseph Ratzinger loved the professors who asked many questions, but disliked those who defended dogma with the crystal-clear logic of St. Thomas. This attitude would seem to us to match his manner of understanding Catholic liturgy. He tells us that from childhood he was always attracted to the liturgical movement and was sympathetic towards it. One can see that for him, the liturgy was a matter of feeling, a lived experience, an aesthetically pleasing "Erlebnis," but fundamentally irrational (op. cit. passim.). (The Memories of a Destructive Mind: Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's Milestones.)
Efforts to deconstruct and misrepresent the Fathers so as to make them "witnesses" in behalf of conciliarism stand condemned by the authority of the Catholic Church. Such efforts quite similar to those that have been made by conciliarists (and their feminist allies) to appropriate Saints Elizabeth of Hungary and Catherine of Siena and Teresa of Avila and Saint Therese of Lisieux, among others, as "witnesses" in behalf of feminism in society and for a "greater role" for "women in the Church." All too familiar are the efforts to transform a great defender of Catholic truth and fierce opponent of heresy, Saint Francis of Assisi, into a veritable ecumenical wimp. It should not surprise us, therefore, that Pope Saint Pius X has come in for the "conciliar" treatment after years of contempt being heaped upon him. The conciliarists believe that the very saint chosen as the the patron of Catholic opposition to their false beliefs must be defined in the minds of gullible Catholics yet attached to the conciliar structure as one of their own.
Pope Saint Pius X, who was so tenderly devoted to Our Lady, gave remarks to some bishops making their ad limina apostolorum visit on December 12, 1904, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (and fifty years and four days following Pope Pius IX's solemn proclamation of the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception), that demonstrate his firm and unequivocal to the attempt by anyone to redefine the Catholic Faith:
The times are becoming difficult and distressing for the Catholic Church; but let us not be troubled. On earth the Church is militant; it is for us to be the captains who lead the armies into battle. Have we not the certainty of victory as a powerful incentive? Always before our eyes are these divine words: I have not come to send peace but the sword. If they have persecuted me, they will persecute you. But have confidence, I have overcome the world.
If we know how to make ourselves the light of the world by our teaching, and the salt of the earth by our example; to put it in a word, if we employ the resources of virtue and doctrine that Paul enjoined on his own disciples, Titus and Timothy, namely sanctity and perfection of life, strength in teaching, the spirit of sacrifice and self-denial, active and enlightened zeal, charity that is at once strong and gentle, then we will win the love and veneration of the good, yea and the esteem and respect even of our enemies.
The task which lies before us is difficult; let us find our support and strength in the loving providence of him who, when he sent his own apostles into the world as lambs among wolves, reassured them and encouraged them to have no fear, being confident that he would always be at their side: Behold I am with, you all days, even to the consummation of the world.
On the other hand, when we measure our own meager strength against the difficulty of the task, we will always be brought to the realization that we are but worthless instruments in the hands of the Lord, and we will have recourse to him in our trying needs. He will hear our prayer and enable us to say: I can do all things in him who strengthens me.
Venerable brethren, there is only one piece of advice that I offer to you: watch over your seminaries and over candidates for the priesthood.
As you yourselves know, an air of independence which is fatal for souls is widely diffused in the world, and has found its way even within the sanctuary; it shows itself not only in relation to authority but also in regard to doctrine.
Because of it, some of our young clerics, animated by that spirit of unbridled criticism which holds sway at the present day, have come to lose all respect for the learning which comes from our great teachers, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, the interpreters of revealed doctrine.
If ever you have in your seminary one of those new-style savants, get rid of him without delay; on no account impose hands upon him. You will always regret having ordained even one such person: never will you regret having excluded him.
Imagine if this advice had been followed in the then-named Diocese of Munich-Freising in 1951.
At all times, of course, we must have recourse to Our Lady, praying as many Rosaries each day as our states-in-life permit. To her Immaculate Heart belongs the Triumph that will mark the end of the reign of the naturalists in the civil realm and the conciliarists who hold Catholic institutions captive at the present time. We must seek to make reparation for our own sins by offering our prayers and sufferings and sacrifices and humiliations to the Most Sacred Heart of her Divine Son through her own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us, pray for those in the counterfeit church of conciliarism who have no regard for the truth and who seek to make you, the opponent of Modernism, their friend and champion.
May these words, which were inscribed on a metal plaque near the first resting place, in the crypt of the Basilica of Saint Peter, of Pope Saint Pius X's mortal remains, inspire us to invoke his intercession to help "restore all things in Christ," both in the Church and in the world, as we await the Triumph of Our Lady's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart:
Pope Pius X,
Poor and Yet Rich
Gentle and Humble of Heart
Unconquerable Champion of the Catholic Faith
Whose Constant Endeavor it was to Renew
All Things in Christ
Departed in Piety
On the Twentieth of August, 1914
Vivat Christus Rex! Viva Cristo Rey!
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 Evangelist, 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.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Peter Celestine, pray for us.
Saint Pudentia, pray for us.
See also: A Litany of Saints