Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church
Please read the Original Proposal.
Articles on all fifteen decades of the traditional Rosary (plus an Introductory article on the Beatific Vision) are now completed, and can be found in the top and sidebar Menus. Additional articles are posted below them on the sidebar Menu.
Posted (Sidebar Menu ) January 11, 2019: The World Cometh: Democracy and the Spirit of the Antichrist
New Article posted below (February 16, 2019): Part III – St. Francis of Assisi: They Pretended to Love You So That They Might Leave You. The entire article is linked Here at the bottom of the sidebar Menu on the left.
St. Francis of Assisi: They Pretended to Love You So That They Might Leave You
A Darksome Light
In His Sermon on the Mount (the whole of which can be seen as an exposition of the meaning of the Beatitudes), Our Lord offered the following:
“For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also. The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome. But if thy eye be evil thy whole body shall be darksome. If then the light that is in thee, be darkness: the darkness itself how great shall it be! No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Mt 6:21-24).
It might first seem to be a matter of total contradiction, or at least a paradoxical riddle, to speak of a “light that is darkness” – a “Darksome Light,” as it were. All contradiction is removed, however, if we perceive this phrase as referring to the relationship between intellect and will – between Truth, and the actual way in which we live, or fail to live, this truth in the world. “Faith, without works is dead,” proclaims St. James. It is thus entirely possible to “possess” the Faith, while yet denying it in the will, and therefore in what we love and pursue in this world. The possibility of a Darksome Faith is thus the inheritance of original sin, and the unnatural duplicity which is the tendency of all men
We see this “apparent” contradiction most aptly expressed in Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees:
“And the prophecy of Isaias is fulfilled in them, who saith: ‘By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand: and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive. For the heart of this people is grown gross, and with their ears they have been dull of hearing, and their eyes they have shut: lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted, and I would heal them.” (Mt 13:14-15).
The Sixth Beatitude is “Blessed are the clean [pure] of heart, for they shall see God.” This Beatitude corresponds, in Thomas’ analysis, to the Gift of the Holy Spirit which is called Understanding. It was the great Gift of God to St. Francis that he was able to obtain to the vision that the key to this “understanding with the heart” lies in poverty towards all the things of this world. This, in turn, establishes the soul in that simplicity of intention which is able to see God in all things, and beyond all things. In other words, this poverty and simplicity of intention bears the grace by which all of creation becomes transparent to the presence of God. This is why the “embrace” of St. Francis and St. Thomas (the true successor of St. Dominic) is the key to all return to sanity and integrity of faith in the face of the present Darkness. What Francis was able to directly perceive through Brothers and Sisters Sun, Moon, Stars, Water, Fire, Earth, Death, Birds, Wolves, and even mice and worms, corresponds to Thomas’ metaphysical vision which “sees” that no created thing is reducible to scientific (accidental) analysis, but only to the sustaining, creative action of God from nothing. It is this intellectual understanding which absolutely strips every created substance of its self-sufficiency, and thus necessitates a profound devotion to Lady Poverty as the Sacrum Commercium necessary for the preservation of a living faith. It is the Metaphysics of St. Thomas that is therefore truly Franciscan in spirit, and not that of Bonaventure, Ockham, or duns Scotus – all of whom rejected this Metaphysics.
As I have mentioned previously, the Thirteenth Century was poised on the cusp of that tidal-wave of intellectual hubris and growth of the “mammon of iniquity” which was the Renaissance. There is no necessity here to explore all the manifold areas of commerce, banking, growth of cities, scientific exploration and invention, technological advances, philosophical and theological aberrations, heresies, schisms, political revolutions, etc. by which these betrayals of the Gifts of Francis and Thomas became incarnate in Christian society over the subsequent centuries. The primary effect was to force the Church into retreat from “understanding with the heart.” Two very brief examples of this will hopefully suffice.
Francis, of course, had contempt of money over all things, and named it “Flies.” St. Thomas taught that money was only a medium of exchange for real things, that it was absolutely morally wrong to make it “fruitful” in any way, and that it was intimately linked to the principle that “riches” provide the sustenance for all other sins, and that we are therefore to desire and possess only that which is necessary for leading a simple life. The centuries after the death of Francis and Thomas saw the multiplication of “extrinsic titles’ which made it possible to obtain “interest,” and therefore make “fruitful” in every conceivable way, money issued as a loan. The eventual outcome of this was to totally silence the Church’s teaching on usury, and to involve the Church itself in the worst scandals in regard to her own banking operations. We will soon be posting an article here, titled Usury and the Love of Money, which will deal with the history and structure of this betrayal, St. Paul of tells us that love of money is “the root of all evil,” and therefore the “sustenance” which nourishes all the activities which corrupt the heart and will. If we wish to penetrate to the depths of that almost universal corruption which has now descended upon both the Church and the world, it is absolutely essential therefore that we come to understand how “love of money” has come to dominate not only our own personal lives, but also all the institutions of society, including the Church.
Our second example deals again with the Portiuncula, and the shrine of Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels in which it is now enclosed. St. Mary of the Angels was built between the years 1569 and 1579 at the express will of Pope St. Pius V. As we have discussed towards the beginning of Part I, it represents very graphically an icon in stone of the betrayal of St. Francis. Pope St. Pius V was, of course, the “Pope of Trent,” the pontiff responsible for the Catechism of the Council of Trent, and the Mass of Pius V. The content of the Faith was being dogmatized, the unity and solemnity of worship being restored, while the heart of Francis and the life of the Beatitudes was being entombed. Trent restored the faith, but did little or nothing to stem the slide of the faithful into the jaws of the mammon of iniquity. The word “usury,” for instance, never appears in any of its documents. Such is the duplicity, the bifurcation between intellect and will, by which the Faith becomes Darksome.
A Darksome Mirror
“For if a man be a hearer of the word and not a doer, he shall be compared to a man beholding his own countenance in a glass. For he beheld himself, and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was.” (James 1:23-24)
It is difficult for any of us to believe that the above scriptural passage could apply to us. St. James speaks of a “hearer of the word,” which would certainly seem to indicate any of us who have been open to receive the Truth of God, and have given to it the assent of our faith. Is it possible, or even conceivable, that in the midst of all this possession of the Faith, there now exists a darkness in our souls by which, and through which, we have “forgotten what manner of man we were?” Is it conceivable, referring to St. James graphic terminology, that we are so “spotted by the world” that we no longer know who we are, or what it really means to be Christian?
St. James makes “double-mindedness,” or duplicity, to be the primary factor in this loss of self-knowledge. This duplicity finds its most succinct exposition in the following passage of his epistle:
“You ask, and receive not: because you ask amiss; that you may consume it on your concupiscences. Adulterers, know you not that the friendship of this world, is the enemy of God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of this world, becometh an enemy of God.” (4:3-4).
To be a “doer of the word,” is therefore to be identified with renouncing friendship with this world, and with that threefold concupiscence – of the flesh, the eyes, and pride of life – which St. John defines to be the entire substance of this world. The “heart” of this choice of God over the world is a militant devotion and commitment to Poverty, which is the First Beatitude and the foundation of the entire spiritual life:
“Very properly is the kingdom of heaven said to be the possession of those who keep nothing of the goods of this world through their own will, their inclination towards spiritual things, and their desire for eternal things. For it can only follow that a person will live on heavenly things if he cares nothing for earthly things, and he who renounces all earthly things and counts them as dung will taste with pleasure the savory crumbs that fall from the table of the holy angels and will deserve to taste how sweet and how good the Lord is.” (Sacrum Commercium, Prologue).
The rejection of the sacrum commercium of St. Francis opened the heart of Christian civilization to that prostitution to the world of concupiscence and hubris, the ascending severity of which is possibly best encapsulated in the popular names which we give to these succeeding ages of history: Renaissance, Enlightenment, Age of Reason, Industrial Age, and our own Information Age. With each succeeding century the penetrating power of money over all the institutions of society was increased; the Church’s teaching on usury was softened, compromised, and finally silenced; international finance and trade come to dominate human relations; life became incredibly more complex and simplicity was lost; the population of cities grew at the expense of rural areas; the grip of reductive scientific thinking became dominant over every “civilized” man; human progress came to be increasingly identified with scientific, economic, technological, and consumeristic growth rather than anything to do with the spiritual life or the growth of Christ’s Kingdom.
The growth of these forces (and more) certainly moved at an accelerating pace through the 14th – 19th centuries. But something happened during the first half of the 20th Century – as though these forces of worldliness reached a critical mass – which enabled the whole process to enter into a geometrical progression. Possibly a few statistics might be of help:
According to the World Health Organization:
“For the first time ever, the majority of the world’s population lives in a city, and this proportion continues to grow. One hundred years ago, 2 out of every 10 people lived in an urban area. By 1990, less than 40% of the global population lived in a city, but as of 2010, more than half of all people live in an urban area. By 2030, 6 out of every 10 people will live in a city, and by 2050, this proportion will increase to 7 out of 10 people.”
Such an increase speaks of a growth of people living profoundly unrelated to the intimacy of God’s natural creation and all its rhythms and realities, a devotion to consumerism, and a loss of any sort of life of simplicity which, in turn, could only lead to a massive loss of all the spiritual truths and realities to be found in Our Lord’s teaching on the Beatitudes and in the entire Sermon on the Mount. One need only look at a demographic map of the voting orientations for the 2016 U.S. Presidential election to see the stark reality. The blue areas (Democrats) are almost entirely confined to urban areas, whereas areas colored red (Republican) are predominantly rural. In translating this into geographical terms this signifies that Obama won 580,000 square miles, while Romney won 2,427,000 square miles, and yet lost the election. I present these statistics not in any way as an endorsement of Romney or the Republican Party, but only to strongly indicate the process of liberalization inherent in the growth of cities.
This urbanization of course means that what the vast majority of people do in order to earn their living has little or nothing to do with anything relating to God’s creation, or anything which Our Lord, St. Francis, or St. Thomas would consider the necessities of life. There are, for instance, approximately 623,800 people employed in Advertising, Marketing, Promotions, Public Relations, and as Sales Managers in the United States. If there are that many actually employed in promoting and selling consumerism, one can barely imagine the disastrous effect upon all of Americans (and elsewhere) of the work of this vast army promoting the destruction of the ideal of Poverty.
Millions work in vocations related to the entertainment industry, which is almost certainly the primary source for spreading violence and sexual impurity in our cultures. Francis’ 1221 Rule for the Franciscan Third Order stated emphatically: “They shall not donate to actors, and shall forbid their household to donate.”
We need consider what this loss of poverty and simplicity of life has done to children. Global toy sales for the year 2011 were reported at 83.3 billion. The vast majority of these toys are almost certainly electronic – things which never seem to satisfy, always demand further growth in complexity and stimulation, and are soon broken or obsolete. Our children and grandchildren are violated by all this in the deepest recesses of their hearts and minds.
Pre-Vatican II American Catholics, in the midst of the twentieth century and during this period of exploding consumerism and secularism, possessed an abundance of the exterior testimonies to Christian civilization: vocations to the priesthood and religious life; the most extensive Catholic school system in the world; all children systematically taught the Baltimore Catechism; magnificent Churches; a vast network of Catholic Universities and Colleges; efficient Charitable Organizations; the Traditional Latin Mass.
And, in the midst of all this monumental Catholicism, they increasingly built up their bank accounts, stock portfolios, and retirement funds. They came to rely on insurance for their security rather than the charity of their family, friends, and Church. They somehow identified their faith with democracy and the American Experiment. They really believed in Religious Pluralism as the foundation of this experiment. They adored Bishop Sheen, and absorbed his embrace of evolutionary theory, which led him to write that Teilhard de Chardin “will appear like John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, as the spiritual genius of the twentieth century.” (Footprints in a Darkened Forest, Meredith Press, 1967, p. 73). They embraced the banal TV entertainment of the 50’s, and prepared themselves to remain glued to their chairs for the flood of impurity that would descend in the 60’s and afterward.
In the intellectual realm, they became concubines of scientific reductionism, and every technological development. Virtually down to every single child and adult they absorbed the spiritual desolation involved in the notion that all physical things are reducible to atomic analysis. They taught, or had their children taught, about their alleged simian ancestry. They turned their faces away from Catholic teaching on “just wars, while this country dropped hydrogen bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, which killed over 200,000 innocent civilians; they did the same while we incinerated hundreds of thousands more with the Fire-storm bombing of Tokyo and many European cities (135,000 in Dresden in one night). They raised America and the Constitution to a status parallel to the Chosen People and the Bible.
The examples are almost unlimited. They reach into every nook and cranny of our personal and communal lives.
It is therefore highly superficial to attribute the present chaos and filth in the Church to Vatican Council II. Vatican II and its aftermaths are the fruit, and certainly the facilitator of chastisement, for a much deeper infidelity and betrayal. Why should we believe that we have a right to the Traditional Latin Mass, which re-presents the supreme act of Poverty and Sacrifice by which Christ overcame the same world to which we are now prostituted? Why should we wonder that the leaders of the Church have now embraced an ecumenism which has had the effect of lowering us into the world’s cesspool of pluralism and paganism, which is the very constitutional principle upon which democracy and our country is founded? Why should we find it surprising that our hierarchy is largely immersed in the same sort of avarice, violence, and filth which is often our entertainment? Why should we be horrified by the undermining of Church Doctrine through philosophies and theologies which are the fruit of the same reductive scientism which has thoroughly permeated our own souls?
St. Gregory the Great wrote: “Divine justice provides shepherds according to the just desserts of the faithful.” The Papacy can be employed by God as a means of chastisement, as well as blessing. Any serious study of the history of the Church will prove the veracity of this principle. Vatican Council I taught that Peter, through Christ, “lives, presides and judges to this day, always in his successors the Bishops of the Holy See of Rome,” and that we are obliged to believe therefore that, “The disposition made by Incarnate Truth (dispositio veritatis) therefore remains, and Blessed Peter, abiding in the rock’s strength which he received (in accepta fortitudine petrae perseverans), has not abandoned the direction of the Church.” To believe this is to be Catholic, to believe otherwise is something else. If we choose to be Catholic, then we need to look inward for the real reasons behind Christ’s “direction” through Peter.
If we have a Pope who is in any way sinful or weak, then that infirmity is most likely intimately connected within the Mystical Body of Christ to our own hypocrisy, duplicity, and sinfulness. The same may be said of the hierarchy in general. This, of course, does not excuse Popes, bishops, priests, religious, theologians, catechists, etc. from sins, nor disallow us from combating error and abuses. It does, however, profoundly deepen our understanding of the roots of such sin, and also our proper response to it. Most of all, it forces us to acknowledge our complicity in this immense tragedy; and, hopefully, especially in the light of our exploration and study of St. Francis and his Sacred Commercium of Poverty, it should teach us humility, and destroy some conceits. In such humility, we might begin to find the answer, as did Daniel the Prophet:
“All this evil is come upon us; and we entreated not thy face, O Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and think on thy truth. And the Lord hath watched upon the evil, and hath brought it upon us: the Lord our God is just in all his works which he hath done: for we have not hearkened to his voice…we have sinned, we have committed iniquity…. For by reason of our sins, and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem, and thy people are a reproach to all that are round about us. Now therefore, O our Lord, hear the supplication of thy servant, and his prayers: and shew thy face upon thy sanctuary which is desolate, for thy own sake.”
Daniel has always seemed to be the premier Old Testament image of purity and sainthood – the Old Testament parallel to St. Francis. The scriptures repeatedly call him the “man of desires”, as though to underline the singular way in which his mind and heart were united to God, and therefore possessed that understanding heart which truly “sees God.”
Daniel never says “they have sinned”, but repeatedly “we have sinned, we have committed iniquity.”
The man who becomes Poor for Christ simply attains to such a state of charity with God and all His creation that he sees things very differently. This does not mean that he loses his ability to discern sin, or the lack of fortitude and righteous desire to combat it. It does mean that he penetrates to such a depth into the merciful heart of Christ and also into the poverty of every single human being, including himself, that he cannot help but say we have sinned many more times each day than they have sinned. This seems to me something which those who call themselves traditional Catholics, and consider themselves as a remnant of God in a world turned to general apostasy, have largely yet to learn. I do not know that in any of my reading of contemporary traditionalist literature I have ever seen the questions seriously posed, “What have we done wrong?” or “What have we done to deserve this?”
The dream of Pope Innocent III, in which he saw St. Francis holding up and restoring a Church crumbling into ruins, offers the answer. What is needed today is not another book on the errors of Vatican II. What is needed is not slick, expensive new catechisms, Catholic Universities and Colleges, more Catholic forums and conferences, more Monuments. What is needed most is not even the total restoration of the Traditional Mass. The Mass was the universal possession of all the faithful before Vatican II, and it did not prevent our present infidelity. What is demanded is hearts turned away from the world in poverty, and turned towards Christ in depth of desire and simplicity of intention. What is required is St. Francis, and the life of Poverty which was his Lady.
It is easy for us to dismiss all of this with the excuse that as lay people we cannot possibly live the “extreme” Poverty that Francis demanded of his Friars Minor. In doing so, we would be completely missing the richness of the Sacrum Commercium which was Francis’ love, and which he envisioned as a love for all. As quoted earlier from the I Celano, “For he assigned to all their rule of life, and pointed out truly the way to be saved in every station.”
It is an immense task. The great Cathedrals of Christendom are nothing when compared to the creativity demanded of such a work. Its intricacy is that of the human heart, as compared to stone. What Francis called “Flies,” and all its illegitimate children, have penetrated into every aspect of our lives. The task before us is a heroic undertaking. God will surely honor both our successes and failures, if only we turn back to Him with all our hearts:
“For we, O Lord, are diminished more than any nation, and are brought low in all the earth this day for our sins….And now we follow thee with all our heart, and we fear thee, and seek thy face. Put us not to confusion, but deal with us according to thy meekness, and according to the multitude of thy mercies.” (Dan 3:33, 41-42).
Our Lady, Queen of Mercy
In his Second Life of St. Francis, Thomas of Celano offers us the following description of St. Francis’ extraordinary devotion to Our Lady:
“Toward the Mother of Jesus he was filled with an inexpressible love, because it was she who made the Lord of Majesty our brother. He sang special Praises to her, poured out prayers to her, offered her his affections, so many and so great that the tongue of man cannot recount them. But what delights us most, he made her the advocate of the order and placed under her wings the sons he was about to leave that she might cherish them and protect them to the end – Hail advocate of the poor! Fulfill toward us your office of protectress until the time set by the Father!”
“Hail advocate of the poor! St. Francis clearly identified Our Lady with Lady Poverty. But there is more. He also identified Mary with the Church. The following, in Francis’ own words, is St. Francis prayer and Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary:
Hail, O Lady, Holy Queen
Mary, Mother of God:
You are the virgin made Church
And the one chosen by the most holy Father in Heaven
Whom He consecrated with His most holy beloved Son
And with the Holy Spirit the Paraclete, In whom there was and is
All the fullness of grace and every good.
It is an extraordinary concept that Mary, through the will of the Father, was made Church. We of course can appreciate that this means that she is personally the perfect union of humanity with God, and is therefore the precursor and model, in imitation of her Son, of perfect holiness. She is the perfection of the Mystical Body of Christ.
But there is a second sense in which Mary is “made” Church. She encompasses within Her Immaculate Heart all that constitutes the Church Militant and the Church Suffering. As such, she has received the grace and power to purify the hearts of each one of us that we might come “to see with our eyes, and hear with our ears, and understand with our heart, and be converted”; and that Our Lord might truly heal us of our infidelities and prostitutions to a world plummeting into the luxurious and prideful hands of Satan. It is thus that Our Lady is truly spoken of as Queen of Mercy.
This is the entire purpose of the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church – to place all of us within the Immaculate Heart of Mary in order that we might be purified of that darkness which enshrouds us all. It is of course impossible for any of us to survive in this Babylonian world, even in terms of possessing the simple necessities of this life, in the same way that was possible in the relative simplicity of the 13th Century. But God sees the heart, and it is here where the simplicity and purity of our intentions may receive His grace and fruitfulness. It is here where we may receive the grace of that “single eye” which truly seeks God above all the things of this world, and the power of truly Christian creativity to make this present within our lives and the lives of our families. Most of all, this necessitates that we begin by confessing that we cannot receive or live the richness of God, while pursuing the riches, luxuries, pleasures, and advancements of this world. We cannot claim the first Beatitude and that poverty of spirit which “sees God”, without at the same time possessing a deep love and devotion towards St. Francis’ Lady Poverty.
The World Cometh:
Democracy and the Spirit of Antichrist
“The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth a service to God.” (John 16:2 )
Almost certainly, the primary source of that darkness of mind and heart which prevents American Catholics from taking seriously the appeal of something like The Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church is Democracy, and the sense of freedom and well-being which it has engendered for over two centuries. It will be our purpose to prove in this article, however, that Democracy not only promotes a false sense of freedom, but that it necessarily degenerates into tyranny, and especially that tyranny which is anti-Christian and is inevitably set to wage total war against the Church.
A line has now been crossed.
It has been a collective delusion in this country, based on the First Article of the Bill of Rights, that there exists a sort of sacred “separation of Church and State” which, while preventing the Church from gaining control over government and its policies, also provides an impenetrable barrier against any sort of invasion of the Church by the State. This barrier has now been breached. And in a post-Christian world, where hostility towards Christ, and especially against the Catholic Church, is growing at a geometric pace, we may expect this breach to be followed by a tidal wave of assaults, not only upon the faith and freedom of individual believers, but upon the very existence of the Church itself.
There are now increasing calls to treat the Church as a “criminal organization” under the RICO laws, or through whatever other means can be found, or newly instituted, to further this agenda. In the wake of the Pennsylvania priestly-abuse scandal involving allegations against over 300 priests and affecting over 1,000 victims, news sources now inform us that the Attorney Generals of 45 states have launched similar investigations into priestly abuse in their respective states. And possibly most ominous, on November 28, 2018 – two weeks after the U.S. Bishops surrendered to Vatican instructions to delay consideration of proposals concerning the investigation of the Cardinal McCarrick scandal, and for holding bishops accountable on issues concerning abuse by themselves and by the priests under their charge – more than 50 law enforcement officials raided the Chancery offices of Cardinal DiNardo (President of the USCCB) searching for secret archives related to clergy sexual abuse and its cover-up.
That many members of the Catholic Church, reaching all the way top, have engaged in criminal activity in regard to sexual abuse and its cover-up cannot be denied. That there therefore exist many legitimate cases in which prosecution by secular authorities is justified also cannot be denied. But it is also true that, in consideration of the general apostasy from Christ and His Rule which has now descended upon almost all nations, such limited legitimacy is almost certainly to become the justification for a reign of evil and terror against Christ and His Catholic Church.
In our articles on the Mysteries of the Rosary, and especially The Third Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Spirit, we have explored the errors and prostitutions to the world which have so reduced the effective power of the Holy Spirit in the interior life of the Church and its members as to have made inevitable not only the “filth” which has penetrated the Church, but also has now reduced the Church to the status of a relatively helpless victim towards the forces of evil which seek its destruction.
There is also, however, an exterior, historical progression of a religious and political concept which has been the primary means by which this victimhood of the Church to the State has been accomplished. It consists in a progressive surrender of Christian consciousness over the centuries to a kind of messianic belief in universal Democracy. In this country it has largely taken the form of a practical idolatry towards the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution.
The U.S. Constitution is founded upon two errors which have consistently worked to erode and destroy the faith of American Catholics for over two centuries. The first of these errors is encapsulated in the first article of the Bill of Rights: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….” This fundamental rule of American jurisprudence is a direct denial of the Social Kingship of Christ – which entails that only the Catholic Church can build Christian civilization, and that all nations will only be blessed to the extent that they embrace this Kingship under the spiritual guidance of Christ’s Mystical Body, the Catholic Church. For a nation to declare neutrality towards this Kingship is to call down upon itself eventual total chaos and dissolution, which is precisely the fate that now hovers over our nation. For a Catholic to be involved (including voting) in any way in the political life of such a nation involves a kind of continual dialogue and compromise with much that is in direct and indirect denial of his faith, and therefore almost necessarily results in intellectual, moral, and spiritual prostitution and decay.
There is, however, a second error, deeply imbedded in the American system of government, which has a history of deception and captivation of the Christian mind over the past 7 centuries which deserves close examination if we are ever to return as Catholics to an integral understanding of Christ’s Kingship over all individuals and nations. It consists, quite simply, in the formula that government is “of the People, by the People, and for the People”, and is rightly given the name “democracy”, which literally means “people rule” – from the Greek dēmos (the people), and kratia (rule). Many Americans have the erroneous notion that this phrase is to be found in either the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution. It actually is to be found only in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. But the principle – government of the people and by the people – is certainly the foundation for the Declaration of Independence, and therefore also of the American Constitution: Thus, in the former:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government….” (Declaration of Independence, second paragraph).
There are of course always deficiencies and injustices in government, and the Declaration of Independence does indeed contain a list of grievances against England and her rule of the colonies. When I was a schoolboy, the main grievance of the colonists was always considered to be “taxation without representation”. I remember later in my adult life reading a news story during the Bicentennial Celebration in Boston in 1976 about a man, dressed as King George III, who jumped upon the stage and cried out, “How do you like taxation with representation?” The same story went on to point out that at the time of the Revolution the tax paid by the average American was one-half of 1%, while now it borders upon 50%. Accurate or not, this story points to the fact that there is always excuse for Revolution under democratic forms of government. We need also point out that the Declaration of Independence does indeed have at least one thing right. Governments are certainly instituted for the good of all its citizens, and among the equal rights of all its citizens is the right to life. Under its prescriptions, therefore, there is now a massive amount of justification, in the form of millions of murdered unborn children, for violent Revolution. This does not entail that you or I advocate such Revolution, but rather that the Declaration of Independence does so itself.
It will be the purpose of this article to prove that it is the fundamental principle of democracy – “the rule of the people” – which actually defines the principle of Revolution which has virtually destroyed Christian Civilization, that it has a long history reaching back into the latter Middle Ages, and that it is a heresy which is responsible not only for the decay of nations, but now also threatens the continuing existence of the Church and the Papacy upon which it is founded.
This is a rather large undertaking. And since deception in regard to this subject runs so deep, it would seem that a rather unusual approach is required in examining this subject.
It is very difficult for most Americans to believe that there is not something almost sacred about democracy. This, in turn, is intimately tied to a reverence not only for the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, but also for what is termed the “Founding Fathers”. There is something almost Biblical about this reverence – almost as though they were Patriarchs of some sort of New Revelation concerning human rights and freedom.
In order to penetrate through this miasma of false reverence, the following structure is intended in this article: 1) To examine the specific errors of democracy in the light of Catholic doctrine and Papal teachings; 2) To penetrate through the myths concerning the Founding Fathers, including the Catholic “Fathers” of the American Church; 3) To then jump back approximately 700 years in order to examine the origin of and growth of this heresy; 4) Finally, to analyze our present crisis in the light of what we have learned.
Catholic Doctrine Concerning Democracy
There are numerous encyclicals issued by many Popes, especially since the time of the French Revolution, which condemn certain principles integral to democracy. But it is Pope St. Pius X’s encyclical to the French Bishops titled Notre Charge Apostolique (On the Sillon), and a number of encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII, which contain the most direct examination of the errors of democracy, and the Catholic doctrines which are denied by this form of government. These doctrines are all centered upon a true understanding of the source of authority in all civil societies. The reader should keep in mind that in speaking of the errors of “The Sillon”, Pope Pius X is equating these errors with a false democracy, especially as practiced and promoted by Catholics. The two quotations immediately below are from The Sillon:
“Admittedly, the Sillon holds that authority – which it first places in the people – descends from God, but in such a way: ‘as to return from below upward’…. But besides its being abnormal for the delegation of power to ascend, since it is in its nature to descend, Leo XIII refuted in advance this attempt to reconcile Catholic Doctrine with the error of philosophism. For, he continues: ‘It is necessary to remark here that those who preside over the government of public affairs may indeed, in certain cases, be chosen by the will and judgment of the multitude without repugnance or opposition to Catholic doctrine. But whilst this choice marks out the ruler, it does not confer upon him the authority to govern; it does not delegate the power, it designates the person who will be invested with it.’ For the rest, if the people remain the holders of power, what becomes of authority? A shadow, a myth; there is no more law properly so-called, no more obedience.”
“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.”
Perhaps the most powerful condemnations of the principles of democracy are to be found in Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical Immortale Dei (On the Christian Constitution of States). I think it worthwhile to offer several passages from this marvelous work:
“Sad it is to call to mind how the harmful and lamentable rage for innovation which rose to a climax in the sixteenth century, threw first of all into confusion the Christian religion, and next, by natural sequence, invaded the precincts of philosophy, whence it spread amongst all classes of society. From this source, as from a fountain-head, burst forth all those later tenets of unbridled license which, in the midst of the terrible upheavals of the last century, were wildly conceived and boldly proclaimed as the principles and foundation of that new conception of law which was not merely previously unknown, but was at variance on many points with not only the Christian, but even the natural law.
“Amongst these principles the main one lays down that as all men are alike by race and nature, so in like manner all are equal in the control of their life; that each one is so far his own master as to be in no sense under the rule of any other individual; that each is free to think on every subject just as he may choose, and to do whatever he may like to do; that no man has any right to rule over other men. In a society grounded upon such maxims all government is nothing more nor less than the will of the people, and the people, being under the power of itself alone, is alone its own ruler. It does choose, nevertheless, some to whose charge it may commit itself, but in such wise that it makes over to them not the right so much as the business of governing, to be exercised, however, in its name.
“The authority of God is passed over in silence, just as if there were no God; or as if He cared nothing for human society; or as if men, whether in their individual capacity or bound together in social relations, owed nothing to God; or as if there could be a government of which the whole origin and power and authority did not reside in God Himself. Thus, as is evident, a State becomes nothing but a multitude which is its own master and ruler. And since the people is declared to contain within itself the spring-head of all rights and of all power, it follows that the State does not consider itself bound by any kind of duty toward God. Moreover, it believes that it is not obliged to make public profession of any religion; or to inquire which of the very many religions is the only one true; or to prefer one religion to all the rest; or to show to any form of religion special favor; but, on the contrary, is bound to grant equal rights to every creed, so that public order may not be disturbed by any particular form of religious belief.
“And it is a part of this theory that all questions that concern religion are to be referred to private judgment; that every one is to be free to follow whatever religion he prefers, or none at all if he disapprove of all. From this the following consequences logically flow: that the judgment of each one’s conscience is independent of all law; that the most unrestrained opinions may be openly expressed as to the practice or omission of divine worship; and that every one has unbounded license to think whatever he chooses and to publish abroad whatever he thinks.”
“Now, natural reason itself proves convincingly that such concepts of the government of a State are wholly at variance with the truth. Nature itself bears witness that all power, of every kind, has its origin from God, who is its chief and most august source.
“The sovereignty of the people, however, and this without any reference to God, is held to reside in the multitude; which is doubtless a doctrine exceedingly well calculated to flatter and to inflame many passions, but which lacks all reasonable proof, and all power of insuring public safety and preserving order. Indeed, from the prevalence of this teaching, things have come to such a pass that many hold as an axiom of civil jurisprudence that seditions may be rightfully fostered. For the opinion prevails that princes are nothing more than delegates chosen to carry out the will of the people; whence it necessarily follows that all things are as changeable as the will of the people, so that risk of public disturbance is ever hanging over our heads.”
I don’t think that we need to elaborate beyond the very evident conclusion that after approximately 225 years of the fruits of democracy in this country, “the risk of public disturbance is ever hanging over our heads.”
We conclude this section therefore with a statement of the two central principles of democracy which are in direct contradiction to Catholic doctrine:
1) Nations (and individuals) have no absolute obligation to embrace the one true religion of Jesus Christ, which is to be found only in the Catholic Church. Religion should in fact be separated from the State, and have no authority over public affairs. This is the heresy commonly called Indifferentism.
2) Political sovereignty and power rests in the people (expressed usually through the Vote). When any of these powers are delegated to be exercised by others (through, for example, an electoral process), the ultimate power and authority continues to rest in the people, and therefore submission to such authorities can be refused and withdrawn by them.
These principles constitute a direct denial of the Kingship of Christ. They are blasphemy against the universal Sovereignty of God over all of His Creation. It should not therefore seem an exaggeration to see democracy as the spirit of Antichrist incarnated in the political life of nations. Nor should it be surprising to us that Secret Societies long ago perceived that it was the vote, and especially the guilt associated with not voting, which would function as a primary means for lowering minds and hearts into this spirit. We shall explore this more fully further on in our analysis.
Having established clearly the direct opposition of the fundamental principles of democracy to Catholic doctrine, it yet remains to penetrate through a myth which still might hold minds and hearts in darkness in regard to the evils of democracy. This myth is centered upon the beginnings of this nation, and the views of what are called the “Founding Fathers”. It has been common opinion in this country to consider men such as Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Paine, Hamilton, etc. as virtually on par with Biblical prophets, just as the Constitution and Declaration of Independence are venerated as virtual modern extensions of Biblical Revelation.
Let us begin with some generalities. In twelve out of thirteen of the original colonies the practice of the Catholic faith was outlawed. When the British government passed a law in Canada called the Quebec Act which granted religions freedom to Catholics, it was publicly denounced by John Adams, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, Samuel Adams, and Alexander Hamilton. On 21 October 1774, the Continental Congress addressed an open letter to the British people admonishing them for passing this law which tolerated a religion which “has deluged your island in blood, and dispersed impiety, bigotry, persecution, murder and rebellion through every part of the world.”
Some of the “Fathers” stand out not only as anti-Catholic, but also as universally anti-Christian. We must remember that most of them, being products of the Enlightenment, were Deists. They might have nominally believed in a creator God, but they emphatically did not believe in His direct concern or intervention in human affairs. This means, of course, that they vehemently rejected the Incarnation and the Divinity of Christ. Thomas Jefferson gives profound witness to this rejection in his book called The Jefferson Bible. In this work, he had the audacity to edit the entirety of the Gospels, eliminating all reference to Christ’s Divinity, and also expurgating all of His miracles, including His Resurrection. Jefferson, despite recent revelations regarding his moral integrity, has been almost universally venerated as a man of great wisdom and moral integrity. I would ask the reader to obtain a copy of this book, examine its contents, and then question the integrity of a man who would do this to any other man’s work, not to mention that this is the Work of God. Many of the Deists, including Jefferson, claimed to honour Christ as a great moral teacher, while at the same time rejecting all claims to His Divinity. Jefferson detested St. Paul and viewed him as the major villain in what he considered as the idolatrous divinization of the man, Jesus.
One of Thomas Jefferson’s friends and correspondents was Thomas Paine, who is famous for having written the pamphlet “Common Sense“, which was a powerful piece of propaganda intended to sway public opinion in favor of the American Revolution. Many people do not know that there was at the time a deep division in the colonies over this issue, and that possibly even the majority in the beginning considered this course of action to be highly immoral and treasonous. Paine’s pamphlet, however, worked very effectively to neutralize this opposition, to the extent that virtually all historians today admit that the Revolution would not have occurred without its having been written and widely diffused. Few people also know that Thomas Paine also wrote a book titled The Age of Reason, the expressed purpose of which was to prove that Christianity was false and the Bible deeply self-contradictory. The following passage is taken from Book Two of this work:
“But the belief in a God is so weakened by being mixed with the strange fables of the Christian creed, and with the wild adventures related in the Bible, and the obscurity and obscene nonsense of the testament, that the mind of man is bewildered as in a fog ….
“Of all the systems of religion that ever were invented, there is none more derogatory to the Almighty, more unedifying, to man, more repugnant to reason, and more contradictory in itself than this thing called Christianity. Too absurd for belief, too impossible to convince, and too inconsistent for practice, it renders the heart torpid, or produces only atheists and fanatics. As an engine of power it serves the purpose of despotism and as a means of wealth, the avarice of priests; but so far as respects the good of man in general, it leads to nothing here or hereafter.”
It would, of course, be unfair to say that all of the founding fathers were as vehemently or fanatically anti-Christian as were Jefferson and Paine. It would be quite accurate to conclude, however, that the vast majority were not Christian, and were vehemently anti-Catholic. In other words, those who claim that the solution to the present problems of our country is a return to the Christian roots of our founding fathers and the Constitution are somewhat like the man who shoots himself in the foot, and then does it again because it hurt the first time, and he now wants to do it right. He needs desperately to realize that there was no right in the thing from the beginning. In the case under consideration, he needs to admit that this was not a Christian country to begin with, and we are not in need of re-establishment but of primary evangelization.
Nor do we find integrity in regard to Catholic doctrine concerning the Kingship of Christ when we turn to those who might be viewed as the “Fathers” of American Catholicism.
Every bishop in this country, since the Constitution’s ratification, should have known that from that moment onward this nation would be in an accelerating state of falling away from God; and that this in turn would produce that inevitable decay in the spirituality and psychology of its citizenry which would finally descend to those barbarities which seem to be the end point of all such historical degenerations of nations – the destruction of the family, sexual license, homosexuality, and the sacrifice of one’s own children. The corollary of this understanding, of course, is that such a state of social emergency should have produced a militancy in our bishops, all priests, and the laity which fervently pursued the conversion of every soul in this country to Christ and to His Catholic Church.
In fact, just the opposite happened.
From their very first presence in this country (we speak here of the 13 colonies, and exclude the Catholic population of Spanish origin from this generalization), Catholics largely saw no conflict between their faith and the dominant culture. Lord Baltimore proclaimed religions freedom for the original Catholic settlement of Maryland. Charles Carroll signed the Declaration of Independence, and cast the vote that separated Maryland from England. Daniel Carroll helped draw up the Constitution, called it “the best form of Government that has ever been offered to the world”, and was responsible for its adoption by the state of Maryland. John Carroll, ordained a Catholic priest and later the first bishop of the United States, was sent as an agent of the American Revolutionaries to try to convince Canada and Catholic Quebec to support the American Revolution (which support was refused by Bishop Briand of Quebec), despite the fact that there was such strong anti-Catholic sentiment in this country that the Continental Congress officially and vehemently protested to England against the passage of the Quebec Act, by which England granted religions freedom to Catholics in Canada.
Archbishop (later Cardinal) Gibbons (who has been called the “Prince of Democracy”) stated in his Pastoral Letter accompanying the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (1884) that “there is no antagonism between the laws, institutions and spirit of the Catholic Church, and the laws, institutions, and spirit of this country”; and further, “that our country’s heroes were the instruments of the God of Nations in establishing this home of freedom,” and that it is illogical to think that “there is aught in the free spirit of our American institutions incompatible with perfect docility to the Church of Christ.”
Cardinal Gibbon’s close friend and contemporary, Archbishop John Ireland of St. Paul, was even more rapturous in his unqualified endorsement of the American view of freedom:
“God gives the power; but the people choose those that hold it, and mark out the conditions under which they do hold it. This is supreme democracy: it is the dogma of Catholicism. In America the government is the Republic – the government of the people, by the people, for the people. With you, fellow Catholics, with you fellow Americans, I salute the Republic: I thank God that the people of America are capable of possessing a government of this form. The Republic – it is the fullest recognition of human dignity and human rights, the fullest grant of personal freedom, that due respect for the rights of others and the welfare of the social organism may allow. Alter it to empire or monarchy! Never, so long as our lips may praise it, or our hands wield arms in its defense (address delivered in Milwaukee, Aug 11, 1913).”
This historical betrayal of our bishops, now stained with the blood of many millions of unborn children through the abortion holocaust, the spiritual rape of those already born through sex-education and the destruction of orthodox catechetical instruction, and most recently the “filth” of clergy sexual abuse and its cover-up, is still with us. It has now come down to the pathetic point where we are now supposed to consider our hierarchy in this country as heroic for standing up for “religious freedom”, when it is in fact religious freedom and Indifferentism which got us into our present mess to begin with. And behind it all was the cowardice of Silence – the silence which feared proclaiming the rights of God and of His Church to a society immersed in democratic errors.
Finally, it must be said, that the Church certainly recognizes and demands that man can come to the fullness of truth only through the exercise of his free will, and it also possesses a corpus of teaching concerning a legitimate “toleration” of error, especially when the suppression of such error would cause more evil than it would prevent. But such toleration does not lessen the obligation of confronting error “in its face”, and working diligently for the conversion of souls to the freedom which is only to found in the fullness of Catholic truth. It is this Catholic heroism which men like the Carrolls, Cardinal Gibbons, and Archbishop Ireland surrendered to the Republic.
Democracy: The History of Revolution in Church and State
In his analysis of the false principles of democracy in Immortale Dei, Pope Leo XIII spoke of the harmful and lamentable rage for innovation which rose to a climax in the sixteenth century”. The Protestant Revolution was not just an accident or anomaly of history, but rather the climax of an historical process, the origins of which must be sought in the 13th and 14th centuries.
It is of course true that the basic principles of Revolution among mankind are as old as Original Sin, and it is also true that democratic forms of Government reach back to the Greeks (Athenian democracy in the 5th century B.C.). But it is equally true that democracy in relation to Christian civilization possesses it own unique history, and it is here we shall begin our analysis.
It has been the position of many Catholic scholars (and that of many others, including Popes) that Christian civilization reached its highest attainment in the Thirteenth Century. This was due especially to two very great graces – St. Francis and St. Thomas Aquinas – given by God, with the power to effect what could have been a new beginning (a kind of New Pentecost) in the Christian world. The gift of St. Francis was designed to effect a return to living the Beatitudes. The gift of St. Thomas provided an intellectual vision of virtually the entirety of Christian Revelation and philosophical understanding, which was designed to be an unprecedented light for the liberation of both individual souls and nations. Both were betrayed.
Much of what follows in our analysis of the decay which followed the 13th century is indebted to Dr. Ludwig Von Pastor’s work The History of the Popes Since the Close of the Middle Ages. It spans a period of time from the beginning of the 14th Century (the Avignon Papacy) to Napoleon’s entrance into Rome in 1799, and comprises 16 volumes. It is a work immensely important for the understanding of the momentous historical events involving both Church and State during this period, especially considering the fact that Pope Leo XIII, for the first time, gave Von Pastor privileged access to the Secret Vatican Archives, and therefore many hitherto unavailable documents, for his labors.
Von Pastor chose well that point in time in which he was to begin his monumental work. It was at this juncture of time that the Church largely turned its back upon the purity of life and thought to be found in St. Francis and St. Thomas, and opened itself up to that massive influx of Greek and Roman culture through what is called the Renaissance. The Renaissance is usually considered to have its beginning in the 14th Century, but as Von Pastor notes the evil fruit which it produced in State and Church grew from seed planted in the rotting soil of the end of the 13th:
“The period was in many ways a most melancholy one. The prevailing immorality exceeded anything that had been witnessed since the tenth century. Upon a closer inquiry into the causes of this state of things, we shall find that the evil was in a great measure due to the altered conditions of civilized life. Commercial progress, facilities of intercourse, the general well-being and prosperity of all classes of society in Italy, France, Germany and the Low Countries, had greatly increased during the latter part of the thirteenth century. Habits of life changed rapidly, and became more luxurious and pleasure-seeking. The clergy of all degrees, with some honourable exceptions, went with the current.” (Vol. I, p. 97-98 – unless otherwise noted all future references will be from Volume I).
The Way of the Beatitudes (especially Lady Poverty) of St. Francis had been betrayed, and the “Flies” of Renaissance-inspired corruption found ample rot upon which to swarm. This was especially true of everything which touched upon matters relating to the flesh (including, of course, art and literature), but it was also true in the intellectual realm. Most prominent among the latter was the Greek idea of the autonomy of individual man, and the belief in that sovereignty of the people which in the social realm is termed democracy, and in the spiritual realm ultimately produced such phenomena as Concilliarism and the Protestant Revolution.
It is extremely difficult for anyone living in the 21st Century to realize what a radical effect upon the depths of the Catholic soul was produced by any triumph of democratic principles, whether in the realm of the Church or the State. We can, of course, never speak of total unanimity in human affairs, even in the affairs of Catholics. But we may nevertheless say that there certainly was an integral Catholic spirit which, up until this historical point, had simply accepted as a matter of fact the words of St. Paul:
“Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist, purchase to themselves damnation.” (Romans 13: 1-2).
And then there are the words of Peter:
“Be ye subject therefore to every human creature for God’s sake: whether it be to the king as excelling; Or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of the good: For so is the will of God, that by doing well you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not as making liberty a cloak for malice, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if for conscience towards God, a man endures sorrows, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if committing sin, and being buffeted for it, you endure? But if doing well you suffer patiently, this is thankworthy before God. For unto this are you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example that you should follow his steps. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth. Who, when he was reviled, did not revile: when he suffered, he threatened not: but delivered himself to him that judged him unjustly.” (1Pet 2:13-23).
The Church has always qualified such obedience as to make it applicable “in all things but sin”, and it has also recognized that such obedience might be coupled with respectful criticism, etc. But it has always condemned any notion that power and authority of government, whether of Church or State, lies in the people themselves.
It is precisely this latter principle which burst forth in the first half of the 14th Century in relation to both Church and State. It has been with us ever since. Sometimes it has come in the fullness of violent Revolution against both Church and State, as was the case with the French Revolution or the Spanish Civil War. At other times it might focus such violence mainly upon the Church, as in the Protestant Revolts in many countries. Or it might seem to be a revolution almost entirely in the political realm, as in the case of the American Revolution. And, finally, at other times it infiltrates its principles into the consciousness of millions of people through more deceptive and peaceful means, and executes its immense damage not outwardly through physical violence, but by means of ideas, philosophies, theological aberrations, and political ideologies and forms of government which profoundly undermine the sovereignty of God over individuals and nations, and over Church and State.
The Tract Defensor Pacis (The Defender of Peace), which laid the foundations of the modern idea that sovereignty resides in the people, was published in 1324. Its authors were both Professors at the University of Paris: Marsiglio da Padova (English: Marsilius of Padua), and Jean de Jandun. It is often exclusively attributed to Marsiglio.
It would not be appropriate here to enter into discussion of all the factors in Church and State during this period, which immediately provided this document with so powerful a fecundity in the minds and hearts of large segments of people. But two of these deserve special mention.
Defensor Pacis was published under the auspices and protection of Emperor Louis of Bavaria, who was then in a virtual state of war with a severely weakened and compromised Papacy residing in Avignon. He was also protector of that band of Franciscans called “minorities” who refused to submit to Pope John XXII’s condemnation of the doctrine of “the Absolute Poverty of Christ” proposed by St. Bonaventure, and who now produced a good deal of violent literature claiming the Pope to be an antichrist. Add to this a Papacy subject to the good will of the French Monarchy, and a Church living under the aura of corruption and opulence of the French Court, it took little effort to severely undermine whatever claims she made as to her Divine origins and hierarchical structure.
Secondly, the views expressed in Marsiglio’s Tract were not without recent precedence. Also under the protection of the Emperor during this period was the English Franciscan Friar, William of Occam (also Ockham) who, according to Von Pastor, “was deeply imbued with the political ideas of the ancients”. Following is Von Pastor’s summary of Occam’s positions:
“…the Emperor has a right to depose the Pope should he fall into heresy. Both General Councils and Popes may err, Holy Scripture and the beliefs held by the Church at all times and in all places, can alone be taken as the unalterable rule of Faith and Morals. The Primacy and Hierarchical Institutions in general are not necessary or essential to the subsistence of the Church; and the forms of the ecclesiastical, as of the political, constitution ought to vary with the varying needs of the time.” (p. 76).
But it is Marsiglio’s work which would provide the main source of fuel for these errors down through subsequent centuries. It is also full of violent invectives against John XXII, among them being “the great dragon and the old serpent”. The following summary of his positions is taken from Von Pastor:
“[Marsiglio] asserts the unconditional sovereignty of the people. The legislative power which is exercised through their elected representatives, belongs to them, also the appointment of the executive through their delegates. The ruler is merely the instrument of the legislature….If the ruler exceeds his authority, the people are justified in depriving him of his power, and deposing him.
“Still more radical, if possible, are the views regarding the doctrine and government of the Church put forth in this work. The sole foundation of faith and of the Church is Holy Scripture, which does not derive its authority from her, but, on the contrary confers on her that which she possesses. The only true interpretation of Scripture is, not that of the Church, but that of the most intelligent people, so that the University of Paris may very well be superior to the Court of Rome. Questions concerning faith are to be decided, not by the Pope, but by a General Council.
“This General Council is supreme over the whole Church, and is to be summoned by the State. It is to be composed not only of the clergy, but also of laymen elected by the people. As regards their office, all priests are equal; according to Divine right, no one of them is higher than another. The whole question of Church government is one of expediency, not of the faith necessary to salvation. The Primacy of the Pope is not founded on Scripture, nor on Divine right. His authority therefore can only, according to Marsiglio, be derived from a General Council and from the legislature of the State; and for the election of a Pope the authority of the Council requires confirmation from the State.” (p. 76-78).
One of the things that should impress us most in the above passages is the way in which the principle of the “sovereignty of the people” flows like molten lava between State and Church, equally dissolving all claims of divinely established power as residing anywhere else other than in the people. It is, in other words, a myth to believe that such a view of authority and power can be confined to the State, while at the same time preserving a separation between the State and the Church which leaves the latter to possess a form of government which is in diametrical opposition to the former. Human hubris, of which the first is a product, simply will not long endure the existence of the latter. It was a case of incredible obtuseness on the part of American Catholics, and especially the educated hierarchy, to believe such a delusion could be long maintained.
It is equally important to understand that when we confront such proposals as the superiority of a General Council over the Pope, or as having the power to judge a Pope or declare him deposed, we are in reality dealing with the same democratic principle in regard to the affairs of the Church – in the words of Pope Pius X, “power ascending from below, rather than from above”. In other words, Concilliarism is simply another form of thinly-disguised democracy in application to the Divine Constitution of the Church.
So let us proceed with an examination of the effect of such democratic principles upon the Church during the 14th, and into the 15th Centuries.
As the Catholic Encyclopedia (1910) states, “The influence of Defensor pacis was disastrous, and Marsilius may well be reckoned one of the fathers of the Reformation”. We know that Wycliffe was directly influenced by Him, and that 1n 1535 Thomas Cromwell had Defensor Pacis translated into English in order to offer proof and justification for Royal Supremacy over the Church. The following evaluation as to the historical importance of this work is offered by Harvard Professor (Emeritus) of Ecclesiastical Studies Ephraim Emerton in his Critical Study of Defensor Pacis:
“Marsiglio’s work penetrates every attempt at church reform made during the five generations between Wycliffe and Luther. It came to be one of the stock charges made against every leader of reform that he was repeating the heresies of Wycliffe and through him those of Marsiglio. Even though the reformer [Luther] himself made no allusion to his fourteenth century predecessor, and may, indeed, have been more or less unconscious of the debt he owed him, the sure instinct of the still dominant but now thoroughly frightened Church pointed unerringly to the essential continuity of ideas from Marsiglio onward.”
The Great Western Schism
The Avignon Papacy (including seven French Popes) endured from 1309 until 1377, at which time St. Catherine of Sienna finally managed to persuade Pope Gregory XI to return the Papacy to Rome. Gregory died the following March. On April 8, the Cardinals elected Cardinal Prignano (Italian), who took the name Pope Urban VI. As Von Pastor writes, “It cannot, indeed be denied that the election of Urban VI was canonically valid. The most distinguished lawyers of the day gave their deliberate decisions to this effect.” (p. 120).
Pope Urban was intent upon reform, and he proved to be quite extraordinarily harsh upon the Cardinals who elected him – a harshness which Catherine of Sienna frequently counseled him to temper. Finally, the Cardinals (with the exception of one Italian) could stand it no longer, and while in summer residence at Anagni held another (illegal) conclave and declared the election of Urban VI to be invalid. Thirteen days later (August 22), the eleven French Cardinals, and the Spanish Cardinal Pedro de Luna (who would later become Antipope Benedict XIII) – all of whom had originally elected Urban – now elected Cardinal Robert of Geneva Antipope. He took the name Clement VII. The three Italian Cardinals, who had originally voted for Urban, abstained from this vote, but later that day accepted his Papacy. The Great Western Schism had begun. The Papacy had been somewhat “normal” – without either being in exile in Avignon, or racked by Schism and Antipopes – for approximately one and one-half years.
The Great Western Schism would last 39 years. It divided not only the Church, but also nations. France, Scotland and Spain were allied with the series of Antipopes, while Italy, England, Flanders, Hungary, Poland, and most of Germany were allied with the succession of true Popes. It also divided Saints – Catherine of Sienna of course supported the true Pope, while St. Vincent Ferrer for years was allied with the Spaniard Pedro de Luna who became Antipope Benedict XIII. The false Council of Pisa in 1409 attempted to declare both successors (Pope Gregory XII and Antipope Benedict XIII) of these two lines of Papal claimants deposed, and then proceeded to elect a third – Antipope Alexander V (Alexander V died this same year, and the Cardinals immediately elected Antipope John XXIII as his successor). The schism was finally ended at the Council of Constance, when for the good of the Church, the true Pope Gregory XII, along with Antipope John XXIII, resigned (Pedro de Luna – Antipope Benedict XIII – never did resign, but largely lost his support, including that of St. Vincent Ferrer). Gregory also legitimized the Council, which then proceeded to elect a new Pope, Martin V.
All during this time, however, the heresy of Concilliarism (and worse) cultured and grew in the minds and hearts of Catholics. In 1381, a work was published by Heinrich von Langenstein titled Proposition of Peace for the Union and Reformation of the Church by a General Council. Its proposals are summarized by Von Pastor:
“No especial weight is to be attached to our Lord’s institution of the Papacy. The Church would have had a right to appoint a Pope if He had not done so. If the Cardinals should have chosen a Pope who does not suit the Church, she had the right to revise the work of her agents, and even to deprive them of her commission. For the power to elect the Pope rests originally in the Episcopate, and reverts to it if the Cardinals cannot, or will not elect; or if they abuse their right of election. The criterion, by which all acts of Church and State are to be judged, is whether they do, or do not promote the general good. A prince who, instead of preserving the State, would ruin and betray it, is to be resisted as an enemy; the same course should be pursued in the Church. Necessity breaks the law; indeed, even renders its breach a duty….To apply these general notions to the present case, it is not of the essence of a General Council that it should be summoned by the Pope; in extraordinary cases this may be done by temporal princes. The authority of the Council stands higher than that of the Pope and the Sacred College, for of the Church alone is it said that the gates of hell should not prevail against her. These theories, by which Langenstein broke with the whole existing system, soon became widely diffused. Henceforward this most dangerous doctrine of the natural right of necessity was the instrument used in all efforts to put an end to the Schism.” (p. 183-185).
It is worth noting, in regard to recent Church history, that it was precisely this principle – “necessity breaks the law” – which, in Archbishop Lefebvre’s mind, provided the justification for his ordaining four bishops expressly against a Papal mandate not to do so.
During this period leading up to the Council of Constance, these sort of tracts proliferated. The celebrated Canonist Zabarella, who afterwards became a Cardinal, wrote a treatise which, according to Von Pastor brought to fullness the Concilliarist heresy. In regard to the Pope, Zabarella wrote, “Should he err, the Church must set him right; should he fall into heresy, or be an obstinate schismatic, or commit a notorious crime, the Council may depose him.” (p. 187).
Nor was this all ended with the Council of Constance, which ended the schism. The Council actually passed a Decree titled Frequens which bound Popes not only to the decisions of General Councils, but also to a kind of constant state of being subject to the vigilance and superior authority of these same Councils. Nine times it uses the word “bound” in reference to such Papal subjections to General Councils. It also declared that in any further instance in which there is a disputed Papacy, all claimants, including the legitimate Pope, are called to judgment by a General Council, are suspended from all administration of Church affairs, and that obedience is not to be given by the faithful to any such claimants until the question has been settled by the Council. This decree was not confirmed by the newly elected Martin V, and flatly contradicted in further documents by Martin and subsequent Popes.
It is enormously important to understand, however, that Concilliarism was not dead, but in fact formed the thinking of the majority of the Council Fathers of Constance. This was especially true of the French faction. Concilliarism would persist over the centuries and would coalesce in a conglomerate of heresies associated with what is called Gallicianism (centered especially in France). It would then be this heresy which formed the opposition to the definitions of Papal Primacy and Infallibility at the First Vatican Council.
It would, of course, be possible to do an exhaustive study of these democratic principles, and their increasing corrosive effect upon Church and State, through the past five centuries. But what has already been provided above in terms of historical analysis should be enough to convince any perceptive reader of the basic thrust and intensity of what has come down to us in the many-faceted forms which incarnate the basic errors of democratic thinking.
However, considering what is happening in regard to the Papacy of Pope Francis, and the attempts being made to find justification for his being declared a heretic and deposed, there is one more stop along the historical timeline which would seem worthy of our consideration.
The writings of four theologians – Thomas Cajetan, Robert Bellarmine, Francisco Suarez, and John of St. Thomas – whose writings on this subject all occur within a one-hundred year period, from the beginning of the 16th to the first half of the 17th centuries – form the central locus of current efforts to justify Papal deposition.
In light of all that has been written above, it would therefore seem legitimate to question the influence of erroneous democratic principles upon these men’s thinking. Here, for the purpose of illustration, we shall limit our examination to two of these men: St. Robert Bellarmine and Suarez.
In De Clericis, Ch. VII, Bellarmine writes:
“In a commonwealth all men are born naturally free; consequently, the people themselves, immediately and directly, hold the political power so long as they have not transferred this power to some king or ruler.”
And, in De Laicis, Cap. VI, he teaches:
“Political power resides immediately in the whole multitude as in an organic unit. The divine law has not given this power to any particular man; therefore, it has given it to the multitude. There being no positive law to this effect, there is no more reason why, among equals, one should have a greater right to rule than another. Therefore, the power belongs to the whole multitude.” (both quotes are taken from “Democracy and Bellarmine,” John C. Rager, S.T.D.,1926).
It is therefore clear that the mind of St. Robert Bellarmine fell prey to the principles of a false democracy.
An important feature of Suárez’s view is that political power does not just reside in the community initially. It always remains there. As he puts it, “after that power has been transferred to some individual person, even if it has been passed on to a number of people through various successions or elections, it is still always regarded as possessed immediately by the community” (DL 3.4.8). Suárez is, of course, aware that the needed stability of political communities would be in question if communities could withdraw their transfer of power to the government at every whim. So even though in some sense the power always remains in the community, Suárez argues that the transferred power may not ordinarily be withdrawn (De legibus 3.4.6). Suárez recognizes exceptions, however. Should the government become tyrannical, the door may be opened to legitimate revolt and even tyrannicide (Defensio fidei catholicae 6.4 and De charitate 13.8). This is the doctrine that gained Suárez the ire of James I of England.
As I said early, the corrosive principles behind the principle of “Popular Sovereignty” flow easily between views of Church and State. We might justly conjecture that the thinking of such men as Robert Bellarmine and Francisco Suarez in regard to Papal deposition are intimately connected to their thinking on secular authority, and are simply a diluted form of the poison which originally formed in the mind of such men as Marsiglio da Padova..
The One Thing Necessary
Our Lord asks his disciples an extraordinary question: “”But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?” (Luke 18: 8))
We tend, I think, to take this as a purely rhetorical question. We might reply, “Of course there will be faith. There will always be a Remnant – Scripture promises such.” And yet we are obliged to take Our Lord’s question seriously.
Our Lord’s question comes as the conclusion to a short parable concerning the widow who continually “wearies” an unjust judge in order to receive justice. It ends with the following: “And will not God revenge [a metaphor for God’s justice] his elect who cry to him day and night: and will he have patience in their regard? I say to you, that he will quickly revenge them.”
It may at first seem quite extraordinary that the virtue of faith is here identified with the incessant crying of a widow for justice. We tend to think of faith solely in terms of an intellectual possession. We believe the Truths revealed by God, or we do not. The first constitutes us as being faithful, the second as reprobate.
But both Scripture and Church teaching reveal to us that there is a very real distinction to be made between a dead faith and a faith that is alive: “Faith without charity is dead”. (James 2:20).
We tend to think of this charity, without which faith is dead, exclusively in relation to our neighbor. St. John is clear in his teaching that we cannot claim love of God if we do not also love our brother. But St. John also teaches the reverse: “In this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God, and keep his commandments”. (1 John 5:2). In other words, we cannot possess charity towards our neighbor unless we are first established in the charity of God, which requires obedience to His Commandments.
The First Commandment of God is:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart.”
It is the “heart” which is the organ of human integrity because it is here where human intellect and will meet, where Truth becomes incarnate and faith becomes alive, and therefore where the duplicity, hypocrisy, and the lies of Satan are defeated.
Absolutely central to this love of God is that it be whole, which simply means that we seek first the establishment of the kingdom of God in all things, and not compromise, or be in any way duplicitous, in this work: “Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33).
It is the most fundamental characteristic of democracy to secrete a corrosive spirit of duplicity which dissolves this wholeness of the human heart, both on individual and collective levels. It does so because the firstborn child of democracy is pluralism. And pluralism, when it is the fundamental principle of a nation and its Constitution, entails that we are immersed in a culture which is quite literally a spiritual ocean of error. Every moment of our lives in this culture is therefore surrounded by a call, and even demand, to compromise in the pursuit of the work of God. First, it demands of us silence in relation to the “hard” Truths of Christ. Second, it requires of us a participation in the life of this culture which by its very nature is demanding of compromise itself, and therefore a duplicitous life as regards our relationship to God. Such is the act of voting, especially in any national election.
We must always realize that democracy, the first principle of which is the sovereignty (the power and authority) of the people, is always an attack upon the sovereignty of God over all his creation. And this is true whether its principles are proposed and implemented in the political realm, or in the spiritual. It is no wonder therefore that Secret Societies, in pursuit of their ultimate goal, which is the dethronement of God, rightly perceived the vote as the most effective means of injecting their poison into whole peoples. It is the spirit of Antichrist made palpable for the people.
The word vote has its origins in the Latin votum, which means an oath, a vow, or even a prayer (e.g. votive candle). It is meant to express the wholeness of not only the words which come out of our mouth, but also the integrity and depth of our desires. Any duplicity engaged in through the act of voting falsifies the word which comes forth from our heart, and in so doing changes our soul.
This process of decay has been pre-eminently exemplified within the Pro-Life movement. We are silent on contraception, which almost certainly murders many more of God’s little ones than surgical abortion. We vote for a man who is for abortion in the cases of life of the mother, rape, and incest, and we still call him “Pro-life, except in the cases of the life of the mother, rape, and incest”. We vote for a man who says he now accepts the legality of so-called gay-marriage, and we still call him “Pro-Life”. We vote for a man who says he supports the work of Planned Parenthood with the exception of their doing surgical abortions, and we call him “Pro-Life”.
Further, we call those who are for the killing of unborn babies “Pro-Choice”, when in fact such a term is simply a euphemism for “Pro-Abortion” – after all, no one is for killing all babies; it is always a question of choice. If a person were to say that he was personally not for killing black people, but for the right of everyone else to do so, he would certainly not be called “Pro-Choice”, but rather someone who advocates the murdering of black people. And yet “Pro-Lifers” will engage in such duplicity in relation to the unborn, who they allegedly believe have equal dignity and right to life with all other human beings. When we allow our language to be stolen from us, it inevitably means that we have been robbed of the fullness of our Catholic minds and hearts.
We must also recognize that The Pro-Life issue is only one area in which Catholics have been chiseled down to being mere stumps of Christians. The Public Education System, for instance, might be considered to be the number- one means by which the minds and heart of our youth are poisoned by the anti-Christian values and beliefs of the world. Yet no politician could ever conceivably be elected, or even be considered a serious candidate, in any election if he opposed public education. Nor would he stand any better chance if he supported in any serious and effective way censorship of the industries of modern media and entertainment (the other candidates for being considered the primary polluters of the minds and hearts of our children). And yet these same politicians, whose positions are profoundly destructive to the Catholic ideal, might receive enthusiastic endorsement from many voters who would consider themselves traditional, orthodox, or conservative Catholics because of their extraordinarily shallow and inconsistent “Pro-Life” positions.
We have been through this all before, especially during what are called “the Reagan Years”. Expectations were enormously high that during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, Roe vs. Wade would be reversed. President Reagan ended up appointing four Supreme Court Justices: Sandra Day O’Connor, William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, and Arthur Kennedy. Sandra Day O’Connor was pro-abortion, and it is the Catholic Arthur Kennedy who has so often provided the “swing vote” frustrating any Pro-Life efforts before the Supreme Court. So much for the Reagan legacy. And now President Trump has appointed a man to the Supreme Court (Neil Gorsuch), who is supposedly a Catholic, conservative “stealth candidate”, but who in his 51 years (27 of these as a lawyer and public figure) on this earth has never been caught making a clear statement in opposition to abortion or Roe vs. Wade. We need to ask: How does a man possessing any Catholic integrity accomplish such a thing? So much for an end to the Abortion holocaust through a policy of political compromise.
At this point in history, however, when the Spirit of Antichrist looms over our individual lives and the lives of our nations, the primary destructive effect of being involved in the political process is that it derails us from doing the “one thing necessary”. We place half (or less) of our hope in Our Lady’s plan for our happiness and salvation, and the other half (or more) in a Reagan, Buchanan, or Trump. The prophet Jeremiah proclaims to the nation of Israel: “For on every high hill, and under every green tree thou didst prostitute thyself.” (Jer. 2:20). It is an ever recurring tale, as old as original sin. Man, losing his trust in God, compromises and betrays the integrity of his own faith, and enters into alliances with fallen angels, persons, powers, political parties ,and nations who are ever so ready to receive his prostitutions. This was especially true of Israel to whom God spoke the words quoted in the above passage from Jeremiah. In the midst of imminent death and destruction on the horizon, instead of turning towards God and his promises and towards the prayer and penance necessary for salvation from their enemy, they sought political and military alliances with their pagan neighbors. In the very act of doing so, their minds were darkened and their wills became polluted with every conceivable form of moral perversion which they absorbed through their spiritual and physical adulteries.
Possibly the most destructive effect of such duplicity, even among those who manage to keep their personal and family lives from falling into the moral filth of our times, is the blindness and torpidity which fails to take that action necessary to ward off impending disaster. It is the proverbial “deer-in-the-headlights” syndrome. Our Lord said, “You hypocrites, you know how to discern the face of the heaven and of the earth: but how is it that you do not discern this time?” It is characteristic of almost all great impending spiritual catastrophes that those who should effectively possess the grace from God to see and take the necessary action necessary to avoid the coming storm, instead immerse themselves in business-as-usual:
“For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day in which Noe entered into the ark,. And they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away; so also shall the coming of the Son of man be.” (Mt. 24: 37-39).
The entire purpose of the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church consists in attempting to accomplish an awakening. We must turn our votum away from the Babylonian world around us which has largely been erected upon the false principles of Democracy, and cry to Christ, through the Immaculate Mary, for deliverance. There can be no such deliverance, but only chaos and destruction, if we do not return with great intensity to fulfilling Our Lady’s requests. We therefore beg all serious Catholics to journey to their churches on February 2, 2019, and unite in praying the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church. Our Lady is our Final Hope.
Please duplicate the one-page Handout and distribute them at the Marches for Life in January.
We Have Sinned:
“We have sinned, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly, and have revolted: and we have gone aside from thy commandments, and thy judgments….O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our princes, and to our fathers that have sinned.” (Daniel 9: 5,8).
Recently, a Sunday homily given by a priest who has a considerable following among those who consider themselves traditional and conservative Catholics, received widespread acclamation in the media. The subject of his homily concerned Communist and Homosexual infiltration of the Church as the source of the present crisis, and the need for purification of the Church. It has been widely praised as both a revelation of the tragic state which has existed in seminaries over the past few decades, a truthful exposition of the root causes of this situation, and a revelation of what is needed for the true purification of the Church
It will be the contention of this article, however, that this homily is only very superficially and partially ”truthful”, and does not reach at all to the root causes of this crisis or to what is needed for the Church’s purification. We choose to focus on this homily as a means of unraveling the inadequacy of the various solutions which are now being proposed for this purification, and in this process, to lay bare the root causes of the present chastisement which is upon us, and what is really needed for the purification of the Church. We also do not feel it necessary to reveal the name of this priest. Since his story is only one among what is almost certainly thousands of such cases, it would in fact seem very appropriate to simply refer to him as “Fr. X”.
A good place to begin would seem to be in the middle of Fr. X’s homily where he offers his justification for his own silence (in regard to the homosexual network and predatory priests) during his years of seminary training (and beyond). It is to be found in the following paragraph:
“And people ask, why don’t the good priests speak up? I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, he looked at me and he said: ‘I’ve known about this [the homosexual network within the Church, and predatory priests] for 50 years and you’ve known about it for 40 years.’ Yep, it’s about time it’s coming out. So why didn’t somebody speak up? Number one if I would have stood here even a couple of years ago would you have believed what I am telling you? Number two, who were we supposed to go to? It was at every single level all the way to the top. You wanted to be ordained a priest, you couldn’t say a word. And even as a priest you can’t”
Father X, and apparently virtually every other priest during these decades, knew about the Homosexual Network within seminaries and about the widespread existence of predatory priests within the universal Church, and they were silent in order to accomplish their goal of being ordained priests. This means, of course, that they were also silent about what they knew must be the ultimate fruit of the existence of this Homosexual Network: the thousands of children, young adults, and seminarians who already had been, or were scheduled to be, the victims of this holocaust of abuse.
Fr. X offers two terrible rationalizations for such silence. The first is that during all that time, nobody would listen – “It was at every single level all the way to the top.” This was simply not true. Certainly, “at the bottom” of the Church, many of those most immediately concerned (parents), who were already profoundly disheartened at the changes and “fruits” of post-Vatican II life in the Church, would have listened and taken precautionary measures. And, of course, there were quite a number of traditional and conservative media sources that would have listened. Many listened to Fr. Enrique Rueda, and took measures to protect their children, when he wrote his book The Homosexual Network in 1982. Fr. Rueda was suspended for his courage and honesty, and suffered for it all of his life until his death in 2009. And many of these same parents were also forewarned by Randy Engel’s voluminous, scholarly coverage of the homosexual network within the Church in her book The Rite of Sodomy: Homosexuality and the Roman Catholic Church, published in 2006 (13 years ago). They listened, and very likely many of their children were protected from abuse by the courage and truthfulness of Mrs. Engel.
As for the hierarchy, it is a sad generalization and rationalization to claim that no one would have listened. Certainly they were not all part of this Network. And how were any of them to listen if no one spoke? And if they wouldn’t have listened until there was a certain “critical mass” of numbers of seminarians and priests who had the courage to speak, is there any less obligation upon the first who was called to speak than the one who was a thousand seminarians or priests down the line? The fundamental obligation that we are dealing with here is a man (young though he certainly was) who was supposed to possess integrity in his relationship towards Jesus Christ Who is the Truth. Fr. X and his fellow seminarians could well have learned something from the famed Lutheran minister Dietrich Bonhoeffer (executed by the Nazi’s): “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us blameless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
Fr. X’s second rationalization is expressed in the following words: “You wanted to be ordained a priest, you couldn’t say a word.” This is simply to claim that “The End justifies the means”. It is the classic Thomistic definition of all evil – that in order to justify the satisfaction of a desire which does indeed stem from a legitimate part of our human nature, we are willing to use a disordered and evil means to obtain its satisfaction. In this case, the means was betrayal of the truth by way of silence.
The effect of such reasoning and false justification extends much beyond being silent in relation to the above-mentioned evils. It needs also to be noted that during these decades (and still continuing in many seminaries), there was a great of deal of heterodoxy, and just plain heresy, being taught in the seminaries. The further question presents itself, therefore, as to how these seminarians ever passed their many courses in theology and philosophy. How many heretical or unorthodox answers did they write down on their tests simply in order to not make waves and to be able to pass these tests? What sort of essays and dissertations did they write which they knew were necessary in order to receive passing grades, but which in fact, either explicitly or implicitly, denied the truths of Christ? The answer has to be that the vast majority simply gave the answers, and wrote what they knew was acceptable, in order to satisfy the demands of many unorthodox teachers. In so doing, while on the surface pursuing the vocation of being a priest of Jesus Christ, they repeatedly (over many years) denied, or failed to witness to, Christ and His truth.
The inevitable end result of such duplicity and false rationalization upon the mind and heart is spiritual superficiality. One dares not look deep, for in doing so one risks the unmasking of self-deceit. When faced with a crisis such as that which is upon us now, one dares only to offer superficial solutions which do not penetrate to the real sources of the evils that are upon us. In the case of Fr. X’s homily this took the form of seeming to lay the primary blame for the present crisis within the Church upon communist and homosexual infiltration into the Church from without. While such infiltration has certainly occurred, focusing on it as the ultimate source of the present crisis within the Church is simply a means of masking a deeper problem.
In order to uncover the true sources of this priestly betrayal, we must look much deeper. We must look to the religious culture in which seminarians and priests were formed prior to entering the seminary, to the causes of the fundamental lack of moral integrity and fortitude which allowed them to deny the Truths of Christ, and the witness that must be given to these Truths, in order to become a priest. And, of course, in doing this, we go back into the world in which all of us have been formed – the modern world, and the accommodation of all of us to this world.
In considering Catholic families, for instance,, we must realize that if the sons in these families had been formed with any real Catholic integrity, they would never have been able to remain silent to the evils present in seminaries no matter what the consequences. They would have been, to put it plainly, Catholic men (young though they might have been) to begin with. In other words, we are dealing with a virtually universal system of corruption in which vast numbers of Catholic minds and hearts have been poisoned – a crisis which reveals a sickness which is endemic. In the physical realm it can be compared to an immune system which over a long period has become weaker and suppressed until it submits to some viral or bacterial infection which explodes into a life-threatening illness. The silence of Fr. X which he attempts to justify (he never apologizes for it) is simply one of innumerable examples of this deeper malaise.
In our article on The Third Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Ghost, we explored the reasons as to why the Holy Spirit, Who according to the words of Christ, should flow “like rivers of flowing water” within the Church and the minds and hearts of all Catholics, is bearing so little fruit within the Church. Rather, it would appear that the poisoned rivers of Satan have penetrated into almost all the areas of its teaching and life. We hope that the reader will read this article. For our purpose here, however, we need only point out that if the “rivers” of the Spirit of Christ had been truly operative within the families, the hierarchy, the seminaries, rectors of seminaries, spiritual directors of seminarians, etc. before the attempts at communist and homosexual infiltration spoken of by Fr. X, the grace and wisdom would have been there to discern and prevent such infiltration. In other words, we are here dealing with a situation of decay, of sin, of betrayal of Christ and His Gospel which had long been building before such infiltrations.
Finally, lest the reader be tempted to believe that we are here attempting to put the primary blame upon seminarians, the priesthood, and the hierarchy, we need to turn to an examination of the quote from the Book of Daniel offered at the beginning of this article:
We have sinned, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly, and have revolted: and we have gone aside from thy commandments, and thy judgments….O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our princes, and to our fathers that have sinned. (Daniel 9: 5,8).
This passage clearly links the sins of princes and fathers to the sins of all of the people of God. Daniel might well be considered the holiest and most prophetic man in the Old Testament, and yet he never says, “They have sinned”, but rather: “We have sinned”. He recognized that the Jewish nation was undergoing the chastisement of the Babylonian captivity because of the sins of the whole people.
The Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church is established upon the same principle: namely that, although we certainly now have clear evidence of horrendous sins (and complicity with such sins through silence, etc.) even among the highest members of the hierarchy, pointing our fingers only or primarily at them as constituting the cause of our present chastisement is an act of both duplicity and superficiality. Pope St. Gregory the Great is reputed to have said, “Divine Justice provides shepherds according to the just desserts of the faithful.” Although we would almost certainly be amiss in making of this a perfect one-to-one correlation, or of alleging that every Pope is chosen directly by God, we certainly would do well in considering that, in accord with the words of both Daniel and Pope Gregory, the chastisement that is upon us is the fruit of our own infidelities
It is we who have amalgamated our faith to the world in almost every sphere of our life – in the realms of science and technology, politics, economics, education, entertainment, recreation – in every aspect of both faith and life; and it is we therefore who have merited this chastisement for trying to serve both God and Mammon. All of our articles on the Mysteries of the Rosary have, from one perspective or another, focused on the various aspects of our infidelities as the source of that suffocation of the work of the Holy Spirit in our own lives and the Church at large, which has produced the present crisis.
We must also forestall any accusation that we are somehow attempting to equate in gravity the sins and infidelities of traditional and orthodox Catholics with the monstrous sins of someone like Cardinal McCarrick, or, for instance, the 301 priests in the Diocese of Pittsburgh accused of child abuse. Nor are we denying in any way the absolute necessity of accomplishing the demands of justice for those who have been victims of this abuse, or of punishing the guilty. What we are asserting is that unless we reach to the much deeper need for purification of the whole people of God, such justice, restitution, and punishment will amount to only a superficial solution to the present crisis; and that after what will almost certainly be a quite short period of what might appear to be some sort of renewal in the life of the Church, an even greater “smoke of Satan” will surely descend upon us because of our superficiality. We must never forget that Satan is the master of the dialectic. He is perfectly willing to suffer a one-step-backward “fix” on the surface of the Mystical Body of Christ, if this in turn encrusts duplicity deeper into the heart of the Church and the souls of individual Catholics.
This is why the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church aims to place every Catholic who loves Christ and His Church in prayer within the Immaculate Heart of Mary, in order that She might provide the Light necessary to reveal to us our own infidelities and the grace to overcome them. And this is also why this effort centers upon the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple on February 2 – that Feast which commemorates the day when the Prophet Simeon foretold to Mary that “thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed”. (Luke 2: 35). And since our infidelities are many, and since change within the depths of the human heart takes time, we pray that this united effort towards prayer and purification will become not only an annual event on February 2nd , but also spread to instituting Holy Hours, centered upon the Rosary with this intention, on other Feast Days of the year.
Please read the Original Proposal for this event, and please ask your pastor to implement it.
And the Sacrilegious Use of the Rosary
It has been integral to the vision which inspired the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church that the entire Church is in need of purification, and that the most visible aspects of the current crisis of the Church are like cancerous excrescences on the surface of the body, which point to a much deeper malady within. We see this sickness as stemming from two primary sources: the surrender of the intellectual foundations of our Faith (theology and philosophy) to reductive science; and, secondly, to our having nourished an adulterous relationship with this world which tends towards making us an “enemy of God” (James 4:4) and therefore fully deserving of God’s chastisement. In our prayer for the Church’s purification we have chosen therefore not to focus on obvious evils such as the Cardinal McCarrick scandal. We do not believe that any investigation into this scandal (although necessary), or any amount of “getting rid of bad bishops” (including the Pope), will solve the present crisis. This is why we seek Our Lady’s help in reaching to the depths of what is in need of purification within each one of us. As Simeon foretold to Mary “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.” (Luke 2: 35).
However, absolutely necessary for the integrity of our effort is that the Rosary itself be prayed with intentions which are in accord with the truths of Jesus Christ. The Rosary, being a sacramental, is subject to sacrilegious use. And this is precisely what is now being promoted by Pope Francis.
On September 29, 2018, the Press Office of the Holy See issued a Communiqué in which Pope Francis invited all the faithful during the Marian month of October to pray the Rosary, the Leonine prayer to St. Michael the Archangel, and the prayer Sub Tuum Praesidium to protect the Church from the devil, “who always seek to separate us from God and from each other.” Twice in this communiqué, we are asked to offer these prayers “against the Great Accuser who ‘goes around the world seeking to accuse”.
Pope Francis’ choice of the title “the Great Accuser” for the Devil is not random. It has evolved out of the catastrophic events which have occurred over a period ranging from the last part of August to the end of September, and has a very specific meaning and intention attached to it. We will here briefly describe these events:
On August 22, 2018, former Papal Nuncio to the United States Archbishop Viganò issued an eleven page “Testimony” accusing Pope Francis not only of covering up the McCarrick scandal, but of promoting McCarrick’s status in the Vatican and making him his trusted advisor. He also documented a “cabal” of higher members of the American hierarchy who bypassed the Papal Nuncio in order to recommend bishops friendly to Pope Francis and his “gay-inclusive” agenda. Since that date much of what was in Archbishop Vigano’s Testimony has been corroborated, and there are many bishops who have now called for a full investigation. In addition, there have come to light other instances of Francis’ protecting abusers while he has been Pope, and his defense of a serial abuser (and persecution of his victims) while Archbishop of Buenos Aires. When asked about these accusations, Pope Francis replied, “I will not say a single word about this”, and he has retained this position to this day. At the very least, these accusations demand a thorough and complete investigation.
But Pope Francis, while refusing to answer these accusations, has not remained silent. Beginning on September 11, he began a series of thinly veiled attacks on Archbishop Vigano (without specifically naming him), and others who are demanding a full investigation into these allegations, by equating their efforts with the work of the Devil – the “Great Accuser”.
On September 11, Pope Francis said, “in these times, it seems like the ‘Great Accuser’ has been unchained and is attacking bishops. True we are all sinners, we bishops. He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people. The ‘Great Accuser’, as he himself says to God in the first chapter of the Book of Job, ‘roams the earth looking for someone to accuse.’”
On September 13, he said: “Only the merciful are like God the Father. ‘Be merciful, as your Father is merciful.’ This is the path, the path that goes against the spirit of the world, that thinks differently, that does not accuse others. Because among us is the ‘Great Accuser,’ the one who is always going about to accuse us before God, to destroy. Satan: he is the ‘Great Accuser.’ And when I enter into this logic of accusing, of cursing, seeking to do evil to others, I enter into the logic of the ‘Great Accuser’ who is the ‘Destroyer,’ who does not know the word mercy, does not know, has never lived it.”
On September 14, he said: “Our victory is the cross of Jesus, victory over our enemy, the ancient serpent, the Great Accuser.… And the ancient serpent that was destroyed still barks, still threatens but, as the Fathers of the Church say, he is a chained dog: do not approach him and he will not bite you; but if you try to caress him because you are attracted to him as if he were a puppy, prepare yourself, he will destroy you.”
On September 18, the Vatican News service offered the following summation from Pope Francis’ homily:
“The Pope brought up that it was also the people who yelled ‘crucify him’. Jesus then compassionately remained silent because ‘the people were deceived by the powerful’, Pope Francis explained. His response was silence and prayer. Here the shepherd chooses silence when the ‘Great Accuser’ accuses him ‘through so many people’. Jesus ‘suffers, offers his life, and prays’, Pope Francis said.”
It is clear from all of this that Pope Francis has cast himself in the role of Christ who is silent before the “Great Accuser.” This is in itself blasphemous. Christ’s silence did not mask involvement in sexual abuse and its cover-up. He did not attack those who sought honest answers in regard to such heinous sins, nor did He claim that they were doing the work of the “Great Accuser”. He did not deny justice to the innocent who have been horrendously violated by such sins. Pope Francis’ “silence” in the face of what appear to be justified accusations is not therefore the silence of Christ in the face of the Great Accuser. It is rather the silence promoted by Satan in service to the Father of Lies.
To commit the sin of sacrilege is to “desecrate or steal a sacred person, place, or thing”. The Rosary is a sacramental (and the St. Michael the Angel Prayer and the Sub tuum are also holy things) which, if used with the intention to deceive or commit some evil, entails the commission of the sin of sacrilege. As documented above, this is precisely what Pope Francis is doing with his campaign to pray these prayers against the “Great Accuser”. His actions are especially grievous, because the Rosary is the designated means proposed by Our Lady for our own purification, the purification of the Church, and the conversion of all peoples.
We therefore completely reject this proposal of Pope Francis.
Our rejection is obviously not a refusal to pray the Rosary, but rather the contrary. We ask all the faithful to pray every Rosary For the Purification of the Church in order that, in accord with the mission entrusted by God to Mary’s Immaculate and Pierced Heart, “out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed”. We also ask all faithful Catholics to join us on February 2, 2019, Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, in order to unite in praying, not only for the purification of the whole Church, but also for the purification of the minds and hearts of each one of us.
New Effort! Please read the following:
It should have become obvious to every Catholic over the past few months that the crises (and they are many) now facing the Catholic Church can only be overcome through interior purification, and that all of our efforts to overcome the evils “out there” (abortion, secularism, terrorism, etc.) are bound to prove ineffective unless they are preceded by the prayer and penance needed to effect such interior purification. Without such purification, it is impossible that the Church, which was sent forth by Christ for the conversion of nations, can come once again to possess the power and grace necessary to carry out this mission.
On February 2, 2019, the double Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, there will occur the Second Annual Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church. We ask all Catholic faithful to join us in this effort by asking their parish priests to implement this event in their local parishes. There are links on this page to the Original Proposal (which explains the purpose and logic of this Rosary to the Interior)), a sample letter that may be sent to priests, and a suggested Holy Hour.
We are also beginning a new phase to this effort, which will enable each person who sees the value of the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church to become a full participant in its success. In the Menu can be found a link titled “Handout”, which contains a one-page explanation and promotion of this event, and which can be copied and distributed in all Catholic venues: Catholic churches, Rosary Marches, Adoration Chapels, Catholic Conferences, etc. We hope and pray that all Catholics who are concerned about the current state of the Church, and especially parents who are deeply concerned about their children and the future of their Church, will see the necessity of personally engaging in this work. Please contact us if you have any questions.