In the last few days and weeks we have started to see an authentically Catholic reaction from a small number of bishops. Today we hear that a bishop in Kansas has ordered all parishes to restore the prayer to St. Michael, that renowned instrument against the demonic, at the end of every Mass.
This is some pretty exciting news for bishops. But it still leaves open the question of what laypeople themselves can do. Now that the Catholic remnant is alerted to the real nature of the danger, it is time we come up with some kind of plan.
Things appear to have turned a corner in the general understanding of the scale and nature of the crisis, that more and more people are coming to see didn’t start with this pope. It’s arguable that the surge in public distrust of Pope Bergoglio and his agenda is late and based on the wrong priorities. The fury against him from Catholics comes from the same reason for the turn against him in the mainstream media. His collusion with the homosexual abuse scandals that is now being shown to go back to his days in Argentina are not, in reality, as serious as his relentless attacks on the Catholic Faith itself.
But however it came about, and however late it might be, the sea-change against this pontificate has driven many to re-examine the Traditionalist argument – that Bergoglio is a product of the crisis, not its cause. It is starting, at last, to be widely acknowledged that this pontificate is nothing more than the inevitable result of the trajectory the Church has been on since 1965. Jorge Bergoglio, and the perversion of the priesthood he represents, is a product of post-conciliar compromises, the friendly accommodation and absorption of secularism, the accommodation with the World and the Flesh that became the institutional priority after Vatican II and has led to the devil getting a now-incontestable grip on the Church. In short, people are coming to understand that Jorge Bergoglio and his friends, are the symptom of the acute stage of the progressive disease, not the disease itself.
But now that we are finally past the stage of having to convince people that the Traditionalist point of view was the correct one, a great many are asking, “What next?” A lot of the discussion has centered on highly technical theological and canonical issues; whether it is possible to depose a pope, or if a pope can depose himself, criteria for determining precisely what constitutes “formal” heresy… and on and on. As a friend put it a few days ago, “We’ve all had enough of Bellarmine this, Suarez that and Cajetan the other thing…” The simple fact is that to nearly everyone these questions are mostly academic. Interesting as far as they go, but for most of us mainly they are the internet equivalent of arguments over politics in the pub.
The issuing of a formal correction or the convening of an ecumenical council, imperfect or otherwise, is beyond most of our powers. As ordinary people, we have to bring ourselves down to earth. I’m not a bishop or cardinal, and you probably aren’t either. So, what is genuinely within the purview of the laity to do, concretely? We’ve probably all had enough of the facile reminder, “Just pray the Rosary.” Since many, many people who squeeze their daily beads are in the same state of confusion as those who don’t, maybe we can try getting more specific.
Fortunately, we’ve got a name for the disease, and a holy pope who provided the cure. It is at last being widely acknowledged that the Asteroid we’ve all been watching is Modernism, the same “synthesis of all heresies” that Pius X tried to stop at the opening of the 20th century. A Rome conference sponsored in June this year by the formerly stalwart “conservative” LifeSiteNews focused on the triumphant resurgence of Modernism since Vatican II, identifying it as the source of the crisis; more or less the core of the Traditionalist position.
Reporting on the conference, Dianne Montagna wrote:
“Imagine that the trials of the current pontificate, the machinations of the German bishops, and Fr. James Martin’s controversial statements on homosexuality were to end tomorrow. Perhaps for a time some would feel that Mordor had been destroyed and sunshine and freedom were restored to the Shire, but the current crisis in the Church would not be over. Why? Because controversial passages in Amoris Laetitia, the German Bishops’ intercommunion proposal, and Fr. James Martin’s watering down of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality are only symptoms of a deeper problem. Health will not be restored to Christ’s Mystical Body until these deeper problems are identified, addressed and healed.”
Professor Roberto de Mattei and likeminded colleagues at that conference identified the source of the crisis as a resurgence of Modernism. With some slight modifications, it is in essence the same theological disease that Pius X fought so ferociously. Most Traditionalists understand this, but since this pontificate – and especially in the last three months – many who have never called themselves that are coming to the same realisation.
Diane Montanga again:
“According to the organizers of the June symposium, the rejection of the errors that have penetrated the Mystical Body of Christ, and the return, with God’s help, to complete Catholic truth believed and lived, are the necessary conditions for the Church’s renewal.”
This "Paranoid Extremist" Was Right and Has Now Been Vindicated Completely
St. Pius X, Pray For Us
As de Mattei explained, Modernism was defined by Pope St. Pius X to cover a set of “theological, philosophical, and exegetical errors” dating back into the 19th century. These he named and condemned in the encyclical Pascendi dominici gregis and the decree Lamentabili sane. The saintly pope then implemented certain disciplinary measures intended to root out what was at that time mainly a trend among academic priests. Although these measures appeared to be effective at first, Modernism re-emerged in the ‘30s and began its work infiltrating every institution of the Catholic world. And it’s great triumph was Vatican II.
De Mattei describes it as a “synthesis of ancient errors such as Gnosticism, Pelagianism and Arianism.” The new version, Neo-modernism, in its emphasis on changing doctrine indirectly by changing practice, “has become a philosophy of life and pastoral action, even before being a doctrinal school.”
Traditionalists like Professor de Mattei have known for a long time that this anti-Catholic ideology has become completely accepted – mainly through deliberate misrepresentation of the Faith – throughout the length and breadth of the Church, among clergy and laity, like a tasteless, odorless but deadly systemic poison introduced into a water supply.
So, back to the question of what to do about it, as laymen with little power to change bishops or depose popes, perhaps we could usefully ask what the same saintly pope recommended as a remedy. Rather than dive into the complexities of theology, it might be more useful to examine another document from Pius X, a motu proprio issued in September 1910 called Sacrorum antistitum. This document is most famous for including the Oath Against Modernism, required of “all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries” of the Catholic Church until it was rescinded on 17 July 1967 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the approval of Pope Paul VI.
At the suggestion of a priest I know who has spent his priestly life combating Modernism, we can perhaps examine the Oath not with a mind to taking it formally ourselves, but to create a programme of action. As a template for re-examining the truths of the Catholic Faith that the Neo-Modernists want to have disappear. I would suggest that a first step in any battle plan must be accurate intelligence. We have to know very precisely what our enemies are doing.
Simply, if the Oath was conceived as the main public instrument of combating this terrible illness, this deformation of Catholicism, it is obviously the place to start, to point the way to a cure. It is merely a distillation of Pope Pius X’s warning; Modernism subverts Catholicism by stealth, by modifying definitions of terms, by undermining the very notion of truth, but all the while retaining the terms themselves; by “reformulations” of doctrines and “updating of language.” Using the Oath as a guide, applying it clause by clause to what is being done by the Bergoglians now, it becomes a simple matter to see through their attempts at obfuscation.
For instance, one of the most insistent calls by the Bergoglian revolutionaries at both Synods on the Family was for a “reformulation” of the Church’s teaching on homosexuality. We were told ad nauseam that the “doctrine isn’t being changed” but that there was a need to “reexamine the language” used to convey it.
These are classic Modernist tropes, and they are refuted and warned against explicitly in the very opening passages of the Oath.
I . . . firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day.
As we see here, in its opening sentence, the rug is pulled out from under the revolutionaries currently ruling the Vatican. Since the sense, the nature, of an idea is conveyed by language, and theological formulations are by necessity extremely precise, and since these formulations convey truths – realities established more firmly than the laws of mathematics or physics – the attempt to “merely change the language” while claiming to retain the meaning is revealed for the poisoned snake oil that it is.
Do we want to know in detailed and precise language what is wrong with the New Paradigm being forced onto the Church right now by the Bergoglians? Do we want to understand what is really going on, in language and terms we non-theologians and non-scholars can understand? Do we want to understand precisely how these very bad men are manipulating and distorting the Faith?
A careful re-reading of the Oath is very revealing. St. Pius X immediately goes on to list the truths that not only must be absolutely held by all Catholics, but must be expressed and believed precisely in the same language and terminology as they always have, specifically with a mind to refute those commonly held “errors of this day”:
And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:19), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated.
Contrast this with Bergoglio’s repeated attacks on the very notion that the Faith can be known with certainty, or even on the desire for certainty: “If one has the answers to all the questions - that is the proof that God is not with him. It means that he is a false prophet using religion for himself. The great leaders of the people of God, like Moses, have always left room for doubt. You must leave room for the Lord, not for our certainties; we must be humble.”
Read the rest of the Oath and see how many of the Bergoglians’ standard tropes it refutes directly.
Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time.
Bergoglio has joined with thousands of other Neo-Modernist priests in outright denying the supernatural miracles of Christ. He produced a video in May, 2013, only a few weeks after his election, in which he denied the miraculous nature of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. “Regarding the loaves and fishes, I would like to add a new perspective. They didn’t multiply, no, that’s not true. The loaves simply didn’t come to an end. Just like the flour and the oil of the widow that didn’t run out. When multiplication is spoken of, it might be confused with magic, no. No, no, the grandeur of God is so great, and the love he puts in our hearts, that if we wish, that which we have will not run out.” This has been a repeated theme. In another instance, he said that “God is not a magician who does things with a magic wand.”
Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time.
Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical’ misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously.
In July 2016, Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, identified by the pope as the most authoritative interpreter of Amoris Laetitia, said that document’s volte face on giving Holy Communion to unrepentant adulterers is an “evolution” of doctrine, based on the needs of the times. “In this sphere of human realities, the Holy Father has fundamentally renewed the discourse of the Church – certainly along the lines of Evangelii gaudium, but also of Gaudium et spes, which presents doctrinal principles and reflections on human beings today that are in a continuous evolution. There is a profound openness to accept reality.”
Once the principles of Modernism have been understood – which they can be merely by a careful examination of the Oath – all the machinations of the Bergoglians become clear, as if one has shone a searchlight on a nest of cockroaches. Use the Oath to educate yourself. I suggest this as step one in a plan for the laity.
But since the principles of Modernism have been adopted by our entire civilisation, by interiorising the Oath, one can in a sense inoculate oneself against the aerosolized version of the disease. Read the rest and you will recognise many of the ideas that modern secularism takes for granted about religion; it is a figment of “blind sentiment”; its ideas are “philosophical figments,” the product of mere “human conscience”; religious ideas are never static, but can and must change constantly to keep up with human evolution; that things held as true by Catholics are contradicted in history, that faith and objective reality observed by historians and scientists are in opposition; that an educated Catholic must ignore what he knows in favour of his Faith:
I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely.
Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source. By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our creator and lord.
Furthermore, with due reverence, I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas.
I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion.
I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality - that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful.
Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm.
Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.
Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact-one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history-the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles.
I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles.
The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.
I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God. . .