No Other Name By Which Men Can Be Saved
Summarizing the essence of the heresy of Americanism, which is nothing other than a species of Modernisn exalting the values of the American constitutional framework in order to transpose same onto the Church herself, Pope Leo XIII noted the following in his apostolical letter Testem Benevolentiae, written to the then Archbishop of Baltimore, James Cardinal Gibbons, on January 22, 1899:
"For they [the Americanists] contend, that it is opportune, in order to work in a more attractive way upon the wills of those who are not in accord with us, to pass over certain heads of doctrines, as if of lesser moment, or to so soften them that they may not have the same meaning which the Church has invariably held. Now, Beloved Son, few words are needed to show how reprehensible is the plan that is thus conceived, if we but consider the character and origin of the doctrine which the Church hands down to us. On that point the [First] Vatican Council says; 'The doctrine of faith which God has revealed is not proposed like a theory of philosophy which is to be elaborated by the human understanding, but as a divine deposit delivered to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully guarded and infallibly declared.
"Nor is the suppression to be considered altogether free from blame, which designedly omits certain principles of Catholic doctrine and buries them, as it were, in oblivion. For there is one and the same Author and Master of all the truths that Christian teaching comprises: the only-begotten Son who is in the bosom of the Father. That they are adapted to all ages and nations is plainly deduced from the words which Christ addressed to His apostles: Going therefore teach ye all nations: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world. Wherefore the same Vatican Council says: 'By the divine and Catholic faith those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God either written or handed down, and are proposed by the Church whether in solemn decision, or by the ordinary universal magisterium, to be believed as having been divinely revealed.' Far be it, then, for any one to diminish or for any reason whatever to pass over anything of this divinely delivered doctrine; whosoever would do so, would rather wish to alienate Catholics from the Church than to bring over to the Church those who dissent from it. Let them return; indeed, nothing is nearer to Our heart; let all those who are wandering far from the sheepfold of Christ return; but let it not be by any other road than that which Christ has pointed out."
The spirit of the false ecumenism that has gripped the Church in the past forty years was born right here in the United States of America in the nineteenth century. A desire on the part of many, although certainly not all, of the American bishops to accommodate the Faith to the exigencies of a religiously indifferent and culturally pluralistic society led some of them to downgrade certain articles of the Catholic Faith with their Protestant brethren and would, in time, lead to downright silence about the Holy Name of the Divine Redeemer, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in the company of Jews and Muslims. There is nothing more that pleases the Devil than silence about the Holy Name, the mere mention of Which frightens all demons.
It is therefore so very tragic that so many contemporary American prelates prefer silence about the Holy Name than running the risk of offending Jews and Muslims. Yes, the Holy Father himself has done outrageous things in the presence of Jews, including the removal of the Crucifix from the Pope Paul VI Audience Hall on the occasion of a 1994 concert in honor of Holocaust victims. Even he, though, reminded Jewish leaders in Miami in 1987 that the Church has the obligation to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ (although it must be noted that the Holy Father and several cardinals have said that Jews are saved by the Mosaic Covenant, which was superceded by the New and Eternal Covenant instituted by Our Lord at the Last Supper and ratified by the shedding of every single drop of His Most Precious Blood on the wood of the Holy Cross on Good Friday). Thus, while it can be argued that American bishops and priests are simply following the lead of the Holy Father in regard to ecumenical prayer services with Jews and Musims, it can also be argued that the ethos of such religious indifferentism originated right here in this country, coming to infect the universal Church during the pontificate of Pope John XXIII and during the Second Vatican Council and thereafter.
The spirit of this false ecumenism between Catholics and Jews has been well-chronicled in various journals over the course of the past forty years. Indeed, I had the sad duty of writing a column to take the late John Cardinal O'Connor to task in print for contending that "God was smiling" on the conversion of a young Catholic man to Judaism (rectifying, the young man, Stephen Dubner, thought, the "error" of his parents' conversion from Judaism to Catholicism years before). It is the spirit of this false ecumenism which is leading Eugene Fisher, the Catholic guru of silencing the Holy Name and His Deposit of Faith with respect to Jews, to demand that Mel Gibson submit his screenplay for The Passion to the scrutiny of Catholic and Jewish scholars. And it is this false spirit of ecumenism that led the Bishop of Springfield in Illinois, the Most Reverend George Lucas, to be silent about the Holy Name of Jesus Christ in the presence of a militantly pro-abortion Jewish rabbi, Barry Marks, at an ecumenical "prayer service" at the Cathedral Church of the Immaculate Conception in Springfield on May 1, 2003.
Rabbi Marks has served on Planned Parenthood's "clergy committee" in Springfield. He supports the destruction of innocent children in their mothers' wombs and is a supporter of the most aggressive forms of "comprehensive" sex-instruction for children. As Stephen G. Brady, President of Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc., noted in a statement issued prior to the event, "By supporting Planned Parenthood and a 'woman's right to choose,' Rabbi Barry Marks has given 'God's Blessing' to the murder of the unborn. Bishop George Lucas, by bringing Marks to the Cathedral to preach, has given his blessing to the pro?abortion Rabbi. All this is being done under the title: 'Neighbors Mirroring the Image of God.' This is the same Bishop Lucas who helped defend the former Springfield Bishop Daniel Ryan, a predatory homosexual who raped teenage boys. When Lucas took over the diocese, he rewarded Ryan's clergy defenders with the title of Monsignor."
How can Bishop Lucas contend that his "neighbor," Rabbi Marks, mirrors the image of God when the rabbi believes that little babies who are made in the image and likeness of God can be sliced and diced in their mothers' wombs with full legal impunity? Does Bishop Lucas believe that he has a positive obligation to pray and to work for the conversion of Rabbi Marks? Does he understand that it is a scandal for a Catholic to give public credence to the "community leadership" of a member of a false religion who happens to support with great vigor one of the four crimes that cries out to Heaven for vengeance? Does he understand that he has the obligation at all times to proclaim the Holy Name of the Divine Redeemer, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made man, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, without regard for how others will react? Does Bishop Lucas believe that the Apostles were wrong when they rejoiced, as the Acts of the Apostles tells us, because they were deemed worthy of ill-treatment for the sake of the Name?
Does Bishop Lucas want the sheep entrusted to his pastoral care to take seriously the following words of Saint Peter, which were addressed to Jews, members of the same Sanhedrin that turned Our Lord over to Pontius Pilate, by the way, following the healing of a lame man?
"Be it known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God hath, raised from the dead, even by him this man standeth here before you whole. 'This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner.' Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven, given to men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4: 10-12).
It is almost as though most of the members of the hierarchy have assumed the role of the Sanhedrin in demanding that the Holy Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ not be invoked in public meetings involving non-Christians. (Remember, Edward Cardinal Egan, the Archbishop of New York, never once mentioned the Holy Name in any public ecumenical service or any news interview following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center twin towers. And though he mentioned the word "Lord" once, he did not at all refer to the Name of Jesus Christ in a sermon at Saint Patrick's Cathedral during a Mass to commemorate the victims of those attacks exactly one year later.) Consider what the Sanhedrin said following Peter's defense of the Holy Name with the current belief that silence about the Name of Jesus Christ is a virtue, not a sin on the part of His shepherds:
"Saying: What shall we do to these men? for indeed a known miracle hath been done by them, to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem: it is manifest, and we cannot deny it. But that it may be no farther spread among the people, let us threaten them that they speak no more in this name to any man. And calling them, they charged them not to speak at all, nor teach in the Name of Jesus" (Acts 4: 16-18).
Many of our cardinals and bishops "speak no more in this name to any man" outside of their own church buildings, especially in the presence of Jews and Muslims. This silence about the Holy Name has been one of the greatest accomplishments of Freemasonry, which was founded to make war upon the Church's influence in those countries where the Cross of Christ had been implanted deep in the soil and to intimidate Catholics into submission to the dictates of pluralism and religious indifferentism in those countries, such as ours, where they were tolerated as holders of "opinions" that were permitted to be held privately but not expressed publicly. This has particular resonance in the case of Bishop George Lucas, a man who held the reception following his Mass of installation as Bishop of Springfield in Illinois in December of 1999 in a Masonic lodge. It stands to reason that a man friendly to those who hate the Church, as Pope Leo XIII noted in Humanum Genus, will be more than happy not to invoke the Holy Name of Jesus Christ in an "ecumenical setting," if not actually order Catholics participating in that setting not to do so themselves.
Bishop Lucas and his compatriots in the American hierarchy (as well as in the Roman curia) would do well to be reminded of how the Apostles responded to the Sanhedrin:
"But Peter and John answering, said to them: 'If it be just in the sight of God, to hear you rather than God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard'" (Acts 4: 19-21).
Some would argue that Bishop Lucas is simply following the lead of the Holy Father, who has spoken of God in generic terms on so many occasions when meeting with leaders of every religious sect in the world. That would be true enough. However, someone has got to use the occasion of these scandals to remind the bishops and priests who participate in them that they are betraying Our Lord Himself when they do not invoke the Holy Name nor see it as their solemn duty to invite everyone to become followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ through the Church He created upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. More than a handful of subscribers to Christ or Chaos cancelled their subscriptions in 2000 after I wrote a piece that was critical of the Holy Father's appearing as an equal with the Grand Rabbi of Jerusalem and an Islamic mullah at a "prayer service" in Jerusalem during the Pope's visit to the Holy Land. (The mullah had the integrity to walk out half-way through the ceremony, not wishing to be a party to such a travesty.) That Bishop Lucas is following the lead of the Holy Father does not exculpate him from his own responsibility, especially in the egregious case of inviting a militantly pro-abortion rabbi to his own cathedral for an event billed as featuring "neighbors" mirroring the image of God.
What has currency with silence about the Holy Name with respect to Jews and Muslims is relevant also to silence about the truths contained in the Deposit of Faith with respect to Protestants, several of which also participated in Bishop Lucas's prayer service. Consider the great wisdom of Pope Pius XI in Mortalium Animos in 1928:
"These pan-Christians who turn their minds to uniting the churches seem, indeed, to pursue the noblest of ideas in promoting charity among all Christians: nevertheless how does it happen that this charity tends to injure faith? Everyone knows that John himself, the Apostle of love, who seems to reveal in his Gospel the secrets of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and who never ceased to impress on the memories of his followers the new commandment 'Love one another,' altogether forbade any intercourse with those who professed a mutilated and corrupt version of Christ's teaching: 'If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house nor say to him: God speed you.' For which reason, since charity is based on a complete and sincere faith, the disciples of Christ must be united principally by the bond of one faith. Who then can conceive a Christian Federation, the members of which retain each his own opinions and private judgment, even in matters which concern the object of faith, even thouh they be repugnant to the opinions of the rest? And in what manner, We ask, can men who follow contrary opinions, belong to one and the same Federation of the faithful? For example, those who affirm, and those who deny that sacred Tradition is a true fount of divine Revelation; those who hold that an ecclesiastical hierarchy, made up of bishops, priests and ministers, has been divinely constituted, and those who assert that it has been brought in little by little in accordance with the conditions of the time; those who adore Christ really present in the Most Holy Eucharist through that marvelous conversion of the bread and wine, which is called transubstantiation, and those who affirm that Christ is present only by faith or by the signification and virtue of the Sacrament; those who in the Eucharist recognize the nature both of a sacrament and of a sacrifice, and those who say that it is nothing more than the memorial or commemoration of the Lord's Supper; those who believe it to be good and useful to invoke by prayer the Saints reigning with Christ, especially Mary the Mother of God, and to venerate their images, and those who urge that such a veneration is not to be made use of, for it is contrary to the honor due to Jesus Christ, 'the one mediator of God and men.' How so great a variety of opinions can make the way clear to effect the unity of the Church We know not; that unity can only arise from one teaching authority, one law of belief and one faith of Christians. But We do know that from this it is an easy step to the neglect of religion or indifferentism and to modernism, as they call it. Those, who are unhappily infected with these errors, hold that dogmatic truth is not absolute but relative, that is, it agrees with the varying necessities of time and place and with the varying tendencies of the mind, since it is not contained in immutable revelation, but is capable of being accommodated to human life. Besides this, in connection with things which must be believed, it is nowise licit to use that distiction which some have seen fit to introduce between those articles of faith which are fundamental and those which are not fundamental, as they say, as if the former are to be accepted by all, while the latter may be left to the free assent of the faithful: for the supernatural virtue of faith has a formal cause, namely the authority of God revealing, and this is patient of no such distinction. For this reason it is that all who are truly Christ's believe, for example, the Conception of the Mother of God without stain of original sin with the same faith as they believe the mystery of the August Trinity, and the Incarnation of our Lord just as they do the infallible teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, according to the sense in which it was defined by the Ecumenical Council of the Vatican. Are these truths not equally certain, or not equally to be believed, because the Church has solemnly sanctioned and defined them, some in one age and some in another, even in those times immediately before our own? Has not God revealed them all? For the teaching authority of the Church, which in the divine wisdom was constituted on earth in order that revealed doctrines might remain intact for ever, and that they might be brought with ease and security to the knowledge of men, and which is daily exercised through the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops who are in communion with him, has also the office of defining, when it sees fit, any truth with solemn rites and decrees, whenever this is necessary either to oppose the errors or the attacks of heretics, or more clearly and in greater detail to stamp the minds of the faithful with the articles of sacred doctrine which have been explained. But in the use of this extraordinary teaching authority no newly invented matter is brought in, nor is anything new added to the number of those truths which are at least implicitly contained in the deposit of Revelation, divinely handed down to the Church: only those which are made clear which perhaps may still seem obscure to some, or that which some have previously called into question is declared to be of faith.
"So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it. To the one true Church of Christ, we say, which is visible to all, and which is to remain, according to the will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it. During the lapse of centuries, the mystical Spouse of Christ has never been contaminated, nor can she ever in the future be contaminated, as Cyprian bears witness: 'The Bride of Christ cannot be made false to her Spouse: she is incorrupt and modest. She knows but one dwelling, she guards the sanctity of the nuptial chamber chastely and modestly.'The same holy Martyr with good reason marveled exceedingly that anyone could believe that 'this unity in the Church which arises from a divine foundation, and which is knit together by heavenly sacraments, could be rent and torn asunder by the force of contrary wills.' For since the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, compacted and fitly joined together, it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head."
For the conciliar and postconciliar church to be right about the false spirit of ecumenism, which in most cases tends to discourage conversions to the true Church, the following statements of the Divine Redeemer must be ignored entirely-or deconstructed of the plain meaning that had been understood by the Church for over 1900 years:
"Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life; and I will raise him up on the last day" (Jn 6: 54-55).
"I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me. As the Father knoweth me, and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep" (Jn. 10: 14-15).
"Jesus said to them: 'Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I AM.'" (Jn. 8: 59.)
"For he that shall be ashamed of Me, and of My words, in this adulterous and sinful generation; the Son of man also will be ashamed of him, when He shall come in the glory of His Father with the holy angels" (Mk. 8:38).
Our situation in the Church is what it is. Just as those responsible for the liturgical revolution, which was started to enshrine the spirit of false ecumenism in the Mass itself, are unwilling to re-examine the false presuppositions that have devastated the Faith, so is it the case that the radical ecumenists are not going to be impressed by the patrimony of the Church or the words of Sacred Scripture. Indeed, the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin noted in an address at Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1995 that Saint John the Evangelist, who wrote under the inspiration of God the Holy Ghost, was the source of anti-Semitism. This prompted me at the time to write a column to ask "Is Jesus the Problem?" Why stop at Saint John? Why not state right out front that Our Lord Himself caused all of the divisions in the world by becoming Flesh in Our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb at the Incarnation?
No, we are not going to impress the ecumenists in the Church who are so impressed with the fact that so many non-Catholics love them for their willingness to be "open" to their own opinions and beliefs. What we can do, however, is make an act of reparation whenever we hear of these scandalous events, whether they take place in Assisi or in Springfield, Illinois. My suggestion is quite simple: every time we read or hear about an event in which the true Faith is placed on a level of equality with false religions and/or in which the Holy Name is silenced, we should pray the Litany of the Holy Name and recite the Divine Praises, preferably before the Blessed Sacrament. This is just a very small way to make reparation for these offenses.
As Pope Pius XI noted in Quas Primas in 1925:
"While nations insult the beloved Name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim His kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm His rights."
Sadly, the Church herself has ignored and rejected this clarion call, resulting, wittingly or unwittingly, in the triumph of the Masonic spirit of the new world order even within the Church. Individual Catholics, however, are not prohibited from embracing these words and attempting to live up to the exhortation made by Pope Pius XI. Indeed, those who do so, if they base their efforts on a profound life of Eucharistic piety and total consecration to Our Lady's Immaculate Heart, will find great peace in this life, no matter the scandal of indifferentism given us by our bishops, as a preparation for the joy of an unending Easter Sunday of glory in Paradise if they persist until they dying breaths in states of sanctifying grace. I assure Bishop Lucas that those who make it to Heaven will be praising the Holy Name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost for all eternity because they were unafraid to do so in this vale of tears.