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Friday, July 23, 2021

Traditionis Custodes: How Lukewarmness Leads Tradition into Satan’s Custody

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Christ, the Eternal King, will come to judge the living and the dead Christ, the Eternal King, will come to judge the living and the dead

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot. But because thou are lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.” (Apocalypse 3:15-16)

In his Prometheus: The Religion of Man, Fr. Alvaro Calderon makes an intriguing and important observation about the Second Vatican Council and the current state of the Church:

“Modernism is nothing more than the theological justification of a liberalism that wants to remain Catholic. That is why we say that although the Second Vatican Council is the immediate cause why modernism . . . has imposed itself with irresistible force throughout the Church, the primary cause is the Christian lukewarmness that allowed liberalism to spread through the veins of the Church. Sooner or later the Council was bound to come.”

Lukewarmness assists the spread of liberalism in at least a few ways: it disposes Catholics to favor the soft living proposed by liberalism; it weakens our spiritual defenses to attacks from the Church’s enemies; and it leads to a lack, or rejection, of the graces necessary to recognize and combat error. Of course there were many pious souls prior to Vatican II, but the sickness had become so prevalent in the Mystical Body of Christ that the Council, and the resulting Spirit of Vatican II, were inevitable.

Due to Christian lukewarmness, sooner or later a pope like Pope Francis was bound to come; sooner or later, evils such as his Pachamama and his Traditionis Custodes were bound to come.

We can say the same thing about the current situation: due to Christian lukewarmness, sooner or later a pope like Pope Francis was bound to come; sooner or later, evils such as his Pachamama and his Traditionis Custodes were bound to come. And unless we overcome our lukewarmness, sooner or later something worse is bound to come.

To understand and respond to this, we must consider: the condition of “lukewarmness,” how and why our enemies promote lukewarmness, and what we must do.

The Condition of Lukewarmness. Thanks to the diligence of our enemies and the neglect of many of our shepherds, Catholics often do not have a real sense of what constitutes lukewarmness. Are we lukewarm? Perhaps we consider that although we are not yet as good as the likes of St. Edmund Campion, St. Therese, or certain pious ancestors, we are nonetheless doing quite a lot compared with so many other Catholics. We might even believe we are relatively good compared to a few recently canonized saints.

But, given the importance of the question, it is worth considering what the saints have said about lukewarmness. In a sermon from the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars, described the differences between three classes of Catholics: the good, the bad, and the lukewarm. He began by describing those who are not even worthy of being called lukewarm:

“If, my dear friends, I speak to you today of the terrible condition of a lukewarm soul, I do not mean those who never go to Confession and Communion. Such people are not lukewarm. They are cold, and their souls are lost, even if they still come to Church and perform some good works. Let us leave them to their perdition, because they wish for no better.”

Already this description might alert us to the possibility that we no longer see the spiritual life as the Church once taught: after all, those bad Catholics who are worse than lukewarm still go to Church and perform some good works. He continued with his description of bad Catholics:

“Again my dear friends, I do not classify as lukewarm those who are striving to belong to the world without ceasing to belong to God. One moment you will see them throw themselves down upon their knees before God, and the next you will see them perform the same act before the idols of the world. The poor blind man! He stretches forth one hand to the Almighty and the other to the world, calling to both for help, and promising his heart to both. He loves God — at least he would like to love Him — but at the same time he wants to please the world.”

Again, the description of the bad Catholic includes certain traits that seem almost devout today: they strive to belong to God; they are sometimes on their knees before God; and they sometimes promise their hearts to God. If only more members of Pope Francis’s hierarchy were as good as these bad Catholics!

Cure of ArsSt. John Vianney

St. John Vianney then provided the description of a lukewarm Catholic:

“He still believes all the truths which the Church believes and teaches, but his faith is so weak that his heart has no part in it at all. He does not doubt that the good Lord sees him, and that he is ever in His Holy presence. But while believing this, he does not amend, nor sin the less. He falls into sin as easily as if he did not believe in anything.”

For the Cure of Ars, believing the truths of the Faith is a minimum criterion for being lukewarm — the vast majority of today’s nominal Catholics are thus immediately disqualified from attaining this level of spirituality in their current state. The saint continued with his description of the lukewarm soul:

“A Christian who leads a lukewarm life still fulfills his duties, at least as far as appearances are concerned. He may say his prayers every morning upon his knees . . . . His Confessions and Communions may not be sacrileges, but they are Confessions and Communions without result. Instead of making him more perfect and more acceptable to God, they render him still more culpable.”

So the lukewarm soul may still say his morning prayers (on his knees no less) and make what many of us would consider “good” Confessions and Communions.

Alphonsus LiguoriSt. Alphonsus Liguori

For another aspect of lukewarmness, we can consider St. Alphonsus Liguori’s discussion of its relation to venial sin in Attaining Salvation:

“There is true and deplorable lukewarmness when the soul falls into venial sins which are quite voluntary and grieves but little for them and takes even less care to avoid them, saying that they are trifles of no consequence. What! Is it nothing to displease God?”

According to the saint, we all commit involuntary venial sins; but we become lukewarm when we regularly commit voluntary venial sins without making efforts to overcome them.

Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre made the same point, as detailed in The Spiritual Life: Credidimus Caritati:

“We have to have a detestation for deliberate venial sins because in us they are already a willful stand against the law of God. Certainly, these are not yet sinful actions that cut us off from Him entirely, but when they start to be frequent, they cause us to be lukewarm. As all spiritual writers tell us, a man who is not moving forward is moving backward. . . . If there is no more striving after perfection, our soul becomes tepid. And tepidity is the great sickness of our souls.”

lefe preachingArchbishop Marcel Lefebvre

We often see Archbishop Lefebvre primarily as a fighter for tradition, but he was also a holy man who wanted to lead souls to sanctity. He saw the fight for tradition as intertwined with the fight for souls — both required Catholics to accept God’s grace to reject error, defend truth, and grow in holiness.

How and Why Our Enemies Promote Lukewarmness. Given that lukewarmness is such a great sickness of our souls, we can understand why our enemies would seek to promote this unfortunate condition if they could. The Freemasons in particular (at least those occupying the highest levels) have dedicated themselves to undermining Catholic morality. An 1838 letter between members of the Masonic Alta Vendita illustrates a mentality that several pre-Vatican II popes condemned:

“Catholicism does not fear a very sharp sword any more than the monarchies feared it. But, these two foundations of Social Order can collapse under corruption; let us never tire to corrupt them. Tertullian was right in saying that from the blood of martyrs Christians are born; let us not make martyrs; but, let us popularize vice among the multitudes; may they breathe it through their five senses; may they drink it and be saturated. Make vicious hearts and there will be no more Catholics. It is corruption on a big scale that we have undertaken...a corruption that should one day enable us to lead the Church to its grave. Lately, I heard one of our friends laughing philosophically at our projects saying: ‘To destroy Catholicism, we should do away with women’. The idea is good in a certain way, but since we cannot get rid of women, let us corrupt them with the Church.”

It may have been easy for skeptics to scoff at the traditional Catholic insistence on the dangers of the Freemasonic agenda prior to the election of Pope Francis, but their great designs appear almost complete today.

Leo XIIPope Leo XII

The popes saw the danger and, like good shepherds, warned their flocks. Pope Leo XII’s 1826 encyclical, Quo Graviora (on Secret Societies), emphasized that preserving the “Integrity of Orthodox Religion” relied upon shutting off “access to errors and vices.”

“Stationed on the prominent Watch Tower, although with inferior merits, in the disposition of Divine Mercy, in accord with the Duty of Pastoral Providence entrusted to Us We direct with a continual zeal for solicitude, (insofar as it is granted from on High) Our attention to those things through which, once the access to errors and vices has been shut off, the Integrity of Orthodox Religion may be principally preserved, and the dangers of disturbances may be driven off from the whole Catholic world in these most difficult times.”

The corruption is now so complete that we have a pope who attempts to banish everything that is not infected with error and vices.

Pope Pius IXPope Pius IX

In his 1846 encyclical, Qui Pluribus, Blessed Pope Pius IX denounced the deceitful tactics of the Freemasons:

“They are experienced and skillful in deceit, which they use to set in motion their plans to quench peoples’ zeal for piety, justice and virtue, to corrupt morals, to cast all divine and human laws into confusion, and to weaken and even possibly overthrow the Catholic religion and civil society.”

To inflict optimal damage on the Church, the enemies must of course take on the appearance of shepherds so that they can guide the flocks. Could Pope Pius IX or even the most ambitious members of the Alta Vendita have imagined Pachamama and Traditionis Custodes? It seems unlikely, but Pope Francis is simply producing the genuine fruits of a Conciliar Church made possible through the lukewarmness of Catholics.

pope leo xiiiPope Leo XIII

Pope Leo XIII was even more direct on this point in his 1884 encyclical, Humanum Genus:

“Since generally no one is accustomed to obey crafty and clever men so submissively as those whose soul is weakened and broken down by the domination of the passions, there have been in the sect of the Freemasons some who have plainly determined and proposed that, artfully and of set purpose, the multitude should be satiated with a boundless license of vice, as, when this had been done, it would easily come under their power and authority for any acts of daring.”

A weak spiritual life impedes our ability to gain and accept God’s graces, which in turn impedes out ability to resist the wiles of our enemies. How often do we think about this? Almost certainly, we think about it less than our crafty enemies do, regardless of whether they are Freemasons, globalists, or simply madmen.

What We Must Do. We have been intentionally deceived, and the deceivers have tried, with varying degrees of success, to corrupt us. As the popes warned, we are easily manipulated once we became lukewarm.

We have been deceived, but it feels much more like we have been poisoned. In so many ways, the Conciliar Church has tried to teach us that we are perfectly healthy so long as we avoid mortal sin. Pope Francis no longer even bothers with that, assuring everyone they are healthy as long as they do not believe what the Church has always taught and do not practice what the saints always practiced.

If we want to recover from this crisis we need to listen to the saints rather than Pope Francis. Here is St. John Vianney’s description of a “good Christian”:

“The hope of a good Christian is firm; his trust in God is unshaken. He never loses sight of the next life. The remembrance of the sufferings of Jesus Christ is ever present to his mind, is always in his heart. At times he directs his thoughts to hell, so as to picture to himself how great is the punishment for sin, and how boundless the misery of those who commit it. At times he raises his thoughts to heaven, to arouse his love of God, and that he may be sensible of the happiness of those who prefer God above all things. He represents to himself how great the reward is of those who forsake all things to do the holy will of God. Then he longs for God alone, and desires Him only. The goods of this world are as nothing to him. The pleasures of this world fill him with aversion. He does not fear death in the least, because he well knows that it will merely deliver him from the miseries of this life, and unite him with God forever.”

As the globalists transform the goods of this world into rubbish, and Pope Francis shows us the horror of sin, this path of sanctity becomes more and more appealing. It is even more so when we realize our vile enemies are doing all they can to maintain us in a state of perpetual lukewarmness.

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Closer to our times, here is what Sister Lucia told Fr. Fuentes in 1957, when Catholic morality was, in important respects, far healthier than it is now:

“Father, we should not wait for an appeal to the world to come from Rome on the part of the Holy Father, to do penance. Nor should we wait for the call to penance to come from our bishops in our diocese, nor from the religious congregations. No! Our Lord has already very often used these means and the world has not paid attention. That is why now, it is necessary for each one of us to begin to reform himself spiritually. Each person must not only save his own soul but also the souls that God has placed in our path. . . . The devil does all in his power to distract us and to take away from us the love for prayer; we shall be saved together or we shall be damned together”

We need to see ourselves as part of the Mystical Body of Christ, which today faces unparalleled attacks from within the Church. Our only weapons are those provided by God’s grace, so we each have the utmost responsibility to do all we can to win and accept God’s graces for ourselves and the entire Church. We need to win as many battles as possible at this point. If we are comfortable with lukewarmness, we are allowing our enemies to poison us without even putting up a fight. Pope Francis thinks he has taken custody of Catholic Tradition — but he can only take it if we let him.

We can take heart in Blessed Pope Pius IX’s exhortation ending Qui Pluribus, for he and all the saints in heaven are on our side against the madness of Tradtionis Custodes:

“Let us together entreat God in urgent and unceasing prayers, to make up for Our weakness by an abundance of every heavenly grace, to overwhelm with His all-powerful strength those who attack us, and to increase everywhere faith, piety, devotion and peace. Then when all enemies and errors have been overcome, His holy Church may enjoy the tranquillity it so greatly desires. . . . That the Lord may more readily respond to Us, let us call as intercessor Her who is always with Him, the most holy Virgin Mary, Immaculate Mother of God. She is the most sweet mother of us all; she is our mediatrix, advocate, firmest hope, and greatest source of confidence. Furthermore, her patronage with God is strongest and most efficacious.”

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us! St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

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Last modified on Friday, July 23, 2021
Robert Morrison | Remnant Columnist

Robert Morrison is a Catholic, husband and father. He is the author of A Tale Told Softly: Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale and Hidden Catholic England.