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Teilhardian Evolution and the Amazon Synod: The Nest of the Antichrist

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Please read our Original Proposal

Teilhardian Evolution and the Amazonian Synod:

The Nest of the Antichrist

You shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil(Gen 3:5)

 

Introduction

Teilhardian evolutionary theory, which is the dominant theology of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis (see our article The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns for irrefutable documentation in this regard), is rightly seen as the culmination of almost 2,000 years of Gnosticism eating away at the vital spirit of the Catholic Church. It is now poised for a quantum leap in its power of penetration into the heart of Catholic belief and worship through the scheduled October, 2019 Synod of Bishops, titled: Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology.

The reality that Teilhardian evolutionary theology constitutes the underlying agenda for the “New Paths for the Church” being promoted by those responsible for organizing the Amazonian Synod has been confirmed by the man whom Pope Francis appointed as the relator general for this coming Synod: Cardinal Emeritus Claudio Hummes of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Cardinal Hummes’ interview with Fr. Antonio Spadaro in La Civilita Catholicà (May 13, 2019) concerning the Synod and its focus on Integral Ecology, contains the following exchange:

Fr. Spadaro: “Does integral ecology have a theological foundation? Has it developed a theological vision?”

Cardinal Hummes:

“Pope Francis has spoken about this. The most important aspect of integral ecology, he has said, is that God became definitively related to this earth in Jesus Christ. As God is in relation, everything is interconnected. God chose to become tied through the incarnation of Jesus Christ, and Jesus is the culminating point we are all journeying toward. There are some splendid texts that describe this as the goal toward which all creatures are advancing, because they were not made for us. Their final end is not us. Their final purpose is transcendent; it is God. Certainly, in our turn, we need creatures to sustain us, but their vocation is transcendent and we, in their name, have to praise the Lord and lead them to God. In fact, one day all of them, in a mysterious way, in the logic of the resurrection, will take part in the definitive Kingdom. God will not destroy his creation, but will transform it in an Easter sense.

“So, the risen Jesus Christ is the summit toward which we are all moving, and he is the model that gives a first revelation about how the path we are journeying will be. Humanity does not move in circles, without orientation and without sense. We have to walk. There is a real future. The risen Jesus Christ is the great transcendent point toward which we walk. So integral ecology is the union of all this.

“This is why I often say that there is a need to rewrite Christology: St. Paul had referred to this culminating point in a path that continues. Teilhard de Chardin in turn spoke about it in his studies on evolution. All theology and Christology, as well as the theology of the sacraments, are to be reread starting from this great light for which “all is interconnected,” interrelated.”

We will be dealing more extensively with Teilhardian theology towards the end of the following historical examination of Gnosticism and its penetration into the Church. However, we have begun with the above exchange between Cardinal Hummes and Fr. Spadaro because the words and concepts employed therein deserve serious consideration, and possibly even a re-reading, during all of the reader’s efforts to understand what follows. In order to facilitate this understanding, we have rendered key concepts in the above quote in bold emphasis.

The statements that, “there is a need to rewrite Christology”, that “All theology and Christology, as well as the theology of the sacraments, are to be reread starting from this great light for which “all is interconnected,” interrelated”, and that all this is intimately tied to Teilhard de Chardin and his” studies on evolution” (all of these statements are in the last paragraph of the quote) are the key to understanding the agenda that is now being planned for the Amazonian Synod.

Cardinal Hummes further reveals that the general name given to this entire effort is “integral ecology”. At this point, the Teilhardian agenda in the Church merges with the secular agenda which is also called “integral ecology”, along with a host of other names: “sustainability”,” intercultuarity”, transversality, etc. There in fact seems to be no end to the multiplication of such terms and concepts. The overall effect upon the individual Catholic seems to be that he is persuaded that he is just too ignorant and unlearned to understand all of this, and to cow him into resignation and silence. To the contrary, upon hearing such terms, the faithful Catholic needs to strap on “all the armor of God” in preparation for combat.

This Teilhardian evolutionary agenda entails that we cease viewing the “final end” of creation and this world as exclusively “us”, and our attainment to union with God (only possible in Catholic doctrine for individual souls created in the image of God), but rather as an evolutionary goal in which all other created things are also destined to “take part in the definitive Kingdom” and thus attain union with God: “Their final purpose is transcendent; it is God”. This necessarily entails embrace of what is called Cosmic Evolution and the belief that, not only all living things, but all matter, is in evolutionary progression towards “Spirit” and what Teilhard de Chardin conceptualizes as the “Omega Point” and the “Christic” fulfillment of all creation.

Such a view of creation also therefore demands an integral ecology in the spiritual realm –an inclusiveness in the realms of faith and morals. It will therefore be the death of all fixed and absolute dogma and, if successful, will entail the extinction of all traditional Catholicism. All the efforts towards such things as allowing Holy Communion for the civilly divorced and re-married and those practicing contraception, inclusiveness towards those in homosexual relationships, institutionalizing the female deaconate and a married priesthood etc. should be seen in the light of this Teilhardian agenda of inclusiveness straining towards an integral ecology.

As we have said, Teilhardian theology is a culmination of the heresy of Gnosticism, which has plagued the Church for two millennia. A deeper understanding of what Gnosticism represents as the most profound enemy of the Truth of Christian Revelation requires therefore that we explore its history.

 

What is Gnosticism?

The 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article on Gnosticism, written by Fr. John Peter Arendzen, contains the following assessment of this heresy’s virulent assault upon early Christianity:

When Gnosticism came in touch with Christianity, which must have happened almost immediately on its appearance, Gnosticism threw itself with strange rapidity into Christian forms of thought, borrowed its nomenclature, acknowledged Jesus as Saviour of the world, simulated its sacraments, pretended to be an esoteric revelation of Christ and His Apostles, flooded the world with apocryphal Gospels, and Acts, and Apocalypses, to substantiate its claim. As Christianity grew within and without the Roman Empire, Gnosticism spread as a fungus at its root, and claimed to be the only true form of Christianity, unfit, indeed, for the vulgar crowd, but set apart for the gifted and the elect. So rank was its poisonous growth that there seemed danger of its stifling Christianity altogether, and the earliest Fathers devoted their energies to uprooting it.

The above passage speaks of a heresy which, in the depths of its intellectual perversions, possessed incredible power over the human mind, and which exerted an enormously destructive and poisonous influence upon Christian faith itself (the reader may better understand this if he considers that Arianism may be considered to have its roots in Gnosticism). And yet, this same article from the Catholic Encyclopedia concludes that Gnosticism only exerted a strong influence for a couple hundred years, was dead by the Fifth Century, and that “Gnosticism died not by chance, but because it lacked vital power within itself” (the Catholic Encyclopedia is not alone in this assessment – this is the common view held by very many Catholic historians). There seems to be a great contradiction here. How could anything so powerful, and seductive to the human spirit, die so quickly and easily?

It will be our purpose in this article to prove that the opposite is the case – that Gnosticism has always been very much with us; that its fundamental perversion of Catholic truth has always been very present and active among many writers and thinkers within the Church; and that, contrary to being a heresy which is non-existent or waning at the present time, it now represents a rapidly expanding culture of perversion of Catholic truth which is in preparation for the embrace of Antichrist.

The Gnosticism of the first few centuries of Christendom has always posed a dilemma to the Catholic historian. On the one hand, there has existed a significant consensus among Catholic scholars over the centuries that there is something which a good number of powerful early heresies possessed in common which justifies their common designation as “Gnostic”. On the other hand, because of the great diversities and varying degrees of complexity characteristic of these systems of thought, this “something” which they all possessed in common has seemed extremely difficult to formulate with any precision or simplicity. For instance, after stating that Gnosticism is most characteristically “the doctrine of salvation by knowledge”, Fr. Arendzen offers the following attempt at a more complete definition:

A collective name for a large number of greatly-varying pantheistic-idealistic sects, which flourished from some time before the Christian Era down to the fifth century, and which, while borrowing the phraseology and some of the tenets of the chief religions of the day, and especially of Christianity, held matter to be a deterioration of spirit, and the whole universe a depravation of the Deity, and taught the ultimate end of all being to be the overcoming of the grossness of matter [through the attainment of right ‘gnosis’] and the return to the Parent-Spirit, which return they held to be inaugurated and facilitated by the appearance of some God-sent Saviour.”

I would contend that the above definition, while containing much that penetrates into the Gnostic mindset, is likely to confuse more than enlighten simply because it fails to penetrate to that root heresy which is the source of all the rest of the errors generated by Gnosticism over the centuries. This root heresy I would formulate as follows:

Gnosticism is any system of thought and spirituality which, while asserting the reality of One, Infinite God or Supreme Being, explicitly or implicitly denies the Catholic truth of creation ex nihilo.”

All of the intellectual perversions which we have come to associate with the many forms of Gnosticism are the fruits of this ignorance or rejection of creation ex nihilo. As we shall see, the apparent disappearance of Gnosticism around the Fifth Century is an illusion, and this illusion is due to its shedding of the grosser forms of ancient pagan cosmologies, and its syncretization with Platonic and other forms of Eastern Idealism.

 

 The Gnostic Dilemma

Any religion or philosophy which posits the reality of an Infinite God (which term we shall use here to include any Infinite Being, even if that Being is considered Impersonal) is immediately faced with a profound dilemma – how to explain the existence of a finite universe, and especially the reality of lesser spiritual beings such as man. It is after all integral to the definition of an Infinite God that there can be no being outside of Him, since any such “other” would set limits to God’s Infinitude. This is just as true of monotheistic religions such as Christianity and Judaism, as it is of non-theistic forms of Monism such as Advaita Vedanta.

The only solution to this dilemma which does not involve either blatant self-contradiction (which as we shall see comes in many forms), or the absurd position of denial of the finite universe (in such philosophies as Advaita Vedanta or Parmenides), is the Catholic doctrine creation ex nihilo (creation from nothing). It is a truth which historically has never been part of any system of natural philosophy or religion, and only became known to man through God’s Revelation – both through the Old Testament Revelation to the Jews (2 Machabees 7:28), and through the Catholic Magisterium (especially the Fourth Lateran Council).

The reason that creation ex nihilo is able to solve the dilemma mentioned above – namely, how it is possible to believe in the reality of the finite world without compromising the Infinity of God – is two-fold:

First, it is absolutely true, under the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, that nothing exists outside God. This is extremely difficult for modern man, including Christians, to accept, but it is entirely scriptural. Colossians 1:16 matter-of-factly asserts, “For in him [Christ] were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things were created by him and in him.” And Paul declares to the Athenians, “For in him we live, and move, and are….(“ Acts 17:28).

St. Thomas writes:

I answer that, God is in all things; not, indeed, as part of their essence, nor as an accident; but as an agent is present to that upon which it works…Now since God causes this effect in things not only when they first begin to be, but as long as they are preserved in being; as light is caused in the air by the sun as long as the air remains illuminated…. Therefore as long as a thing has being, God must be present to it, according to its mode of being. Hence it must be that God is in all things, and innermostly.” (ST I, Q. 8, A.1).

The created being and existence of all things is both initially and continuously the fruit of God’s creative power and “work”, and therefore there is nothing which possesses being outside of God. All of creation, while it is “distinct” from God, yet in no way is separate from God, and therefore does nothing to compromise His Infinitude.

Second, since we were created out of nothing, our created being is in no way to be ontologically identified with God, or as being “part” of God, or as an “emanation” of God, or of containing anything in its nature which is divine. Our existence is wholly “by God and in God”, but this “in” God has nothing in it which speaks of us as possessing even one iota of the divine nature. We are truly created out of nothing, and this “out of nothing” precludes us possessing anything divine in our nature. It also makes absolutely inappropriate any use of the concept of “emanation” when speaking of creation in its relationship to God. We need be deeply suspicious of the thought and writing of any person who claims to be an orthodox Catholic while at the same time employing any language which speaks of “emanations” from God. And this is true no matter how vociferous may be his or her claim to believing in creation ex nihilo.

To summarize (and emphasize): it is only the Catholic doctrine of creation ex nihilo, when properly understood, which enables us to understand that while being absolutely ontologically distinct from God, we are in no way separate from God. Without this clear understanding of the doctrine of creation ex nihilo, the fundamental relationship between man and God necessarily becomes distorted and perverted, and the long trek of Gnosticism down through history, in all its varied forms, begins.

The “classical” forms of Christian Gnosticism of the earliest centuries comprise a vast array of syncretizations between Christianity and various forms of pagan and pre-Christian Gnostic cosmologies and mythologies. A number of theories have been propounded concerning the ultimate source of Gnosticism – India, Egypt, Syria, Persia. The solution to this question of origins matters nothing to our present inquiry. In fact, it would seem that the basic intellectual perversions integral to Gnosticism reach to such a depth of man’s fallen nature as to indicate its presence, in one form or another, in every culture which has managed to conceive of an Infinite God or Absolute.

All forms of Gnosticism are pantheistic. As Fr. Arendzen points out in his Catholic Encyclopedia article, all the early forms of Christian Gnosticism postulated what really amounts to some sort of “decay” in the Godhead (thus the contradiction inherent in these systems) in order to account for a finite world existing alongside an allegedly infinite Being. In effect, early Christian Gnosticism filled the “space” between God and man with a bewildering company of emanations or births of lesser beings which account for this “decay” away from the Absolute, and thus the existence of a finite world. And since the finite world’s existence is due to births or emanations from the Godhead, all of creation itself, and especially man, must be considered to possess at least a “spark” of the divine within its created nature (thus the pantheism). The entire concept of salvation then becomes a matter of “return” of the entire cosmos to the Godhead – this return being achieved through what is usually a secret or esoteric gnosis or knowledge of this divine origin.

It is immensely important at this point of our analysis to realize the radical opposition of the Gnostic concept of “knowledge” as a means of “deification” from the truly Catholic concept of knowledge as the “Way” of salvation. The Gnostic path is one of interior realization of the divinity within. The Catholic Way is one of knowing Christ, confessing Faith in Christ, and receiving the grace from above which, with our cooperation, effects interior transformation and sanctification. Gnostic salvation, in other words, comes from below, while Christian salvation is received entirely as “gift” from above.

It should also be noted here that it has always been the devious tactic of Gnostics to quote Luke 17; 21 – “For lo the kingdom of God is within you” – in defense of their concept of “gnosis” which views deification as a knowledge which removes the “veils” uncovering divinity within man. St. Thomas and the early Fathers provide explicit refutation of this view. In the Catena Aurea, Thomas offers several commentaries on the meaning of this concept of the kingdom of God or Heaven being within us. Concerning Luke 17: 21, He quotes Venerable Bede:

Or the kingdom of God means that He Himself is placed in the midst of them, that is, reigning in their hearts by faith.”

And in the commentary on the parable concerning the kingdom of heaven being like a mustard seed (Luke 13: 18-21), he quotes St. Ambrose:

And in another place, a grain of mustard seed is introduced where it is compared to faith. If then the mustard seed is the kingdom of God, and faith is as the grain of mustard seed; faith is truly the kingdom of heaven, which is within us.”

In other words, the “kingdom of heaven within us” lies precisely in that act of faith with its corresponding virtues which in its spiritual dynamics moves in a direction diametrically opposed to the deification proposed by Gnosticism. Salvation is a matter of surrendering to the grace and knowledge descending from above, rather than the Gnostic asceticism and knowledge seeking to uncover a “light” within – even if this light be deceptively equated with Christ or the Holy Spirit. As Paul writes, “For Satan himself transformeth himself into an angel of light” (2 Cor 11:14).

 

Gnosticism Transformed and Accepted

Classical Gnosticism, with its many “lesser” divinities ( Demiurges, Sophia-goddesses, Aeons, etc.) attempting to fill the void between the Infinite God and man in order to obfuscate the inherent contradictions present in Gnostic theology and cosmology, was obviously too crude and pagan to survive long in the light of Christian intelligence. But the core principles of Gnosticism – those perversions of intelligence which profoundly distorted the basic orientations of the human soul to God – possessed the power and subtlety to infect Christianity at its deepest levels, and to do so over all the ensuing centuries with increasing power and pervasiveness.

As I have pointed out, all forms of Gnosticism are rooted in an explicit or implicit denial of creation ex nihilo. It is most characteristic of Christian Gnosticism that this denial is implicit. Very few Catholics between the time of Christ and our modern era would have proposed outright denial of the truth that God created everything out of nothing. But the implicit denial of creation ex nihilo, despite explicit and professed acceptance of this defined dogma by virtually all Christians, can be fully operative in vast numbers of Catholic minds and hearts through the denial or distortion of principles integral to this doctrine’s integrity.

The most basic belief of Gnosticism – and this it shares with orthodox Catholicism – is the Infinitude of God. It would seem almost a necessary conclusion of any sort of matured human thought that a God who has any limitations whatsoever is not worthy of human belief. But it is after this initial point of agreement with Catholic doctrine that Gnosticism begins its plunge into manifold and immensely destructive errors in regard to both God and man. The first of these errors to gain widespread acceptance by otherwise orthodox Catholic thinkers is that the Essence of God is totally unknowable by any created being.

We must remember that in Gnostic thought the created world always represents something un-Godly – a decay away from the Absolute. This is why Gnosticism is always associated, either explicitly or implicitly, with some degree of Manichaeism. But there is a corollary of this theological coin. In order to protect the Infinitude and, so to speak, the “Purity” of God, His Supreme Essence must be made totally unapproachable by man.

We find ourselves here at the true crisis point in any religion or philosophical system which is seeking the ultimate fulfillment of the human heart and mind in union with an Infinite God – how to accomplish this union without compromising God. We shall explore the Catholic position further on. Right now, we shall focus on the road necessarily (inherently) taken by Gnosticism.

Since, according to Gnostic logic, the Supreme Essence of God must remain absolutely remote, untouchable, unapproachable, and unknowable; and since Gnosticism, in spite of this, is absolutely committed to the claim that it offers an esoteric road to the “divinization” of man (and therefore an alleged real union with God): then, accordingly, all of this necessitates that a Divine Division must be made between the Essence of God (Unknowable and Unapproachable), on the one hand, and His Attributes, Energies, or Operations, on the other – the latter indeed being subject to human gnosis, and to which Gnosticism claims to offer the Way. In other words, a kind of Divine Duplicity must be made within God Himself between His Essence and His Attributes or Energies. And, having been forced to abandon all of its cruder cosmologies, Gnosticism, which many an historian had concluded had been extinguished, finds itself, ironically, in a profoundly enhanced position to enter “by arts entirely new” into the heart of Catholic thought. This process begins historically with that branch of theology known as Eschatology (which is concerned with man’s final end), and moves from there into Mystical Theology.

The process begins with the Eastern Fathers, including men such as St. Basil, St. Gregory Nazianzen, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. John Damascene, and St. Maximus the Confessor, all of whom taught the absolutely unapproachable and unknowable nature of God’s Essence. Man’s final union with the Divine consequently consisted, in their view, in union with the Divine Attributes or “Energies,” and never in that vision of the Divine Essence which Catholic Dogma terms the “Beatific Vision”. The truth of this assessment of the thought of the Eastern Fathers is verifiable for any who wish to do the research, and can easily be verified by consulting various websites (especially the Eastern Orthodox – they are proud of this fact). The following quote is taken from an article titled Notes on the Palamite Controversy and Related Topics, written by Fr. John S. Romanides, and published in the Greek Orthodox Theological Review (Winter, 1960-61). Fr. Romanides was Professor of Dogmatic Theology at several universities, and for a long time the representative of the Greek Orthodox Church to the World Council of Churches:

“The Fathers are emphatic in denying the possibility of any vision of the divine essence not only in this life but also in the next. The East Roman Fathers deny vision of the divine essence even to angels. This denial of course means that the Latin notion of beatific vision is rejected outright.”

It needs be added that this error, while having very serious future consequences (as we shall see), does not entail denial of the holiness of these men or prevent their Sainthood (we must especially consider that this doctrine had not yet been defined – it was defined by Benedict XII in the Constitution Benedictus Deus in 1336). It simply means that even the best of men and Saints can make some very serious mistakes in both thinking and action, and that these errors can prove ruinous as their implicit consequences unravel down through time.

The eventual fruit of this error (which postulates the absolutely unapproachable and unknowable Essence of God) was the Eastern Schism. It is necessary for us at this point to spend some effort in trying to understand why this is so.

It has been the false conclusion of many historians that the reasons for the separation of the Eastern Churches were primarily political – the fruit of geographical, civil, and religious division and competition. These factors certainly augmented, and did much to solidify, the division between East and West, but they do not reach to the primary cause of this tragedy. The Eastern Schism has its roots in what can only be considered a profoundly different mindset from that of the West. Its efficient cause therefore lies in theological error.

By the time of the final break in 1054 (but also fully evident in the Photian Schism in 867), this theological division was most deeply entrenched in the denial of the Filioque (the Catholic doctrine that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son). It is revealing that modern Catholic theologians tend to treat this denial as inconsequential, while their counterparts in Eastern Orthodoxy treat it as the theological divide from which all other differences take their sustenance. As we shall see, it is the denial of the Filioque which provides the theological “door” through which Gnosticism is able to enter deeply into Eastern Christian thought. In order to understand this connection, however, it is first necessary to offer some considerations concerning the identity of the Trinity with the Supreme Essence of God, and the relationships which exist between the Three Divine Persons within the Godhead.

The most immediate effect of making the Essence of God unknowable and unapproachable is the undermining of belief in God as Person. It is ingrained within us, easily recognizable in our language, that the concept of “person” is intimately associated with knowability. When we speak of someone as being personable, as possessing a strong personality, a difficult or obnoxious personality, or even a hidden personality, we are intimately associating the concept of person with some-such knowability. The Essence of God, in other words, cannot be totally unknowable, without implicitly and intrinsically denying Personhood to God. This, in turn, necessarily creates an absolute divide between God’s Essence, and any notion of a Trinity of Divine Persons. The self-contradictory position of the Church Fathers mentioned above becomes especially evident when we consider the Divine Person of Jesus Christ. If God’s Supreme Essence be totally unknowable, then there is no logical way in which we can assert the identity of Christ with this Supreme Essence. We do well at this point to contrast this view of the Eastern Fathers with that of St. Thomas:

Since everything is knowable according as it is actual, God, Who is pure act without any admixture of potentiality, is in Himself supremely knowable.” (ST I, 12, A.1).

Since, in accord with the fully Catholic understanding of the Godhead, the Trinity is to be identified with the Essence of God, then the knowledge which we have received through Divine Revelation concerning the Trinity is a very real, even though finite and not comprehensive, knowledge of God’s Essence. This knowledge is certainly not the same as seeing God’s Essence – something which is reserved to the Beatific Vision – but it is true knowledge nevertheless. And since we are created in the image of God, the relationships which exist between the Three Persons of the Trinity is reflected in the constitution of every human being. Any error in Christian belief which distorts the proper relationships between Father, Son, and Holy Ghost is therefore bound to breed disastrous fruits in both the natural and supernatural realms of man’s existence.

By revealing the relationships which exist between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the doctrine of the Trinity also establishes the absolutely necessary relationships that must exist between Being, Truth, and Love – on the Divine, as well as the human levels. God the Father, as the principle source of all Being, generates the Word as the Truth Who is the fullness of Knowledge of His own Being. The Holy Spirit proceeds from both the Father and the Son (Filioque) as the Love which unites Them. The Holy Spirit must proceed from the Son because Love must proceed from Truth. Love that does not proceed from truth always opens the Gates of Hell, a fact to which human experience gives ample testimony. The world is now saturated in “loves” bifurcated from truth.

We need mention here that the liberation of the Holy Spirit from the Incarnation, through the rejection of the Catholic doctrine concerning the Filioque, has had immense effects upon Eastern Orthodox positions in reference to all sorts of Catholic doctrines: rejection of God’s Absolute Divine Simplicity or Oneness (as we shall see, absolutely impossible in light of Palamite theology concerning the ontological distinction between God’s Essence and His “Energies”), rejection of purgatory; rejection of the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption; rejection of Transubstantiation; rejection of grace as something “superadded” to man’s substantial human nature, rejection of the Catholic doctrine on Original Sin; rejection of the doctrine concerning sanctifying grace, and of the concepts of merit, and the distinction between mortal and venial sin; rejection of the Papacy, rejection of the Church’s teaching on contraception and divorce (and, of course, there is no unanimity even in these rejections – there can be no unanimity where there is no Papacy or Magisterium). In other words, denial of the Holy Spirit’s procession from Christ has resulted in the denigration of the concept of Dogma, and the rejection of innumerable Catholic doctrines.

But Jesus Christ is not only the Truth generated from God the Father. He is also Truth become Incarnate. The procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son is also therefore now intimately tied to His Humanity. And since the Holy Spirit is the Divine Person appropriated to our interior life and sanctification, the Divine Love which proceeds into our souls from the Son Who is Truth Incarnate can only be fruitful within us if we follow this spiration which returns to Jesus, and follows Jesus, through His humanity. This is the Way to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, and of incorporation into His Mystical Body. It is what in Catholic spirituality is titled The Imitation of Christ.

The consequences of denying this procession of the Holy Spirit from Christ therefore tends to undermine every aspect of the Faith which is in any way tied intimately to the Incarnation. This comes severely to fruition in the Eastern Schism – the rejection of the penultimate continuation of the Incarnation in the Roman Catholic Church and the institution of the Papacy. But it is present in the Eastern Churches much earlier.

It has been rightly noted that all of the early Christological heresies – Arianism, Nestorianism. Monophysitism, etc. came “out of the East”. All of them, at their root, involve Gnostic principles. This is especially evident in Arianism, the most destructive of all. Arius, like all Gnostics, could not conceive of Jesus Christ as being One in Essence with the Father, and therefore made him into something akin to the Gnostic Aeons, etc. who are removed from being One with the Father.

Eutyches, the author of the Monophysite heresy, simply brought Gnosticism to bear from the opposite direction. God could not possibly unite to a human nature because such a nature, being finite, would compromise His Infinitude. It was necessary therefore to claim that in Christ the Divine Nature fully absorbed all that was human, leaving only the Divine.

Nestorius, on the other hand, offered his solution to the Gnostic dilemma by claiming essentially that there were two Persons in Christ. The Divine Person could thus remain untouched by the human, and Mary was not the Mother of God, but only of the human.

All of these Christological heresies have one thing in common – they “dissolve” Jesus Christ of the fullness of union of human and Divine Natures. St. John writes”

By this is the spirit of God known. Every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God: And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus, is not of God: and this is Antichrist, of whom you have heard, that he cometh, and he is now already in the world.” (1 John 4:2-3).

The spirit of Antichrist is, in other words, the spirit of Gnosticism. And even though Gnosticism largely lost the battle in the realm of dogma, and these doctrinal victories were won in Church Councils with the aid of many Eastern Fathers, the evil spirit of Gnosticism remained virulent, and finally came to fruition in the denial of the Filioque. As we shall see, it is this heresy which enabled the translation of Gnosticism from grosser, and what might be considered “exterior” cosmological and Christological heresies, into the interior of man – in the form of a spirituality and mystical theology which undermines the Incarnation, inverts the spiritual life, and prepares the way for the ascension of the Antichrist.

 

The Transformation of Gnosticism into Mystical Theology

Even before the controversy concerning the Filioque, the interiorization of Gnostic principles in the spiritual life of Christianity becomes powerfully evident in the rise of Iconoclasm. A short examination of this heresy will help us penetrate into the depth of that religiosity which finally erupted in the denial of the Holy Spirit’s procession from Christ.

The Iconoclastic heresy, while certainly long-festering in the Eastern mindset, first erupted into confrontation with Rome in the year 730 with a vehement exchange of letters between the Eastern Emperor, Leo III, and Pope Gregory II, and culminating with a threat from the Emperor to depose the Pope. The persecution reached full proportion in the following year with a declaration issued by the emperor stating that whoever refused to destroy images, or paid honour to them, was a rebel against the State.

The complicated history of this heresy, and its formal condemnation by the Second General Council of Nicaea in 787 is indeed tortuous and involved fifty-three years of formal schism of the See of Constantinople, and the hundreds of sees dependent upon it, from Rome (for further examination of this history see Phillip Hughes The Church in Crisis: A History of the General Councils 1325-1870). Nor did Nicaea II manage to extirpate the heresy – it would rage on after the Council, with attendant persecutions on and off, for at least another 55 years until the death of Emperor Theophilus in 842 and the subsequent deposition of the Iconoclast Patriarch John the Grammarian. There then ensued 25 years of peace between the Eastern Churches and Rome until the intrusion of Photius into the See of Constantinople and his excommunication of the Pope in 867 for, among other things, teaching the alleged heresy of the Filioque.

As we have seen, the Filioque – the procession of the Holy Spirit from the Son – is a doctrine absolutely necessary, not only for maintaining the primacy of Truth over love (and all things pertaining to the will), but also the integrity of all that comprises the incarnational nature of our Faith. The denial of this Dogma, and its virtual universal acceptance in the Eastern Churches, required a spirituality deeply compromised in respect to the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, This preparation for the Filioque heresy was largely accomplished, not only through the earlier Christological heresies, but also through Iconoclasm.

It is Catholic doctrine that all things created by God are good, and in fact show forth the manifold goodness and perfection of God. They in no way constitute any sort of decay away from the Divine, nor do they in themselves detract from God. Detraction and evil are present only through the free wills of angels and men falsifying the goodness of God’s creation.

The Incarnation of Jesus Christ, of course, raised the goodness of all of creation, and especially man, to an exalted new level. This means that it also raised all of man’s faculties, and their legitimate operations and arts, in service to love and worship of God. Christ, Our Blessed Mother, and the Saints all possessed visible form and flesh. And even those spiritual realities such as God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, Angels, and also such things as the virtues, require a certain amount of representation, imagination, and visualization in order to “make them flesh” for the sake of man’s growth in the spiritual life and in imitation of Christ. God, in other words, did not make man’s imagination, and his legitimate pursuit of artistic creativity, for the pursuit of fantasy.

The primary effect of Iconoclasm upon the human soul, therefore, is the destruction of that spirituality centered in the Incarnation and humanity of Christ, and the turning to a spirituality which is Manichaean, de-personalized, subjectified, and interiorized. It terminates, in other words, in the classic spirituality of Gnosticism which seeks the God within.

It should be noted also that the spirit of Iconoclasm did not end in the East with the alleged triumph over the Iconoclastic Heresy. It became enthroned in a much more subtle form in the Iconography which, in its two-dimensional, stylized, non-realistic, representations of Christ, His Mother Mary, and the Saints, and in its deeply-set aversion to three-dimensional realism, also constitutes a retreat from the fullness of the Incarnation. Just as in the Eastern Liturgy, where Jesus is made present behind the Iconostasis screen, and this act is hidden from the faithful, so in Eastern iconography all that is truly “flesh” in the Incarnation must be obscured in order to move away from a spirituality centered upon following the Incarnate Jesus Christ, to one centered upon the Spirit within man. The key to accomplishing this radical inversion of Christian spirituality was the “liberating” of the Holy Spirit from Christ and the primacy of the Incarnation. Thus the denial of the Filioque. All the implicit consequences of this “liberation” come to fruition in the Mystical Theology of the 13th century monk, priest, and eventual Archbishop of Thessaloniki Gregory Palamas.

 

Palamism:

The Culmination of Eastern Christian Gnosticism

The Gnostic-inspired division between the Essence of God and His Attributes, Energies, or Operations, and the subsequent denial of the Filioque, come to fruition in a theology which, in denying the procession of the Holy Spirit from Christ, places the Holy Spirit within creation, and especially within man, from the beginning. This denial of the Filioque thus becomes the primary means by which Pantheism enters into the spirituality and thought of the East. Its final culmination comes down to us in the thought of Gregory Palamas (1296- 1359). Palamism is unquestionably the dominant theology in contemporary Eastern theology, both Byzantine and Russian – it was embraced by a series of Eastern Councils in the 14th century. It is the culmination of a progressive development through many thinkers – including the Eastern Fathers already mentioned, Pseudo-Dionysius (to be examined below in our analysis of Western Gnostic spirituality), Isaac the Syrian (7th century), Photius, Symeon the New Theologian (d. 1022), and Michael Cerularius (Patriarch of Constantinople during the Schism of 1054). It is unnecessary for us to examine this process, but only to be aware of the continuous and growing presence of these Gnostic tendencies.

It is first necessary to examine, in the thought of Gregory Palamas, the culmination of the Eastern distinction between the Essence of God and His “Energies”:

All these [the Divine Energies] exist not in Him, but around Him.” (The Triads, p. 97 – all quotes from Palamas are taken from The Triads, translated by John Meyendorff, published by Paulist Press).

“But He Who is beyond every name is not identical with what He is named; for the essence and energy of God are not identical.” (Ibid.).

The superessential essence of God is thus not to be identified with the energies, even with those without beginning; from which it follows that it is not only transcendent to any energy whatsoever, but that it transcends them ‘to an infinite degree and an infinite number of times’, as the divine Maximus says.” (Ibid., p. 96).

Since the Essence of God is unapproachable and unknowable, then man’s knowledge of God becomes possible only through “communion” with the Divine Energies. This is where a “liberated” Holy Spirit (Who logically must not be identified with the Essence of God) fulfills His function:

The essence of God is everywhere, for, as it is said, ‘the Spirit fills all things’, according to essence. Deification is likewise everywhere, ineffably present in the essence and inseparable from it, as its natural power. But just as one cannot see fire, if there is no matter to receive it, nor any sense organ capable of perceiving its luminous energy, in the same way one cannot contemplate deification if there is no matter to receive the divine manifestation. But if with every veil removed it lays hold of appropriate matter, that is of any purified rational nature, freed from the veil of manifold evil, then it becomes itself visible as a spiritual light, or rather it transforms these creatures into spiritual light.” (Ibid., p. 89).

As John Meyendorff (translator of Gregory Palamas’ The Triads, and possibly the most influential Palamite of the 20th century) writes:

The true purpose of creation is, therefore, not contemplation of divine essence (which is inaccessible), but communion in divine energy, transfiguration, and transparency to divine action in the world.” (Meyendorff, Byzantine Theology p.133)

This is so because the Divine is part of man’s nature from the beginning of his existence:

This concept of salvation [Palamite] is itself based upon an understanding of the human being which views the natural [this is Meyendorff’s own emphasis] state of man as composed of three elements: body, soul, and Holy Spirit….The Spirit is not seen here as a ‘supernatural’ grace – added to an otherwise ‘natural,’ created humanity – but as a function of humanity itself in its dynamic relationship to God, to itself, and to the world.” (Meyendorff, Catholicity and the Church, p.21).

The perversion of Christian thought which began with the denial of the Filioque is now complete. The Holy Spirit, in the words of the much acclaimed Russian philosopher Vladimir Soloviev, has become the pantheistic “Soul of the World”. The believer’s vision is now turned inward through an asceticism and practice of prayer which seeks to release the Divine Light and “Energies” within. This is epitomized in Hesychasm – the centuries-old practice of prayer, approved by the Orthodox Church, and constituting the entire waking life of the monks of Mount Athos (and others). It consists in ascetical and psychosomatic practices (including breathing exercise and certain postures), the withdrawal from all sensory experience, the stilling of all interior sensation, imagination, and thoughts, and the constant repetition of the “Jesus Prayer.” The ultimate purpose is experiential – the achieving of the experience of Divine Light – the “Uncreated” Light which Eastern Orthodox theology claims to be the same light surrounding Jesus at the Transfiguration. The Transfiguration is, in fact, the most important Feast for Eastern Orthodox spirituality.

The Eastern Orthodox of course attribute this experience of “Divine Light” to Divine grace. But, as in so many things with Gnostic spirituality, the word “grace” does not mean the same thing as it does in Catholicism. Vladimir Lossky, who rivals Meyendorff for the title of the most important Eastern Orthodox author of the 20th century, writes the following about the Eastern understanding of grace:

The Eastern tradition knows nothing of ‘pure nature’ to which grace is added as a supernatural gift. For it, there is no natural or ‘normal’ state, since grace is implied in the act of creation itself.” (Vladimir Lossky, Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, p. 101)

The notion of a state of grace of which the members of the Church can be deprived, as well as the distinction between venial and mortal sins, are foreign to Eastern tradition.” (Ibid., p.180).

In other words, grace, the Holy Spirit, and Deification are present in creation from the beginning, and access to salvation lies through that gnosis which is able to uncover it within. Just as the original temptation offered to Eve was that she could possess a knowledge independent of God, so the “Gnosis” of Eastern Orthodoxy is proposed as a birthright rather than a supernatural gift added to man’s nature from above.

It remains for us to understand the role of Christ in Eastern Orthodox theology. The premier image of Christ in Eastern Iconography is the Pantocrator – Christ in Majesty. Christ is truly the God-Man Who accomplished our redemption and is triumphant. The Iconography of the Pantocrator is not intended to be just a representation, but a spiritual doorway through which we perceive not only the majesty of Christ, but also our own deification. It is a means to the contemplation of the divinity within ourselves and all of creation. It is a vehicle of Light which is intended to replicate the deifying experience of the Apostles Peter, James, and John at the Transfiguration on a “high mountain” (an image of the “mountain” of Gnosis).

Christ thus earned redemption for man, but this redemption is not to be attained through an imitation of Christ, but rather through the interior action of the Holy Spirit Who does not proceed from Christ. As Lossky writes:

The cult of the humanity of Christ, is foreign to Eastern tradition….The way of the imitation of Christ is never practiced in the spiritual life of the Eastern Church.” (Vladimir Lossky, Mystical Theology of the Eastern Church, 243).

This statement should absolutely astound anyone of true Catholic sentiment. There is likely no single statement which could better illustrate the profound and impassable divide between Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

One last thing deserves mentioning. Eastern Orthodoxy is not a religion of children or simple souls. It is one of wizened old men with grey beards. Children cannot practice Hesychasm. And yet our Lord says to His disciples: “Unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” In Eastern Orthodoxy, there is no Bernadette of Lourdes or Lucia of Fatima in intimate colloquy with Our Lady, no Jacinta or Francisco, no Juan Diego being addressed by the Mother of God as “my littlest child”. There is no Catherine of Sienna in dialogue with God the Father, no Apparitions of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, no Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal, no Francis and the Stigmata. There is little or no evidence of human or Divine personality, no lifting of mind and heart in love to God in order to receive grace from above.

Union with the Eastern Orthodox has been a premier goal of Catholic Ecumenism. If such is accomplished it may indeed be a marriage which will form the nest for the birth of Antichrist. The West, in its present betrayal of its own Magisterial tradition, is now providing its own, quite unique, forms of Gnostic perversions to the building of this nest. It is to an analysis of the progression of Gnostic spirituality in the West that we now turn.

 

Platonism: The Foundation Stone of Western Gnosticism

Western Christianity (Catholicism), possessing as it does an Infallible Magisterium and the Papacy, provided a much greater resistance to Gnostic principles. It will be our purpose here, however, to prove that we are now in a stranglehold of Gnostic spirituality which far outstrips any which existed in the early centuries of the Church.

We could in fact run a sort of imaginary line down through the history of the Catholic Church (we will not here be dealing with Protestantism) separating Gnostic-tainted philosophy, theology, and spirituality from that which is truly Catholic. What this largely entails since the 13th century is a choice between Platonism and Thomism. But even before Thomas, this distinction between a spirituality which reaches upwards in imitation of Christ, as contrasted with that which seeks an illumination from within or below, is often starkly evident.

The History of Western Gnosticism is more complex than that of the East. It entails the unraveling down through the centuries of three fundamental intellectual aberrations, all of which are to be found in Plato.

The first of these consists in what is commonly called Platonic Idealism. The word Idealism” is singularly appropriate since it denotes the fact that Plato taught that the Ideas of things are more real than the existing things themselves.

These Ideas exist ultimately in pure Forms which are completely separate from phenomena, but from which (somehow) the illusory shadow-land of our phenomenological world is derived. The penultimate Form is the Good, which is also the One from which all the other Forms are derived. In Plato’s Idealism we are therefore again confronted with the first principle of Gnosticism: the existence of an Absolute, completely separate and untouched by the world. There is no real explanation given by Plato for the decay away from the Ideal world (all men were once there – Plato definitely believed in the pre-existence of the human soul in complete union with this Ideal world) into the shadow-world of phenomena. Although there is some reference in Timaeus to the demiurge and to created gods, this is usually not considered something that can be taken seriously in Plato’s philosophy. We are left in other words with the same basic dilemma as exists in all forms of Gnosticism: how to account for a “decayed” world of finitude and phenomena somehow coming forth from an Absolute which is infinitely perfect.

The second Gnostic principle integral to Plato’s philosophy is that Gnosis or “salvation” is not accomplished through receiving truth and grace from above, but is rather a Dialectical Process –an evolutionary process of uncovering that which is within. At this point we move from Plato’s metaphysics to his epistemology. The entire thrust of the Dialogues is upon revealing the dialectical process by which man is enabled to ascend from the delusional world of phenomena to the real world of Ideas. This obviously entails an ascent of gnosis.

As already mentioned, Plato believed that all men pre-existed in the real world of pure Forms or Ideas. Plato’s concept of gnosis is therefore established in the principle that all real knowledge is recollection (a process of “return”). The “ascent” to Gnosis is, consequently, a descent into remembering what man knew before he suffered a fall away into entrapment in a body and into the world of phenomena. This “recollection” is realized through a dialectical growth in knowledge ascending through four different levels: 1) the illusory world of phenomena; 2) knowledge of the physical sciences; 3) knowledge of mathematics; 4) all of this “dialectic” culminating in the final stage which is constituted as an intuitive, contemplative knowledge of the Pure Forms or Ideas.

In The Republic, Plato details the social engineering necessary in order that this evolutionary and hierarchical structure of gnosis might be reflected in an orderly society. All children are to be taken away from their parents in infancy and raised by the State. Depending upon abilities revealed in childhood, they are to be permanently assigned to one of the three classes, corresponding to the threefold structure of the human soul – rational, “spirited”, and appetitive. Even the elite – those who are born with the highest rational qualities to achieve such gnosis in this life – must be taken away from their homes in infancy and rigorously trained and elevated in knowledge through the four stages, this process hopefully culminating in true contemplation of the Ideas at about the age of 60, at which time they become worthy of the position of “philosopher-kings”. The vast majority of men never ascend above the first stage in this life, and of course those in stages 2 and 3 also do not reach true gnosis. Plato therefore believed in the transmigration of souls (reincarnation). In the dialogue of Phaedo, Socrates even speculates that a villain in this life might come back as a wolf, or that a good citizen who never learned philosophy, but yet lived a disciplined life, might return as a bee, an ant, or a human being. The entire process to human fulfillment is thus to be seen as deeply embedded in evolutionary thinking concerning the ultimate destiny of the human soul.

The third principle, intimately tied to the second and providing the dynamic which leads to this dialectical, evolutionary growth in gnosis, is that of dialogue. All of Plato’s philosophical works come to us in the form of Dialogues. The Socratic Dialogue is maieutical. This term describes a teaching method based on the principal that truth and salvation is not something which is received from above, but rather must be born from something that is within man. The term is derived from the Greek word for obstetric. Truth is a birth accompanied by labor.

The essence of the Socratic Method is therefore a dialectical dialogue in which opposing views are discussed on a specific issue in order to engage in a process of critical thinking which gives birth to a synthesis, which is constituted by an intuitive, contemplative gnosis of the Truth already existing within man. Presumably, all of this culminates in Gnosis of the One (the Good), this effecting the final Gnosis and liberation of the human soul.

It is characteristic of most Thomists that they see only Platonic Idealism, and not also the other two Platonic principles which I have mentioned above, as constituting the source of Gnostic thinking present in Catholic thought down through the centuries. This eviscerates our understanding of the depths of destruction inherent in Platonic thought, obscures our ability to perceive the three distinct expressions of Platonic Gnosticism as they present themselves in individual thinkers and movements, and undermines our ability to penetrate to the historical depths of our present crisis. As we shall see, it is in fact the merging of these three foundational aberrations in Catholic thought which culminates in Modernism, and the coming to fruition of Gnosticism in the West. This, in turn, is preparing the way for a merging of Catholic Gnosticism with that of the Eastern Orthodox, a union which would do much to facilitate the coming of Antichrist.

 

Neo-Platonism: The Culmination of Non-Christian Platonism

It is Neo-Platonism which carries the first principle of Plato’s thinking to its inevitable, logical conclusion. Neo-Platonism is worth examining here because it provides the transitional concepts by which Platonism is transformed into a false Christian Mysticism which has infected large portions of the Church since its earliest centuries.

The founder of Neo-Platonism is considered to be Ammonius Saccas, a porter on the docks of Alexandria, who left no writings. He is known to have been the teacher of Plotinus (205-270 AD), who was Neo-Platonism’s first systematic teacher, and the author of the Enneads.

Plotinus’ system emphatically begins with Platonic idealism. The world of the spirit – of mind – is definitely more real than that of matter. This inevitably leads to the postulating of an Absolute which is Infinite, and which is God. God, since He is Infinite, must exceed all the categories of human thought. He is beyond both Being and Non-being, beyond Existence, and beyond Mind – He cannot even be said to be self-aware, since this involves distinction and duality. We may, however, apply to Him the attributes of Oneness and Goodness (as in Plato).

Plotinus’ God is not a Creator. Rather, it is in the very nature of Goodness to necessarily diffuse Itself – this resulting in emanations from the One in a descending order of beings possessing less and less of the One. The cycle of emanations begins with Divine Intellect (Nous), which is the image of the One, but at the same time is constituted as being more than One since it contains within itself the multiple ideas and archetypes of things. Thus, multiplicity, distinction, and limitation enter into reality. From this initial diffusion and differentiation is produced the World-Soul, which then contains the principles and forces for successive differentiations, from the human soul all the way down to matter

Man, as a spiritual being trapped in flesh (which is to be equated with darkness and unreality), must seek liberation and salvation through denial of all things physical and a return through Gnosis, which is at the same time an ascent through the intellect leading to contemplation of, and union with, the One.

It should also be mentioned that there is much in all of this which smacks of Advaita Vedanta, the highest, monistic form of Hindu philosophy. It is known that Plotinus journeyed to Persia with the army of Gordian III in search of the philosophy of Persia and India. It would seem fair to conclude that Neo-Platonism therefore represents the first great infusion of philosophical Hinduism into Western thought.

Several prominent and influential Neo-Platonists succeeded Plotinus: Porphyry, Iamblichus, and Proclus. Proclus (412-485 AD) is of special importance for us here because it is with his philosophy that we see clearly the uniting of the concept of a cyclic dialectic with the extreme Idealism of Neo-Platonism. Proclus taught that all emanation from the One is serial, and therefore involves a cyclic movement emanating from the One and finally descending down to matter which is the antithesis of the One. The third term of the dialectic – synthesis – is then accomplished through a Gnostic ascent and return to final union of all existence with the One.

And, as we shall see, it is through the agency of Proculus’ writings that Neo-Platonic Gnosticism streams into Christian theology in the thought of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.

 

Pseudo-Dionysius and Christian Neo-Platonism

The primary source for the development of modern Western Gnosticism is Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (who, for the sake of brevity, I shall simply refer to as Dionysius). It is necessary here to spend significant space in examination of his influence and thought.

We must begin by realizing that Pseudo-Dionysius was an imposter. He certainly deserves to be in-the-running for the greatest con-man in Western intellectual history.

Dionysius claimed to have witnessed the eclipse of the sun at the time of the Crucifixion, to have been a contemporary of the Apostles, a disciple of St. Paul (the Dionysius mentioned in Acts 17:34), to be writing to the Apostle Timothy, and to have stood by at the dead body of Our Blessed Mother along with the other Apostles.

It is now known with certainty that Pseudo-Dionysius lived and wrote no earlier than the 6th century, and possibly into the beginning of the 7th. The questioning of his “apostolicity” began around the time of Erasmus (16th century), and the fraudulent nature of his claims was finally determined with certainty only at the end of the 19th century by two independent researchers who discovered that virtually whole sections of his writings had been lifted from the Neo-Platonist Proclus (Fifth Century). No mention of Dionysius or his writings is to be found before the end of the 6th century.

It is interesting that in his Wednesday General Audience of May 14, 2008, Pope Benedict claimed that Dionysius’ posing as a contemporary of the Apostles was an “act of humility.” Here is an example of such “humility” in action in regard to his claim to have been present at the death of Our Lady (from chapter III of The Divine Names):

For even among our inspired Hierarchs (when, as thou knowest, we with him [Dionysius is here speaking of his alleged teacher Hierotheus] and many of our holy brethren met together to behold that mortal body, Source of Life, which received the Incarnate God, and James, the brother of John was there, and Peter, the chief and highest of the Sacred writers, and then, having beheld it, all the Hierarchs there present celebrated, according to the power of each, the omnipotent goodness of the Divine weakness): on that occasion, I say, he [Hierotheus] surpassed all the Initiates next to the Divine Writers, yea, he was wholly transported, was wholly outside of himself, and was so moved by a communion with those Mysteries he was celebrating, that all who heard him and saw him and knew him (or rather knew him not) deemed him to be rapt of God and endued with utterance Divine.

 Pope Benedict’s assertion that Dionysius’ weaving a fabric of such specific lies (not only about himself, but also about his alleged teacher Hierotheus) concerning one of the most sacred events of our Faith did so “out of humility,” is preposterous to the extreme. Dionysius must be judged to have been an immoral (and seemingly blasphemous) fraud.

The entire Middle Ages was deceived into believing that Dionysius was a contemporary of the Apostles. It therefore becomes obvious why his writings became almost obligatory material for serious treatment among all theologians and sacred writers of that time. St. Thomas references him over 1700 times. The amazing thing is that he does so in such a way as to free his concepts from the Neo-Platonic and Gnostic errors which are so prevalent in his writings. This should not seem surprising. Thomas does the same for the Platonic errors and deficiencies in St. Augustine’s writings, and many of the errors of other Eastern Fathers. In regard to Dionysius, it would seem apropos to analyze one example which glaringly demonstrates such treatment of Dionysius on the part of Thomas.

Possibly the most glaring example of this attempt to offer an orthodox treatment of Dionysian thought is to be found in Thomas’ treatment of the Divine Names in Question 13, article 2, of Part I of the Summa Theologica. The subject of the Divine Names is central not only to the question of what sort of knowledge we may possess of God, but also to the nature of God Himself.

Arguing against the position that names cannot be applied substantially to God, Thomas writes:

Therefore we must hold a different doctrine – viz., that these names [such “positive” names as one, good, wise, living, being, etc.] signify the divine substance, and are predicated substantially of God, although they fall short of a full representation of Him….Therefore the aforesaid names signify the divine substance, but in an imperfect manner, even as creatures represent it imperfectly. So when we say, God is good, the meaning is not, God is the cause of goodness, or, God is not evil [in other words, these names are not just apophatic (negative), but rather constitute positive knowledge of Who God is]: but the meaning is, Whatsoever good we attribute to creatures, pre-exists in God, and in a more excellent and higher way.” (ST I, Q.13, a. 2).

There are some names which signify these perfections flowing from God to creatures in such a way that the imperfect way in which creatures receive the divine perfection is part of the very signification of the name itself as stone signifies a material being, and names of this kind can be applied to God only in a metaphorical sense. Other names, however, express these perfections absolutely, without any such mode of participation being part of their signification, as the words being, good, living, and the like, and such names can be literally applied to God.” (ST I, Q.13, a. 3).

Now, in the same article quoted immediately above, St. Thomas replies to an Objection in which his imaginary opponent employs Dionysius’ statement from The Celestial Hierarchy that these names “are more truly withheld from God than given to him.” In other words, they are not applied substantially to God. Thomas, on the contrary, denies the Objector’s interpretation of Dionysius, and writes that what Dionysius “shows” is that these names “are denied of God for the reason that what the name signifies does not belong to Him in the ordinary sense of its signification, but in a more eminent way.”

Thomas is here simply wrong about Dionysius’ views. Dionysius is repeatedly emphatic in his work The Divine Names that all names applied to God’s “Super-Essential Essence” are either apophatic (totally negative – “God is not this, not this….”) or apply only to his manifestations or energies, and never to his “Super-essential” Essence. In other words, they are not applied either literally or substantially to God. The following two examples (there are a great many more) are from Chapter I of Dionysius’ The Divine Names:

It [Super-Essential Essence] is the Universal Cause of existence while Itself existing not, for It is beyond all Being….”

Thus, as for the Super-Essence of the Supreme Godhead (if we would define the Transcendence of its Transcendent Goodness) it is not lawful to any lover of that Truth which is above all truth to celebrate It as Reason or Power or Mind or Life or Being, but rather as most utterly surpassing all condition, movement, life, imagination, conjecture, name, discourse, thought, conception, being, rest, dwelling, union, limit, infinity, everything that exists.”

Postulating a totally unapproachable, unknowable, unnamable Divine Essence (or “Super-Essential Essence) is only the first step of Dionysius’ Gnosticism. As with all forms of Gnosticism, the imperative is next to give an explanation for the existence of a finite universe which exists outside of God’s undifferentiated “Super-Essential Essence”. Here is Dionysius’ offering to this genre, from Chapter II of The Divine Names:

And that the subject of our investigation may be clearly defined beforehand, we give the name of Divine Differentiation (as was said) to the beneficent Emanations of the Supreme Godhead. For bestowing upon all things and supernally infusing Its Communications unto the goodly Universe, It becomes differentiated without loss of Undifference. For example, since God is super-essentially Existent and bestows existence upon all things that are, and brings the world into being, that single Existence of His is said to become manifold through bringing forth the many existences from itself [this is in direct contradiction to creation ex nihilo, and obviously redolent with Pantheism], while yet He remains One in the act of Self-Multiplication.”

 This “manifestation” of the “Supreme Godhead…from itself” into innumerable forms of finite “differentiation” creates a very unsatisfactory state of finitude which expresses itself in the Gnostic “yearning” (present not only in all of creation, but also in God) and searching for return. The Gnostic system is thus circular – it necessitates a “return” through “gnosis”, or “Knowledge. The following is from Chapter IV of The Divine Names:

 Let us once more collect these powers into one and declare that there is but One Simple Power Which of Itself moveth all things to be mingled in an unity, starting from the Good and going unto the lowest of the creatures and thence again returning through all stages in due order unto the Good, and thus revolving from Itself, and through Itself and upon Itself and towards Itself, in an unceasing orbit.” (Dionysius claims to have taken this from the Hymns of Yearning, a work which he attributes to Hierotheus – his alleged teacher, who was transported into ecstasy as he stood beside the body of the Blessed Virgin Mary).

Thus is completed the Gnostic circle of emanation and return.

It remains to emphasize one extremely important addition which Dionysius makes to Gnosticism.

It is only logical to postulate that if all of creation is involved in a dialectical process of emanation and return, then the emanations which are a necessary “diffusion” of God’s Goodness necessitate a “Dialectic” within the Essence of God Himself. The One “Super-Essential Essence” of God (Thesis) necessarily diffuses goodness in the form of creation of finite being from Itself which ultimately results in the material world (Antithesis), and which in turn follows a cyclic path of return to the One (Synthesis).

To this “Divine Dialectic”, Dionysius, following in the footsteps of his alleged teacher Hierotheus, gives the name Yearning. Thus, from Chapter IV of The Divine Names:

 For the Yearning which createth all the goodness of the world [we must firmly keep in mind that for Dionysius creation ex nihilo is synonymous with emanation from God Himself], being pre-existent abundantly in the Good Creator, allowed Him not to remain unfruitful in Himself [thus Creation was a necessity for God, and out the window goes any notion of the total gratuitousness of God’s creation], but moved Him to exert the abundance of His powers in the production of the universe.” (10).

To subject God to such necessary causation in the production of the universe from Himself, and to then place within God a Divine Yearning for the return of all things to Himself, is to posit Dialectic at the very center of His Being, to identify Being with Becoming, to destroy the total gratuitousness of God’s creative act, and to place at least a “spark” (or as de Lubac would have it, an “Ikon”) of the Divine at the center of each created thing. This, of course, results in a kind of Pantheistic soup of Divine Yearning and Dialectical evolution in which both God and all of creation are immersed – in the words of Dionysius, “…a Motion of Yearning simple, self-moved, self-acting, pre-existent in the Good [God], and to the Good, with unerring revolution, never varying its centre or direction, perpetually advancing and remaining and returning to Itself.” (14).

This evolutionary Dialectic, coming from within God and returning to Him with “unerring revolution”, is totally destructive to the Catholic concept of Divine Revelation which sees it as having been fully received through Jesus Christ, being closed upon the death of the Apostle John, and contained in Dogmatic formulas the meanings of which are not subject to change – all of this imaging the unchangeable nature of God, and the non-evolutionary status of human nature from Adam and Eve right down to the last persons living in this world. Any philosophy-theology which posits Dialectical evolution and becoming at the center of both God and creation cannot but demand that Revelation and Truth also be made subject to the same evolutionary process. This is the price that must be paid if we chose to disparage St. Thomas, and instead opt for a Platonic – Neoplatonic – Dionysian form of spirituality.

We will be posting an article titled The Restoration of the Supernatural: In Accord with the Teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas in order to help the reader obtain maximum clarity in regard to the choice that must here be made. We would also recommend our article The Quintessential Evolutionist, which clearly reveals the maximization of such errors in regard to evolving Revelation in the thought of Joseph Ratzinger Also worthy of note is the fact that, like Dionysius, Pope Benedict also placed Yearning or Eros in the depths of God’s Being, as demonstrated in two passages from his encyclical Deus caritas est:

God loves, and his love may certainly be called eros, yet it is also totally agape.” (#9).

God is the absolute and ultimate source of all being; but this universal principle of creation – the Logos, primordial reason – is at the same time a lover with all the passion of a true love.” (#10).

Pope Benedict thus denied the premier distinction laid down by St. Thomas to the effect that God “loves without passion.” We must keep in mind that the attribution of passion to any being is to subject that being to yearning, desire, and need, and therefore to incompleteness and dependence. To say that God has passion has the effect of profoundly confusing the ontological distinction, absolutely central to Christianity, between the Creator and His creation. It is also extremely telling that the footnote to the Pope’s statement that God’s love “may certainly be called eros” refers us to Dionysius the Areopagite’s work on The Divine Names.

As I have pointed out, the entire Gnostic enterprise, by denying or failing to understand creation ex nihilo, necessarily concludes with positing the source of man’s sanctification and deification within himself – in the evolutionary and dialectical growth of a divine spark within man. As such it is simply the reaffirmation of original sin – “You shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” And it is the perfect negation of the magnificent summation of true sanctification and deification to be found in the following words of St. James:

Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.”

This passage sums up everything. God is not subject to change, alteration, passion, yearning, evolution, dialectic. Every supernatural Gift is vertical – coming down from God through gifts superadded to man’s nature. The Way to God therefore lies not through communing with spiritual forces, energies, graces (yes, they get away with also calling it “grace’) which is naturally within us, but through that being “lifted up” by Christ, in Christ, through Christ, and to Christ through the work of the Holy Spirit given to us in Baptism.

All this is most profoundly defended by the theology and metaphysics of St. Thomas which, in offering us a clear understanding of creation ex nihilo, frees our understanding of the Divine Essence from in any way being subjected to the dialectical “Decays”, “Emanations”. “Manifestations”, or “Yearnings” of all the various theologies poisoned by Gnostic thinking.

It is always the case with those who wish to detract from Thomas that they come to the point of protesting that Christianity did not have Thomas for over 12 centuries, and therefore certainly does not need him now. Such facile reasoning fails to take into account that it is Dionysius (and others) who could not bear the simplicity of Christ’s teaching as exemplified in the teaching of St. James given above, that it was they who have formulated the theological and philosophical gyrations which seek to bypass this simplicity (and the vertical dimensions of our Faith), and that St. Thomas was therefore a great gift of God to counter their intellectual perversities at every crossroads of human thought.

 

 The Penetration of Dionysian Theology and Spirituality

Into Catholicism

It was not until the 9th century that the thought of Dionysius the Areopagite began its massive penetration into Western Christianity. The following summary from the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia will serve to give an adequate estimation of this influence upon medieval thought:

About the year 858 Scotus Eriugena, who was versed in Greek, made a new Latin translation of the Areopagite, which became the main source from which the Middle Ages obtained a knowledge of Dionysius and his doctrines….The works of Dionysius, thus introduced into Western literature, were readily accepted by the medieval scholastics [I have already explored the most probable reason why this was so – Dionysius’ fraudulent claims of being “Apostolic”]. The great masters of Saint-Victor at Paris, foremost among them the much-admired Hugh, based their teaching on the doctrine of Dionysius. Peter Lombard and the greatest Dominican and Franciscan scholars, Alexander of Hales, Albertus Magnus, Thomas Aquinas [I again must interject with what I have said earlier – Thomas re-interpreted Dionysius], Bonaventure, adopted his theses and arguments. Master poets, e.g. Dante, and historians, e.g. Otto of Freising, built on this foundation. Scholars as renowned as Robert Grosseteste of Lincoln and Vincent of Beauvais drew upon him freely….The great mystics, Eckhardt, Tauler, Suso, and others, entered the mysterious obscurity of the writings of Dionysius with a holy reverence.”

The degree of influence on these (and many others) of course varied immensely. There are vast differences in the use made of Dionysius by such divergent, and opposed, figures as Eriugena Thomas Aquinas. Bonaventure, and Eckhardt.

John Scotus Eriugena, in the words of philosopher John Glenn, taught that: “The First Nature (Uncreated Nature that Creates) is God, the all perfect, who transcends all knowledge. God is so perfect that He does not even know Himself: for if He knew Himself, His knowledge would be determinate, and in so far limited, and the idea of limit connotes imperfection. All things are from eternity substantially contained in God. God does not produce things by pure creative act: if He did, the things produced would be new even to God, and to know them would mean an increase in the perfection of God’s knowledge – an obvious impossibility…. All things are necessarily contained in God, and proceed from Him by substantial emanation or outpouring [pantheism].”

St. Thomas, as we have demonstrated, re-interprets Dionysius in an orthodox manner.

St. Bonaventure, while not to be considered in the extreme camp of an Eriugena or Eckhardt, yet rejected Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics (and therefore the only real foundation of the doctrine creation ex nihilo), and quite emphatically conceived of creation as emanation from God, Thus, from his writings, “This is our entire metaphysics: emanation, exemplarity, and consummation, that is, to be illumined by rays of spiritual light and to return to the Most High.” (Collationes in Hexaemeron) .

The overt pantheism of an Eriugena or Eckhardt is readily condemned by the Church. But the vast extent of Gnostic-type thinking is not usually expressed in such extremes, but rather comes in more “diffused” forms, penetrating deeply into the heart of the Church through men who have reputations of sanctity, and even sainthood, but whose theology is permeated with Gnostic sentiments. As examined in my article St. Francis: They Pretended to Love You So That They Might Leave You, St. Bonaventure, in his rejection of Thomistic-Aristotelian metaphysics, and his embrace of Platonic-inspired theology, is a premier example. This is such an important point for understanding the depths of penetration of Gnostic theology and spirituality into Western theology that we offer the following explication of Bonaventure’s view of creation as given by Zachary Hayes (The History of Franciscan Theology, Franciscan Institute, 2007), and confirmed by many other Franciscan scholars:

Following is explanation of Bonaventure’s view of creation as given by Zachary Hayes:

In the first book of his Sentence Commentary Bonaventure expressed a vision of creation that remained with him until the end of his life. Drawing on and expanding the scriptural image (Eccles 1:7) of a river which flows from a spring, spreads throughout the land to purify and fructify it, and eventually flows back to its point of origin, Bonaventure presents the outline of his entire theological vision. In sum, the contours of the Christian faith are cast within the neo-Platonic circle of emanation, exemplarity, and return as this philosophical metaphor is reshaped by the Christian vision of faith.” (P. 61-62).

There are at least two things very disturbing about all this, both of which are centered in the Gnostic, Neo-Platonic concepts of the circle of emanation and return.

The word emanation, when used in any way to describe the essential relationship between created realities and God, necessarily carries overtones of Gnosticism and Pantheism, no matter what gyrations one passes through in order to “Christianize” it. The word itself connotes “to come forth from, or issue from something else as a source”. It is impossible to find a good definition of this word without encountering both these elements: “coming forth from” and “source.” Emanation is the classic word used to describe the pantheistic coming out of all finite realities from the Monad or Godhead. It may disingenuously be used in such a way as to try to identify it with creation ex nihilo, using the rationale that this is justifiable because the created thing did not exist before this time and was therefore “nothing.” But this simply doesn’t work. The act of creation is not a movement out from the ontological Being of God, but rather an act extrinsic to God’s Supreme Being by which He exercises His infinite power and intelligence to create truly from nothing. It is this which is denied in the concept of emanation.

The second element in St. Bonaventure’s disturbing theology and cosmology is the circular concept of emanation and return – also a concept profoundly integral to Gnosticism. It necessitates the concept of evolution – a word the etymology of which is very close to that of emanation. It literally means to “roll out.” What it entails in Bonaventure’s metaphysics and cosmology is an ascending growth in the status of human nature itself through an evolving process of emanation and return. In Bonaventure’s metaphysics, this demands a view of the soul which negates the unchangeable substantial form of the soul. He certainly taught that the soul was created in the image of God, but this image is set upon a path of historical development by the dynamics of historical, evolutionary ascent through multiple forms.

St. Thomas embraced the hylomorphic constitution of any and all created substances, such that any individual substance is the result of the Divine act of creating from nothing – this act involving the union of prime matter with one substantial form. From this substantial view of the human soul ensues, as I have already pointed out, his doctrine concerning the unity of the soul, and the non-evolutionary status of human nature at all points of human history.

Bonaventure, on the other hand, rejected this unicity of substantial form, and posited what is called “universal hylomorphism.” Again, from Zachary Hayes:

Instead of accepting the doctrine of the unity of form, Bonaventure drew from R. Grosseteste and the Oxford Franciscans a form of light-metaphysics. According to this view, creatures are, indeed, composed of matter and form, but not necessarily of a single form. According to Bonaventure, the first form of all corporal beings is the form of light. Light in this instance is designated by the Latin word lux and is distinguished from lumen (radiation) and color (the empirical form in which light is perceived).”

In other words, we are here dealing with a spiritual “light” which emanates from God (and specifically, in Bonaventure’s metaphysics, from Christ) which is the moving force in the cycle of emanation and return. Even physical matter, according to Bonaventure, possesses to some degree this lux.

Hayes continues his analysis:

This theory of light implies a rejection of the Aristotelian theory of the unity of form which would be favored by Aquinas [not just “favored,” but absolutely integral to Thomistic metaphysics]. In fact, Bonaventure argued in favor of a plurality of forms in a position similar to that of Avicenna, Avicebron, and Albert the Great. If light is understood to be the first and most general form, then, besides light, each individual being has a special form. It follows that each being has at least these two forms [and human beings have at least three forms, since Bonaventure denies that the soul can be the substantial form of the body, a position which he labeled as “insane”]. The theory of the plurality of forms in Bonaventure involves a distinct understanding of the function of form. The function of form is not merely to give rise to one specific being [in other words, it does not serve to determine an essence which remains substantially unchanged through all “accidental” change]. But precisely in forming a specific being, it prepares or disposes matter for new possibilities. There is, indeed, such a thing as a final form. But this is arrived at only at the end of a process involving a multiplicity of forms along the way.”

Put simply, Bonaventure’s theology and metaphysics entails that the human soul itself is involved in an historical, evolutionary process. Bonaventure adopted Joachim of Fiore’s view of the seven stages of human development and history. This is why he compromised and betrayed St. Francis way of Poverty. It simply could not be lived by the Franciscan Order as a whole until the Seventh (Seraphic) Age.

St. Francis, on the other hand, possessed the simplicity and trueness of heart to understand that the full living of his way of Lady Poverty did not require an historical evolutionary process to come to fruition, but could and should be lived by all his friars right then and now. It simply required a return to his Rule. His implicit theology and metaphysics were therefore not that of Bonaventure, but rather that of St. Thomas.

Human nature does not evolve. The nature, the choice, and the possibilities are the same for any man or woman at any point on the historical timeline. Any application of the Dialectic to understanding either the Nature of God or the nature of man is totally false, and destructive to both the unchangeable Nature of God and the integrity and continuity of human nature.

We are left with the fourth example of Dionysian-Gnosticism I have mentioned: Meister Eckhardt.

It is very revealing that in studying Advaita Vedanta (the extreme Monistic form of Hinduism), the name Meister Eckhardt surfaces frequently. He is often cited as the Christian counterpart of Vedantic philosophy. The common view here is that Christianity, as practiced by the uninformed masses is a kind of dualistic theism (involving a real distinction between God and man), but that even in Christian tradition there is to be found a ray of the fullness of truth: that truth being best personified by the thought of Meister Eckhardt.

In the year 1329, with the edict In agro dominico, Pope John XXII condemned 28 articles containing Meister Eckhardt’s teachings – 17 were condemned as “heretical, and 11 as “evil-sounding, rash, and suspected of heresy”. Among those condemned as heretical are the following:

Condemned article #1: “And when asked why God did not create the world first, he answered that God was not able to create the world first, because He cannot make things before He is; therefore, as soon as God was, He immediately created the world [thus, the implied concept of “necessity” in God’s creation of the world].”

#2: Likewise it can be granted that the world existed from eternity.”

#6: Likewise anyone by blaspheming God Himself, praises God.”

#10: “We are transformed entirely in God, and we are changed into Him; in a similar manner as in the sacrament the bread is changed into the body of Christ; so I am changed into Him because He Himself makes me to be one with Him, not like (to Him); through the living God it is true that there is no distinction there.”

#13: “Whatever is proper to divine nature, all this is proper to the just and divine man; because of this that man operates whatever God operates, and together with God he created heaven and earth, and he is the generator of the eternal Word, and God without such a man does not know how to do anything.”

#14: “A good man ought so to conform his will to the divine will that he himself wishes whatever God wishes; because God wishes me to have sinned in some way, I would not wish that I had not committed sins, and this is true repentance.”

#15: “If man had committed a thousand mortal sins, if such a man were rightly disposed, he ought not to wish that he had not committed them.”

All this from a man who held high positions in the Dominican Order (Prior of the Dominican convent in Erfurt, Provincial of the Province of Saxony, Vicar-General of Bohemia, and Prior in Strasburg)), and held professorships in Paris, Strasburg, and Cologne. He was hailed as a great mystic, and has had an immense influence on many souls.

In preparation for our examination of Gnosticism’s culmination in Modernism, we wish to point out here the great attraction which the denial of the principle of non-contradiction holds for many souls seeking a bogus mysticism. There is a deep longing, natural to fallen human nature, to “go beyond” the hard distinctions between good and evil, light and darkness, truth and error, love and hate, purity and impurity into a realm and a state of being which is beyond such prescriptions and dualities. The reason why Eckhardt could say such things as “If man had committed a thousand mortal sins, if such a man were rightly disposed, he ought not to wish that he had not committed them”, is that such Gnostic thinking is rooted in the principle that God is beyond all naming, all being, all virtue, all distinctions whatsoever (including any ultimate distinction between God and man). Since all things come from God and return to God, all merges into One. Further, since man’s ultimate salvation and destiny is beyond all such distinctions, and lies rather in absorption into, and unity with, the One, then the Way to this Oneness lies through negation of all such considerations. The ultimate victim, therefore, is the most fundamental principle of all being – the principle of non-contradiction. This, of course, is true not only of Eckhardt, but also of all such Gnostic mysticism, and especially that of Dionysius, who penned these words about the “Divine Unity”:

Its Subsistence beyond Being, Its Godhead beyond Deity, Its Goodness beyond Excellence; the Identity, surpassing all things, of Its transcendently Individual Nature; Its Oneness above Unity; Its Namelessness and Multiplicity of Names; Its Unknowableness and perfect Intelligibility; Its universal Affirmation and universal Negation in a state above all Affirmation and Negation….” (The Divine Names, Ch. II, 4).

This is the sort of Mystical Mush in which post-Christian civilization, in its self-contradictory, simultaneous rush towards both Godhead and self-annihilation, delights.

The great tragedy of all this is that it amounts to a denial that man is created in the image of God. We have no need to make God into something that is beyond One, Being, Truth, Purity, and all the rest. We only need to understand that Infinitude does not entail being Infinitely Beyond, but simply Infinitely More.

 

The Marriage of Gnosticism and Modern Science

The reader may remember that Plato posited 4 stages in his ascent to Gnosis. The first stage is knowledge of the world around us as we experience it with our normal senses and intellect. This world, according to Plato is almost totally unreal – a mere shadow-land. The second stage – that of the natural and analytical sciences – is more real, being constituted as a movement away from the illusory world of phenomena and into the world of intellectual abstraction, and analysis. The third stage, constituting a further advance towards the true reality of pure forms and ideas, denuded of all matter and flesh, is that of mathematics. The Fourth, of course, is the contemplative- intuitive Gnosis of pure Form.

It is very tempting to believe that such a philosophical world of advancing movement away from gross material reality upwards into the analytical intellectual realms of science and mathematics, and culminating in intellectual contemplation of the Absolute, constitutes a system of thought quite compatible with Christian theology, philosophy, and spirituality. After all, is not the world of the intellect and ideas much closer to the spiritual realm than is flesh? It is precisely this consideration which attracted many of the Early Fathers to Platonism. It was a “clean” world in comparison to the lascivious grossness of the Pagan philosophies and cosmologies, and the apparent massive contradictions of this world

But Platonism, on the contrary, is the complete inversion of true Christian philosophy, and the antithesis to Thomism. Under Thomistic metaphysics and natural philosophy, the created world is fully real. Every substance is a real union of substantial form and primary matter that is only reducible to God’s creative and sustaining power. All other categories of being, involving such things as its quantifications, qualities, relations, etc., are also real, but are to be considered accidens (accidents) inhering in this irreducible substance. It is these accidents which are the sole objects of scientific and mathematical analysis. Scientific analysis has no access to the category of substance. What any particular thing truly “is” as constituting substance is “above” (meta) the quantifications of mathematics and physics. Therefore, in claiming that science and mathematics attain to a deeper perception of reality, Platonism inverts physical reality by positing that accidental being is more real than substantial being, with the consequent result that man’s mind enters upon an epistemological (the science of how we know things) path which is delusive and inverted. Virtually all “civilized” men are now immersed in this fundamental epistemological error, and scientific and technological “progress” have become the universal milieu that binds them to this delusion. Science, in other words, has become the dominant and all-pervasive tool of Gnosticism.

As long as such science (we will henceforth include mathematics within the domain of science) remained in infancy, so-called Christian Gnosticism largely ran a parallel course to its reductive effects upon human thought. But with the advent of the Renaissance, Christian Realism was severely challenged by such reductive science, and through succeeding centuries was beat back into increasingly defensive positions, largely made possible by either the total abandonment, or perversion, of Thomism. And it was in the midst of this carnage that the marriage between Gnostic Idealism and Scientific Reductionism was consummated.

 

Descartes

In order to understand the full significance of Descartes and his place in the rise of Modern Philosophy (Descartes is called the “Father of Modern Philosophy”), it is necessary that we first understand something concerning the basic Catholic state of mind which had prevailed over Western Civilization from the time of the Apostles until the Renaissance. This is easily summarized.

In regard to the natural world, man’s knowledge of it was regarded as corresponding to objective reality. There might exist deficiencies in the senses and other parts of man’s makeup which could distort, or fail to perceive, this reality (we think of such things as blindness, deafness, or even something like a high fever). But generally speaking, what God created was real being, and God created man with the intellectual light to perceive reality as it truly existed. Man, because his knowledge was finite and partial could certainly make mistakes, but this did not undermine either the substantiality of creation or the basic reliability of his perception of it. As an example of such “mistakes”, we might consider the widespread belief (including that of St. Thomas) during the Middle Ages in spontaneous generation of living things (worms or maggots) out of non-living “putrefied” matter (organic garbage). This has often been used by the enemies of philosophical realism to undermine the God-given reliability of human perception. The problem, however, lay not in the reliability of human perception (those worms really did crawl out of that matter), but in the judgment which was made upon partial and limited knowledge. St. Thomas and all his contemporaries did not see flies laying their eggs upon such matter, and therefore were not capable of coming to the correct conclusion.

Even more important, as concerns the spiritual world and higher truths regarding God and man, knowledge was anchored in the Faith. It was therefore rooted in the belief that certainty regarding these spiritual realities was a gift of God’s grace. This certainty was not necessarily dependent upon the understanding of the mind, but upon a grace-inspired act of the will which surrendered both intellect and will to God as He revealed Himself. Thus, St. Thomas defines the act of faith as: “an act of the intellect assenting to the Divine truth at the command of the will moved by the grace of God….” (ST, II-II, Q.2, A.9). And, unraveling what this entails in regard to the question of certainty in regard to our knowledge, he further writes:

In faith there is some perfection and some imperfection. The firmness [due to the command of the will, inspired by God] which pertains to the assent is a perfection, but the lack of sight, because of which the movement of discursive thought still remains in the mind of one who believes, is an imperfection. The perfection, namely, the assent, is caused by the simple light which is faith. But, since the participation in this light is not perfect, the imperfection of the understanding is not completely removed. For this reason the movement of discursive thought in it stays restless.”

In other words, certainty, in regard to all the higher truths regarding God and man, is not something which has its foundation or origins within man, and therefore cannot be erected upon any act of knowing originating within man.

Now, let us turn to Descartes and his philosophy of, and method for attaining, certitude.

There is an enormously seductive appeal which mathematics holds over the human mind. It is the one area of natural human intelligence and knowledge where absolute surety would appear to reign. It is clear, concise, “pure”, and free from self-contradiction and self-delusion. The effect of mathematics upon Pythagorean philosophers was such that they could declare – quite literally – that “all things are number”. For Plato, it was the last stage in the ascent of the intellect before it stepped over the edge of this shadow world and into the Divine world of Pure Form. Such is the delusion of human hubris. The fact is that the domain proper to both mathematics and physics lies entirely in the realm of accidental being. Neither can approach to knowledge of the substance of any created being, and certainly not that of God.

By trade and training, René Descartes (1596-1650) was a mathematician and physicist (the science most aptly characterized as the mathematical analysis of physical realities). His entire philosophical endeavor was founded upon attempting to discover a “method” which would offer him a subjective certainty in regard to truth which images the same sort of certainty offered by self-evident elementary mathematical concepts. He rejected Scholasticism (especially the Thomistic-Aristotelian concept of “substantial form”), he rejected the appeal to authority as a reliable source of true knowledge, and he rejected the surety of experiential knowledge. He even theoretically rejected the surety of self-evident mathematical concepts in order to be able to claim “universal doubt” as the launch-pad of his inquiry into truth.

Before examining Descartes’ method, however, it is necessary to examine another side of his life and thought which is little known. Descartes claimed to be a devout Catholic until his dying day. The truth of this claim is debated among scholars – whether this is to be considered a true ascent to Catholic teaching, or merely a pious fraud. Considering what follows, it would appear that the latter is much more likely.

Descartes claimed to have had a mystical experience, and believed he had received divine revelation and sanction of his system. During the night of Nov 10, 1619 (when he was 23 years old and still searching for his vocation) he had three dreams which he claimed had been predicted to him before retiring, and which “the human mind had no share in them”. Descartes was absolutely convinced that these dreams were a visitation from the “Spirit of Truth,” and that their content confirmed his “method” for attaining to all the treasures of knowledge. (the content of these dreams can be found in Alexander M. Schlutz, Mind’s World: Imagination and Subjectivity from Descartes to Romanticism, p. 59 ff.).

The “method” embraced by Descartes began with the absolute refusal to accept anything as true of which his mind, under its own power, was not absolutely certain. He thus claimed to begin with a “universal doubt.” Since “authority” was to him the weakest argument for accepting truth (“authorities” obviously differed and contradicted one another), his method necessarily rejected Divine Revelation and the authority of the Church as the source for certainty in truth. And, of course, he rejected that such certainty was the fruit of a faith which, in turn, was a gift of God’s grace. As such, he completely inverted the Catholic understanding of supernatural truth, and man’s ascent to it. As a necessary consequence, certitude must now come from within man.

After allegedly eliminating all other sources of knowledge, the one thing Descartes discovered in which he possessed absolute certainty was the reality of his own thinking. And since he could not separate this thinking from his own being he further possessed absolute certitude of his own existence as thinker. Thus, the famous Cartesian starting point of all his metaphysics and epistemology – “Cogito ergo sum” (“I think, therefore I am”). Upon this he erected all other knowledge, including surety in relation to the existence of God and the reality of His creation.

Briefly summarized, once Descartes had established the absolute certitude of his own thinking existence, he proceeded to discover the existence in his mind of an idea of a perfect, infinite, Good Being whom we call God. And since, according to his reasoning, a finite cause (such as his own mind) could not conceivably be adequate to explain the presence of this idea, then God must actually exist as the cause. From this he derived the validity of our real knowledge of this world. A good God would not deceive us by creating us with a basically unreliable perception of the world.

There is of course a great deal of complexity (including circular reasoning) in all this, with which we need not be overly concerned, or even respectful. Descartes’ “proof” of the existence of God, for instance, is simply a variant of the ontological argument of St. Anselm (Neo-Platonist), and has been largely rejected and rightly ridiculed by both Catholic and secular scholars alike. In addition, his claim that it is impossible to deny one’s own distinct existence on the basis of the principle “I think, therefore I am”, has been contradicted by millions of Monists who deny the ultimate reality of any duality or multiplicity. As we have seen, a man like Plotinus could even consider it an illusion to posit self-awareness in God, since this assumes a duality in the Absolute which is self-contradictory.

Descartes claim to fame as the “Father of Modern Philosophy” is therefore not based on any of these particular aberrations of his method or system, but rather on the subjective turn which he gave to all philosophical (and theological) certitude. This the world has taken very seriously, as have the great majority of Catholic thinkers. Certitude is seen as something which comes from within man. We thus have the modern equivalent of original sin by which Adam and Eve sought to replace God as the source of certitude in knowledge – “You shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.” With the philosophy of Descartes, in other words, we have landed “heads-down” in the world of Modern Gnosticism. We have also been immersed in an ocean of philosophical relativity and chaos – this constituting the history of philosophy since the time of Descartes (and in many respects, since the rejection of Thomism as early as the 13th century).

There is an additional aspect of Descartes’ philosophy – usually referred to as “Mind-Body Dualism” or the “Mind-Body Split – which is integral to the march of Gnosticism and Modernism down through the ensuing centuries. Descartes taught that there were only three substances in the Universe – physical realities, thought, and God The substantial nature of all physical things consisted in quantification and motion. The entire substance of the physical world was thus reducible to what could be measured – this obviously directly contradicting the Thomistic view that all quantification involves “accidents” which do not in themselves reach down to understanding the substantial nature of anything.

All that was not “physical” in human experience, on the other hand, was reducible to “thought”, which constituted Descartes’ second type of substance. Thought (including everything in the mind which is not measurable – such realities as the idea of God, truths about God, morality, and even consciousness itself) was seen to constitute an entirely distinct realm of substance existing within man. It is to this subjective realm of thought that much of Christian philosophy, in retreat from the assaults of reductive science upon any article of the Faith which in any way involved physical realities (think of the Bible, especially the creation account in Genesis; consider the doctrines of Transubstantiation, the Immaculate Conception, Mary’s Perpetual Virginity and Bodily Assumption, and even the Resurrection) would retreat during the next 400 years. Obviously this was bound to create a kind of schizophrenic dualism in every Catholic who succumbed to the virtual universal ambience of such scientific reductionism. Moreover, since the act of faith was reduced to the subjectivity of individual thought, and since human thought is itself always subject to change, growth and alteration, then truth itself must become an evolutionary phenomenon. And severely compromised, and even destroyed, is the entire vertical and unchanging nature of truth and faith, so aptly encapsulated in the words of St. James: “Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.”

 

Between Descartes and Pius X’s Condemnation of Modernism

A period of approximately 300 years separates Descartes from Pope Pius X and his condemnation of Modernism. This space of time is replete with the aberrations of many philosophers. They deserve scant attention for our purpose, since they are simply variations upon the same basic errors of human thought.

It might seem a defect in scholarship to make such a leap. “After all”, it might be objected, “is not Modernism directly linked to such thinkers as Kant and Hegel? Is not the Modernist view of truth “Hegelian”? Is it not Dialectical, and therefore a substitution of becoming for being? Is not the Modernist faith also appropriately considered a product of “Kantian Phenomenalism” because it is reduced to trying to find the validity of faith within human consciousness itself, at the expense of objective truth?

The answer, of course, is yes. What few people realize, however, is that both Kant and Hegel are basically “old hash”. As we have seen, the dialectical view of truth, the concept of reality as being rooted in dialectical becoming rather than substantial being, is absolutely integral to Platonism and Gnosticism in all their forms. The following summary of Hegel’s dialectic should be startling for anyone who believes that Hegel brought anything substantially new to the history of human intellectual folly:

His starting-point is the concept of pure, absolute, indeterminate being; this he conceives as a process, as dynamic [think of Plotinus’ necessary diffusion of the Absolute, or Dionysius Yearning within the Absolute Super-essential Godhead]. His method is to trace the evolution of this dynamic principle through three stages: 1) the stage in which it affirms, or posits, itself as thesis; 2) the stage of negation, limitation, antithesis, which is a necessary corollary of the previous stage; 3) the stage of synthesis, return to itself, union of opposites….” (1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article on Dialectic).

The above might have been written by Proclus.

And from the same article – this time concerning Kantian Dialectic:

While Scholastic philosophers understand by reality that which is the object directly revealed to, and apprehended by, the knowing mind…idealist or phenomenalist philosophers assume that the direct object of our knowledge is the mental state or modification itself, the mental appearance, or phenomenon [thus, all those modern philosophies which are aptly grouped under the common appellation Phenomenology], as they call it; and because we cannot clearly understand how the knowing mind can transcend its own revealed, or phenomenal, self or states in the act of cognition, so as to apprehend something other than the immediate, empirical, subjective content of that act, these philosophers are inclined to doubt the validity of the ‘inferential leap’ to reality [objective truth]….”

Thus, the worlds “out there” – both God and creation – become shadow-lands, and what remains is Gnosis within.

We have seen it all before.

 

Modernism

What Pope St. Pius X so brilliantly analyzed in Pascendi Dominici Gregis as the heresy of Modernism should be seen as the synthesis and culmination of 1,900 years of Gnosticism eating away at the heart of the Catholic Church. All the elements of Gnosticism are present, and can be summed up in a short space.

We must begin by realizing that the Modernist is not an atheist, nor does he deny the reality of faith. It is the nature of his faith which is heretical. This faith is rooted in what Pius X designates as agnosticism, and which he explains as follows:

According to this teaching, human reason is confined entirely within the field of phenomena, that is to say, to things that appear, and in the manner in which they appear: it has neither the right nor the power to overstep these limits. Hence it is incapable of lifting itself up to God, and of recognizing His existence, even by means of visible things.”

Hence, both God and the substantial nature of the created world are inaccessible to objective human knowledge. Thus the term agnosticism, which literally means “not knowable.” We live, in other words, in a shadow world as far as objective knowledge is concerned. Such modern agnosticism is largely attributable to the subjection of the faith to modern science.

The Pope goes on to say:

However, this Agnosticism is only the negative part of the system of the Modernists; the positive part consists in what they call’ vital immanence’.”

With the road to external, objective Revelation closed, the Modernist is then forced to find the source for his faith within himself. This is discovered in what is called the “religious sense.” In turn, the religious sense must emanate from some source, and the Modernist proceeds to discover this to lie in a “need of the divine” hidden deeply within human nature. Again, from Pascendi Dominici Gregis:

.”…this religious sense possesses, implied within itself both as its own object and as its intrinsic cause, the divine ‘reality’ itself, and in a way unites man with God.”

We are here fully in the world of Gnostic emanation. Man cannot possess the divine reality itself within his nature unless that nature itself is a decay or emanation away from God. As Pius X recognizes, Modernism is thus deeply imbued with pantheism. At the same time this pantheistic presence of divinity within man necessarily denies creation ex nihilo, which as we have pointed out is the prerequisite doctrine in order to prevent ontological confusion between the Supreme Being of God and the finite being of his creation (this is a point not made by Pius X, but it is a necessary consequence).

It is not necessary to detail here all the aberrations in faith which the Pope unravels as consequences of Modernism: such things as the necessity of spiritual evolution, evolution of dogma, the complete undermining of the sacramental system, the destruction of belief in Biblical inerrancy and the concept of Tradition, denial of the One True Church, etc. Once the “knowledge” which comes from above is denied objective validity, then interior Gnosis triumphs, and all else fails.

The Catholic intellectual world is now largely a sea of Modernists, Phenomenologists, and those who believe that Truth is a matter of dialectical-evolutionary development. It is a dreary world, filled with new words and concepts which flee any attempt to make them possess substantial meaning. Such does not satisfy the human heart. It is not surprising therefore that many of these philosophers and theologians are often found to be in a flirtatious relationship with such things as Palamism, the bogus “mysticism of people like Meister Eckhardt, the New Age Movement, Centering Prayer, Yoga, Vedantic Hinduism, and Buddhism. Having denied Christ and His Truth, and the vertical dimension of the act of faith, and having retreated into the dullness and banality of their own interior phenomena, it is perfectly understandable that they should long to plunge deeper into the hidden world of unknown “spirits”.

 

Dialogue:

The Final Refuge of Western Gnosticism

As demonstrated in my analysis of Plato, the ascent to gnosis requires a dialectical method which is maieutical – a process of dialogue which uncovers or gives birth to Truth that comes from within. There is no evidence in any of Plato’s Dialogues that any of the participants ever achieved that contemplative union with the Divine One which is the goal of Plato’s dialectical ascent. There are, however, the following “truths” (as expressed in Plato’s own writings) born of such dialogue: the unreality of the world; the supremacy of the State over all things both spiritual and temporal; the destruction of parenthood and the family, infanticide and euthanasia for those who are born deformed, or who become “useless” to the State, and the total embrace of eugenics in order to breed a superior race. Such are some of the fruits of Socrates’ descent into “recollection” of our divine origin. The Platonic Dialogues are pathetic not only in regard to any claim of such a method being able to attain to divinity or human perfection, but also even to the understanding of natural truth with any consistency.

The Catholic Church is now in a similar state of pathos, having turned its gaze away from the “truth that comes from above”, to that which comes from dialogue with that which is below. It wanders the byways of the world seeking encounter and dialogue, and hoping that the “Spirit” will magically arise out of such “ecumenism” – the “Spirit” of Unity, of Peace, of Justice, of a New and Vital Truth. Concerning the basic posture which the Catholic Church must take towards the world, possibly Joseph Ratzinger put it best (and most pathetically):

“As things are, faith cannot count on a bundle of philosophical certainties [thus Thomism is sent entirely packing) which lead up to faith and support it. It will be compelled, rather, to prove its own legitimacy in advance by reflecting on its own inner reasonableness and by presenting itself as a reasonable whole, which can be offered to men as a possible and responsible choice. To say this is to imply that faith must clearly adjust itself to an intellectual pluralism that cannot ever be reversed, and within this intellectual climate must present itself as a comprehensible offer of meaning, even if it can find no prolegomena in a commonly accepted philosophical system. That means, in the end, that the meaning which man needs becomes accessible in any case only through a decision for a meaningful structure. It may not be proved, but can be seen as meaningful.” (Faith and the Future, p. 74-75).

This Gnostic legacy of dialogue and descent then comes to fruition in Pope Francis, who in a video message to message to his fellow Argentineans on the Feast of St. Cajetan, said:

Am I going to go out to convince someone to become a Catholic? No, no, no. You are going to meet with him, he is your brother! That’s enough! And you are going to help him, the rest Jesus does, the Holy Spirit does it.”

This elevation of “dialogue” and ecumenism (and of course the current agenda of integral ecology and inclusiveness) to supremacy over Revealed Truth demands effective silence in relation to the truths of Christ – especially such “hard” moral teachings as abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and the receiving of communion by divorced and remarried persons. To those drowning in moral corruption and intellectual and spiritual chaos, such missionary discipleship (Pope Francis’ key phrase for the “New Evangelization”) offers a love and mercy that confirms them in sin and error because it embraces them in a silence which conceals that which is necessary to heal the soul. This is the ultimate sin against the poor – offering them food for the body while refusing them the Bread of Christ.

Most of all, however, such “dialogue with the world” requires the effective abandonment of any claim to absolute Truth, and especially any claim by the Catholic Church to be in sole possession of the fullness of that Truth. It demands, in other words, the renunciation of Divine Authority.

 

The Possible Union of Gnosticism East and West

It is clear from Scripture that the Antichrist will exercise virtual total temporal and spiritual power over the world. The spiritual power obviously takes precedence, since it provides the moral authority and force necessary for all the rest.

Possibly the most mysterious passage of the New Testament is to be found in St. Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, in which he discusses the coming of the Antichrist. It reads as follows:

And now you know what withholdeth [the coming of the Antichrist], that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way.”(2 Thess 2:6-7).

Irenaeus of Lyons, Tertullian, Hippolytus, St. Cyril of Jerusalem, St. John of Chrysostom, St. Jerome, St. Augustine of Hippo were unanimous in seeing “he who now holdeth” to be the Roman Empire and the Caesars who ruled this empire. The Roman Empire represented the moral force of law which prevented the “man of lawlessness” from ascending to power.

The pagan Roman Empire fell in 476 AD. The moral force of the Roman Empire, however, did not cease. This principle of continuity in the history of the Roman Empire was delineated with profound perspicuity by Pope Pius IX in his encyclical Cum Catholica Ecclesia:

It is therefore, by a particular decree of Divine Providence that, at the fall of the Roman Empire and its partition into separate kingdoms, the Roman Pontiff, whom Christ made the head and center of his entire Church, acquired civil power. Certainly, it was by a most wise design of God Himself that in the midst of so great a multitude and variety of temporal princes, the Sovereign Pontiff enjoyed political liberty, which is so necessary for him to exercise his spiritual power, his authority, and his jurisdiction over the whole world.”

If the Church Fathers and Pope Pius IX are right, then there is only one solution to this mystery concerning the identity of the one who holds back the Antichrist. It is now the Papacy. The Pope must, in some sense, be “taken out of the way” in order for the Antichrist to rise to power.

We might be tempted to conclude that such a “taking out of the way” of the Pope should be interpreted physically, but I believe this to be an inadequate explanation. Quite a number of Popes have been taken away from Rome and/or held prisoner by precursors of the Antichrist, and yet the moral force necessary to restrain the ascension of Antichrist remained intact.

Nor can this “taking away” be meant to signify that for a period of time the Chair of Peter is unoccupied. First, we have the assurance of Our Lord that both the Church and the Papacy upon which the Church is founded will endure to the end of the world. Second, the world has already experienced extended Papal interregnums, and during these periods the moral force of the Church and the Papacy has always proved sufficient to prevent the rise of the Antichrist.

All of this should tell us that what we are dealing with here is the possibility of the moral force of the Papacy being eliminated or diminished in such a way as to create a sufficiently pervasive spiritual vacuum into which the Antichrist will be able to gain entrance and ascend to power. It is this spiritual vacuum which we have detailed in the thought and writings of the philosophy and theology of Joseph Ratzinger. It is this vacuum which has become even more evident in the Papacy of Pope Francis.

As we have seen, the spiritual power, authority, and jurisdiction of the Papacy have already been severely diminished, largely through the teaching (or failure to teach) and policies of recent Popes. There remains, however, one final, severe blow which Papal authority may yet suffer – the price that will be paid for union with the Eastern Orthodox.

There are many things the Eastern Orthodox will never renounce, this side of some miraculous intervention by God. They will not renounce their Gnostic mystical theology; they will not renounce pluralism in regard to so many doctrines which are binding on Catholic consciences; they will not accept a Primacy of Peter which recognizes Papal Infallibility in the defining of Doctrine, nor will they recognize Papal Universal Primacy of Jurisdiction.

Most of the theological and doctrinal differences can somewhat easily be ignored, or glossed over. Pope John Paul II employed the concept of a Church which will once again “breathe with two lungs” when unity is achieved with the Orthodox. The image conveyed by this metaphor is that the Catholic Church for centuries has been puffing along on half the oxygen it really needs, and that fullness of vitality and life will only be achieved through this union. With this possibility in sight, who wishes to quibble over small things? After all, of what real importance is the Filioque to Catholic theologians or hierarchy – it is never given serious attention. And as for the other doctrinal problems they are seldom, if ever, mentioned.

The only issue which seems to be given serious consideration by the Catholic hierarchy as a barrier to Catholic-Orthodox unity is the role of the Papacy. In his 1995 encyclical Ut Unum Sint, Pope John Paul II acknowledged his responsibility of finding “a way of exercising the primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation.” This amounted to an invitation to employ Jesuitical casuistry in exploring concepts and terminology which, while not directly contradicting defined Catholic doctrine regarding the Papacy, would yet make union with the Eastern Orthodox possible.

Pope Francis has greatly impressed the Orthodox world. Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople attended his installation – this has never happened since the Great Schism in 1054. Pope Francis has conspicuously and insistently referred to himself as the “Bishop of Rome”, rather than some such title as “Bishop of the Universal Church”, which would serve to indicate his Universal Jurisdiction. During an ecumenical prayer service to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Pope said, “We can say that the journey of ecumenism has allowed us to come to a deeper understanding of the ministry of the successor of Peter, and we must be confident that it will continue to do so in the future.”

Union with the Eastern Orthodox would have profound effects in every area of Catholic life and belief. There would be a large infusion of Palamite-Gnostic theology and spirituality into the Church. Increased de-emphasis of the role of doctrine (if that be possible) would be a necessity. The Orthodox Church has possessed no central authority for doctrinal unity since the close of the 7th Ecumenical Council in the year 787. And even the doctrines of these first seven councils are open to pluralistic interpretation, since there is no central authority to decide these issues. As pointed out in the first part of this article, a great many Catholic doctrines are denied – the reality of original sin, the concept of grace added to nature, the necessity of the possession of sanctifying grace for salvation, the doctrine of Transubstantiation, and right down to the indissolubility of marriage. Union will require a great deal of Silence – a Dark Veil will be placed over the Magisterium

It is the Papacy, however, which is the greatest of all stumbling-blocks to union. Orthodoxy will not accept the Papal Primacy as taught and defined by Vatican I. Unity can be achieved only if the Papacy is effectively reduced to a “Primacy of Honor” or a “Primacy of Love”. Eastern Orthodox patriarchs and bishops would not accept submission to his supreme authority. And because they would not submit, the bishops of the Catholic Church would feel totally justified in following the same course. The moral force of the Papacy, in other words, would be effectively destroyed. He who “holdeth” would have been taken out of the way.

Meanwhile, however, the Catholic Church is now poised to descend even more deeply into its own, even more destructive, variation of Gnosticism: Teilhardian evolutionary theology. We repeat the words of Cardinal Hummes:

“This is why I often say that there is a need to rewrite Christology: St. Paul had referred to this culminating point in a path that continues. Teilhard de Chardin in turn spoke about it in his studies on evolution. All theology and Christology, as well as the theology of the sacraments, are to be reread starting from this great light for which “all is interconnected,” interrelated.”

In other words, the entire concept and content of all that is considered Absolute Catholic Truth is to be diluted and perverted, and this is to be accomplished with no direct denial of any of the Infallible Magisterium. Everything simply needs to be gradually rewritten (according to the principles of “hermeneutics of continuity” or “essentialization”), and subjected to a dialectical process of rereading which images the proverbial frog submitting to its own death in the warmth of the ever-increasing waters of evil.

In order for the reader to understand more fully the nature of Teilhardian theology, we therefore offer below our article on the Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns. It constitutes an in-depth analysis not only of the Teilhard’s own theology, but also its victory over the thinking of Popes Benedict XVI and Francis.

 

Addendum

The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns

 “Pilate therefore went into the hall again, and called Jesus, and said to him:    Art thou the king of the Jews?

“Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world.

Pilate therefore said to him: Art thou a king then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.

“Pilate saith to him: What is truth?(John 18: 33-37-37 – excerpts)

All that we offer concerning this Mystery will be in consideration of the Catholic doctrine concerning the Kingship of Christ, and will therefore refer, directly or indirectly, to the crucial exchange between Pilate and Our Lord as quoted above.

Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, in her visions concerning The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, offers the following account of the Crowning with Thorns:

“A gallery encircled the inner court of the guard-house where our Lord was crowned with thorns, and the doors were open. The cowardly ruffians, who were eagerly waiting to gratify their cruelty by torturing and insulting our Lord, were about fifty in number, and the greatest part slaves or servants of the jailers and soldiers. The mob gathered round the building, but were soon displaced by a thousand Roman soldiers, who were drawn up in good order and stationed there. Although forbidden to leave their ranks, these soldiers nevertheless did their utmost by laughter and applause to incite the cruel executioners to redouble their insults; and as public applause gives fresh energy to a comedian, so did their words of encouragement increase tenfold the cruelty of these men.

“In the middle of the court there stood the fragment of a pillar, and on it was placed a very low stool which these men maliciously covered with sharp flints and bits of broken potsherds. Then they tore off the garments of Jesus, thereby reopening all his wounds; threw over his shoulders an old scarlet mantle which barely reached his knees; dragged him to the seat prepared, and pushed him roughly down upon it, having first placed the crown of thorns upon his head. Having first placed these twisted branches on his forehead, they tied them tightly together at the back of his head, and no sooner was this accomplished to their satisfaction than they put a large reed into his hand, doing all with derisive gravity as if they were really crowning him king. Then they seized the reed, and struck his head so violently that his eyes filled with blood; they knelt before him, derided him, spat in his face, and buffeted him, saying at the same time, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they threw down his stool, pulled him up again from the ground on which he had fallen, and reseated him with the greatest brutality.

“It is quite impossible to describe the cruel outrages which were thought of and perpetrated by these monsters under human form. The sufferings of Jesus from thirst, caused by the fever which his wounds and sufferings had brought on, were intense. He trembled all over, his flesh was torn piecemeal, his tongue contracted, and the only refreshment he received was the blood which trickled from his head on to his parched lips. This shameful scene was protracted a full half-hour, and the Roman soldiers continued during the whole time to applaud and encourage the perpetration of still greater outrages.”

The Crowning of Christ with Thorns, in grotesque cruelty and mockery of His Kingship, was not just one more aspect of, or incident in, Our Lord’s Passion. Nor was it merely a matter of cruel comedy that the sign which Pilate had nailed upon the Cross proclaimed Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews (John 19: 19). The kingdom of this world, of which Satan is the Prince, hates above all things that God should in any way reign in this world over the souls of individuals or nations. Just before suffering His Passion, Our Lord proclaimed, “Now is the judgment of the world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.” (John 12: 31). The demonic mockery of Christ’s Kingship was therefore a crowning achievement of Satan’s deepest aspirations.

Jesus, in his dialogue with Pilate, is very concise as to wherein His Kingship lay. It is not a “kingship of this world”. The Jews, of course, looked for a secular Messiah who would triumph over their worldly enemies. In the passage of scripture quoted at the beginning of this article, Jesus therefore flatly denies this sort of worldly kingship. But this does not at all mean that His is not a Kingship over this world. Jesus answers in the positive to Pilate’s question as to whether He is a King:: “Jesus answered: Thou sayest I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth, heareth my voice.” As the Word generated eternally from the Father, Jesus Christ is the Truth which must reign over the hearts and minds of all men if they are to be saved. The Kingship of Jesus Christ is a Kingship of Truth.

It has been our contention that the crisis now facing the Church is the greatest which it has faced in its 2,000 year journey through history. The Church has of course faced other great crises in regard to the Truth of Christ. It might be contested, for instance, that the Arian Heresy (which denied that Jesus was consubstantial – One in Being – with the Father) was greater. After all, St. Jerome made the statement (slightly exaggerated) that during this historical period “the whole world groaned and marveled to find itself Arian”. And there have been many other great heresies that shook the Church.

But in all of these heresies of Christian history, and in all of these crises, the fundamental character of the concept of “Truth” was accepted – that it was something that was immutable and free of self-contradiction. This, in fact, is a fundamental attribute of God’s Immutable Being:

“God is not a man that he should lie, nor as the son of man, that he should be changed.” (Num. 23: 19).

“For I am the Lord, and I change not.” (Malach. 3: 6).

“Jesus Christ, yesterday, and today: and the same for ever.” (Heb. 13: 8).

“Every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.” (James 1: 17)

It is this immutable nature of Catholic Truth (as revealed in Holy Scripture, and also as defined by the Church in its infallible teaching office), which is the foundation of all Catholic belief. Without this immutability of God and His Truth, all else becomes an ever-shifting sand, and the Kingship of Christ becomes meaningless. Thus, without a firm adherence (at least implicitly) to all the truths of Christ to be found in God’s Revelation, any purported belief in, and devotion to, Jesus itself becomes a participation in Satan’s mockery of Our Lord. And since man is created in the image of God, and since “the life of Christ is the light of men” (John 1: 4), then it is also true that all men, despite the fact that their lives on this earth are subject to many changes, possess a human nature which both participates in, and is subject to, the eternal, immutable Truth of Who God is. If at any point we cease to believe and affirm that all men at all times have possessed this same common nature, and the same absolute obligation to worship God “in spirit and in truth”, then it is not only the entirety of Catholic faith that becomes subject to total disintegration, but also the very nature and dignity of man.

It is this enormously destructive process of disintegration of the concept of Catholic Truth which has now invaded the hearts and minds of countless numbers of Catholics – from the most humble laymen all the way up through much of the hierarchy, and even to the Papacy. The primary impetus for such dissolution in the realm of philosophy has been the rejection of the concept of substantial being (both the substantial Being of God, and the substantial being of man), and the surrender of faith to an evolutionary view in which evolutionary becoming has replaced being as the fundamental concept in all human thought. In other words, evolutionary theory has now jumped what was once thought to be the impenetrable barrier between the physical and spiritual world; and both God and man, and all the truths concerning both God and man, are now being seen as subject to evolutionary growth and change. What we are witnessing is something virtually unheard of in the history of the Church, and it is this which makes the present crisis to surpass all others.

The primary, satanically-inspired “genius” in regard to this new philosophy-theology was the French Jesuit priest Teilhard de Chardin. The single greatest architect of its penetration into the Catholic intellectual world has been Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI. And the great implementer of these errors in the pastoral realm is now Pope Francis. We will justify each one of these claims in the following analysis.

We fully realize that there is an almost instinctive aversion in many faithful Catholics towards criticism of Popes. But if it has indeed happened that Popes, who are only infallible in their exercise of the Infallible Magisterium (and this is defined by Vatican Council I within very prescribed limits), have become infected with very serious philosophical and theological error, then there can be no purification of the Church unless these errors are directly confronted. Just as we cannot love what we do not somehow know, so we cannot pray effectively for purification of the Church unless we have some understanding of what is in need of purification. And at the depths of this need for purification is the mockery that is now being made of the entire concept of Catholic Truth. Nor can we claim charity in ignoring wounds that threaten, not only the salvation of these individual Popes themselves, but also countless souls under their care.

We therefore hope the reader will persevere through the rather long analysis which follows.

 

Teilhard de Chardin

“It is Christ, in very truth, who saves, – but should we not immediately add that at the same time it is Christ who is saved by Evolution?(Teilhard de Chardin).

 

In the following analysis, we will be dealing with three short works of Teilhard de Chardin. They are all to be found in Pierre Teilhard De Chardin: The Heart of Matter (Harcourt, 1978). All page references to quotations, unless otherwise noted, are taken from this edition.

The first is titled The Heart of Matter. It was written in 1950, and is considered the last of his major works. It is autobiographical, and contains a summation of his thought and the personal history of his spiritual development. Therefore, it is a singularly important work for understanding the man and his completed system.

The second, titled The Christic, was written one month before his death in 1955. It contains his culminating thoughts on Christ as the Omega Point of Evolution.

The third work, The Mass on the World (originally titled The Priest), was begun in 1918, and it became a project which he worked on for the rest of his life. It is here that we find his most darksome prayer to a Christ for Whom the Consecrated Bread and Wine are only symbols of what Teilhard considered to be the real consecration of the whole world through evolutionary transformation and ascent to the Omega point.

During the following analysis, we ask the reader to continually keep in mind the extraordinarily perverse statement, as quoted at the beginning of this section, that “it is Christ who is saved by Evolution” (p., 92)

 

Teilhard’s Spiritual Journey to the New Age

Great intellectual perversities in adulthood usually demand distortions of normal childhood perceptions and desires. Teilhard de Chardin himself wants us to understand the childhood roots of his spiritual journey, and so we quote the following description of his first memory:

A memory? My very first! I was five or six. My mother had snipped a few of my curls. I picked one up and held it close to the fire. The hair was burnt up in a fraction of a second. A terrible grief assailed me; I had learnt that I was perishable… What used to grieve me when I was a child? This insecurity of things. And what used I to love? My genie of iron! With a plow hitch I believed myself, at seven years, rich with a treasure incorruptible, everlasting. And then it turned out that what I possessed was just a bit of iron that rusted. At this discovery I threw myself on the lawn and shed the bitterest tears of my existence!” (From a 1938 edition of The Heart of Matter, translated by Claude Cuenot).

In his autobiography, The Heart of Matter, Teilhard begins by stating that the “axis” which gives continuity to his whole life is the innate “Pleromic Sense” which has been with him since earliest childhood – the appetite for some “Unique all-sufficing and necessary reality.” (p. 16-17). He describes a mental state as a child in which, although he was devoted to the child Jesus, “In reality, however, my real ‘me’ was elsewhere….I withdrew into the contemplation, the possession, into the so relished existence of my ‘Iron God’….nothing in the world was harder, heavier, tougher, more durable than this marvelous substance apprehended in its fullest possible form…Consistence: that has undoubtedly been for me the fundamental attribute of Being.”

In other words, at an age when healthy children “relish” in the love of mother, father, and siblings, Teilhard withdrew into a contemplative relationship with the iron “lock-pin of a plow.” (p. 18-19).

Having been betrayed by the rusting lock-pin, Teilhard moved on to rocks (they don’t rust), and especially quartz. This passion stayed with him the rest of his life. He writes, “The truth is that even at the peak of my spiritual trajectory I was never to feel at home unless immersed in an Ocean of Matter…” (p. 20).

The problem in all of this, of course, is what to do with living things. Teilhard writes that, “Because of its apparent fragility…the living World greatly worried and disconcerted me as a child.” On the one hand he was drawn to it by his “Pleromic Sense,” (there is, after all, a certain obvious plenitude of being in living things that is not in rocks); on the other he was repulsed and terrified by their inconsistency and fragility. He admits that, because of this conflict, “I had at that time [28 years old] come to a standstill in my awakening to Cosmic Life, and I could not start again without the intervention of a new force or a new illumination” (p. 23-24). In other words, at the age of 28, he was still looking for a justification for relishing the living over the dead.

It is interesting that at this stage of development (if we care to grace it with such a term), Teilhard was tempted by Eastern Mysticism. Having found no real object in this world to answer his quest for “Plenitude,” he was tempted to go entirely beyond this world into the formless Monism of Eastern Philosophy and Mysticism. He states that such would have been the case “had it not been that just at the appropriate moment the idea of Evolution germinated in me, like a seed: whence it came I cannot say.” (p. 24).

Evolution became for our philosopher a “magic word…which haunted my thoughts like a tune: which was to me like an unsatisfied hunger, like a promise held out to me, like a summons to be answered….” (p.24). It was in fact Evolution which enabled Teilhard to transfer his Sense of Plenitude from the “ultra-material” (iron and rocks) to the “ultra living.” He writes:

“You can well imagine, accordingly, how strong was my inner feeling of release and expansion when I took my first still hesitant steps into an ‘evolutive’ Universe, and saw that the dualism in which I had hitherto been enclosed was disappearing like the mist before the rising sun. Matter and Spirit these were no longer two things, but two states or two aspects of one and the same cosmic Stuff….” (p. 26).

It was Paleontology which provided the key for Teilhard:

By its gravitational nature, the Universe, I saw, was falling – falling forwards – in the direction of Spirit as upon its stable form. In other words, Matter was not ultra-materialized as I would at first have believed, but was instead metamorphosed into Psyche. Looked at not metaphysically, but genetically, Spirit was by no means the enemy or the opposite of the Tangibility which I was seeking to attain: rather was it its very heart [Spirit, in other words, is the Heart of Matter].” (p.28)

“Matter is the matrix of Spirit. Spirit is the higher state of Matter.” (p. 35).

According to Teilhard, matter itself is under pressure everywhere by a directional spirit and energy which is “an extraordinary capacity for consolidation by complexification.” It is this “complexification” which eventually produces living organisms in the “Biosphere,” and it is further “complexification” which eventually produces the critical point at which living organisms become conscious and reflective:

“Reflection, the ‘cosmic’ critical point which at a given moment is inevitably met and traversed by all Matter, as soon as it exceeds a certain degree of psychic temperature and organization.” (p. 35).

But this is by no means the end of the evolutionary process.

 

The Evolution of the Noosphere

Individual consciousness and self-reflection are not the terminus of the evolutionary process of complexification. It is only the beginning of what Teilhard calls the evolution of the Noosphere. The word “Noosphere” should not scare us. It is derived from the Greek word for mind: Nous. Teilhard teaches that this Noosphere is not just an abstract concept, but a living reality surrounding the planet – what he calls ”a gigantic planetary contraction.” Its very nature is that it is unitive and involutive, in that it moves towards a final total unity of all minds in a “Super-Mind.” Thus:

The irresistible ‘setting’ or cementing together of a thinking mass (Mankind) which is continually more compressed upon itself by the simultaneous multiplication and expansion of its individual elements: there is not one of us, surely, who is not almost agonizingly aware of this, in the very fibre of his being. This is one of the things that no one today would even try to deny: we can all see the fantastic anatomical structure of a vast phylum [social, psychic, informational, etc.] whose branches, instead of diverging as they normally do, are ceaselessly folding in upon one another ever more closely, like some monstrous inflorescence – like, indeed, an enormous flower folding-in upon itself; the literally global physiology of an organism in which production, nutrition, the machine, research, and the legacy of heredity are, beyond any doubt, building to planetary dimensions [one can only imagine the ‘fuel’ which the Internet would have provided for Teilhard’s ‘Great Vision’]….Writing in the year 1950, I can say that the evolution of my inner vision culminates in the acceptance of this evident fact, that there is a ‘creative’ tide which (as a strict statistic consequence of their increasing powers of self-determination) is carrying the human ‘mega-molecules’ towards an almost unbelievable quasi ‘mono-molecular’ state; and in that state, as the biological laws of Union demand, each ego is destined to be forced convulsively beyond itself into some mysterious super-ego.” (p. 37-38). [We might well imagine the delight of any sort of Antichrist figure at the prospect that he has both divine and evolutionary sanction to “convulsively force” all men into “some mysterious super-ego.”]

Thus, we have reached what Teilhard considers the Omega point of Natural Evolution. This, however, is not the end of the story. Parallel to Natural Evolution, there must also be seen in the Teilhardian system an “axis” of Evolution of the Divine.

 

The Christic

In the “Great Vision” of Teilhard de Chardin, the historical Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection of Christ is not an ontological event which accomplishes our redemption, but rather the beginning of a larger evolutionary process. For Teilhard, the multiplicity of things in this world is “irreducible,” and there is therefore no “organic relationship of dependence” between them and God. (p. 93-94). There is therefore something “incomplete” in God and in Christ which can only be remedied by His evolutionary incorporation in all matter:

“It is Christ, in very truth, who saves, – but should we not immediately add that at the same time it is Christ who is saved by Evolution? (p. 92)

Teilhard teaches a double evolutionary movement in the universe, and a final convergence between what he calls the “God of the Ahead” and the “God of Above.” The God of the Ahead is the result of natural evolution from the geosphere (inanimate matter), to the biosphere (living things), to the noosphere (consciousness), and finally to the collective “Super-Mind” in the Omega Point. But the “God of the Above” also entails an evolutionary process by which God, through natural evolution, incarnates Himself in order to draw all things into final union with the Christic, which is something more than the historical Christ. Teilhard writes:

On one side – in my ‘pagan’ ego – a Universe which was becoming personalized through convergence [Natural Evolutionary Complexification leading to consciousness, next to the building up of the Noosphere, and finally to unity in the ‘Super-Mind or Omega Point].” On the other side – in my Christian ego – a Person – the Person of Christ – who was becoming universal through Radiation.” By each of these two roads, that is to say, the Divine was joining itself, through all Matter, to all the Human, in the direction of the infinity of the ages lying ahead… (p. 44).

“Classical metaphysics had accustomed us to seeing in the World – which it regarded as an object of ‘Creation’ – a sort of extrinsic product which had issued from God’s supreme efficient power as the fruit of his overflowing benevolence. I find myself now irresistibly led – and this precisely because it enables me both to act and to love in the fullest degree – to a view that harmonizes with the spirit of St. Paul: I see in the World a mysterious product of completion and fulfillment for the Absolute Being himself.” (p.54).

            “…the Christ of Revelation is none other than the Omega of Evolution.” (p.92).

All of this obviously demands an entirely new view of Christianity, of the Church, of Revelation, of Christ, and of our sanctification in Him. It also demands a “New Mass.”

 

A Cosmic Liturgy and Transubstantiation

Having detailed the nature of cosmic evolution, both Natural and Christic, Teilhard then breaks forth in a description of the “true” Cosmic Liturgy:”

“And then there appears to the dazzled eyes of the believer the Eucharistic mystery itself, extended infinitely into a veritable universal transubstantiation, in which the words of the Consecration apply not only to the sacrificial bread and wine but, mark you, to the whole mass of joys and sufferings produced by the Convergence of the World as it progresses.” (p. 94)

The first sentence of The Mass on the World reads as follows:

“Since once again, Lord – though this time not in the forests of the Aisne but in the steppes of Asia – I have neither bread, nor wine, nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the real itself [Note: there is no way that Teilhard could use these words, and make this juxtaposition if he believed in the substantial, Real Presence of Christ after the Consecration]; I, your priest, will make the whole earth my altar and on it will offer you all the labours and sufferings of the world.” (p. 119).

And, a little further on, he elaborates:

“This restless multitude, confused or orderly, the immensity of which terrifies us; this ocean of humanity whose slow, monotonous wave-flows trouble the hearts even of those whose faith is most firm: it is to this deep that I thus desire all the fibres of my being should respond. All the things in the world to which this day will bring increase; all those that will diminish; all those too that will die: all of them, Lord, I try to gather into my arms, so as to hold them out to you in offering. This is the material of my sacrifice; the only material you desire.

“Once upon a time men took into your temple the first fruits of their harvests, the flower of their flocks. But the offering you really want, the offering you mysteriously need every day to appease your hunger, to slake your thirst is nothing less than the growth of the world borne ever onwards in the stream of universal becoming.

“Receive, O Lord, this all-embracing host which your whole creation, moved by your magnetism, offers you at this dawn of a new day.” (p. 121)

Such is the “Living Liturgy,” the “Great Vision,” of Teilhard de Chardin. It is now largely dominant within the Church, including the minds of both Popes Benedict XVI and Francis. It necessitates the dissolution of all things truly Catholic.

 

The Teilhardism of Joseph Ratzinger

“The role of the priesthood is to consecrate the world so that it may become a living host, a liturgy: so that the liturgy may not be something alongside the reality of the world, but that the world itself shall become a living host, a liturgy. This is also the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: in the end we shall achieve a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host.” (Benedict XVI, Homily, Celebration of Vespers with the Faithful of Aosta, July 24, 2009)

Having analyzed the philosophy and theology of Teilhard de Chardin, the above-quoted words of a reigning Pope should take on immense, and immanently frightening, significance for any orthodox Catholic.

It is, of course, almost a knee-jerk response for any good Catholic to instinctively diffuse the import of such an outrageous statement made by a reigning Pope. Somehow, we think, he does not really mean it – he does not understand Teilhard, and has not read him in depth. The fact is, however, that the opposite is true. In his book Introduction to Christianity (Ignatius Press, 2004), Joseph Ratzinger quotes from five of Teilhard’s works, including The Heart of Matter which we made the principle subject of analysis of his thinking. He has read Teilhard, he understands Teilhard, and he has accepted, with minor qualifications, the “Great Vision” of Teilhard.

In order to be able to understand the Benedict XVI’s “Teilhardism.” We need to do some preparatory examination of his particular evolutionary views. Again, we tend to have a “diffused” view concerning the evil involved in the acceptance of evolutionary theory, and especially the consequences attendant upon having a Pope who is a convinced evolutionist. This is fostered by a number of factors.

We tend, for instance, to think of all so-called Christian evolutionists as coming from that camp of “Theistic Evolutionists” who believe that at a certain stage of physical evolution, God infused a soul into a being who was hithertofore an animal. Joseph Ratzinger absolutely rejects such a view. His evolutionary view is very different, and as we shall see, much more destructive to the Catholic Faith.

We also tend to minimize the evil of evolutionary belief because of all the prominent Catholics who have believed in evolution: “After all, Bishop Sheen was an evolutionist.” Yes, Bishop Sheen was an evolutionist. He also had read Teilhard de Chardin, embraced his central concepts and terminology, and even went so far as to say that in 50 years it would be very likely that Teilhard “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). Leaving judgment of Bishop Sheen to others, or to other times, we must yet note that it is now 52 years since Bishop Sheen made this prediction, and with recent Papacies, we do now indeed appear to be on the cusp of its fulfillment.

Let us, first of all, establish absolute certainty as to Joseph Ratzinger’s embrace of evolution.

The year 2009 saw the publication by Ignatius Press of a book of essays written by Joseph Ratzinger titled Credo for Today: What Christians Believe (translated from the original 2006 German version). The essays are taken from various works published between the years 1971-2006. Credo for Today contains a chapter titled Creation: Belief in Creation and the Theory of Evolution [taken from Joseph Ratzinger’s 1972 work Dogma and Verkündung (Preaching or Proclamation)]. It is devoted to an attempt to reconcile the Christian view of creation with the scientific theory of evolution. Here we read the following:

“…the pre-Darwinian idea of the invariability of the species had been justified in terms of the idea of creation [and, of course, by taking the Bible seriously] ; it regarded every individual species as a datum of creation that had existed since the beginning of the world through God’s creative work as something unique and different alongside the other species. It is clear that this form of belief in creation contradicts the idea of evolution and that this expression of the faith has become untenable today.”(p. 34)

And, further:

“We have established that the first aspect, that is, the concrete form which the idea of creation had taken in practice, has been abolished by the idea of evolution; here the believer must allow himself to be taught by science that the way in which he had imagined creation was part of a pre-scientific world view that has become untenable.”(p.36)

The first thing we must realize, therefore, is that Joseph Ratzinger is not merely “influenced” by evolutionary thinking. He has embraced it in its depths. And this embrace has necessitated what, in the very first sentence of his article, he calls “a revolution in our world view that was no less thoroughgoing than the one that we associate with the name Copernicus.”

Secondly, the fundamental component in this “revolution in our world view” consists in the fact that, in the light of what Joseph Ratzinger considers the indisputable truth of evolution, the concept of “being” does not indicate any sort of fixed substantial nature, but rather that “being is time; it does not merely have time. Only in becoming does it exist and unfold into itself.” (p. 42). This evolutionary “becoming” is meaningful because, contrary to the view of materialistic evolutionists, it is directed by “Mind” or “Creative Reason,” and has a “forward” momentum. All this is in deep agreement with the thinking of Teilhard de Chardin. The latter in fact specifically defends himself against the charge of being a pantheist because he believes in the ultimate goal of evolution as being union with “some pre-existent being.”

This “becoming” is fully explored by Joseph Ratzinger in his book Introduction to Christianity. It is in the passages of this work that one sees both his endorsement of Teilhard’s system as a whole and his adoption of its specific terminology.

As we have seen, the key “scientific” term which facilitates Teilhard’s system of evolutionary growth towards the Omega Point is “complexification.” Joseph Ratzinger seems enamoured of this term – there are eleven uses of the terms “complexity” or “complexification” in 10 pages of his treatment of the thought of Teilhard de Cardin. Following are several examples:

In the background is the idea that in the cosmos, alongside the two orders or classes of the infinitely small and the infinitely big, there is a third order, which determines the real drift of evolution, namely, the order of the infinitely complex. It is the real goal of the ascending process of growth and becoming….” (p. 237)

But let us return to man, He is so far the maximum in complexity. But even he as mere man-monad cannot represent an end; his growth itself demands a further advance in complexity.” (Ibid.)

“From here it is possible to understand the final aim of the whole movement as Teilhard sees it: the cosmic drift moves ‘in the direction of an incredible ‘mono-molecular’ state, so to speak, in which…each ego is destined to attain climax in a sort of mysterious superego’.” (p. 238).

From here onward faith in Christ will see the beginning of a movement in which dismembered humanity is gathered together more and more into the being of one single Adam, one single ‘body’ the man to come.”(p. 239).

“From this perspective the belief in the second coming of Jesus Christ and in the consummation of the world in that event could be explained as the conviction that our history is advancing to an ‘omega’ point, at which it will become finally and unmistakably clear that the element of stability that seems to us to be the supporting ground of reality, so to speak, is not mere unconscious matter; that, on the contrary, the real, firm ground is mind. Mind holds being together, gives it reality, indeed is reality: it is not from below but from above that being receives its capacity to subsist. That there is such a thing as this process of ‘complexification’ of material being through spirit, and from the latter its concentration into a new kind of unity can already be seen in the remodeling of the world through technology.” (P. 32).

And, in order to demonstrate that this sort of Teilhardian cosmology is not just a momentary aberration in a single work, we also have the following from Joseph Ratzinger’s book titled Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life:

“We left the question of the materiality of the resurrection at the point to which Thomas Aquinas had brought it. The fundamental insight to which Thomas broke through [the real unity of soul and body) was given a new twist by Rahner when he noted that in death the soul becomes not acosmic [having nothing to do with the physical world] but all-cosmic. This means that its essential ordination to the material world remains, not in the mode of giving form to an organism as its entelechy [thus, out the window goes the teaching of the Council of Vienne that the soul is the substantial form – the entelechy – of the body], but in that of an ordering to this world as such and as a whole. It is not difficult to connect this thought to ideas formulated by Teilhard de Chardin. For it might be said in this regard that relation to the cosmos is necessarily also relation to the temporality of the universe, which knows being only in the form of becoming [this is gibberish in light of Thomistic metaphysics], has a certain direction, disclosed in the gradual construction of ‘biosphere’ and ‘noosphere’ from out of physical building blocks which it then proceeds to transcend. Above all it is a progress to ever more complex unities. This is why it calls for a total complexity: a unity which will embrace all previously existing unities….The search reaches the point of integration of all in all, where each thing becomes completely itself precisely by being completely in the other. In such integration, matter belongs to spirit in a wholly new and different way, and spirit is utterly one with matter. The pancosmic existence, which death opens up would lead, then, to universal exchange and openness, and so to the overcoming of all alienation. Only where creation realizes such unity can it be true that ‘God is all in all.”( p. 191-192).

The quotes given above should be sufficient in order to establish with absolute certainty the extraordinary degree to which Joseph Ratzinger has embraced both the specific terminology and general cosmology of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. It is interesting that at the beginning of his discussion of Teilhard, he mentions a “not entirely unobjectionable tendency toward the biological approach” in Teilhard’s approach to these subjects, but then immediately states that he “nevertheless on the whole grasped them correctly….” It is almost as though Joseph Ratzinger recognized that he was treading on condemned and heretical ground, felt the need to make some unsubstantial and unexplained “qualification,” and yet could not resist bounding forward into virtual total embrace of the Teilhardian system and all the essential concepts involved.

The problem in all this, as Joseph Ratzinger fully admits, is the question as to how we explain the rise of man, and the fact that we believe that he possesses a spiritual “soul.” As noted earlier, he categorically rejects the position of some “Theistic Evolutionists” who basically conceive of a God Who “waits in the wings,” and at the opportune moment in evolutionary history, infuses a spiritual soul into an animal body. He dismisses such a solution as being “intolerable” to both the evolutionist and the theologian (p. 38).

It is here that he again has recourse to Teilhard. After quoting a rather dense passage from his writings, Joseph Ratzinger offers us the following exposition:

Certainly one can debate the details in this formulation; yet the decisive point seems to me to be grasped quite accurately: the alternative: materialism [the view that “spirit” and consciousness are ultimately only an accidental phenomenon of matter] or a spiritually defined world view, chance or meaning, is presented to us today in the form of the question of whether one regards spirit and life in its ascending forms as an incidental mold on the surface of the material world…or whether one regards spirit as the goal of the process and, conversely matter as the prehistory of the spirit. If one chooses the second alternative, it is clear that spirit is not a random product of material developments, but rather that matter signifies a moment in the history of spirit.” (p. 45).

It is clear here that Joseph Ratzinger’s thinking is in striking accord with “the decisive point” of Teilhard de Chardin in regard to the evolution of spirit and mind. Many traditionalists are in confusion in regard to Benedict’s evolutionary views because he rejects “meaningless evolution.” (as he did in his 2011 Easter Vigil Homily). But to reject meaningless evolution is not at all the same as rejecting evolution. Teilhard de Chardin also totally rejects meaningless evolution.” In both men’s thinking there is in fact so much significance and meaning to evolution that it is the primary vehicle by which God deals with man, and by which man’s spirit arises.

Lest we are tempted to think that Teilhard is a theologian with whom Benedict XVI is not really in essential agreement, we have the following matter-of-fact conclusion from Joseph Ratzinger’s pen in regard to the appearance of spirit in a human being:

“This would then lead to the insight that spirit does not enter the picture as something foreign, as a second substance, in addition to matter: the appearance of spirit, according to the previous discussion, means rather that an advancing movement arrives at the goal that has been set for it….The clay became man at that moment in which a being for the first time was capable of forming, however dimly, the thought ‘God.’ The first ‘thou’ that – however stammeringly – was said by human lips to God marks the moment in which spirit arose in the world. Here the Rubicon of anthropogenesis was crossed.” (p. 46-47).

One can only surmise that Adam’s next act after his initial dim and stammering thought of God was a puzzled grunt. There is here no Adam and Eve created in the fullness of sanctifying grace, possessing the infused gifts, both natural and supernatural, necessary for what has traditionally been known as the state of “Original Justice.” There can be no loss of this state through Original Sin. There can be no real moral responsibility for a human mind and will living in such dimness and stammering. There is only evolution and becoming.

Joseph Ratzinger in fact rejected the Church’s dogmatic teaching (Council of Trent) on the nature of original sin. The following is taken from his book In the Beginning…A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall (William B. Erdmans Publishing Co., 1995):

In the story that we are considering [Ch. 3 of Genesis], still a further characteristic of sin is described. Sin is not spoken of in general as an abstract possibility but as a deed, as the sin of a particular person, Adam, who stands at the origin of humankind and with whom the history of sin begins. The account tells us that sin begets sin, and that therefore all the sins of history are interlinked. Theology refers to this state of affairs by the certainly misleading and imprecise term ‘original sin’. What does this mean? Nothing seems to us today to be stranger or, indeed, more absurd than to insist upon original sin, since, according to our way of thinking, guilt can only be something very personal, and since God does not run a concentration camp, in which one’s relatives are imprisoned because he is a liberating God of love, who calls each one by name. What does original sin mean, then, when we interpret it correctly?

 

In the above passage, Joseph Ratzinger is simply denying that original sin was something which resulted in the passing on, through generation, of a fallen nature to all men. He in fact mocks this absolutely essential Catholic truth by comparing it to the idea that God runs a concentration camp which punishes all subsequent men born into this world for the sins committed by Adam. His answer (which is to be found in the long paragraph which followed the above quote) consists in asserting that “original sin” is not inherited at conception through generation, but is picked up by us through damaged relationships after conception and birth. He in fact uses some form of the word “relation” or “relationship” thirteen times in this paragraph in order to try to hammer home this new version of original sin. Again, success in such an enterprise destroys the Catholic Faith. And such is an absolute necessity of the evolutionary view of man and God.

 

An Evolutionary Christ

This destruction must also affect belief in Christ and the Incarnation. As we have seen, Teilhard teaches that “it is Christ who is saved by evolution,” that “[Christ] is becoming universal through radiation,” and that “I see in the World a mysterious product of completion and fulfillment for the Absolute Being himself.”

It is, of course, traditional Catholic teaching that Christ’s Incarnation, Death, and Resurrection brought a radical change into the world. Christ’s Advent, and the resultant conversion of millions from a state of original sin to one of sanctifying grace, resulted in an ontological change in millions of souls, which in turn radically changed social realities, and created a Christian civilization. The teachings of many previous Popes contain stirring testimonies to this radical “ontological” change which ensued from Christ’s Advent. As Pope Leo XIII wrote:

“Then man, as though awakening from a long-continued and deadly lethargy, beheld at length the light of the truth, for long ages desired, yet sought in vain. First of all, he realized that he was born to much higher and more glorious things than the frail and inconstant objects of sense which had hitherto formed the end of his thoughts and cares. He learnt that the meaning of human life, the supreme law, the end of all things was this: that we come from God and must return to Him. From this first principle the consciousness of human dignity was revived: men’s hearts realized the universal brotherhood: as a consequence, human rights and duties were either perfected or even newly created, whilst on all sides were evoked virtues undreamt of in pagan philosophy. Thus men’s aims, life, habits and customs received a new direction. As the knowledge of the Redeemer spread far and wide and His power, which destroyeth ignorance and former vices, penetrated into the very life-blood of the nations, such a change came about that the face of the world was entirely altered by the creation of a Christian civilization.” (Encyclical Tametsi – on Christ Our Redeemer).

Such radical, ontological change and restoration is, of course, impossible in the world of Teilhardian evolution. The Incarnation, according to Teilhard de Chardin, is not to be seen as a one-time event which restored salvation to mankind, but only the beginning of an ages-long process of evolutionary incorporation of the human into the divine, and of the incarnation of the divine into the human, reaching final convergence at the Omega Point of the Christic. This Teilhardian rejection of the traditional understanding of Christ’s Advent is perfectly expressed by Joseph Ratzinger in the following passage from his book Being Christian:

“This week we celebrate with the Church the beginning of Advent. If we think back to what we learned as children about Advent and its significance, we will remember being told that the Advent wreath, with its candles, is a reminder of the thousands of years (perhaps thousands of centuries) of the history of mankind before Christ. It reminds all of us of the time when an unredeemed mankind awaited salvation. It brings to our minds the darkness of an as yet unredeemed history in which the light of hope was only slowly kindled until, in the end, Christ, the light of the world, came and freed mankind from the darkness of condemnation. We learned also that those thousands of years before Christ were a time of condemnation because of original sin, while the centuries after the birth of our Lord are ‘anni salutis reparatae,’ years of restored salvation. And finally, we will remember being told that, in Advent, besides thinking back on the past to the period of condemnation and expectation of mankind, the Church also fixes her attention on the multitude of people who have not yet been baptized, and for whom it is still Advent, since they wait and live in the darkness of the absence of salvation.

If we look at the ideas we learned as children through the eyes of contemporary man and with the experiences of our age, we will see that we can hardly accept them. The idea that the years after Christ, compared with those before, are years of salvation will seem to be a cruel irony if we remember such dates as 1914, 1918, 1933, 1939, 1945; dates which mark periods of world war in which millions of men lost their lives, often in terrifying circumstances; dates which bring back the memory of atrocities such as humanity has never before experienced. One date (1933) reminds us of the beginning of a regime which achieved the most cruel perfection in the practice of mass murder; and finally, we remember that year in which the first atomic bomb exploded on an inhabited city, hiding in its dazzling brilliance a new possibility of darkness for the world.

“If we think about these things, we will have difficulty in distinguishing between a period of salvation and one of condemnation. And, extending our vision even further, if we contemplate the works of destruction and barbarity perpetrated in this and the preceding centuries by Christians (that is to say by us who call ourselves ‘redeemed’), we will be unable to divide the nations of the world into the redeemed and the condemned.

If we are sincere, we will no longer build up a theory which divides history and geography into zones of redeemed and zones of condemned. Rather, we will see the whole of history as a gray mass in which it is always possible to perceive the shining of a goodness which has not completely disappeared, in which there can always be found in men the desire to do good, but also in which breakdowns occur which lead to the atrocities of evil.”

It is immensely ironic and tragic that Joseph Ratzinger does not realize that the 20th Century atrocities which he lists in no way provide evidence against the traditional view of Christ’s Advent, or against such doctrines as original sin, sanctifying grace, or the necessity for implementing the Social Kingship of Christ. Rather, they provide profound confirmation of the inevitable consequences of a decay of traditional Christian orthodoxy and civilization, and the resultant ascension to power of forces, ideas, individuals, and movements (Communism, Nazism, and secular-messianic democracy) at total war with Christianity. Nor does he realize what atrocities the dark horizons of the future hold in store as a consequence of his own betrayals of this Tradition, and his embrace of Teilhardian evolution.

In his most comprehensive work on theology, Principles of Catholic Theology, Joseph Ratzinger offers the following assessment of Teilhard de Chardin’s influence upon Vatican Council II:

“The impetus given by Teilhard de Chardin exerted a wide influence. With daring vision it incorporated the historical movement of Christianity into the great cosmic process of evolution from Alpha to Omega: since the noogenesis, since the formation of consciousness in the event by which man became man, this process of evolution has continued to unfold as the building of the noosphere above the biosphere.” (p.334).

There has existed a tremendous blindness among traditional Catholics in regard to the philosophy and theology of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI. Largely this has been due to his Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, and the widespread permission it gave for offering the Traditional Latin Mass. But as we have seen in the case of Teilhard de Chardin and his ”Mass on the World” (which of course was the form of Mass offered exclusively during his time), the TLM in itself does not guarantee that it cannot be offered free of intentions which invert the entire Catholic Faith. This inversion is completely evident in a passage from Chapter 2 of Cardinal Ratzinger’s book The Spirit of the Liturgy (2000):

And so we can now say that the goal of worship and the goal of creation as a whole are one and the same—divinization, a world of freedom and love. But this means that the historical makes its appearance in the cosmic. The cosmos is not a kind of closed building, a stationary container in which history may by chance take place. It is itself movement, from its one beginning to its one end. In a sense, creation is history. Against the background of the modern evolutionary world view, Teilhard de Chardin depicted the cosmos as a process of ascent, a series of unions. From very simple beginnings the path leads to ever greater and more complex unities, in which multiplicity is not abolished but merged into a growing synthesis, leading to the ‘Noosphere’, in which spirit and its understanding embrace the whole and are blended into a kind of living organism. Invoking the epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians, Teilhard looks on Christ as the energy that strives toward the Noosphere and finally incorporates everything in its ‘fullness’. From here Teilhard went on to give a new meaning to Christian worship: the transubstantiated Host is the anticipation of the transformation and divinization of matter in the christological ‘fullness’. In his view, the Eucharist provides the movement of the cosmos with its direction; it anticipates its goal and at the same time urges it on.”

It needs to be added that it is frequently claimed that during the social “revolutions” of 1968, then Fr. Joseph Ratzinger underwent some sort of conversion from being a “liberal” to a “conservative”. But “conservativism” is not the same as Catholic orthodoxy. One can prefer Gregorian Chant and Mozart to Pop music, and still not be Catholic. One can love the beauty of the traditional liturgy, and find repulsive the banality of the way in which the Novus Ordo is usually offered, and still not really understand. One can be abhorred at the promotion of drastic, violent forms of evolution and revolution, while at the same time being an evolutionist and an agent of revolution. One can be a “cultural conservative”, while still expounding philosophy and theology which completely inverts the Catholic Faith.

By now the reader should not be too befuddled by Teilhard-Ratzinger newspeak. What is being said here is that the “daring” event that was Vatican II amounted to an “opening” (aggiornamento) and incorporation of the Church into the larger evolutionary movement of the entire world and all of its individual realities and forces. What this means, of course, is that all dogmas – both of Faith and Morals – which have kept the Church separate from the world and all of its aspirations, must now somehow be “essentialized”, subjected to a “hermeneutics of continuity” (the last two expressions were favorites of Pope Benedict XVI), diluted, de-emphasized, transformed into an ideal only attainable in some future Omega Point, or simply cloaked behind a wall of silence, in order to facilitate this evolutionary process. And this is where Pope Francis comes upon the stage.

 

Pope Francis

In prophetic anticipation of the crisis which we now have with us, Teilhard de Chardin wrote just one month before he died in 1955:

“On the other hand, I cannot fail to feel around me – if only from the way in which ‘my ideas’ are becoming more widely accepted – the pulsation of countless people who are all – ranging from the border-line of belief to the depths of the cloister – thinking and feeling, or at least beginning vaguely to feel, just as I do. It is indeed heartening to know that I am not a lone discoverer, but that I am, quite simply, responding to the vibration that (given a particular condition of Christianity of the world) is necessarily active in all the souls around me…..Everywhere on Earth, at this moment, in the new spiritual atmosphere created by the appearance of the idea of evolution, there float, in a state of extreme mutual sensitivity, love of God and faith in the world: the two essential components of the Ultra-human. These two components are everywhere ‘in the air’; generally, however, they are not strong enough, both at the same time, to combine with one another in one and the same subject. In me, it happens by pure chance (temperament, upbringing, background) that the proportion of the one to the other is correct, and the fusion of the two has been effected spontaneously – not as yet with sufficient force to spread explosively — but strong enough nevertheless to make it clear that the process is possible — and that sooner or later there will be a chain-reaction.” (The Christic, p. 101-102).

The chain-reaction” of which Teilhard de Chardin spoke in the above passage has taken sixty years to materialize (and we might also keep in mind Bishop Fulton Sheen’s prophetic statement quoted earlier). His work was censured by various Church officials for decades, culminating in the 1962 Monitum of the Holy Office exhorting “all Ordinaries as well as the superiors of Religious institutes, rectors of seminaries and presidents of universities, effectively to protect the minds, particularly of the youth, against the dangers presented by the works of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin and of his followers”. As late as 1981, the Holy See issued a communiqué reaffirming this warning.

Teilhard’s Evolutionary Gnosticism has now been blessed with both the voice and the vehicles empowering it to be mainstreamed. The voice is that of Pope Francis, and the vehicles which he has employed are his encyclical Laudato Si, and his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

Just as uniting the concept of evolution to Christology provided the theological key to Teilhard de Chardin’s concept of all matter evolving towards the Omega Point of the “Christic” (this constituting his concept of a “Cosmic Liturgy”), so the ecological movement is now providing the necessary chemistry for the “explosion” of this poisoned theology and spirituality within the minds and hearts of millions of Catholics. Laudato Si is rightly seen as the manifesto of this revolution. Following are passages from this encyclical which speak of the universal transfiguration of all created things upon the evolutionary “altar of the world”.

83. The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, which has already been attained by the risen Christ, the measure of the maturity of all things. Here we can add yet another argument for rejecting every tyrannical and irresponsible domination of human beings over other creatures. The ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God, in that transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illumines all things. Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator.”                                                                                  

236. It is in the Eucharist that all that has been created finds its greatest exaltation…. The Lord, in the culmination of the mystery of the Incarnation, chose to reach our intimate depths through a fragment of matter. He comes not from above, but from within, he comes that we might find him in this world of ours….Indeed the Eucharist is in itself an act of cosmic love: ‘Yes, cosmic! Because even when it is celebrated on the humble altar of a country church, the Eucharist is always in some way celebrated on the altar of the world’.[166] (the quote at the end of this passage is from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia).

If we are tempted to deny the Teilhardian theology and cosmology in these passages, we need only to look at footnote #53 in the above quote. It contains the following comment: “Against this horizon we can set the contribution of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin”.

Three more examples:

237. On Sunday, our participation in the Eucharist has special importance. Sunday, like the Jewish Sabbath, is meant to be a day which heals our relationships with God, with ourselves, with others and with the world. Sunday is the day of the Resurrection, the “first day” of the new creation, whose first fruits are the Lord’s risen humanity, the pledge of the final transfiguration of all created reality.

234. Jesus says: “I make all things new” (Rev 21:5). Eternal life will be a shared experience of awe, in which each creature, resplendently transfigured, will take its rightful place and have something to give those poor men and women who will have been liberated once and for all.

234. In the meantime, we come together to take charge of this home which has been entrusted to us, knowing that all the good which exists here will be taken up into the heavenly feast.

In order to see the grievous error represented in these passages from Laudato Si, we need only consult Holy Scripture, and the many passages from both Old and New Testaments which clearly reveal that the earth will totally perish and cease to be, that the world is not our lasting home, and that Christ’s assurance that He will “make all things new” in no way signifies a final transfiguration of any created thing, living or dead, which does not have a spiritual soul:

With desolation shall the earth be laid waste, and it shall be utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word.” (Isaiah 24:3)

“For behold, I create new heaven, and a new earth: and the former things shall not be in remembrance, and they shall not come upon the heart.” (Isaiah 65:1.)

“Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass.” (Matthew 24:35).

“But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment and perdition of the ungodly men.” (2 Peter 3:7)

“But the day of the Lord shall come as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass away with great violence, and the elements shall be melted with heat, and the earth and the works which are in it, shall be burnt up. Seeing then that all these things are to be dissolved, what manner of people ought you to be in holy conversation and godliness? Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of the Lord, by which the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with the burning heat? But we look for new heavens and a new earth according to his promises, in which justice dwelleth.” (2 Peter 3:10-13).

“And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth was gone, and the sea is now no more.” (Apoc. 21: 1).

The Teilhardian spiritualism implicit in Pope Francis’ concept of the altar of the world, and his concept of the final transfiguration of all created things, demands that the above scriptures be considered false. If “matter is the prehistory of spirit” (Joseph Ratzinger’s phrase), and if, as Pope Francis teaches, all creatures are to be “resplendently transfigured” and be present at the “heavenly feast”, then all creatures possess a dignity and sacredness that demands an imperishability which parallels that of human beings.

The “ecological spiritualism” proposed throughout Pope Francis’ Laudato Si therefore represents not just a lengthy and inappropriate descent of the Church into the science of this world, but is preeminently constituted as a manifesto for a totally radical change in Catholic theology and spirituality.

In the City of God, St. Augustine spoke of two Cities in combat for the souls of men: “These two Cities are made by two loves: the earthly City by love of oneself even to the contempt of God; the heavenly City by love of God even to the contempt of self.” (City of God, 14:2). Seventeen hundred years later, these two loves are now represented by two altars: the traditional Catholic altar which receives the Gift of Christ from above, and the Teilhardian altar of the world upon which man worships his own becoming, and the evolutionary ascent of all of creation.

There is, of course, a legitimate use of the expression “altar of the world”. Fatima has long been called the ‘Altar of the World” because pilgrims come from all over the world to worship at this place of Our Lady’s visitation. It is also true that the Mass itself might be considered the Altar of the World – wherever it is offered on this earth, God becomes present. But this is a far cry from the Teilhardian-inspired use of such terms as “altar of the world”, “Mass on the World”, or “altar of the earth” to connote a process of universal becoming by which the earth itself is to be seen as a “living host” being transfigured by an evolutionary processes which will culminate with all its creatures “resplendently transfigured” and “taken up into the heavenly feast”. Rightly we may view such a liturgy as being offered on the pantheistic altar of Satan.

The encyclical Laudato Si was promulgated on May 24, 2015. One year later, on March 19, 2016, the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia was published. What might be called the “theological agenda” of Amoris Laetitia is succinctly formulated very early in this document. In paragraph 3, we encounter the following:

“Since ‘time is greater than space,[bold emphasis mine, quotation marks are Francis’], I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral, or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it. This will always be the case as the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth (cf. Jn 16:13), until he leads us fully into the mystery of Christ and enables us to see all things as he does. Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs. For “cultures are in fact quite diverse and every general principle…needs to be inculterated, if it is to be respected and applied.”

Now, any honest assessment of this paragraph should produce profound bewilderment. The subjects we are dealing with in Amoris Laetitia– marriage, family, the impossibility of divorce and remarriage, the intrinsic evil of homosexuality, and the prescription against those living in adultery receiving the Eucharist – all these subjects are doctrinal “places” which are not subject to evolution, change, growth, or inculteration. The notion that doctrinal truths can be “inculturated” with different “solutions” in various cultures is simply a prescription for relativism. Further, there can be no unity of teaching and practice where these doctrines are violated. And finally, if questions regarding such doctrines need not now to be “settled by intervention of the magisterium”, it is only because they have been settled by the magisterium and by the Gospel from its inception. In other words, every sentence in paragraph 3 is redolent with error and deception.

We do indeed have not only the right, but also the obligation, to reject this concept that “time is greater than space” in regard to anything to do with Catholic truth. And we should be left with a very disturbing question as to exactly what Francis is trying to do with this strange notion that “time is greater than space”.

Amoris Laetitia is not the first time that Francis has used this phrase or concept. Those who read Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium may have been puzzled that in fact an entire subsection of this document was titled “Time is Greater than Space”. There we read:

“A constant tension exists between fullness and limitation. Fullness evokes the desire for complete possession, while limitation is a wall set before us. Broadly speaking, “time” has to do with fullness as an expression of the horizon which constantly opens before us, while each individual moment has to do with limitation as an expression of enclosure. People live poised between each individual moment and the greater, brighter horizon of the utopian future as the final cause which draws us to itself. Here we see a first principle for progress in building a people: time is greater than space.”

On the contrary, the Catholic Faith is not established upon a “horizon which constantly opens before us”, but upon what is within us now:

“Neither shall they say: Behold here, or behold there. For lo, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21)

It has nothing to do with a utopian future, but with the “now” of our response to God’s grace and truth:

“And we helping do exhort you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain….Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:1-2).

It is this now which has been the crucial and saving moment for each individual soul from the creation of Adam down to the last man. It is this now which has been the source of all that is good in human history; for it is here that God’s Rule is either accepted or rejected, this in turn determining whether true love, peace, justice, compassion, and mercy are either accepted or rejected in societies and nations.

Pope Francis indeed seems to make “time” the very source of revelation and salvation. In his interview with Anthony Spadaro, he said the following:

“God manifests himself in historical revelation, in history. Time initiates processes, and space crystallizes them. God is in history, in the processes. We must initiate processes, rather than occupy spaces.”

This, of course, is all very reminiscent of Joseph Ratzinger’s statement concerning the temporality of the universe, “which knows being only in the form of becoming”. This is absolutely contrary to Catholic doctrine and Thomistic metaphysics which rightly sees each created thing as possessing a substantial form determining a specific substantial being in itself. Such “beings” or “kinds” of being do certainly experience accidental change, but they cannot cease to be “what they are” without total corruption (in the case of living things this entails their death) of their substantial form. This of course eliminates all possibility of one thing evolving into another. The notion, therefore, that created things “know being only in the form of becoming” is the great philosophical lie of our age. It is the lie which gives credence to all forms of evolutionary theory. Nor is it a lie which affects only temporal realities. The human soul can only find God in the” now” of God’s immutable Life and Truth, which is the source of his own being, and which is constant in the midst of all the changing vicissitudes of his or her life.

Space, therefore, for Pope Francis, is simply a euphemism for what we are in possession of now – in other words, what we traditional Catholics believe to be the fullness of God’s Immutable Revelation, Rules, Dogma, the Infallible Magisterium, and the reality that we each possess a substantial human nature and soul, requiring the same fundamental choice now as was true of the first man.

Time is proposed by Pope Francis as being greater than Space because “becoming” is more real than God’s Supreme Being, and takes precedence over the Revealed Truths which are the fullness of that Being. It is therefore quite easy to see why, in the mind of Pope Francis, an apparent universal mercy trumps immutable dogma – why the divorced and remarried may receive Holy Communion, why we must be “inclusive” towards practicing homosexuals (who must certainly also be admitted to Sacramental Communion if such a “mercy” holds true), and why, in fact, we must be inclusive towards everyone (except, apparently, rich capitalists, the Mafia, and possibly Traditionalists). It is the Journey into the future which is everything. There can be no Now which demands conversion to any Absolutes, and such conversion cannot be a requisite for being included within the sacramental and supernatural life of Christ’s Mystical Body.

If Time triumphs over the “space” of God’s Immutable Truth, then we float, untethered, until the life of God’s Revelation is left behind. The world, of which Satan is the Prince, has for some time rejected all Absolutes, and prostrated itself before the goddesses of evolutionary progress. This world now has a friend within the Church in the person of Pope Francis. And all of this is being done in the name of a universal mercy which is the ultimate mockery of Christ and the Truth for which He suffered and died.

 

Conclusion: To Seminarians and Priests

In recent years it has become evident that, at least in some respects and in some areas of this country, there has been a turning towards orthodox Catholicism, and therefore a refreshing devotion to such orthodoxy among many seminarians and new priests. At the same time, however, it has also been noticeable that many of these seminarians and recently ordained priests have a strong inclination to try to accommodate Catholicism with evolutionary theory. We hope that the above article will convince such young men that every effort in this direction will inevitably poison their priesthood and lead to mockery of all that Christ meant when He declared to Pilate that He was the King who came to give testimony to the Truth. This of course is precisely what such “accommodation” did to the priesthood of Joseph Ratzinger and Jorge Bergoglio and many other bishops and priests who, either through active acceptance of evolutionary thinking, or by their silence, are now largely responsible for the spread of this virulent poison among the faithful.

Inevitably, embrace of any sort of evolution theory (Teilhardian or not), engenders the spread of a virulent poison in the heart of man in his belief not only in the goodness of creation, but also in the Goodness of God Himself. This poison is profoundly evidenced in a horrific line from Edwin Arnold’s long poem on the Buddha, titled The Light of Asia. The Buddha was of course a Gnostic, for whom all of creation represented a vicious illusion of endless reincarnation seeking escape:

So grow the strifes and lusts which make earth’s war,

So grieve poor cheated hearts and flow salt tears;

So wag the passions, envies, angers, hates;

So years chase blood-stained years with wild red feet.

 

There is, of course, a way in which a Christian can partially agree with such an assessment of life on this earth. But he sees the viciousness which is now upon us in the form of blood-stained years as being entirely generated by man’s (and angels’) sin. There was no such strife or war in the world that God created. God does not create viciousness.

For the Buddhist, Hindu, Gnostic, Modernist, Teilhardian evolutionist, etc., on the other hand, such strife, competition, and blood-letting are the very stuff of creation – the very fuel which drives the engine of their spirituality from the very beginning to final completion. Therefore all of their spirituality falls under the umbrella of escape, accomplished through evolutionary growth (and often reincarnation) towards perfection and “return”. It is this vicious view of God and His creation which is imbibed, even if only implicitly and unconsciously , into every human soul who embraces any sort of evolutionary theory in regard to God’s creative work.

Why should any seminarian or priest be satisfied with possessing a heart thus poisoned? Why should any father or mother be similarly satisfied?

 * Please read our Original Proposal and our article The Rosary: The Way of Perfection, which we believe reach to the heart of what is required for victory over the Darkness which now descends upon the Church, and upon each one of us and our families.

 

Please spread the word about the Rosary!

Popes Honorius, Liberius, John XXII

Image result for Our Lady of Sorrows

Popes Honorious, Liberius, John XXII

 

Note: This article is intended as a companion piece to our article A Tower of Babel: The Rush to Depose a Pope.

 

Introduction

The case of Pope Honorius (625-638) is the premier example which is erroneously used by those who seek to establish an historical precedence that a Pope can legitimately be declared by a General Council to be a formal heretic, and thus also be declared by such a Council to be deposed. What follows is a refutation of this position.

Following our analysis of the case of Pope Honorius, we also include short examinations of the papacies of Pope Liberius and Pope John XII. While not constituting examples of General Councils invalidly trying to judge a Pope, they nevertheless have provided ample fuel for attempts to conclude that a Pope can be judged to have been a formal heretic, thereby justifying various forms of direct defiance of divinely established papal prerogatives. What is provided here is also, therefore, a refutation of these errors.

Pope Honorius

It will help us to understand the case of Pope Honorius if we first understand some history concerning the specific heresy of which he is accused.

The fourth through the seventh centuries constitute the period of the great Christological heresies. It was during this period that the Church, through great controversies and battles, defined both the relationship of Christ to the Father (through the crisis of the Arian Heresy), and also the relations between the human and divine natures within Christ Himself (through the condemnation of the Apollonarian, Nestorian, Monophysite, and Monothelite Heresies). As the reader can see, there was really only one dominant heresy in the struggle to define the relationship of Christ to the Father. There certainly were some variations in regard to this heresy (the semi-Arians, for instance), but basically the heresy was one. Either Jesus was truly One with the Father, or He was not.

When we come to the relationship between the divine and human natures in Christ things get much more complicated. The orthodox Catholic doctrine is, of course, that there are two natures (the Divine and the human) in one Divine Person. This is easy to say, and possibly to memorize, but can be very difficult to conceptualize and apply. It is, in fact, impossible for the human mind to wrap itself around the idea that the Infinite and the finite can be fully and truly united in One Divine Person, yet each nature retaining its own faculties and operations. The Nestorians could not understand it, and so they postulated two Persons in Christ, and claimed that Mary could only be the Mother of the human, and not the Divine. The Monophysites, in their vehemence to defend the Unity of the One Divine Person against the heresy of Nestorius, went so far as to deny the fully human nature of Christ. Thus we have their name: “Monophysites”, which simply means “one nature.” In other words, the Monophysites , in order to defend a good thing (the Unity of the One Divine Personhood of Christ), did a bad thing (denied the two natures in Christ).

Now we come to the particular circumstances which formed the basis for the rise of the Monothelite (literally “One Will”) Heresy. Cyrus, Patriarch of Alexandria, very much wanted to bring the Monophysite heretics of Egypt back into the Church. We may well imagine that he began this project with good intentions. He certainly was sympathetic towards their defense of the Unity of the Divine Personhood against the Nestorian heretics. Cyrus proposed a formula for the reunion of the Monophysites which read, “That this same Christ, one and the Son, performs both the actions which belong to him as God, and those which are human, by one, sole, theandric operation.” There is no problem of course with the notion that “the same Christ” (the One Divine Person) performs the actions which belong to both God and man. The denial of this truth would amount to Nestorianism. The problem is with the phrase “one, sole, theandric operation.” The word “theandric” literally means “God human.” This phrase denies the two distinct natures in Christ and the two distinct operations of these natures. In other words, it asserts that there is only one real will in Christ, and that being the Divine Will.

Cyrus was challenged by the monk Sophronius ( a canonized saint), who shortly thereafter became Patriarch of Jerusalem. Cyrus, in turn, appealed to his friend Sergius, Patriarch of Constantinople – the second most powerful See in Christendom. St. Sophronius pursued the subject with Sergius. Sergius tried to pacify Sophronius with the argument that neither the words one will nor two wills, or one operation or two operations, should be used, because this whole issue was new, and the use of any of these phrases would scandalize the faithful into the embrace of either the Nestorian or the Monophysite heresies and schisms. Sergius, in turn wrote to Pope Honorius, explaining these matters, and asking for a decision. It should be noted at this point that historians are divided as to the sincerity of Sergius in this matter. Some believe that he was sincerely confused, and honestly seeking clarification from the Pope. Others believe that he was a full-fledged Monothelite heretic, and that the letter he wrote to Honorius was only an artfully contrived piece of subterfuge. The Third Council of Constantinople condemned him as one of the heretics. There is, of course, nothing infallible about such a condemnation. The Church never claims infallibility in judging a man in the internal forum (internal culpability and guilt). Nevertheless, there does seem a good case for Sergius being a Monothelite.

The pertinent section of Pope Honorius’ answer to Sergius is printed below:

Confessing that the Lord Jesus Christ, the mediator of God and of men [1Tim 2:5] has performed divine (works) through the medium of the humanity naturally [gr. hypostatically] united to the Word of God, and that the same one performed human works, because flesh had been assumed ineffably and particularly by the full divinity [gr. in –] distinctly, unconfusedly, and unchangeably…so that truly it may be recognized that by a wonderful design [passible flesh] is united [to the Godhead] while the differences of both natures marvelously remain….Hence, we confess one will of our Lord Jesus Christ also, because surely our nature, not our guilt was assumed by the Godhead, that certainly, which was created before sin, not that which was vitiated after the transgression. For Christ…was conceived of the Holy Spirit without sin, and was also born of the holy and immaculate Virgin Mother of God without sin, experiencing no contagion of our vitiated nature….For there was no other law in His members, or a will different from or contrary to the Savior….(from Denzinger 251).”

The translation from Denzinger is slightly confusing in its use of bracketed words, so I also offer a translation of that part of the above passage taken from Bishop Hefele’s work on the Church Councils:

And the flesh was not from heaven, but was taken from the holy God-bearer [the Blessed Virgin], for the Truth says in the Gospel of Himself: ’No man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven’ (John 3:13), teaching us clearly that the flesh which was susceptible of suffering was united with the Godhead in an unspeakable and unique manner; on the one hand distinct and unmingled, on the other unseparated; so that the union must be wonderfully thought of under the continuance of both natures.”

Pope Honorius also wrote a second letter to Sergius in which he said:

…So far as pertains to ecclesiastical doctrine, what we ought to hold or to preach on account of the simplicity of men and the inextricable ambiguities of questions (which) must be removed…, is to define not one or two operations in the mediator of God and of men, but both natures united in one Christ by a natural union, when we should confess those operating with the participation of the other and the operators, both the divine, indeed, performing what is of God, and the human performing what is of the flesh; teaching [that they operate] neither separately, nor confusedly, nor interchangeably, the nature of God changing into man, and the human changed into God; but confessing the complete differences of the natures….Therefore, doing away with…the scandal of the new invention, we, when we are explaining, should not preach one or two operations; but instead of one operation, which some affirm, we should confess one operator, Christ the Lord, in both natures; and instead of two operations – when the expression of two operations has been done away with – rather of the two natures themselves, that is of divinity and of the flesh assumed, in one person, the Only-begotten of God the Father unconfusedly, inseparably, and unchangeably performing their proper (works) with us (Denzinger, 252).”

Even a cursory reading of these two letters reveals the orthodoxy of Pope Honorius. He confesses the One Divine Personhood. He also fully confesses the union of both the divine and human natures – each performing their respective works “distinctly”, “unconfusedly”, and yet “inseparably” in the One Divine Person of Christ. Further, in making the confession of “one will of Our Lord Jesus Christ”, Pope Honorius immediately gives the reason and meaning: “because surely our nature, not our guilt was assumed by the Godhead, that certainly, which was created before sin, not that which was vitiated after the transgression….For there was no other Law in His members, or a will different from or contrary to the Savior….”

Pope Honorius therefore clearly employed the phrase “one will” only in the moral sense: namely that there was not in Christ a human will, vitiated by the effects of Original Sin, and at variance with or opposition to the Divine Will. We, of course, often speak of such a moral union when we use such phrases as “they are of one will concerning this matter.” It is absolutely certain in the context of the letter that this is precisely the meaning which must be attributed to the use which Honorius made of the phrase “one will.” In no way does his use of this phrase constitute a denial of a truly untainted human will in Christ.

Pope Honorius therefore ordered silence in regards to the questions of one will or two wills, one operation or two operations. The reason which he gives is stated in his first letter:

We, however, wish to think and to breathe according to the utterances of Holy Scripture, rejecting everything which, as a novelty in words, might cause uneasiness in the Church of God, so that those who are under age may not, taking offence at the expression two energies [wills and operations], hold us for Nestorians, and that (on the other side) we may not seem to simple ears to teach Eutychianism (Monophysistism), when we clearly confess only one energy.”

After analyzing these letters, therefore, several things may be said in regard to Pope Honorius. First, he was orthodox. He was not a heretic. Second, in ordering silence in regard to these terms, his primary motive was to not cause further scandal through an occasion leading to further growth of either Nestorianism or Monophysitism. The worst that can be said is that he was somewhat confused and did not see the importance of the terms involved in this dispute, and that he was also deceived by the alleged artifice of Sergius into ordering silence in this matter. None of this, of course, offers the slightest evidence of heresy on his part.

The heretics, of course, did not keep silent. They continued to propagate the Monothelite heresy, and took Pope Honorius’s statement concerning the “one will” out of its proper context, and claimed the Pope himself as a Monothelite.

Pope John IV:

Two years after the death of Pope Honorius (638), Pope John IV ascended the throne of Peter. In 641 he wrote an epistle titled Dominus qui dixit to the Emperor Constantius concerning “The Meaning of the Words of Honorius about the Two Wills” (Denzinger 253). He writes:

Thus in the dispensation of His sacred flesh, He (Christ) never had two contrary wills, nor did the will of His flesh resist the will of His mind….Therefore, knowing that there was no sin at all in Him when He was born and lived, we fittingly say and truthfully confess one will in the humanity of His sacred dispensation; and we do not preach two contrary wills, of mind and of flesh, as in a pure man, in the manner certain heretics are known to rave. In accord with this method, then, our predecessor (already mentioned) [Honorius] is known to have written to the (aforementioned) Sergius the Patriarch who was asking questions, that in our Savior two contrary wills did not exist internally, that is, in His members, since He derived no blemish from the transgression of the first man….This usually happens, that, naturally where there is a wound, there medicinal aid offers itself. For the blessed Apostle is known to have done this often, preparing himself according to the custom of his hearers; and sometimes indeed when teaching about the supreme nature, he is completely silent about the human nature, but sometimes when treating of the human dispensation, he does not touch on the mystery of His divinity…So, my aforementioned predecessor said concerning the mystery of the incarnation of Christ, that there were not in Him, as in us sinners, contrary wills of mind and flesh; and certain ones converting this to their own meaning, suspected that He taught one will of His divinity and humanity which is altogether contrary to the truth.”

Pope John IV, in other words, totally exonerated Pope Honorius of heresy.

Pope St. Martin:

In the year 649, Pope St. Martin called together the Lateran Council in order to define the true doctrine and to condemn Monothelitism. All the major figures in this heresy are anathematized by name by the Council. Their writings are examined and thoroughly discussed. Pope Honorius is never mentioned. On the contrary, the Council states that since the rise of this heresy all the Roman Pontiffs had been solicitous in defending the faith against this heresy. Pope St. Martin was martyred by the Monothelites in 653.

St. Maximus the Confessor:

Possibly the most powerful and astonishing evidence as to the orthodoxy of Pope Honorius comes to us from the writings of St. Maximus the Confessor. I shall let Bishop Hefele relate it from Volume 5 of his monumental work on The History of the Councils of the Church:

<What should really be final, as to whether Honorius was really a Monothelite or not, should be the declaration of the man who wrote the letter for Pope Honorius. Such a statement is fortunately extant. The great champion of orthodoxy, the abbot Maximus, in a famous disputation which he had with Pyrrhus, the successor of Sergius, in the year 645, triumphantly asked his opponent, who had brought forward Honorius as teaching one will in our Lord, “Who is the more worthy interpreter of the Pope’s letter, the one who wrote it in the Pope’s name, and who is still alive, and has illuminated the whole West with his learning, or those at Constantinople who say what they wish?” Pyrrhus replied, “Certainly the one who composed the letter.” “Then”, retorted Maximus, “the same man [Abbot John Symponus], again writing in the name of a Pope (John IV), and to the Emperor Constantine, says, speaking of this same letter, ‘When we spoke of one will in Our Lord, we were speaking of His human will only, as is plain from our arguing that there could not be contrary wills in Our Lord – viz., of the flesh and of the spirit.’”

<This answer silenced Pyrrhus, the successor of Sergius, in daring to cite the great, the divine Honorius, the apostolic See itself as a partisan of his heresy. In a letter to the priest Marinus, he declares definitely that Honorius, when he spoke of one will, did not deny the duality of wills in the two natures of Our Lord. He proceeds to show from the Pope’s words that he was only arguing against the idea that there could be two opposing wills in the person of Christ. Towards the close of this letter, St. Maximus says that he is sure he has taken the right view of the letter of Honorius from what he has been told by the abbot Anastasius, who has just returned from Rome. Anastasius told him, avers the saint, that when in Rome he asked the chief ecclesiastics of that great church, and the abbot John [Symponus], who had drawn up the letter, why the phrase “one will” had been inserted. The Romans, continued the Greek abbot to St. Maximus, were very much put out at the meaning which had been given to the phrase, and declared that numerical unity of will in Our Lord had never been intended to be expressed, nor had there been any intention of conveying the idea that the human will of Our Saviour had been annihilated. There had only been a wish to show that there was no depraved will in Our Lord, as there is in us.>

What is most fascinating about this excerpt from St. Maximus’ debate with Pyrrhus is the revelation that the person (John Symponus, who St. Maximus says “has illuminated the whole West with his learning’) who wrote Pope Honorius’ letter to Sergius is the same person who wrote the Letter of Pope John IV, which later would exonerate Pope Honorius. The Letter of Pope John IV contains the following sentence concerning Pope Honorius:

So, my aforementioned predecessor said concerning the mystery of the incarnation of Christ, that there were not in Him, as in us sinners, contrary wills of mind and flesh; and certain ones converting this their own meaning, suspected that He taught one will of His divinity and humanity which is altogether contrary to the truth….”

In other words, the same man who wrote the letter of Pope Honorius specifically declares that it is “altogether contrary to the truth” that this letter, or Pope Honorius (and thus also the Abbot John himself), ever taught “one will of His divinity and humanity.” And further, this same author of the Pope’s letter, says, “Therefore, knowing that there was no sin at all in Him when He was born and lived, we fittingly say and truthfully confess one will in the humanity of His sacred dispensation; and we do not preach two contrary wills, of mind and of flesh….” In other words, he specifically says that the clause in the Honorius letter which proclaims “one will” in Christ refers only to the moral union of will in the untainted and unfallen nature of Christ’s humanity.

This interpretation of the meaning of the words of Pope Honorius is therefore confirmed by the very person who wrote Honorius’ letter. It is also confirmed, obviously, by Pope Honorius and Pope John IV. It should also be noted that Pope John IV held a synod in which he condemned Monothelitism, and that St. Maximus died as a martyr at the hands of the Monothelites.

Pope St. Agatho:

Pope Agatho (678-681) convoked the Third Council of Constantinople (the Sixth Ecumenical Council), and reigned during the period that the Council was in session. He did not attend personally, but sent legates. By the time the Acts of the Council reached Rome for the Pope’s confirmation, Pope Agatho was dead. This task therefore fell upon his successor, Pope Leo II. We will, of course, speak of Pope Leo and his actions in regards to the Council further on in our discussion.

Before he dies, however, Pope Agatho wrote a letter to Emperor Constantine IV, and this letter was read and embraced at the Council. The Pope condemned all the major promoters of the Monothelite heresy by name. But if one is looking for the name of Honorius, it is conspicuous by its absence. Pope Agatho also wrote the following

Let your tranquil Clemency [the Emperor] therefore consider, since it is the Lord and Saviour of all, whose faith it is, that promised that Peter’s faith should not fail and exhorted him to strengthen his brethren, how it is known to all that the Apostolic pontiffs, the predecessors of my littleness, have always confidently done this very thing….

Pope Honorius was a predecessor of Pope Agatho. It is obvious, therefore, that Pope Agatho’s statement concerning the never-failing faith of his predecessors refers also to Pope Honorius. This reference becomes even more specific in a subsequent passage of his letter:

Wherefore the predecessors of Apostolic memory of my littleness, learned in the doctrine of the Lord, ever since the prelates of the Church of Constantinople have been trying to introduce into the immaculate Church of Christ an heretical innovation, have never ceased to exhort and warn them with many prayers, that they should, at least by silence, desist from the heretical error of the depraved dogma, lest they make the beginning of a split in the unity of the Church, by asserting one will, and one operation of the two natures in the one Jesus Christ our Lord….

Anyone with knowledge of these events immediately recognizes that the phrase “at least by silence” refers to only one man: Pope Honorius, who ordered silence upon the contesting parties in Constantinople and elsewhere. Therefore, even though he does not mention him by name, the famous letter of Pope Agatho gives clear testimony of the never-failing faith of all his predecessors, and contains a specific reference to the orthodoxy of Honorius.

After carefully examining the letter of Pope Agatho, Bishop Hefele, in his History of the Councils of the Church, concludes the following:

In this letter there are three points quite specially worthy of consideration: 1) The certainty and clearness with which Agatho sets forth the orthodox Dyothelitic (Two Wills) doctrine; 2) the zeal with which he repeatedly declares the infallibility of the Roman Church; and 3) the strong assurance, many times repeated, that all his predecessors had stood fast in the right doctrine, and had given exhortation to the patriarchs of Constantinople in the correct sense. Agatho was then far removed from accusing his predecessor Honorius of heresy, and the supposition that he had beforehand consented to his condemnation entirely contradicts this letter.(Vol. 5, p. 145-46). – [emphasis is again mine].

The interesting thing about this statement is that Bishop Hefele was among the “minority” bishops at Vatican Council I who were against the Definition of Papal Infallibility. During the Council he actually wrote a pamphlet on Pope Honorius, using this case as an argument against the Definition. According to Dom Cuthbert Butler in his two volume work The Vatican Council, Bishop Hefele “seems to have been the bishop who found the greatest difficulty in accepting the definition of the infallibility (he finally published the Definition in his own diocese in 1871, and wrote to the Papal Nuncio to inform the Pope of his own acceptance). His testimony as to the belief of Pope Agatho in the orthodoxy of Pope Honorius is therefore of inestimable value, coming as it does from one whose original orientation during the Vatican Council was to establish the contrary.

The extraordinary thing is that after all this testimony (which, as we have seen includes Pope John IV, St. Maximus the Confessor, Pope Agatho, – and possibly most important – the Abbot John Symponus, who was author of both the letter of Pope Honorius and the letter of Pope John IV), the Fathers of the Third Council of Constantinople still condemned Pope Honorius. The fact that they did indeed condemn Honorius cannot be denied. They did so in the following words:

After we read the doctrinal letters of Sergius of Constantinople to Cyrus of Phasis and to Pope Honorius, as well as the letter of the latter to Sergius, we found that these documents are quite foreign to the apostolic dogma, also to the declarations of the holy Councils, and all the Fathers of repute, and follow the false teachings of the heretics; therefore we entirely reject them, and execrate them as hurtful to the soul. But the names of these men must also be thrust forth from the Church, namely, that of Sergius, who first wrote on this impious doctrine; further, that of Cyrus of Alexandria, of Pyrrhus, Paul and Peter of Constantinople, and of Theodore of Pharan, all of whom Pope Agatho rejected in his letter to the Emperor. We anathematize them all. And along with them, it is our unanimous decree that there shall be expelled from the Church and anathematized Honorius, formerly Pope of Old Rome, because we find in his letter to Sergius, that in all respects he followed his view and confirmed his impious doctrines.”

We must make four points concerning this declaration. First, the declarations of a Council do not take effect unless they are ratified by the reigning Pope. We shall address this point in a moment. Second, the Council chose to ignore the clear statements of two preceding Popes (John IV and Agatho) who had exonerated Honorious of any charge of doctrinal error, and instead declared just the opposite.

Third, the statement of the Council that, “we find in his [Honorius’] letter to Sergius, that in all respects he followed his view and confirmed his impious doctrines” is absolutely contrary to the truth. Any honest reading of Pope Honorius’ letter itself proves such a claim to be false. In addition, as I have already documented, Abbot John Symponus, who wrote both the letter of Honorius and also the letter of Pope John IV, confirms the orthodox intentions of Pope Honorius. We also have the clear absolution from the charges of heresy made by Pope John IV, St. Martin, St. Maximus the Confessor, and Pope Agatho. We also have the judgments of clear exoneration of Pope Honorius from the charges of personal heresy by the most eminent historians in this matter: scholars such as Bishop Hefele (History of the Councils of the Church), Horace Mann (The Lives of the Popes in the Middle Ages), the contemporary historian Warren Carroll (The Building of Christendom), and many others. Interestingly enough, Dom Chapman, author of the article on Honorius in the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia also concludes that Pope Honorius had excellent intentions and cannot be judged as a private heretic. But he also concludes that “he was a heretic, not in intention, but in fact” because of his apparently confused use of the words “one will.” Dom Chapman also concludes that no one has the right to defend Honorius. Obviously, all of the other sources I have listed do not agree. The point is, however, that Dom Chapman fully agrees that Pope Honorius cannot be considered a “heretic in intention”, and cannot, therefore, be considered a Pope who “lost the faith.”

It is therefore clear from all this testimony (and there is more) that Pope Honorius was not a heretic in any sense of “having denied or lost the faith”. Horace Mann (Lives of the Popes in the Middle Ages), in an attempt to understand the appellation “heretic” as applied to Pope Honorius, also has the following to say:

It has indeed been contended that the Council may not have anathematized Honorius in the same sense as it did Pyrrhus and Sergius. For it must be observed that the word “heretic” did not always denote one who ‘knowingly and willingly’ taught error. It sometimes, as Bolgeni has conclusively shown, was applied to such as favoured error in any way. And it would certainly seem, from the edict which Constantine issued at the close of the council, regarding the observance of its decrees, that when the council included Honorius in its anathemas, it only did so in the sense of his having favoured the spread of Monothelitism by his letters to Sergius. The edict speaks of Honorius as “a confirmer of the heresy and as one who was not consistent with himself.’”

We know that in order for a person to be truly called a heretic he must hold onto an error of faith pertinaciously and contumaciously. Most of us can make mistakes in our understandings or communications of the faith, but this does not mean that we are heretics. In order to be justly labeled as such we must persevere in our error in the face of being shown the contrary. Loosely speaking we might call our errors or mistakes objective “heresies”, but this does not at all mean that we may justly be called “heretics.”

With Pope Honorius, however, we know that even his belief was orthodox. If we may accuse him of anything, it is a certain ignorance of the terminology that was needed in order to counter this new heresy, and a confusion of terminology. It may be said, therefore, that Pope Honorius inadvertently furthered the cause of the heretics through his own ignorance and confusing use of terms. But no matter how we look at the situation, it is clear that in no way could it be justly said that he followed Sergius or the other heretics “in all respects,” or “confirmed their impious doctrines.” The condemnation of the Council is therefore clearly a case of excess.

The fourth point which needs to be made is that no Council has any power or right to judge a Pope. Vatican Council I teaches:

And since, by the divine right of Apostolic primacy, one Roman pontiff is placed over the universal Church, We further teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that in all causes the decision of which belongs to the Church recourse may be had to his tribunal, but that none may reopen the judgment of the Apostolic See, that whose authority there is no greater, nor can any lawfully review its judgment. Wherefore they error from the right path of truth who assert that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman pontiffs to an ecumenical council, as to an authority higher than that of the Roman pontiff.”

It is truly “illicit”, therefore, for a Council to attempt to judge a Pope. The Fathers of the Council of Constantinople might be excused for this mistake because this “point of doctrine” had not been fully taught, but certainly we should have the Catholicity not to follow their error, or to use this error as a justification for modern errors concerning the nature of the Papacy. In other words, we should not use the “illicit” condemnation of Pope Honorius by the Sixth Ecumenical Council in order to conclude that a General Council has the right to judge a Pope as a heretic , anathematize him, or declare him deposed.

In considering the reasons as to why the Council of Constantinople may have rushed to such a judgment we might also consider the following. In reading the Acts of the Council one is struck by the fact that the Fathers always refer to Honorius as “the Pope of Old Rome”. The Council was dominated by bishops from the East (and to a very forceful degree by the Eastern Emperor), and therefore strongly under the influence of the Church at Constantinople. Constantinople had replaced Rome as the seat of the Emperor, and thus of secular power. There was also, therefore, a strong tendency to conceive of Constantinople as the “New Rome”, and to also conceive the Patriarch of the See of Constantinople as somehow equal in prestige and power to the Pope of Old Rome. At the Council of Chalcedon in 451 (the famous Council which condemned Monophysitism and at which the Tome of Leo was read and accepted), the Church Fathers passed the following Canon #28:

Following in every way the decrees of the holy fathers and recognizing the canon which has recently been read out – the canon of the 150 most devout bishops who assembled in the time of the great Thedosius of pious memory, then emperor, in imperial Constantinople, new Rome – we issue the same decree and resolution concerning the prerogatives of the most holy church of the same Constantinople, new Rome. The fathers rightly accorded prerogatives to the see of older Rome, since that is an imperial city; and moved by the same purpose the 150 most devout bishops apportioned equal prerogatives to the most holy see of new Rome, reasonably judging that the city which is honoured by the imperial power and senate and enjoying privileges equaling older imperial Rome, should also be elevated to her level in ecclesiastical affairs and take second place after her…[emphasis mine].”

This Canon was rejected outright by Pope Leo the Great (Pope Leo I – not to be confused with Pope Leo II). However, this Canon, approved by the Council Fathers, shows us clearly that as early as the year 451, despite the fact that the Eastern Churches were still submitting to the ultimate decisions of the “Pope of Old Rome”, the foundations were already laid for a confusion about the supreme authority of the Roman Pontiff, a situation which would ultimately burst forth in the Eastern Orthodox schism of the Eleventh Century. It is not at all surprising, therefore, that such an attitude could also find fruition in the illicit hubris of a formal condemnation of Pope Honorius at the Sixth Ecumenical Council.

Finally, we must consider the actions of Pope Leo II in confirming the actions of the Council of Constantinople. For this purpose I quote the words of historian Warren Carroll:

Everything we know and can conclude about the thought and actions of Pope St. Leo II regarding the decrees of the Sixth Ecumenical Council held in Constantinople in 680 and 681 must be drawn from his five extant letters, all relating to this subject: one to Emperor Constantine IV and four to Spain – to its King Erwig, to its bishops collectively, to the Spanish bishop Quiricus, and to the Spanish Count Simplicius. The letters to the Emperor, to the king, and to all the Spanish bishops contain clear statements that Pope Leo has confirmed the final decree of the Council, while at the same time redefining its language on Pope Honorius to make it conform to the fact, evident from a careful reading of Honorius’ letter to Sergius, that he had not endorsed Sergius’ Monothelite ideas, but only refrained from condemning them. Writing to the Emperor, almost certainly composing the letter himself in the Emperor’s language, Greek, Pope Leo II wrote that Pope Honorius was condemned because ‘he permitted the immaculate faith to be subverted.” Writing in Latin to the Spanish bishops, he declared that Honorius was condemned for not at once extinguishing the flames of heresy, but rather fanning them by his negligence. To King Erwig he wrote that Honorius was condemned for negligence in not denouncing the heresy, and for using an expression which the heretics were able to employ to advance their cause, thereby allowing the faith to be stained ,”(p. 254).

We thus have five letters from Pope Leo II which deal with the subject of the condemnation of Pope Honorius. The words are strong in their criticism in regard to Pope Honorius’ negligence. All five letters, however, studiously avoid designating him as a heretic. These letters therefore constitute an obvious refusal on the part of Pope Leo II to subject Pope Honorius to a condemnation for heresy.

It is clear, therefore, that in no way can we assume that Pope Leo II confirmed the Council’s condemnation of Pope Honorius in the sense that “he followed the view and confirmed the doctrines” of the Monothelite heretics. In other words, the only way that the word “heretic” could be applied to Honorius at all is in a meaning and fashion that is antiquated: namely that through his failure to condemn the heresy outright, and through his use of a term which the heretics could then distort to their own advantage, he unwittingly fostered the spread of this heresy.

It is also true that there is no basis in the divine constitution of the Church for one Pope having the power or right to judge another. Popes have certainly tried to do so at least a couple of times in the history of the Church. The results have been disastrous, and even ludicrous. It might do us good to consider one example. Pope Stephen VI (896-97) held a synod at which he had the body of Pope Formosus (891-896) dug up, clad in papal vestments, and seated on a throne. The decision of Pope Stephen and the synod, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia (1909), was that Formosus had been unworthy of the pontificate, that he had never been Pope, that all his measures and acts were annulled, and that all the orders conferred by him were invalid, including his consecrations of bishops, which, of course, also invalidated (if such a thing were possible) the orders of the priests ordained by these bishops. After having had the three fingers used in consecrations severed from his hand, and the papal vestments torn from his body, Formosus’ body was thrown into the Tiber.

In 897, Pope John IX had Pope Formosus’ body taken from the river and restored to a place of honor. He annulled all the decisions of Stephen VI, and declared all the orders conferred by Formosus to be valid.

The story does not end here, however. Pope Sergius III (904-911) reaffirmed all the decisions of Stephen VI (which nullified those of John IX).We can well imagine how many bishops and priests were now involved in the declaration of their orders being invalid. Finally, it should be mentioned that the Church’s final decision on the matter is that Formosus was indeed a valid Pope.

These events should be sufficient to show the possibility of error involved in Popes judging Popes. These Papal judgments do not, of course, compromise the faith of the Popes who committed these dastardly deeds. But they certainly do serve to put attractive icing on Protestant invectives against the Papacy.

We might suspect that Pope Leo II, being a saint, instinctively drew back from the fulsome condemnation of Pope Honorius pronounced by the Third Council of Constantinople. Further, if he had understood the future consequences of such an act of “Concilliarism” (the doctrinal error that views an Ecumenical Council to be superior in power to the Pope, and to have to power to judge him), and the fact that its presumptuous and false condemnation of Pope Honorius would fuel the future aspirations of millions of heretics and schismatics, especially at the time of the Protestant Revolt, he most surely would have rejected it in toto.

The fact is, however, that the Council’s condemnation of Pope Honorius was reiterated by the routine condemnation of past heretics found in several future Councils. It became part of the Papal Oath taken by Popes in the 8th – 11th Centuries, and it was part of the Roman Breviary readings for the Feast of Pope Leo II until the 18th Century. It is therefore incalculable the degree to which these errors concerning Pope Honorius’ orthodoxy have contributed to a justification of the Protestant position. Popes, even saintly Popes, make mistakes. And it certainly is worth speculation as to whether a clear and outright rejection by Pope Leo II of the condemnation of Pope Honorius as a heretic would have saved far more souls from the mortal sins of schism and heresy, than have been lost through Pope Honorius’ failure to immediately condemn the Monothelite heresy.

The Church is full of men who make mistakes, including Popes. When, however, any Catholic takes these mistakes and exalts them to a position which enables him to falsely deny one of the divine prerogatives which Christ established upon Peter and his successors, then such a person becomes an enemy of Christ, and at war against the divinely established institution of the Papacy. Today, the numbers of such people are legion. The Modernist camp is, of course, almost universally among these numbers. What is most tragic is that very many of those who would call themselves Catholic traditionalists are now their fellow-travelers in this regard. The fact is that many of us who love the Traditional Mass sit side-by-side with those who are involved in this war against the Papacy. If we wish to be blessed by God in our efforts towards the restoration of traditional Catholicism, we must also wage war against these errors present within our own family. Foremost among these errors is the belief that a Pope can be judged as a heretic and deposed.

 

Pope Liberius

The Lefebvrites have used a number of arguments attempting to justify the actions of Archbishop Lefebvre which have exerted tremendous moral pressure and persuasion on his followers. None have been more effective than that which attempts to identify the moral and theological position of Archbishop Lefebvre with that of St. Athanasius. Their argument essentially runs as follows: Pope Liberius signed a formula of doubtful orthodoxy (regarding the Arian heresy) and excommunicated Athanasius for refusing to capitulate to the Arians. St. Athanasius was eventually victorious and was canonized as the great defender of orthodoxy. Therefore his alleged excommunication was invalid. Since Archbishop Lefebvre is also a great defender of orthodoxy against the errors of a reigning pope, therefore his excommunication is also invalid.

I would invite anyone interested in this argument to read the articles on “Liberius” (especially the section titled “Forged Letters”) and “Infallibility” in the 1910, 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia. I will only summarize its basic arguments:

1) The “letters” of Pope Liberius mentioning a condemnation of St. Athanasius are almost certainly forgeries.

2) Before he was sent into exile (for refusing to capitulate to the Arians) by the Emperor Constantius, Pope Liberius was, along with Bishop Hosius, one of the two greatest defenders of St. Athanasius against the Arian heresy; after his exile he was again a great fighter against this heresy. When he returned from his exile, the Catholics of Rome revolted against the Arian anti-pope Felix and received Liberius back in triumph. There is absolutely no evidence of any confession of having fallen, no recantation, no atonement on the part of Pope Liberius. Pope St. Anastasius I (401) mentions him with Dionysius, Hilary, and Eusebius as one of those who would have died rather than blaspheme Christ with the Arians.

3) Considering his actions both before and after his exile and alleged “fall,” any actions taken against the Faith or against St. Athanasius during his exile could have only been occasioned by excessive coercion and fear. This would have deprived any such actions of the moral freedom necessary for truly human acts (an elementary principle of moral theology), and thus certainly the necessary qualifications for a true papal “declaration of excommunication.” Interestingly enough this point of moral theology is made in Vatican II’s treatment of the Papal Primacy: that decisions of the Pope, in order to be binding on the minds and wills of the faithful, must be to his “manifest mind and intention, which is made known either by the character of the documents in question, or by the frequency with which a certain doctrine is proposed, or by the manner in which the doctrine is formulated (Lumen Gentium, 24).” Even though St. Athanasius believed that Liberius had fallen (the Catholic Encyclopedia notes that he received his information from St. Jerome who, according to the same article, is noted for historical inaccuracies), it was this great Saint (Athanasius) himself who absolved Pope Liberius of any moral responsibility by saying that Liberius gave way “for fear of threatened death” and “for what men are forced to do contrary to their first judgment, ought not to be considered the willing deed of those in fear, but rather of their tormentors.” St. Athanasius knew the clear history of Pope Liberius’ valiant defense of the faith against Arianism before he was arrested, taken into exile, and possibly tortured. He therefore knew that the “manifest mind and will” of the Pope was against Arianism and in support of his own bishopric.

No one has claimed that Pope John Paul II was tortured into excommunicating Archbishop Lefebvre, nor that his declaration of excommunication and schism were not “conformable to his manifest mind and intention.” Therefore, the attempt to use St. Athanasius as a justification for Archbishop Lefebvre’s direct rebellion against the explicit mandate of a Pope not to consecrate bishops, is simply one more case of distorting history in order to further a non-Catholic agenda.

We would forcefully challenge anyone who wishes to continue to use St. Athanasius as a justification of the SSPX position to read carefully the 1910-13 Catholic Encyclopedia article on Pope Liberius. Anyone who can read this article and still come away with any surety regarding the claims concerning Liberius’ alleged heresy or the alleged excommunication of St. Athanasius is simply living in a fantasy-land.

There may indeed be much confusion and debate regarding the case of Pope Liberius. Much of the reason for this confusion, or lack of surety concerning the actual historical facts, simply lies in the fact that there is such paucity in good historical information regarding these events. The very fact, however, that many traditionalists, relying on such slim and unsubstantiated evidence, should continue to parrot the notion that Liberius was a matter-of-fact heretic, is a strong testimony to the presence of a very unnatural hunger on their part, and certainly confirms that there is something profoundly wrong in their own Catholic makeup.

 

Pope John XXII

The case of Pope John XXII is very helpful in any attempt to understand the prerogative of non-failing faith which Christ has promised to Peter and his successors. This is especially true because it clearly reveals the very necessary distinction we must draw between objective error, on the one hand, and full-fledged heresy or loss of faith on the other. We know, for instance, that most of us at one time or another have certainly been mistaken in our understanding, or even our defense, of certain points of the Catholic faith. We also know, however, that in most cases this did not make us into heretics. When the truth was finally shown to us, we may have struggled with it somewhat at first, but eventually, through God’s grace and very likely the help of some member of the hierarchy, we were able to see the nature of our error, and we submitted to the truth. At no time in this process were we necessarily heretics. We were in error, we were confused, but we had not “lost the faith”.

“Loss of faith” or formal heresy, which requires the judgment of superior authority, involves something much more serious. It requires that we be pertinacious and contumacious in clinging to error, especially in the face of attempts by the hierarchy to show us the nature of our error. In other words, we must rebelliously persist in our error in the face of the truth being clearly and repeatedly manifested to us by those superior to us in the hierarchy of the Church.

The same distinction must be drawn in regard to the Papacy. We know, of course, that in his infallible teaching office the doctrinal teachings of the Pope are guaranteed to be free from any error whatsoever. However, in his personal or private writings and teachings, and also in his teachings which are not covered by the charism of infallibility, the Pope can error. The most famous incident involving such a documented error occurred in the first half of the 14th century during the Papacy of Pope John XXII.

The Catholic Encyclopedia has the following to say about the famous case of John XXII’s supposed “heresy”:

Before his elevation to the Holy See, he had written a work on this question [the Beatific Vision], in which he stated that the souls of the blessed departed do not see God until after the Last Judgment. After becoming pope, he advanced the same teaching in his sermons. In this he met with strong opposition, many theologians, who adhered to the usual opinion that the blessed departed did see God before the Resurrection of the Body and the Last Judgment, even calling his view heretical. A great commotion was aroused in the University of Paris when the General of the Minorites and a Dominican tried to disseminate there the pope’s view. Pope John wrote to King Philip IV on this matter (November, 1333) and emphasized the fact that, as long as the Holy See had not given a decision, the theologians enjoyed perfect freedom in this matter. In December, 1333, the theologians at Paris, after a consultation on the question, decided in favour of the doctrine that the souls of the blessed departed saw God immediately after death or after their complete purification; at the same time they pointed out that the pope had given no decision on this question, but only advanced his personal opinion, and now petitioned the pope to confirm their decision. John appointed a commission at Avignon to study the writings of the Fathers, and to discuss further the disputed question. In a consistory held on 3 January, 1334, the pope explicitly declared that he had never meant to teach aught contrary to Holy Scripture or the rule of faith and in fact had not intended to give any decision whatever. Before his death, he withdrew his former opinion, and declared his belief that souls separated from their bodies enjoyed in heaven the Beatific Vision.”

There obviously existed in Pope John the “good faith” which was proved to be quite docile and humble in the face of revealed truth. There was, on his part, no evidence of perverse obstinacy or persistence in error. This is a clear case of a Pope having made a mistake” in his personal opinion and in sermons which were not preached to the Universal Church, and certainly not binding on the faithful. We might call it an objective “heresy” if we wish (but this is certainly a very strong word in the face of such docility on the part of the Pope). But this certainly does not constitute any justification for calling Pope John XXII a “heretic”, or of considering him to have lost his faith.

It may seem inappropriate to some that on a website dedicated to Our Lady and her Rosary we have spent time in discussing the above subjects. But the Triumph of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart requires that we enter into her Heart if we seek solutions to the present crisis. All the efforts seeking to declare the present Pope a formal heretic, and therefore deposed, represent a flight away from Our Lady and the Way, in accord with the Divine Constitution of the Church, which is willed by her Son for triumph over our enemies. And this be true, no matter how much we might proclaim our traditional faith, or how much we might pray the Rosary. It is one thing to expose heresy in order to wage spiritual warfare directed towards “bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10: 4-6). It is entirely another thing to think we can manage to fruitfully participate in such a noble effort by denying the divine prerogatives which Christ has established upon the Papacy. By doing so, we are not only denying the Will of Our Lord, but we are depriving the whole Church of the reparative graces to be merited through that suffering love necessary for the Church’s resurrection and triumph. We are not only wasting our time, but consuming the graces of God on our own concupiscences (James 4:3). And we perpetuate, and exacerbate, an extraordinarily perilous and self-destructive situation by continuing to engage in these self-delusions. Such is not “thankworthy” (1 Peter 2:19) before God.

We can therefore only continue to repeat that the chastisement we are experiencing with the Papacy of Francis (and many others in the hierarchy) is ultimately due to our own infidelities and accommodations to the “spirit of this world”, and that the solution to the crisis we now face is to be found only through that profound purification to be accomplished in the depths of that “cellar of divine love” which is Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart. We therefore highly recommend reading our article “The Rosary: The Way of Perfection, and also our Original Proposal.

 

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A Tower of Babel: The Rush to Depose a Pope

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A Tower of Babel

The Rush to Depose a Pope

 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts: nor your ways my ways, saith the Lord. (Isaiah 55: 8)

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: 8)

Introduction

That those who consider themselves faithful and traditional Catholics are in confusion in regard to the extraordinary papacy of Pope Francis, and all of its aberrations, cannot be denied. And after witnessing several years’ worth of a confusing and often contradictory array of proposals by traditional Catholic pundits for getting rid of Francis, one might think that any conscientious Catholic should now be willing to consider the possibility that none of these solutions is in accord with either the thoughts of God, or His ways.

No one seems to be asking the most important question of all: “Why has God allowed this to happen?” We are, of course, familiar with the promises of Our Lord: that He would establish the Church upon the rock of the Papacy; that He would be always with the Church; that, being His own Mystical Body, the Church would be the object of His continual love and care; and that the gates of Hell would never prevail against the Church. If all this be true, then the obvious answer to the above question is that what is happening with the current papacy is a loving and necessary chastisement being inflicted, not just upon the Pope or other members of an erring and sinful hierarchy, but upon the whole Church: For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. (Heb. 12: 6).

We are thus left with a second question which should be absolutely uttermost in our minds and hearts if we sincerely seek a solution: “What have we done to deserve and need this profound chastisement?” Why does the rock of the Papacy now appear to be something which, instead of being a firm foundation upon which the Church stands, is being employed to “sift” us, and hand us over to such widespread “confusion of faces”?

It has been one of the purposes of the Rosary to the Interior for the Purification of the Church to explore the answers to these two questions (why God has done this, and what we have done to deserve such chastisement). Our answer has been twofold – both of these answers consequent upon our having pursued an adulterous friendship with this world. First, we have betrayed the fundamental Gospel teaching concerning the living of the Beatitudes (and especially the first: poverty towards all the things of this world). And secondly, we have surrendered to the world of scientific reductionism, evolutionary thinking, and technology which has ensued from this betrayal. As we have explored in several articles, this especially entails rejection of two great gifts given to us by God in the 13th century: the “Way” (the sacrum commercium) of St. Francis, and the philosophy and theology of St. Thomas Aquinas.

The solution we have offered is explained in our Original Proposal. It consists in first of all coming to the self-knowledge that at the real root of our present chastisement is the fundamental truth that “we have sinned”, rather than just “they have sinned”. And, secondly, that the solution to the present crisis only lies in the unified placing of our hearts and mind within the Immaculate Heart of Mary seeking self-knowledge and purification of the adulteries of the whole Church to the world. This is why we are calling for this “Rosary to the Interior” to occur on the double Feast of the Purification and Presentation on February 2nd. The light of Jesus will only once again shine forth from His Church for the conversion of nations and peoples if it is purified in the Heart of Mary: “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts thoughts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:35).

One of the things most preventing the acquisition of this absolutely necessary self-knowledge – and which keeps untold numbers of traditional Catholics busily surfing in a world of superficialities instead of doing the “one thing necessary” (Luke 10:42) – is the delusion and conceit that somehow we, as members of the Church, can figure out a way to free ourselves of the papacy of Francis. All of the following is intended to expose this agenda as the way of man in opposition to the Way of God, thereby hopefully convincing those who continue to pursue such futile efforts to turn inward towards that path opened up to us by God through Our Lady and her Rosary.

It took some time after Pope Francis’ ascension to the Papacy on March 13, 2013 for those who were profoundly and rightly disturbed by his words and actions to begin spinning their claims that he was really no Pope at all, or that he could be declared to be deposed of the Papacy. There was first of all the silliness that, in resigning the Papacy, Pope Benedict only resigned the administrative part of the Papacy, and now continued to retain the spiritual office. We thus had the absurd theory that we were in the midst of some kind of Papal diarchy. Later on, we were besieged by claims that the election was itself invalid because of the conspiratorial designs of a number of Cardinals and bishops in regard to electing Jorge Bergoglio (as though there were never such “conspiracies” in other Papal elections – one need only read various histories of the papacy to realize the extraordinary scope of such “behind- the-door” activities). And then we also had Cardinal Burke publicly and matter-of- factly state that it would be up to the College of Cardinals to make the judgment that the Pope was guilty of heresy and declare him deposed.

But the most persistent of these agendas for ridding the Church of Pope Francis seems to be the notion that it lies only in the competence of a Council of Bishops to validly declare a Pope to be a heretic, and therefore also to have lost the Papacy. The most recent effort in this direction came during Easter week of 2019 with the publication on Life Site News by 18 initial signatories of an Open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church.

Canon Law emphatically declares that “The First See is judged by no one” (#1404). The First Vatican Council’s First Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Church states:

“And since, by the divine right of Apostolic primacy, one Roman pontiff is placed over the universal Church, We further teach and declare that he is the supreme judge of the faithful, and that in all causes the decision of which belongs to the Church recourse may be had to his tribunal, but that none may re-open the judgment of the Apostolic See, than whose authority there is no greater, nor can any lawfully review its judgment. Wherefore they err from the right path of truth who assert that it is lawful to appeal from the judgments of the Roman pontiffs to an ecumenical council, as to an authority higher than that of the Roman Pontiff.”

It is clear from both the infallible teaching of Vatican I and from Canon Law that there is no competence anywhere within the Divine Constitution of the Church for anyone, regardless of status or numbers, to judge the Pope. It is also clear therefore that all attempts to in any way formally declare the Pope a heretic, and therefore deposed of the Papacy, necessitate the spinning of casuistic complexities designed to somehow convince us that judging the Pope is not really judging him at all. Most of these attempts focus on the writings of four men (their writing occurring over a span of less than 150 years): Thomas Cajetan, Robert Bellarmine, Francisco Suarez, and John of St. Thomas.

Sedevacantists focus on the teaching of Bellarmine and Suarez and their teaching that a Pope who is a manifest heretic ipso facto loses his office, without a formal judgment from the Church. This obviously justifies their position that the Chair of Peter is empty, and in the minds of most sedevacantists, has been empty since the death of Pope Pius XII over 60 years ago. This places them in the absurd position of still claiming to be Catholic while possessing no Pope, and no possibility of ever having one again, since there now exists no valid Cardinals to elect one, or any other means juridically in place for such an election. This does not mean that some of them cannot fantasize about some sort of direct intervention of God by which he would miraculously re-establish the Papacy.

As we have said, however, those who rightly balk at the consequences of the sedevacantist position, and yet hunger for some way to rid the Church of Francis, are left with only one option: to figure out how he can be declared a heretic and deposed in some orderly fashion within the existing Church. And since bishops are the next in authority beneath the Pope, it is here where they seek their answer.

All of the efforts concentrating on the alleged duty and right of a Council of Bishops to take such action rely heavily on a work titled On The Deposition Of The Pope, written by the Dominican theologian John of St. Thomas (1589-1644). John of St. Thomas is considered by many to be one of the most faithful interpreters of St. Thomas Aquinas, and his (John of St. Thomas’) writings on this subject are almost certainly being considered as central to any agenda which seeks a declaration of heresy and deposition from the Papacy in respect to Pope Francis.

Before beginning our analysis of John of St. Thomas’ treatise, we wish to clearly state our own position. We do not believe that a Pope can be judged as a formal heretic, and therefore be declared to be deposed. We need add, on the other hand, that we certainly do believe that a Pope can succumb to all sorts of philosophical and theological error, which indeed can find expression in objective heresy (in forms which obviously do not constitute infallible teaching), and which certainly may find expression in all sorts of agendas and practices which are in contradiction to traditional Catholic doctrine and practice. But the position of John of St. Thomas, and that of those also who now seek the Pope’s deposition, is, however, something which now poses an immense threat to the Church. It portends a descent into chaos which would make the present crisis of disunity and rebellion in the Church look like child’s-play. It is therefore well-worth examining and combating.

As we shall see in John of St. Thomas’ agenda for deposing a Pope, the responsibility and power for such deposition comes to rest in a General Council of Bishops. It would therefore seem absolutely necessary to begin with a lucid understanding of the relationship between the Pope and all the bishops of the world.

The most clear and succinct exposition of the relationship which must exist according to the Divine Constitution of the Church between bishops and the Pope would almost certainly be Pope Leo XIII’s wonderful encyclical Satis Cognitum (On the Unity of the Church). We have never seen it quoted by any of the growing number of people now busily trying to find some justification for deposing a Pope. The following passage is crucial:

The safety of the Church depends on the dignity of the chief priest, to whom if an extraordinary and supreme power is not given, there are as many schisms to be expected in the Church as there are priests….He alone was designated as the foundation of the Church. To him He gave the power of binding and loosing; to him alone was given the power of feeding. On the other hand, whatever authority and office the Apostles received, they received in conjunction with Peter: ‘If the divine benignity willed anything to be in common between him and the other princes, whatever He did not deny to the others He gave only through him. So that whereas Peter alone received many things, He conferred nothing on any of the rest without Peter participating in it’. (S. Leo M. sermo iv., cap.2).” [Notice that the last two sentences are quoted from Pope St. Leo the Great].

Every attempt to justify the deposition of a Pope because of heresy necessitates the building of an intellectual construct, a Tower of Babel, which ascends above the Pope, while still claiming subjection to the Papacy. All of the scourings of history – searching through the writings of Saints, Doctors, Theologians, Canonists, Councils, and Popes – in a vain attempt to find justification for, and a means towards, judging and deposing a Pope, must disguise the fact that not only does the Pope not “participate” in such construction, but that every one of these edifices is diametrically opposed to the manifest mind and will of the reigning Pope. Every such attempt, in other words, is in direct contradiction to the truth taught by Pope Leo XIII which is rendered in bold in the above quotation.

We watch these attempts proliferating in the midst of Pope Francis’ pontificate, and feel as though we are in the midst of a replay of the fundamental temptation of original sin: “No, you shall not die the death. For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.” It is the same old temptation. We just cannot believe that God would allow us to be in a situation in which we are to have no recourse to any power or source of authority within ourselves, but only to Him.

But this is precisely the principle which is the foundation of the Papacy and its only ultimate defense against all the forces of Satan, especially those forces working internally in the minds and hearts of the individual pontiffs themselves which would seek to prevail over it throughout the centuries: “Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren.” (Luke 22: 31-32). The extraordinary prerogatives of the Papacy, which make it the Rock against which the gates of Hell shall not prevail, can only be rooted in the promise and prayer of Christ. The defense of the institution, perpetuity, power, and nature of the Papacy does not lie in man’s recourse to any sort of natural law or human right, but in the supernatural grace and promise of God. This is the central truth of the Papacy which is at least implicitly denied in the following passage from John of St. Thomas’ treatise (and which forms the entire justification for his seeking a means of deposing a Pope):

“Now, one should not avoid one that remains in the [Sovereign] Pontificate; on the contrary, the Church should instead be united to him as her supreme head and communicate with him.  Therefore, if the pope is a heretic, either the Church should communicate with him, or he must be deposed from the Pontificate.

“The first solution leads to the obvious destruction of the Church, and has inherently a risk that the whole ecclesiastical government errs, if she has to follow a heretical head. In addition, as the heretic is an enemy of the Church, natural law provides protection against such a Pope according to the rules of self-defense, because she can defend herself against an enemy as is a heretical Pope; therefore, she can act (in justice) against him.  So, in any case, it is necessary that such a Pope must be deposed.”

 It certainly is true that the Church has the power and right to defend itself against a Pope teaching heresy. But Christ is the Head of the Church, the Pope is His Vicar, and only He possesses the right and power as the Pope’s Superior to judge him. As Pope St. Gregory the Great is reputed to have said, “Divine justice provides shepherds according to the just deserts of the faithful.” It is only Christ who can relieve us of the present chastisement. As pointed out above, we need to stop this non-Catholicity, and follow His Way.

 As we shall see by the end of our analysis, the so-called “natural right” to depose a Pope is itself immersed in self-contradiction, and represents an agenda for total chaos and disintegration within the Church.

The Arguments:

It is well to begin by repeating this basic principle: “So that whereas Peter alone received many things, He conferred nothing on any of the rest without Peter participating in it.”

The only way in which a living Pope can participate in the loss of the Papacy is through his own voluntary resignation. The grievous error of John of St. Thomas position is therefore succinctly stated in the very first sentence of his treatise: “I affirm that the Pope can lose the pontificate in three ways: through natural death, by voluntary renunciation, and by deposition.” No matter what Jesuitical or sophistic mental gyrations one may come up with, there can be no attempt at deposition of a Pope without directly contradicting the absolutely foundational principle that “He conferred nothing on any of the rest without Peter participating in it.”

So let us begin. We wish to note here for the sake of future reference that the work of John of St. Thomas examined here was first translated into French from the Latin and annotated by Fr. Pierre-Marie O.P., and then translated from the French into English by Fr. Juan Carlos Ortiz, SSPX. Subtitles were added, and we shall employ these subtitles where deemed appropriate.

John of St. Thomas begins with three “Arguments from authority” in order to try to establish some sort of authoritative precedence for his position:

The first argument is as follows:

A specific text is found in the Decree of Gratian, Distinction 40, chapter Si Papa, where it is said:  ‘On earth, no mortal should presume to reproach (redarguere) any faults to the Pontiff, because he who has to judge (judicaturus) others, should not be judged (judicandus) by anyone, unless he is found deviating from the Faith.’ (Pars I, D 40, c. 6). This exception obviously means that in case of heresy, a judgment could be made of the pope.” (Please keep in mind that this last sentence is the conclusion of John of St. Thomas, and is not found in Gratian].

I have personally added bold emphasis to the word “reproach” in the above passage from the Decree of Gratian. It is clear that there is here proposed a right of judgment (which is identified with the concept of “reproach”, and nothing else) in regard to errors or deviations from the faith on the part of the Pope. This, of course, is fully incumbent upon us in our individual responsibility for retaining and defending the Faith. But there is nothing here, contrary to what John appears to say in his last sentence of the above paragraph, to identify such judgment and reproach with the right to sit in judgment of the Pope’s culpability in this regard (as being one who has lost the Catholic faith), or depose him.

This becomes fully evident if we place the above quote from Gratian in its larger context (which, in all honesty should have been done in the first place):

If the Pope, being neglectful of his own salvation and that of his brethren, be found useless and remiss in his works, and , more than that, reluctant to do good (which harms himself and others even more), and nonetheless brings down with him innumerable throngs of people….Let no mortal man presume to rebuke him for his faults, for, it being incumbent upon him to judge all, he should be judged by no one, unless he is suddenly caught deviating from the faith.”

The word “reproach” or “rebuke”, and the “judgment” which is its requisite, is here applied across a wide spectrum of papal failures, and the passage simply instructs us that we pull back from such judgment and reproach of the Pope except in the case of his deviation from the faith – in which case we may exercise that judgment which issues forth in reproach of the Pope. To extend the word “judgment” as used here to further mean that someone has the right to formally judge the Pope as a heretic, and depose him, is indeed a perversion of this passage. Such rashness and presumption seems to speak of an agenda desirous of seeing things that are not really there.

The Second Argument from Authority, employed by John of St. Thomas, runs as follows:

The same thing is confirmed by the letter of Hadrian II, reported in the Eighth General Council [IV Constantinople, 869-870], in the 7th session, where it is said that the Roman Pontiff is judged by no one, but the anathema was made by the Orientals against Honorius, because he was accused of heresy, the only cause for which it is lawful for inferiors to resist their superiors. (MANSI, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova collectio amplissima, Venice, 1771, vol. 16, col. 126).”

First, we rightly conclude again, and therefore in agreement with this principle as stated in the above passage, that it is the right and duty of inferiors to resist objective heresy proposed by their superiors. But the above passage does not accuse Honorius of actually being a formal heretic, nor does it say anything about the right of inferiors to judge him to be so, and certainly says nothing about the right to depose him. In other words, the above passage, in and of itself, offers no argument whatsoever justifying judgment and deposition of a Pope.

But there is more that needs to be said here.

The “case” against Pope Honorius may well to be the greatest piece of historical falsification of fact and reality in the history of the Catholic Church. Subsequent to this article, we will post a rather extensive article on this subject. It will also include shorter sections on Pope Liberius and Pope John XXII, since these Papacies have also been used to further this same agenda.

The Third Argument is the shortest, and is most easily disposed of. John of St. Thomas writes:

Also Pope St. Clement says in his first epistle that Saint Peter taught that a heretical pope must be disposed.”

John of St. Thomas apparently picked this argument up from Cajetan. It is absolutely false. There is nothing of the kind in the First Epistle of Clement. Pope Clement I’s Letters are available in English, and anyone can check this out. We do not know how Cajetan or John of St. Thomas fell subject to this piece of historical error.

In addition, even though they are not included in John of St. Thomas’ arguments from authority, it would seem beneficial here to include two other such historically based “arguments”.

The first derives from a statement made by Pope Innocent III (1198-1216) in one of his sermons:

“The pope should not flatter himself about his power, nor should he rashly glory in his honour and high estate, because the less he is judged by man, the more he is judged by God. Still the less can the Roman Pontiff glory, because he can be judged by men, or rather, can be shown to be already judged, if for example he should wither away into heresy, because he who does not believe is already judged. In such a case it should be said of him: ‘If salt should lose its savour, it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trampled under foot by men.”

Again, we are here dealing with the question of the meaning of the word “judgment” as employed in this passage. All men should consider themselves subject to judgment, from both superiors and inferiors, if they violate God’s truth. It is a matter of great credit to Pope Innocent III that he possessed the humility to acknowledge this truth. It was he who possessed the nobility and humility to receive St. Francis’ exalted vision for his Order, a vision which was soon to be buried under the compromising legislation of future Popes (see our article St. Francis of Assisi: They Loved You So That They Might Leave You for an extensive treatment of this subject). But such “judgment” is not the same as a judgment of authority which has the power to declare a person formally to be a heretic. Nor does it posses the power and authority to institute juridical actions against him which would depose him of his office. This power only resides in a superior authority who, in the case of a reigning Pope, is God alone. Even a future Pope has no such authority to formally judge one of his predecessors.

The final argument, necessary for inclusion here, involves the Council of Constance. John of St. Thomas states it quite simply:

And in the case of the Great [Western] Schism during which there were three popes, the Council of Constance was assembled to settle the schism.”

This, again, is a falsification of history. There were not three Popes, at the time the Council of Constance, but only one – Gregory XII – who resigned from his office, sanctioned the Council itself, and also sanctioned its legitimacy in electing a new Pope.  

Having established the lack of substance, and the extraordinary superficiality, in all these alleged arguments from authority, we might well question the benefit in proceeding any further. But further examination of John of St. Thomas’ program for deposition of a Pope will be of value in unmasking what we have termed the “Tower of Babel” of intellectual sophistry which is now under construction by many Catholics in their attempts to ascend to power over the Papacy of Pope Francis. We will begin with a summary of his position, and afterward offer analysis.

 Deposition of the Pope:

John of St. Thomas begins with the scriptural injunction to be found in Titus 3:10: “A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid him”. He proceeds: “Now, one should not avoid one that remains in the [sovereign] Pontificate; on the contrary, the Church should instead be united to him as her supreme head and communicate with him. Therefore, if the pope is a heretic, either the Church should communicate with him, or he must be deposed from the Pontificate. John then opts for the second solution because, “The first solution leads to the obvious destruction of the Church….So, in any case it is necessary that such a Pope must be deposed.”

According to John, however, heresy alone is not sufficient to depose the Pontiff”. Two other conditions must be fulfilled: 1) The heresy is not hidden, but must be “public and legally notorious”; 2) the Pope must be incorrigible and pertinacious in his heresy.

 From here, John moves on to what he calls the second problem: “by what authority should the deposition of the Pope be done?” This involves two questions, and two very distinct stages: the declaration, on the one hand, and the deposition which follows: 1) “Who should pronounce the declarative sentence of the crime of heresy? And, 2) “On which authority is the Pope deposed?

In answer to the first question, John replies: “On the first point, we must say that the statement of the crime does not come from the Cardinals, but from the General Council.” In response to the second question, he answers, “In the case of deposition, this belongs to the Church, whose authority is represented by the General Council; indeed, to the cardinal is only entrusted the election, and nothing else, as can be seen in Canon Law.”

The summary of John of St. Thomas position can thus be very simply summarized as follows:

1) The Pope can fall into heresy.

2) If such heresy is “public and legally notorious”, if the Pope has been warned, and if he is “incorrigible and pertinacious” in his heresy, he can be, and should be, deposed.

 3) A General Council can first declare his heresy.

4) A General Council can then declare him deposed.

5) Until this final declaration of deposition is made, the Pope is still Pope, and the Catholic faithful are obliged to submission to his supreme authority. The Pope does not lose his office for heresy, whether hidden (occult) or public, until this deposition is declared by the General Council.

John of St. Thomas’ basic program for deposition of a Pope appears relatively simple. This certainly is not true of his attempts to justify it. The complexity of his arguments employed in justifying the five-point agenda listed above is the means by which its errors are masked, and might appear to many to be made acceptable. Having already exposed the lack of substance in his arguments from authority (which were designed to support the first two points), we now move on to the absolutely crucial question as to who has the authority to make both the declaration of heresy and the declaration of deposition (points 3 & 4).

John begins by first noting the sharp “dissension” which exists among theologians concerning this matter. He refers to Cajetan’s writings in which are enumerated four very opposing positions, two of which are designated as extremes, and two as being middle positions. The first “extreme position” he describes as postulating that “the Pope is removed without human judgment by the mere fact of being a heretic”, and that this is the position of Bellarmine and Suarez. The second extreme position is that the Pope truly has a human power in the Church above him by which he can be judged. Both these positions are rejected by Cajetan and John of St. Thomas (and of course now by Vatican Council I and Canon Law).

The first middle position posits that in the single case of heresy, the Church is above the Pope. This also is to be rejected.

And, finally, there is the position (the second middle position) of both John of St. Thomas and Cajetan that the Pope “has no superior [on earth], neither absolutely, nor in the case of heresy, but only in a ministerial way.”

I think it also valuable at this point to again mention Cardinal Burke’s position to this mix. In his interview with Catholic World Report, he very specifically says that the Pope would cease to be Pope by the very act of formally professing heresy, and that, further, the authority for declaring him to be in heresy belonged to the College of Cardinals. In other words, Cardinal Burke has added a fifth position (a  ‘ministerial” deposition by Cardinals)  to what we have called this “Tower of Babel”. Interestingly enough, among all of those who have attempted to pronounce on this issue, Cardinal Burke has held the highest legal office in the Church.

Now, let us return to John of St. Thomas’ position that the Pope “has no superior [on earth], neither absolutely, nor in the case of heresy, but only in a ministerial way.” He continues:

Just as the Church has a ministerial power to choose the person [Pope], but not to give power, as this is done immediately by Christ, in the same manner, in the disposition, which is the destruction of the bond by which the Papacy is attached to such person in particular, the Church has the power to depose him in a ministerial manner, but it is Christ who deprives [his power] with authority.”

Expressed in somewhat simpler form, what John is saying here (and using the arguments of Cajetan to do so) is that if it is through the ministry of men (Cardinals, under current Papal legislation) that the form of the Papacy is connected (disposed) to a certain person by the power of Christ, so through the ministry of the Pope’s inferiors (a General Council in this case), the connection between the form of the Papacy and the person of a particular Pope can be dissolved by a similar ministry of men.

Upon reading this passage, immediately our Catholic antennae for detecting sophistry should go up. Everything that the Church does is ministry, as is all that is done “in a Church way” by individual Popes, bishops, priests, etc. Nothing is done with a power and authority which proceeds from us, but only through us by the commission, power, and authority of Christ. But at the same time, as we have seen in the teaching of Pope Leo XIII, it is a firm matter of Catholic truth that no ministry is exercised by bishops (or a General Council of Bishops) without the Pope participating in it. To turn this 180 degrees around and declare that somehow we can have an unwilling Pope participating in a declaration of himself as being a heretic, and then also participating in his own deposition, is sophistry and casuistry of the highest order.

Further, the ministerial power by which the Cardinals choose a Pope is totally a matter of a ministry derived from Papal legislation (which can be altered at anytime, but only by a reigning Pope). There is nothing in such legislation which says that either the Cardinals or a General Council of Bishops has the ministerial power to dissolve this bond and thereby depose the Pope. The legislation in place for electing a Pope is clearly according to the “manifest mind and will of the Pope”, and therefore a matter of his “participation” in the process. Any attempt, on the other hand, to depose a Pope against his manifest will, and therefore without his participation, is the opposite. It requires specious reasoning of the highest order in any attempt to do so.

But the reasoning of John of St. Thomas involves not only specious casuistry, but also, as I said earlier, dissolves into simple self-contradiction. As we have seen, it was the position of Robert Bellarmine that the Pope is ipso facto deposed once he becomes a manifest heretic, and this without any formal declaration or judgment by the Church. Bellarmine’s reasoning is simple: A manifest heretic is not a Catholic, and a non-Catholic cannot be Pope. Further, if we are to follow the scriptural injunction, “A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid him”, then if we were obliged to consider such a man Pope until he was formally deposed through the declaration of a General Council (which might take years, or never be accomplished at all), during all that time all the faithful would be in a forced position of communicating with, and being subject, to a non-Catholic and heretical Pope. St. Robert Bellarmine obviously thought this to be an intolerable situation.

It is precisely this trap into which John of St. Thomas falls. He writes:

 A non-Christian who is such in itself AND in relation to us (quad se et quoad nos) cannot be Pope; however, if he is not in himself a Christian, because he has lost the faith, but if in relation to us he is not legally declared being infidel or heretic, as obvious as it may appear in a private judgment, he is still in relation to us (quoad nos) a member of the Church and therefore the head.”

In other words, according to John of St. Thomas (and Cajetan), the Antichrist could be (in relation to us) a member of the Church and our “head” – all because of a “legalism” which just couldn’t seem to get it together to have him ministerially declared a heretic. This is the terrible, self-contradictory principle entailing self destruction in John of St. Thomas’ position. As discussed earlier, he says that communication with a heretical Pope “leads to the obvious destruction of the Church”, and thus we must have the means to rid ourselves of him. On the other hand, in positing the possible existence of a formally heretical Pope, and yet at the same time the necessity of him remaining our “head” for years or even decades until he is declared deposed by a General Council of the Bishops, he is placing us in subservience to “the obvious destruction of the Church”. And of course, in accord with the views of those who believe Pope Francis must be deposed, this is precisely the situation we would now face. Most of today’s bishops probably do not believe in designating anyone a heretic, even less the Pope. To expect any sort of unity in such an project is now profoundly delusional, especially in the face of the fact that so many of the hierarchy now owe their positions to the present Pope. Any serious and protracted effort in this regard would almost certainly lead to a massive schism. We only need add that even for Bellarmine, who taught that a heretic Pope would only ipso facto lose his office after he was shown to be pertinacious in the face of warnings, the Antichrist could be our head if he were good enough at keeping a secret (occult heresy), or intimidating and seductive enough to prevent public warnings being issued against him.

 After all, once you posit that a Pope can be a formal heretic, there are no limits to just how big of a heretic he might be.

Such is the Rock of the Deposers.

Vatican Council I stated that in the Apostolic Primacy “is found the strength and solidity of the entire Church”. To posit the possibility of a formally heretical Pope who can, and should be, deposed, is to destroy the strength and solidity of the entire Church.

It certainly can be in accord with Catholic truth and charity to believe that Christ is chastising us through the present Papacy, that Satan has infiltrated the Church is a myriad of ways, that the Pope has been severely poisoned by philosophical and theological thinking whose origin lies in an almost universal subjection to reductive science and evolutionary theory, and that he is even malicious in his attempts to impose the implicit or logical consequences of these errors on those faithful who seek to hold onto tradition. But this does not mean that we have a “natural right” to liberate the Papacy from the Pope, but rather that we are now suffering such “confusion of faces” that no one can save us from this satanic mire except Our Lord and Our Lady.

As discussed in our article Democracy and the Spirit of Antichrist, there is a great deal in the growth of modern attempts to figure out some way to depose a Pope from his office which parallels the growth and triumph of democracy, and the principles and spirit of Antichrist which are its roots. There are many of course who get drawn into this vortex with no conscious malice. But there is a second, equally destructive, effect produced in the minds and hearts of those persons who entertain such delusions.

 As we noted earlier, this sort of agenda produces a spiritual superficiality, which cause us to remain on the surface – a superficiality which prevents its adherents from penetrating deeply into the Hearts of Our Lord and Our Lady wherein alone lies the solution to what we now experience. Such is the situation of those in Our Lord’s parable among whom are sown the seeds which, however, “fell upon stony ground, where they had not much earth: and they sprung up immediately, because they had no deepness of earth. And when the sun was up they were scorched: and because they had not root, they withered away.” As explained by Jesus, such a person originally receives the graces of God with joy, “yet he hath not root in himself, but only is for a time: and when there arises tribulation and persecution because of the word, he is presently scandalized.” (Mt. 13: 5-6, 20-21). It is a vicious circle – a vortex pulling us down into ever deeper realms of confusion and darkness. The “scandal” remains with us, and only increases, because we do not do the one thing necessary. The final “scandal” thus awaits to devour us in despair, loss of faith, and spiritual death. And all the while that we are crying out “Why has God abandoned us?” it will in reality be we who have abandoned Christ and the Way He has shown for our Return.

 All the signs of a blistering heat to come, which will test the depths of the soil that is within us, are now upon us. The time is now ripe, and soon will be passed, for us to turn with violence of heart to the Way which Our Lord has shown us through Our Lady and her Rosary (see our article The Rosary: The Way of Perfection).

  Please read our Original Proposal.

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The Rosary: The Way of Perfection

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Please read our Original Proposal  

The Rosary: The Way of Perfection

To Mary alone God gave the keys to the cellar of divine love and the ability to enter the most sublime and secret ways of perfection, and lead others along them.

(St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, #45)

 

Our Lady of Fatima said that her Immaculate Heart would be our refuge and the way that would lead us to God. She also clearly designated the praying of the Rosary as the Way by which this interior fulfillment of our hearts in union with God should be accomplished.

Just as all Truth, Holiness, and Perfection came to us in the Incarnation of Christ through the Angelic Salutation, so the Hail Mary provides the way for each of our hearts to be fully immersed in Mary in order that we may be transformed into the likeness of her Son Jesus.

Those who have prayed the Rosary faithfully can testify to the mysterious power it has over the human soul, especially in terms of instilling a deep security in their faith. This is something which seems to occur even in the midst of all sorts of distractions, inadequate concentration on the words we are saying, or the equally frustrating failures to focus on the mysteries themselves. But few seem to consider that the Rosary itself, embodying the very words with which God became man, might equally be the means by which Our Lord and Our Lady desire that we be drawn into the highest realms of love and union with God.

Throughout the history of Catholic spiritual writings, there has traditionally been proposed a threefold hierarchical division of types of prayer: oral prayer, discursive meditation, and the higher states of contemplative prayer in which one is drawn into deeper union with God. The Rosary has almost always been seen as operating exclusively in the realm of the first two types of prayer. The third type, usually considered as an exalted mystical state experienced only by very rarely chosen souls, has been viewed as something to which oral prayer like the Rosary cannot usually provide a “Way”. In light of what has been written above, this makes little sense. The Hail Mary being the Word by which God came to us, it should also be considered the “cellar of divine love” (using St. Louis de Montfort’s expression), which contains all that is necessary in order that we may be drawn up through all the stages of prayer into union with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.

St. Teresa of Avila, one of the greatest mystics in the history of the Church, tells us that the deepest experiences of prayer through which we reach union with God, are not at all intended by God to be reserved only for a few select souls. She tells us, in fact, that a very large number of souls in this world hover on the edge of such deeper union with God, and never manage to cross over into this marvelous world, solely because of one very tragic mistake which they commit in their spiritual lives.

These souls, described by St. Teresa, have reached a state where mortal sin is truly abhorrent to them, and they even are committed to waging war against venial sin. They are firmly established in the faith, are committed to the practice of virtue, and have spent much time and effort in meditating upon the mysteries of Our Lord and His Mother, and the truths of the Gospel. And all this has been reflected in a devotion to prayer and discursive meditation.

But they come to a point where all of this is not enough – something much deeper seems to place a demand upon their souls. Their former practices of prayer and meditation, which had seemed such fruitful sources of joy and enlightenment, now seem to have become profoundly permeated by temptations, aridity, distraction, and lack of consolation. It is at this point that such persons might experience a great deal of anxiety, restlessness, melancholia, and discouragement – all of this posing the threat that they might even abandon prayer altogether. It is here, according to St. Teresa, that so many souls falter because they lack understanding – most specifically, they lack self-knowledge.

What St. Teresa means by this lack of self-knowledge is not the kind of self-knowledge which we speak of in regard to unraveling the blindness which we may have acquired concerning our sins and infidelities. Rather, it is that ignorance which fails to understand our makeup as fallen human beings, and how this applies to making progress towards God. Because of this ignorance, the temptations, distractions, discouragement, melancholia, etc. which such persons experience become a threat to their commitment to, and progress in, the spiritual life of prayer. And even though these persons may, in all good will, persevere in prayer, they become resigned to a spiritual state of distraction, dullness, and torpidity – somehow becoming convinced that this is the best that has been willed for them by God. They may even suffer the delusion that such a continual state of torpidity and lack of progress is a meritorious cross of suffering intended for them by God.

It is here, says St. Teresa, that such persons are profoundly mistaken. They are indeed very close to God. But they are led away from being drawn into the depths of His love because they identify all of the distraction and temptations which are raging away in their lower mind (because of the effects of original sin) with the state of their soul. And in “going after” such things, they are simply following in the steps of the very foolish man who thinks he can fight the Devil on his own ground. St. Teresa says that in reality, we can no more stop such things through our own efforts than we can stop the roaring of the sea. In her writings, she describes the extraordinary nature and extent of such temptations which she often experienced even after having attained the highest states of union with God.

The lack of self-knowledge which is the cause of this unfortunate attitude and state is therefore this: it consists in the failure to understand that, at this stage of the spiritual life, deeper union with God is dependent not primarily upon the mind and its operations, but rather upon the will. And this in turn requires that we realize that we are now being called to simplify our prayer into what should consist primarily of simple acts of love and surrender to God. St. Teresa even goes so far as to say that during this descent into the cellar of God’s love, we need to laugh at our temptations and distractions, and count them as nothing. This of course does not in any way mean that discursive thinking and meditation cease entirely, but only that they assume their now proper status as the foundations of Faith from which the soul is called to launch forth into the deeper reaches of God’s light and love.

All of this bears profoundly on our praying of the Rosary.

Probably all readers have either read, or heard it said, that meditations upon the individual Mysteries, and the lives of Jesus and Mary which they depict, are the very soul of the Rosary. This is certainly true. Just as Faith is the absolute foundation of all true Charity, so the Mysteries of the life of Christ and His Mother are the foundations of all that constitutes our growth in love through the Rosary. As St. Teresa also wrote, any devotion or method of prayer which proposes to make progress in the spiritual life by bypassing the humanity of Christ (and therefore the actual Mysteries of the Rosary) is an extremely dangerous deceit of the Devil.

This does not mean, however, that all of our time spent in praying the Rosary must be spent in discursive thought concerning these Mysteries. Anyone who has spent years trying to use something such as a “scriptural rosary” is fully aware of the futility of always trying to keep their attention fixed upon such “thoughts”. Because their prayer is always focused in the realm of discursive thinking and imagination, they also find themselves operating in the playground where all the “demons” of distractions and temptations make their home. They must therefore come to realize that there is truly a path into the heart of all of these mysteries which is profoundly effective in bypassing this “roaring of the sea”. And since the Angelic Salutation occupies what is certainly at least ninety percent of the time of our prayer, and is the heart of the Rosary, we shall begin here (we shall discuss the other prayers of the Rosary afterwards).

While at the beginning of each decade we must certainly try to focus on, and bow our minds and hearts, before the individual mystery which we are about to pray. During the actual recitation of the Hail Mary’s we suggest something very different – a difference which is completely focused on placing our hearts within Mary’s Immaculate Heart in order to enter upon that way of interior transformation that will lead us “affectively” closer to Her and to Jesus.

During the words “Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee”, we should see Our Lord entering in complete spiritual childhood into Mary’s Immaculate Heart and womb at the moment of the Incarnation. It is here that we may be assured that we are in no way attempting to bypass the humanity of Christ or any of the Mysteries of His life, despite the fact that we are not always focused on discursive thinking and meditation upon these Mysteries. As St. Louis de Montfort writes, “The Incarnation is the greatest of the Mysteries of Christ’s life, because it contains the grace and intention of all the rest.” With the very first words of the Angelic Salutation we therefore become united with Our Lord and Our Lady in all of the Mysteries of their lives. And we may be assured that, as deemed necessary by Our Lord Himself, the deeper meaning of these Mysteries will open up to us, not only during the recitation of the Rosary itself, but also through all the further meditations upon and study of the Faith which is incumbent upon all of us during our entire life.

With the words “Blessed art thou among women” we interiorly follow Our Lord in
total humility and descent into the Immaculate Heart of Mary our Mother. And with the words “and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus”, we receive Jesus in spiritual communion. It is an extraordinary source of joy to have realized that we can “make” a spiritual communion during each Hail Mary. We might also add a quick “Come into my heart” after saying the name of Jesus. Such an ejaculation “in the back of our mind” is possible even when praying the rosary orally with someone else, and while we are meanwhile responding with the second half.

As for the second half of the Hail Mary, it is easy simply to focus on the words – to pray as sinners for the grace of profound inner purification which can only come through the grace of her intercession (“Pray for us sinners”), and to also pray especially for what has always been considered the greatest of individual actual graces – the grace of final perseverance (“now and at the hour of our death.”). This second part of Hail Mary amounts to a total consecration to Jesus through Mary for the entirety of our lives on the path towards holiness.

What is written above might seem rather complicated in print, but after a bit of initial effort and work, it has become something that seems very natural. It does not disturb the pace of the Rosary (unless we are praying it too fast). Even if we become distracted (which still often happens), it is easy, as St. Louis de Montfort says, to “arise with alacrity” and return our hearts to Jesus and Mary. It is the work (the art) of a lifetime.

One of the very noticeable effects of this method of praying the Hail Mary is its effect on the desire and ability to focus on the other prayers of the Rosary. The additional great benefit of this practice is that it does truly bring about a “union” between the “word” that is on our lips and the thought that is in our mind. We are actually intending with our mind and will what we are orally (or silently) praying One of the primary effects of original sin, stemming from the loss of the gift of integrity between all our faculties, is the now natural (in terms of fallen nature) duplicity ( St. James calls this “double-mindedness”) that runs so deep in each of us between what we are thinking and doing, and especially between what we are thinking and what we are saying. Any restoration of “single-mindedness” is therefore a wonderful thing and a foretaste of Heaven in which this integrity will be fully restored. As Our Lord said, “If thy eye be single, then thy whole body shall be lightsome.”

The recitation of the Apostles Creed seems to be almost immediately affected by the overflow of graces which now flow from this at-least partial restoration of integrity. All of the articles of belief enunciated in the Creed are of course quite specific truths of our faith, and the movement of assent of our minds and hearts to the truths contained therein is penetrated now with new attentiveness and assent.

The “Our Father” is of course “Our Lord’s Prayer”, and therefore pre-eminent over all of creation. When we pray “Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be they name; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven”, it might therefore indeed be seen as appropriate to make the simple intention of surrendering to God’s absolute sovereignty over all the world, especially as expressed in the Kingship of Christ over all individual souls, all nations, and all aspects of our individual and collective lives. And even though entire books have been written on the Our Father, the simple requests that follow should present no problem for the attention of those who pray them. We only need to mention that, as we descend more deeply in to the Heart of Mary, our supplication “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” naturally becomes far more redolent with meaning. Entering into the Heart of Mercy cannot fail in generating the effect of saturating our own hearts with a deeper charity and mercy towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. This of course should also necessarily have the effect of increasing our attention and desire for the salvation of souls which is the essence of the Fatima prayer at the end of each decade.

The “Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end” might indeed be the Rosary prayer which has been said in the most rote matter, and could well rate highest on any scale of double-mindedness and minimal consciousness. This is tragic. It is the prayer which most succinctly expresses the greatest mystery of our Faith – the Holy Trinity – and it should not at all be difficult during its recitation to place our minds in the eternal unchanging knowledge, will, and embrace of God (we wrote on this subject in the article on the Fifth Glorious Mystery). It might even be very appropriate in reciting this prayer to experience a wave of fortitude, and even anger, in militant defense of the eternal, unchanging Nature of God and His Revelation in the face of the world-wide attacks now being made by the forces of Antichrist against all that is contained therein.

We need also consider the intentions for which we pray the Rosary. Anyone who has prayed the Rosary for many years probably has experienced how tedious it can be offering the same intentions over and over, especially if they are numerous. These intentions tend to become very automatic, and profoundly lacking in all that we might imagine to be integral to truly desiring what we ask for, or in loving the very people for whom we are praying. It is one of the wonderful and mysterious effects of praying the Angelic Salutation in the way we have described above that it opens our hearts to the needs and miseries of others:

And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh.” (Ez. 36:26).

All that we have offered above in regard to a method for praying the Rosary are suggestions. There is a great deal of richness and variety in human hearts and minds which cannot be placed under any one absolutely- uniform method or rule of prayer.

At the same time, however, we believe that we have offered some principles that are universal. Holding primacy among these principles is the truth that it is a great error and delusion to be in any way satisfied with a practice of praying the Rosary which is beset with distractions, inattentiveness, etc. What is imperative is that each one of us becomes, as was the Old Testament prophet Daniel, a “Man of Desires”, incapable of resting in spiritual mediocrity and duplicity. If none of what is written above is helpful to some particular individual, then we recommend incessant prayer to Our Lady that he be shown his own particular way – like the widow who sought justice from the unjust judge (Luke 18: 1-8). As Our Lord said, “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away (Mt. 11:12). Nothing is more pleasing to Our Lord than the violence within the human heart that refuses to live on the outskirts of His love.

We need only add that what has been written above is the essence of what the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church is all about. There can be no solution to the tidal wave of chaos which is now upon us except through that extraordinary interior purification of our hearts which awaits our descent into the cellars of divine love present within the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and which is accessible through her Rosary. Only thus will the power of the Holy Spirit once again become fruitful within the Church for the conversion, and re-conversion, of peoples and nations to Christ. Let us pursue this love violently, especially for the sake of our children who are faced with a world (and the Prince of this world) which is now in possession of a power to devour souls never before witnessed in Christian history.

 

Praying At All Times

“Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21: 36)

Never in Christian history has it been more imperative that we pay heed to the scripture quoted above. Never have we more needed an escape from the “things to come”, and never, therefore, has it been more incumbent upon us to “pray at all times”.

The five-decade Rosary of course requires a period of extended time. There are therefore many limitations in our over-busy world placed upon how many times we can pray such a Rosary during the day. There would seem to be no such limit placed upon Hail Mary’s prayed according to the method we have described above. A Hail Mary takes about twenty seconds. We all need to think about what this means in terms of the potential for being immersed in the “cellars of divine love” of Our Lord and Our Lady, of receiving Jesus in spiritual communion innumerable times during the day, and of protecting ourselves from evil and all “the things to come”.

One of the most wonderful times to pray Hail Mary’s in this way is when we are in bed and trying to fall asleep. This is especially true if we go to bed with worries on our mind, and enormously so if there is any kind of despair, discouragement, depression, anger, etc. At such times, the truths concerning Mary as being the “Refuge of Sinners” and the Rosary as the “Way of Perfection” are verified beyond any possible doubt

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A Love that Maketh a Lie: Amoris Laetitia and the Teilhardian Agenda

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A Love That Maketh a Lie:

Amoris Laetitia and the Teilhardian Agenda

“Without are dogs and sorcerers, and unchaste, and murderers, and servers of idols, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         (Apoc. 22:15)

 Introduction

In order to accomplish the victory of Teilhardian evolutionary theology over 2,000 years of Catholic teaching concerning God’s immutable Truth and Revelation, it is above all necessary that the perpetrators of this agenda falsify the Catholic doctrine concerning the theological virtue of Charity.

The above-quoted scripture from the Book of the Apocalypse should be something which causes us to “draw up short” in profound self-reflection. In a world and a Church in which the absolute truths of our Faith are being denied, de-emphasized and marginalized in favor of a view of a God Who is unconditional love, the notion that there is a love that “maketh a lie” to such a magnitude as to place those who exercise it on the same level as those who are “without” the Kingdom of Heaven because they are “dogs, sorcerers, the unchaste, murderers, and servers of idols”, should make all of us tremble.

The key to understanding this passage lies in understanding the Greek word which is used in this passage for “loveth”. It is not eros, which means erotic or sexual love, and is in fact a Greek word that is never used in the New Testament. Nor is it agapē, which is translated as charity, and which we properly use only for the supreme love of God and man. Rather, it is philěō, which is defined as brotherly love, or the love of the brotherhood. It is in fact where the name of the city Philadelphia comes from, which literally means the City (delphia) of Brotherly Love.

The most malicious form of love which “maketh a lie” is obviously, therefore, any love practiced towards one’s brethren which establishes or confirms them in sin. It is a love, in other words, which contradicts and violates that highest form of love of God which is called Charity. As we shall see, it is precisely just such a love, and its corresponding lie, which is now being widely promoted within the Church.

The “hub” of all Catholic life is the truth concerning the Catholic theological virtue of Charity. This is so because it is the absolute key to the reality of the Catholic truth concerning the justification and salvation of every person who is destined for an eternity with God. The Council of Trent defines this doctrine in the following words:

For, although no one can be just but he to whom the merits of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet is this done in the said justification of the impious, when by the merit of that same most Holy Passion, the charity of God is poured forth by the Holy Spirit in the hearts of those that are justified and is inherent therein.” (Session VI, Ch. VII).

In other words, the supernatural gift of Charity is equivalent to the possession of sanctifying grace, and constitutes our being in the friendship of God (please see our previous article Teilhardian Evolution: To Change the Hearts and Minds of All Men for an analysis of Charity and its relationship to the Catholic concepts of Truth, Love, and Mercy). It is therefore of primary importance that we properly understand how we come to possess this inestimable gift.

It is a defined doctrine of the Catholic Faith that the exercise of man’s free will is absolutely necessary for all that is involved in his justification and sanctification; necessary for cooperating with the actual graces in preparation for justification; necessary in cooperating with the grace of justification itself; necessary for persevering in faith and good works, both of which are necessary for salvation; necessary for performance of those good works which merit an increase of glory in eternal life; and necessary for the grace of final perseverance. In other words, while God’s gift of Charity and sanctifying grace is totally gratuitous, being derived solely from the merits of Our Lord’s Passion and in no way due to the merits of man, it at the same time requires the cooperation of man’s free will for its reception and application, and is therefore the most merited thing in the life of any human being who seeks to be in the friendship of God and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. The Council of Trent’s Decree on Justification in fact contains over 20 canons detailing the absolute necessity of the cooperation of man’s free will in meriting and living this grace, and pronounces anathemas upon any who presume to deny these truths.

Consideration of Charity as being the “hub” of all Catholic life is appropriate because all that constitutes what is necessary for being in friendship with God may be metaphorically compared to a wheel containing the “spokes” of the many Catholic doctrines and truths which are integral to the reality and understanding of Charity. And, unlike a physical wheel, the entire structure of this wheel is shattered if even one of these spokes be broken (culpably denied). As we pointed out emphatically in our previous article, Charity cannot exist where there is not Faith, and Faith itself cannot exist where even one such doctrine is culpably denied. The following doctrines are all intimately related to and necessary for the understanding of Charity:

God created man and endowed man with Charity (sanctifying grace) super-added to his human nature. This we call the state of “Original Justice”. It could not have existed if Adam and Eve had not been endowed with the full human intelligence and free will necessary for understanding and freely choosing to live in this friendship with God.

Man fell from this original state of Justice and Charity through freely willing to sin in rebellion against God. As a result, he lost sanctifying grace. And also as a result, he came to possess a fallen nature, which, although severely weakened and disordered in both intellect and will, still possessed the necessary intelligence and free will to be responsible for his actions. This fallen nature is the common inheritance of all men (Our Lady being excepted) at the moment of their conception.

The restoration of man to the state of possessing Charity (sanctifying grace) was only made possible through the Sacrifice of Christ in His Passion. This only becomes a reality in an individual person’s life through freely chosen faith and baptism. It is this “state” of Charity which each person is responsible for maintaining through faith and good works. This entails that it is also a matter of Faith that there is a real distinction between living in this state of Charity, on the one hand, and being dead in mortal sin on the other. This further necessitates the real distinction between mortal and venial sin. If a person loses sanctifying grace through mortal sin, this Charity may be restored through the sacrament of Confession. And since, as St. Thomas says, “The reality of the Eucharist is the unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, without which there is no salvation”, then the reception of the Eucharist while living in objective mortal sin is in itself a sacrilegious denial of this unity, a “re-crucifixion” of Christ, and a sacrilegious offense against the Charity of God.

Having thus detailed the very specific doctrinal content of the Catholic doctrine concerning Charity, we are now in a position to determine the nature of the “lie” which is the defining heresy involved in Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

 Amoris Laetitia: Heresy Unveiled

Since the public presentation of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia on April 8, 2016, the traditional Catholic media has been flooded with negative evaluations. Following is a list of some of the pejoratives used to describe this document: ambiguous, undermining, fundamental option, turning point in Catholic doctrine, uncertainty, coup, revolutionary, relativistic, plot to turn the Church upside down, demolish the foundations of two thousand years of Catholicism, constant teaching of the Church destroyed, strange, surreal, disquieting, dreadful, devastating for the Church, a praise to heretic joy, catastrophic. It has even been simply called the “Bergoglian heresy”.

In these evaluations, a number of passages have been quoted from the Exhortation, virtually all of the relevant ones to be found in Chapter 8, which is titled “Accompanying, discerning and integrating weakness”. Unquestionably, these passages and their respective evaluations offer evidence for the strong condemnations of these commentators. Possibly most succinct, and most often employed, is a passage from paragraph 305, and its footnote. The passage reads:

Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.”

The relevant footnote (#351) reads:

In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, “I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium [24 November 2013], 44: AAS 105 [2013], 1038). I would also point out that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (ibid., 47: 1039).”

All this is indeed an indication of an underlying heresy, but it does not, so to speak, “put the nail to the coffin”. As one commentator put it, it is “careful language”. Or, as Cardinal Schonborn stated in his Intervention at the Presentation of Amoris Laetitia, it is a “linguistic event”.

Possibly the most succinct, devastating, and poignant summary of this position – that Amoris Laetitia represents not explicit, but implicit, heresy – has come, not from a traditional Catholic, but from a man who describes himself as having been a secular Jew who converted to Catholicism, and now has rejected the Faith entirely. Damon Linker, in The Week magazine, writes the following:

“If there were any doubts that Pope Francis is a stealth reformer of the Roman Catholic Church, the apostolic exhortation he released last week (Amoris Laetitia, or the “Joy of Love”) should settle the matter.

“A straightforward reformer of the church seeks to change its doctrines. A stealth reformer like Francis, on the other hand, keeps the doctrines intact but invokes such concepts as mercy, conscience, and pastoral discernment to show priests that it’s perfectly acceptable to circumvent and disregard those doctrines in specific cases. A doctrine officially unenforced will soon lose its authority as a doctrine. Where once it was a commandment sanctioned by God, now it becomes an “ideal” from which we’re expected to fall short. Before long it may be treated as a suggestion. Eventually, repealing it is no longer controversial — or perhaps even necessary.

“Stealth reform ultimately achieves the same reformist goal, but without inspiring the intense opposition that would follow from attempting to change the doctrine outright.”

However, Cardinal Schonborn, Damon Linker, and others who promote such views concerning the Pope’s Exhortation are wrong. Amoris Laetitia is not just a “linguistic event” or “stealth reform” or “implicit heresy”, which is able to fly under the radar of a specific charge of objective heresy.There is a very explicit heresy, it is the foundation of all the other legitimate condemnations of Amoris Laetitia, and it clearly reveals the agenda which germinates and nourishes all the rest of its errors. It is found in paragraphs 296 and 297:

“The way of the Church is not to condemn anyone for ever; it is to pour out the balm of God’s mercy on all those who ask for it with a sincere heart… For true charity is always un-merited, unconditional and gratuitous.” (296).

“It is a matter of reaching out to everyone, of needing to help each person find his or her proper way of participating in the ecclesial com-munity and thus to experience being touched by an ‘unmerited, unconditional and gratuitous’ mercy. No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!” (297).

Clearly, in the context of Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia, the Pope is speaking here of the individual human person, and the state of his soul which determines not only whether he may receive Holy Communion, but also whether he is justified or condemned. As a Catholic, whatever he says therefore must be judged in the light of the Council of Trent’s infallible teaching concerning justification, which we examined in our Introduction to this article.

To assert, as does Pope Francis, that “true charity is unmerited, unconditional, and gratuitous” is simply a very explicit heresy. As we have pointed out, the Grace of God which is called “Charityis indeed totally unmerited and gratuitous in itself, but its presence in the soul of man – a state which we rightly call “living in sanctifying grace” and “being in the friendship of God” – is of necessity merited by man and not at all unconditional. The following two passages from the teachings of the Council of Trent make all of this abundantly clear:

But no one, how much soever justified ought to think himself exempt from the observance of the commandments, no one ought to make use of that rash saying, one prohibited by the Fathers under an anathema, that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified. For God commands not impossibilities, but, by commanding, both admonishes thee to do what thou art able, and to pray for what thou art not able (to do), and aids thee that thou mayest be able; whose commandments are not heavy, whose yoke is sweet, and whose burden light. For whoso are the sons of God love Christ; but they who love Him keep His commandments, as Himself testifies; which, assuredly, with the divine help, they can do.” (Session VI, Ch. XI).

“In opposition also to the subtle wits of certain men who, by pleasing speeches and good works, seduce the hearts of the innocent, it is to be maintained that the received grace of justification is lost not only by infidelity [loss of faith], whereby even faith itself is lost, but also by any other mortal sin whatever, though faith be not lost; thus defending the doctrine of the divine law, which excludes from the kingdom of God not only the unbelieving, but the faithful also (who are) fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, liars with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, railers, extortioners, and all others who commit deadly sins; from which, with the help of divine grace, they can refrain, and on account of which they are separated from the grace of Christ.” (Ibid., Ch. XV)

Therefore, Pope Francis’ statement in paragraph #305 that, “Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin [he is obviously speaking here of mortal sin] – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end” does indeed constitute heresy. And his statement in footnote 351, that, “In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments”, is an explicit invitation to Eucharistic sacrilege. It would seem the perfect example of a love “that maketh a lie.”

Herein resides the essence of this heresy. It lies specifically in teaching that there is a “gradualness” applicable to the possession of charity and sanctifying grace. It is Catholic dogma that possession of supernatural charity is an ontological state created by sanctifying grace added to the soul, that one cannot possess this charity unless living in this substantial state, and that it is this state of being which is absolutely necessary for receiving the Eucharist and other sacraments. It cannot be possessed by a person living in objective mortal sin, or by any person who is in some process of pastoral effort working towards the attainment of some “ideal”.

In addition, all of Francis’ various statements which promote the idea that an individual’s correspondence with immutable Catholic moral doctrine is only an ideal, which may be now unattainable because of “weaknesses”, and which must be subject to this new principle of “gradualism”, constitute a blasphemy against God’s goodness and grace, “Who aids thee that thou may be able”, as clearly laid out in Chapters XI and XV of Trent’s Decree on Justification as quoted above.

It must also be noted, that it is also an egregious error to claim, as does paragraph 297, that “It is a matter of reaching out to everyone, of needing to help each person find his or her proper way of participating in the ecclesial com-munity and thus to experience being touched by an ‘unmerited, unconditional and gratuitous’ mercy. No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!” (297). It is not “the logic of the Gospel” that “no one can be condemned forever”. Our Lord emphatically stated, “For many are called, but few are chosen”. The existence of a populated Hell is indeed Catholic doctrine taught clearly by Holy Scripture.

Satan’s Primary Target: The Family

The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.” (From Sr. Lucia’s letter to Cardinal Carlo Caffara)

It is no accident that this Heresy which denies the Catholic doctrine concerning Supernatural Charity is to be found in a document which purports to encapsulate the teaching of the Synod on the Family.

Continuing the metaphor employed at the beginning of this article, we may rightly say that, if the Catholic truth concerning Charity is the “Hub” of the wheel of all true Catholic life, then the family is the lynch-pin which holds this wheel in place as the foundational institution incarnating this Charity in the life of both the Church and the world. The family is the place where Charity is received through baptism. It is the place where it is nourished through love. It is where it receives its foundations and bulwarks through the educational process, and the place of support and protection where it endures through the sufferings of this life. It is the Family, and the question as to whether it is constituted as either a place of Charity or its denial, which determines whether we live in a Christian civilization, or a civilization turned away from God to the worship of Evil.

It is also therefore no accident that the chapter of Amoris Laetitia (Chapter VIII) which attempts to enshrine this heresy within its teaching on the family is called “Accompanying, discerning and integrating weakness.” The “weaknesses” specifically addressed in this chapter are Catholics couples living in objective mortal sin through cohabitation, those in a civil marriage without the sacrament, and those who have gone through the process of civil divorce and remarriage. Each of these are designated as “weaknesses” in this document, but are in reality situations of objective mortal sins which are primary attacks upon the family and the institution of marriage upon which it is founded. To therefore speak of integrating such sins into the Church is to speak of integrating evil into the very lifeblood of the Church, thereby violating the entire Christian idea of what constitutes Charity within the family.

The key to this satanic strategy is the word “integration”. It is a word which is absolutely central, not only to the agenda of a totally anti-Christian occult worldview which now worships the evolutionary progress and “salvation” of the entire world through an “integral ecology”, but also the theology now dominant within the Church through the theology of Teilhard de Chardin and Pope Benedict, and which is now being implemented through the words and pastoral policies of Pope Francis and his supporters in the hierarchy. It views Christian Revelation not as immutable and finished upon the death of the last Apostle, but rather as an ongoing historical progression (containing no fixed absolutes,) toward the Omega point of Teilhardian evolution in which the truth will be fully revealed and incarnated.

In his 1998 book Milestones ((in the context of discussing his thesis on St. Bonaventure), then Cardinal Ratzinger reveals that since the middle of the 20th century (the heyday of Teilhardian popularity), Catholic theologians had come to the conclusion that neoscholasticism had kept the notion of revelation “too confined to the intellectual realm”, and that now:

Revelation appeared no longer simply as a communication of truths to the intellect but as a historical action of God in which truth becomes gradually unveiled.” ((P. 104).

And three pages later, in attempting to use St. Bonaventure to further this new view of Revelation, he states:

Here, ‘revelation” is always a concept denoting an act. The word refers to the act in which God shows himself, not to the objectified result of this act [read “Dogma”]. And because this is so, the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of ‘revelation’.

If ‘revelation’ is something gradually unveiled through historical evolution, and if the human subject is always part of this progression of revelation, then what we are dealing with here is a concept of Catholic Revelation which only becomes manifested “gradually” through the evolutionary development of all human beings. And, this in turn necessitates that all human beings, at some point in time, must be forcefully integrated into this evolutionary process. In an extraordinary passage from his book The Heart of Matter, Teilhard de Chardin writes:

The irresistible ‘setting’ or cementing together of a thinking mass (Mankind) which is continually more compressed upon itself by the simultaneous multiplication and expansion of its individual elements: there is not one of us, surely, who is not almost agonizingly aware of this, in the very fibre of his being. This is one of the things that no one today would even try to deny: we can all see the fantastic anatomical structure of a vast phylum [social, psychic, informational, etc.] whose branches, instead of diverging as they normally do, are ceaselessly folding in upon one another ever more closely, like some monstrous inflorescence – like, indeed, an enormous flower folding-in upon itself; the literally global physiology of an organism in which production, nutrition, the machine, research, and the legacy of heredity are, beyond any doubt, building to planetary dimensions [one can only imagine the ‘fuel’ which the Internet would have provided for Teilhard’s ‘Great Vision’]….Writing in the year 1950, I can say that the evolution of my inner vision culminates in the acceptance of this evident fact, that there is a ‘creative’ tide which (as a strict statistic consequence of their increasing powers of self-determination) is carrying the human ‘mega-molecules’ towards an almost unbelievable quasi ‘mono-molecular’ state; and in that state, as the biological laws of Union demand, each ego is destined to be forced convulsively beyond itself into some mysterious super-ego.” (p. 37-38).

We might well imagine the delight of any sort of Antichrist figure at the prospect that he has both divine and evolutionary sanction to “convulsively force” all men into “some mysterious super-ego.”

What unites the secular and Teilhardian views of evolutionary progression, therefore, is that both demand a convergence of the minds and hearts of all human beings towards a unity of consciousness (an “Omega Point” – this Teilhardian concept has even been adopted by many secularists) in which all the divisions separating and alienating men from one another on all levels of culture (politics, economics, and especially religion) have been overcome. This of course demands the integration of all that is viewed as “truly human” into this process. The widespread acceptance of this agenda within the Church began at the time of Vatican II with a false Ecumenism, graduated to calls for inculturation of all sorts of foreign things into Catholic belief and worship, and now issues forth in the siren call for an exponential increase in such inclusiveness and integration.

Such “integral humanism is, for instance, the reason virtually all children are being subjected to so-called “Diversity Training”, and this includes most Catholic colleges and universities. It is the potential death of all the immutable Catholic Truths and Doctrines which separate the Church from the rest of the world, and demands the poisoning of all Catholic minds and hearts with a love that “maketh a lie” through inclusiveness towards every form of error and sin. And it therefore constitutes total warfare against the Charity of God, being nourished by a satanically inspired passion which will only be satiated through the spiritual death of all of mankind. This Teilhardian agenda is now heavily focused on the coming October Synod of Bishops – the so-called Amazonian Synod – for the implementation and spread of such darkness within the universal Church. The Amazon Basin, because of its extraordinarily complex ecological, cultural, and religious diversity, is the ideal experimental situation for the final convergence of the Teilhardian and secularist agendas.

It is also this “forced convergence” which is now being implemented within the legal systems of nations throughout the world through the legalization of contraception, abortion, divorce, homosexuality, “gay- marriage”, transexualism, and gender ideology. All of this is aimed at destroying the traditional Catholic institution of marriage and the family. And this agenda is being promoted (or at least passively accepted) by many within the Church, including many members of the Catholic hierarchy. We therefore repeat the following, and will continue to do so in all subsequent articles:

It must be realized that virtually all the positions of influence (media), money, and power, both in the Church and the world, are now in the hands of the enemy. There is no human solution to what is now befalling us. All that has been (or will be) written here therefore has one purpose: to convince readers that our only solution lies in the supernatural grace which has been promised through the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and that this can be accessed only through fulfillment of Our Lady’s plan. The only question now remaining is whether we will comply with God’s plan through Mary before total chaos and tyranny descends upon us and those we love. We again, therefore, ask all readers to seriously read our Original Proposal, and to promote what is requested therein.

Please pray the Rosary for the Purification of the Church!

 

Addendum

 Note: The following is posted in response to a very good question we received as to whether a person can be “objectively” in the state of mortal sin but not “subjectively” culpable. It is especially relevant to Pope Francis’ statement in Amoris Laetitia that “in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.”

 

Amoris Laetitia: Seeking the Ruin of Souls

 “More souls go to Hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”   (Our Lady of Fatima to Jacinta Marto, 1919)

 

After startling Nicodemus with the words, “Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”, and then explaining their meaning, Jesus concluded with these words:

For God, sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their words were evil. For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God. (John 3: 5-17)

Jesus said that he was come, not to judge the world, but to offer it salvation. We know, of course, that Christ will come “to judge the living and the dead” in the Final Judgment at the end of time, and that He also judges each person, in a particular judgment, at the end of his sojourn in this life. But all judgment during this life – as to whether we are alive in the Charity of God, or dead in sin; as to whether we are living in the friendship of God, or whether we are living as His enemies – is appropriated to the work of the Holy Spirit: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Concerning this coming of the Holy Spirit, and His mission, Our Lord said:

It is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he is come, he will convince [also convict, reprove] the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment….” (John 16:8).

The judgment of the living is therefore this: either a person is alive in the charity (sanctifying grace) of the Holy Spirit, or he is dead in the works of Satan. There is no half-alive in God, no gradualism in the possession of charity, no “living in grace” for those in mortal sin. In Our Lord’s terms, there are those who do evil and therefore hate the light; or, on the other hand, there are those who do truth and come to the light that their works may be made manifest “because they are done in God”.

Pope Francis does not agree. In Chapter 8, paragraph 305 of Amoris Laetitia, he states: “Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.” And in his now infamous footnote (#351) to this sentence, he states quite clearly that in “certain cases” such persons can be admitted to the sacraments, and specifically to Eucharistic communion.

It is truly extraordinary that Pope Francis, during his return-flight from the island of Lesbos on April 16, 2016, flatly stated, in answer to a reporter’s question, “I don’t remember the footnote.” It seems that we are faced with the choice of either believing that this is a blatant falsehood, or that he did not write (and read) all of Amoris Laetitia. As evidence for the former, Pope Francis, when specifically asked whether, after the issuance of Amoris Laetitia there now exist “new openings” and “concrete possibilities” for the divorced and remarried to have access to the sacraments, replied, “I can say yes, period”. He then went on to refer the questioner to a fuller explanation given by Cardinal Schonborn at the official presentation of the document. At that presentation, Cardinal Schonborn stated, “In the sense of this “via caritatis” (AL 306), the Pope affirms, in a humble and simple manner, in a note (351) that the help of the sacraments may also be given “’n certain cases’.”

A very large portion of Chapter 8 is devoted to overwhelming us with “forms of conditioning and mitigating factors” which are intended to convince us of the possibility that a person living in objective mortal sin can be living in a state of grace and be worthy of receiving the sacraments, and especially Eucharistic Communion. Following is a partial list, ranging from the abstract to the very specific: cultural or contingent situations; awaiting more security in life; the expense of a wedding, not in a position to understand, appreciate, or fully carry out the objective demands of the law; complexity of various situations; obligations towards children’s upbringing springing from a second marriage (civil); having been unjustly abandoned during the original marriage; subjective belief that the first marriage was never valid; fear that the lack of “expressions of intimacy”, required of those who must live as brother and sister in the raising of their children, might endanger the virtue of “faithfulness”; ignorance; inadvertence; duress; fear; habit; inordinate attachments; affective immaturity; force of acquired habit; conditions of anxiety; and, other psychological or social factors [one wonders whether there might not be hundreds].

All of this is, of course, simply obfuscation. No one denies that there may be mitigating factors in regard to human culpability. But the “life of grace” – that life of charity which provides access to Eucharistic communion – cannot exist where there is objective mortal sin. Neither ignorance, nor any of the other mitigating factors mentioned above, can justify receiving Our Lord while living in objective mortal sin. St. Paul writes:

Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord….But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”

Every person in this world is absolutely obliged to prove himself, to judge himself in the light of God’s Truth (both faith and morals) before receiving Holy Communion. In any “internal forum” existing between priest and individual Catholic, whether during confession or spiritual direction, every priest in the world is obligated to make clear that there are no mitigating factors which will allow a person living in objective mortal sin to receive Holy Communion. Any priest consciously and willfully withholding such truth would be cooperating in sacrilege if the person were to receive communion. He would find himself immersed in a moral quagmire very similar in its parameters to the person who helps facilitate an abortion – only something much worse, since both sacrilege against God and the killing of a human soul are infinitely worse sins than the killing of the body, even if the body be that of an innocent child.

As discussed in our article above, the grievous error which is at the heart of Pope Francis’ notion that someone living in objective mortal sin could yet be “living in God’s grace”, “growing in charity”, and therefore possibly have legitimate access to the sacraments, is rooted in the heresy explicitly formulated in paragraph 296: “For true charity is always un-merited, unconditional and gratuitous”. There is, in fact, nothing in the life of any human being which more requires merit, is more conditional, and more requiring the cooperation with, and submission, to God’s Holy Will and commandments, than does possession of the supernatural virtue of charity.

In order to penetrate further into the depths of Pope Francis’ error, we must examine more closely the relationship between God’s grace and human merit.

We must always keep in mind that God’s grace, in principle, is totally unmerited and gratuitous. Man, by nature, has no right to any claim upon God’s charity, or His mercy. The merit which man possesses before God is what is called condign merit. It exists simply because God, in complete freedom, has willed that man, with his own free will, should co-operate with Him and thus merit reward. From this, we see that even merit itself is a gift of God’s grace.

Possibly the most pervasive error infecting the thought of virtually all modern Catholics is the deep-seated, and often unconscious, attitude that God owes us something. For a glaring example of this attitude, we refer the reader to the second part of our article The Mind of Antichrist. Therein, we discover Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI telling interviewer Jacques Servais that St. Anselm’s concept that man is under obligation to satisfy God’s Justice has been “reversed”, and that we must now rather view God as under compulsion and obligation to show man mercy.

Modern Catholics have basically lost sight of the absolutely necessary Christian truth that after the sin of Adam and Eve, God owes mankind nothing, and that every gift now received from Him is indeed totally gratuitous. And if we add to this Our Lord’s words quoted earlier – “And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their words were evil. For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God” – then man has no excuse for not responding to this light. It is man, and not God, who is under the absolute obligation to prove himself. It may indeed be the case that his sincere response to this light does not entail explicitly and immediately understanding all the truths of the Catholic faith, and that he therefore may indeed not be culpable for some degree of ignorance. But it certainly does entail that he has sufficient light (if, in Paul’s words he is one who “doth truth”) to examine himself, and pray to God for the light to know if he is free from the grave sins which prohibit him from receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist.

According to St. Thomas, there are four things necessary for justification of the sinner, and thus for the presence of charity (the life of grace) in the human soul: 1) the infusion of grace, 2) the movement of the free will towards God by faith, 3) the movement of the free will in renunciation of sin, 4) and the remission of sins. (ST I-II, Q.113, A.6). Two of these (numbers 2 & 3) are acts of the free will requiring not only grace but also merit through free will co-operating with grace. Most important for our present consideration is # 3. There can be no charity where there is not “the movement of free will in renunciation of sin”.

The presence of the charity of God in our souls is appropriated to the presence and work of the Holy Ghost. “The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us.” (Rom. 5:5). Our Lord proclaimed:

Therefore I say to you: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.” (Mat. 12: 31-32).

The presence of justifying charity in the soul is the work of the Holy Ghost Who comes to dwell within us. He cannot dwell with mortal sin in the soul. To claim, as has Pope Francis, that charity is always un-merited, unconditional and gratuitous and that “a life of grace” can exist in a soul living in objective mortal sin, is to claim that charity and the Holy Ghost can dwell within individual souls alongside grave objective evil. It is this “blasphemy of the Holy Ghost” which creates a condition in the soul which cannot turn towards repentance because it now lies deeply imbedded in that overwhelming darkness of self-deceit which identifies God’s mercy with evil. We should not be at all surprised at Our Lords words, therefore, that all – whether laity, priests, bishops, or Pope –who claim to “loveth” man while confirming themselves or other persons in such iniquity, are listed by Our Lord along with “dogs and sorcerers, and unchaste, and murderers, and servers of idols”.

The world has been afloat since the publication of Amoris Laetitia with headlines proclaiming that Pope Francis has opened the door for the divorced and remarried to receive the Eucharist. In an article written for the website of the Archdiocese of Milan (and translated into English for Crux News), Monsignor Fausto Gilardi, who was in charge of confessions for the Milan Cathedral, stated: “In some cases, linked to partial information in the press, there’s been a “demand” for absolution, and thus confession is seen as a sort of passport towards the Eucharist”, and that, “Some priests, perhaps in a slightly rushed and efficiency-oriented way, have opened a ‘teller’s window’ for consultation, giving the idea that “any priest can quickly grant ‘exceptions’.” Msgr. Gilardi attempts to down-play all this by proposing a “path of discernment”, the “importance of graduality”, and awaiting “guidelines from the bishops”. It all rings hollow. The floodgates are now open.

I don’t think there is any doubt that we can say, “Now it all begins”: large-scale sacrilege, and the ruin of countless souls – not only of the divorced and remarried, but those co-habiting, those in homo-sexual relationships, those practicing contraception, etc. They all can propose “mitigating factors”, and they can all appeal to God’s alleged “unmerited, unconditional, and gratuitous mercy” in order to commit sacrilege.

To lead a person living in objective mortal sin along a path which, without conversion and renunciation of that sin, culminates in reception of Holy Communion constitutes the worst savagery against his eternal soul. Any priest who participates in such a journey will be held accountable. A Bishop who pursues such a policy will be responsible for all those who suffer such ruin under each and every priest in his diocese. One can only shudder at what awaits a Pope who institutes or encourages this policy for the universal Church.

Please pray for Pope Francis.

Please Pray the Rosary for the Purification of the Church!

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Teilhardian Evolution: To Change the Hearts and Minds of All Men

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Teilhardian Evolution:

To Change the Hearts and Minds of All Men

 

“Because that, when they knew God, they have not glorified him as God, or given thanks; but became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened. For professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And they changed the glory of the incorruptible God into the likeness of the image of corruptible man…” (Romans 1: 21-23).

 

The Church is now largely in the control of members of the hierarchy (especially Pope Francis and others close to him) who are promoting a Teilhardian view of cosmic evolution for man and all of creation. What this entails in regard to the natures of both God and man (and man’s relationship to God), has been explored in two of our articles: The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns, and The Quintessential Evolutionist. We strongly recommend a careful reading of both of these articles in order to gain an understanding of this agenda. What is being promoted is the Becoming of man (even being so bold as to make Christ subject to this evolutionary process), at the expense of denying the Immutable Supreme Being of God and His Truth. Satan intends at the end of this process to have produced a “new man” (by means of a “new evangelization”), who will then look into the mirror of his own mind and heart, and walk away “forgetting what manner of man he was” (James 1: 24).

In a dire warning to his beloved Corinthians concerning the advent of false apostles within the Church of God, St. Paul writes the following:

But I fear lest, as the serpent seduced Eve by his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted, and fall from the simplicity that is in Christ…For such false apostles are deceitful workmen, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no wonder: for Satan himself transformeth himself into an angel of light.” (2 Cor 11:3, 13-14).

If Satan is able to transform himself into the appearance of an angel of light in order to corrupt the human mind, this entails that he must corrupt language itself in order to pervert fundamental concepts and truths of the Catholic Faith. This is especially true of the virtues of faith, charity, and mercy. And it is also pre-eminently true of the concept of love, which as we shall see is related to, but not strictly to be identified with, any of these virtues.

The “simplicity of Christ” of which Paul speaks requires that these virtues, in order to be lived truly by his faithful disciples, possess precise meanings and relationships to one another. It is by dissolving these precise meanings, and confusing their proper relationships, that the Devil is now enabled not only to promote a false mercy within the Church, but also to destroy everything integral to the Catholic truth that man is created in the image of God. We need to have recourse to the teachings of St. Thomas if we are to unmask all of the deceits involved in this campaign.

The nature of these concepts and virtues requires that we consider them in a determined order and sequence. We therefore first consider the foundation of the entire Christian life:

Faith:

But without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6)

We are now being assaulted with the notion that the “New Evangelization” requires that mercy must supersede particular truths of our faith (and thus the intellectual virtue of faith itself) in order for us to truly live and reflect the love of Christ. Scripture is very effectively used to promote this idea. In one of the most famous passages in all of Holy Scripture, we read:

We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known. And now there remain faith, hope, and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.” (1 Cor 13: 12-13).

This scripture (and others) is used to promote the notion that Doctrines of our Faith, and pastoral practices which reflect these doctrines by preventing certain persons from receiving Holy Communion, being involved in Catholic ministries, etc. are “intellectualizations” and rigid “rules” which must be torn down, or at least de-emphasized, in order to promote a “new evangelization” devoted to a charity and mercy which is superior to and supersedes such legalism. This view has been expressed by Pope Francis many times, and was perhaps most succinctly expressed in the following statement from his interview with Anthony Spadaro: “The saving love of God comes before moral and religious imperatives.” This is tantamount to making the absurd claim that the saving love of God comes before God’s Will and Truth. As we shall see, such a view falsifies not only faith, but also the virtues of charity and mercy which it falsely claims to champion.

St. Thomas, in answering the question “Whether Faith is the First of the Virtues”, writes:

The Apostle says (Heb. Xi. 1) that faith is the substance of things to be hoped for. Now the substance of a thing is that which comes first. Therefore faith is first among the virtues.” (ST, II-II, Q.4,A.7).

Thomas goes on to say that “Faith, by its very nature, precedes all other virtues.” This is so because “the last end must of necessity be present to the intellect [through faith] before it is present to the will, since the will has no inclination for anything except in so far as it is apprehended by the intellect.” (Ibid.).

The “last end” of which Thomas speaks is union with God in the Beatific Vision. St. Thomas writes, “Final and perfect happiness can consist in nothing else than the vision of the Divine Essence.” (I-II, Q.3, A.8). And just as faith precedes all other virtues in this life, so the fulfillment of the intellect in seeing the Essence of God in the Beatific Vision is the source of that rectitude of will (and therefore of love and charity) which of necessity will last for all eternity. In the words of Thomas, “Now it is impossible for anyone seeing the Divine Essence, to wish not to see It.” (I-II, Q.5, A.4). So while it is certainly true that faith will cease in Heaven because it is fulfilled in the Beatific Vision, the primacy of the intellect and the Absolute Truths of God to which it is united in this Vision remains. In image of the life of the Holy Trinity, love and charity (both of which are functions of the will) must always proceed from Truth, just as, within the Life of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit of Love must proceed not only from the Father, but also from the Son Who is the Word of Truth.

In other words, in this life in which our intellects see God only in a “dark manner” through faith, which is an anticipation of the Beatific Vision, there can be no charity without this faith. And, most significant for our understanding of the relationship between faith and charity, “Just as mortal sin is contrary to charity, so is disbelief in one article of faith contrary to faith. Now charity does not remain in a man after one mortal sin. Therefore neither does faith, after a man disbelieves one article.” (II-II, Q.5, A.3). For someone to culpably doubt or disbelieve in even one article of our Faith therefore necessitates that charity totally ceases to exist in such a person. Any notion, therefore, that the demands of charity can supersede faith, or contradict faith, is a profound delusion of Satan.

This primacy of faith is true despite the fact that in this life there can be a kind of perfection of the will which is not possible for the intellect. We may love God perfectly without now possessing that perfection of vision which is reserved for Heaven. But we cannot claim such a love if we in any way deny, or undermine, that faith which is ‘the substance of things hoped for” (Heb. 11:1), and therefore the substance of Who God is.

Having established the primacy of faith, we are now in position to examine the concepts of love, charity, and mercy. It is a very common error to equate charity and love, and this is the source of a great deal of confusion and error. Before examining the supernatural virtue of charity itself (a necessary prelude to examining mercy), we therefore need to examine the nature of love. 

Love:

According to Thomas, love can simply be defined as an “appetency for the good” (or what is perceived as good). It exists on three levels.

First, there is a natural appetite, implanted in all living creatures by God, and by which they tend to possess a natural love for themselves and maintain their own existence. This involves no knowledge or self-awareness on their part, but arises from an apprehension which is in the Author of their being (in other words, God knows what they need and orders their nature to what is good for them). We rightly speak on this level, for instance, when we say that the plants in our garden “love” the sunshine or spring rain. This is classically referred to as the “vegetative” appetite. Such “love” is also one part of man’s nature.

Secondly, there is sense appetite which arises from sense apprehension within the subject of the appetite, but from necessity and not free will. This we associate with irrational animals, or with the lower, “animal” part of man’s nature. Thus, we can speak of a dog “loving” to chase a stick, or even “loving” his master. Or we can speak of a man “loving” his whiskey.

Thirdly, there is intellectual appetite (which is called the will) which arises from the free choice of a spiritual being possessing intellect and free will. This sort of appetite belongs only to spiritual beings.

All of this, as we can see, makes love a very complicated thing. Man possesses love on all three levels, and they interact with one another. It is astonishing to seriously consider the extent and ramifications of our use of the word love. I love God, I love my wife and children, I love to fish, I love pizza, I love my new hat. The lesbian loves her partner, the sadist loves to see people suffer, the ISIS soldier loves to kill Christians.

All of these are real acts of love on one level or another, with tremendously varying degrees of truth, or perversion of the truth, determining what is pursued as “good”. But the fact is that all of these indeed do involve love. What makes love immeasurably complicated is that it runs the gamut from the most unconscious and insensitive part of human nature, through all the passions, and finally to the highest act of love of God. When we combine this with the fact that even the worst evil can be perceived by some people as good, and thus loved, there would seem to be no limit to the number of “loves” possible to the human heart. Love is undoubtedly the most “universal” of words, and therefore the most easily misunderstood, misused, and manipulated of all the words in our English language. Our Lord asked his disciples whether they thought that there would be any faith left when He returns. In light of recent history, this can indeed be seen as a legitimate question. We may be assured, however, that at His coming there will be many loves.

Charity:

Any good Catholic will probably feel repelled by the above analysis of love. It is rightly natural for us as Christians to wish to protect the word “love” from anything “low”. After all, we read in Scripture that God is Love, that God so loved the world that He sent His Son to die for us, and that husbands and wives are to love one another as Christ loves His Church.

Part of the problem, of course, is that in English we have only one word for love (unlike some languages – Greek, for instance). And although this word does have a legitimate, common use in terms of human psychology as analyzed above, Satan has become a master at destroying our language, concepts, and faith through false mixing of all these various “loves”. We therefore find ourselves in dire need of a crystal-clear concept and word which will extract us from this quick-sand of confusion. That word, and concept, is charity. There is only one kind of love which can and should, in terms of Catholic understanding, be called “charity”.

St. Thomas defines charity as “the friendship of man for God”. (ST, II-II, Q.1, A.1). At first, this might seem to us a rather dull definition. We tend to think of friendship as something less than love. This is not true of the friendship between God and man. St. Thomas writes:

“It is written (John 15:15): I will not now call you servants…but My friends. Now this was said to them by reason of nothing else than charity. Therefore charity is friendship.” (Ibid).

To read carefully the entirety of John 15 is to see the nature of this friendship revealed in depth. It entails the elevation of man to the state of fully abiding in the love and truth of God. To raise man to this friendship is the reason why Christ sacrificed Himself on the Cross: “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13). In the light of this teaching to be found in this chapter of John, the concept of friendship takes on a whole new depth of meaning. It reaches to the greatest depths of God’s love for man. When man responds through conversion, it establishes that state which we term “living in the state of sanctifying grace”. In Thomas’ words, “Charity is the life of the soul, even as the soul is the life of the body.” (Ibid, A.2). Correspondingly, the soul that does not possess charity does not possess sanctifying grace, is not in the state of friendship with God, and is spiritually dead.

As we have seen, love can be defined as an “appetency for the good”. Charity can therefore be identified with the supreme love which seeks God in all things. Thus, in proving that charity is not something which stops at God, but also extends to our neighbor, Thomas writes,

Now the aspect under which our neighbor is to be loved, is God, since what we ought to love in our neighbor is that he may be in God. Hence it is clear that it is specifically the same act whereby we love God, and whereby we love our neighbor. Consequently the habit of charity extends not only to the love of God, but also to the love of our neighbor.” (II-II, Q.25, A.1).

Charity is therefore a supernatural virtue which cannot abide with the darkness of either serious error or mortal sin. Moreover, we cannot speak of exercising charity towards our neighbors unless our primary love is expressed in the effort “that he may be in God.” Towards all those living in the darkness of unbelief or serious error this necessitates our working to convert them to the Catholic Faith. To those living in serious sin it requires our working for their moral conversion. We are friends with neither God nor our neighbor if we ignore, or are silent, in regard to this mandate from Christ.

It is at this point that charity and love can be seen as identical. Charity is constituted as loving God above and in all things, and all things in God. It is also here, therefore, that our language concerning Christian love of our neighbor becomes fully clarified. If, for instance, we examine a Greek-English concordance of the New Testament, we will find that the Greek word that is used for this love of our neighbor is the same as the word for charity. Agapaō is employed for the verb form, to love. Agapē is used for the noun charity. And agapē is defined as that specific form of love which is friendship. All true love of our neighbor therefore becomes identified with that virtue of charity which seeks his friendship in God. And since “it is impossible to please God without faith”, it is impossible to please God without seeking the conversion to the Catholic faith of those who are in mortal sin, or those who do not possess that faith.

There is therefore no charity, or true love of our neighbor in a silence or complicity which lies down in friendship with error and sin. Moreover, we cannot claim to retain our own friendship with Christ if we become advocates of such a silence in pursuit of a false mercy: “Adulterers, know you not that the friendship of this world is the enemy of God?” (James 4:4).

Mercy:

Posing the question as to “Whether Mercy Is the Greatest of Virtues” (II-II, Q.30, A.4), Thomas offers the following conclusion: “The Apostle after saying (Col. Iii, 12): Put ye on…as the elect of God…the bowels of mercy, etc., adds (verse 14): Above all things have charity. Therefore mercy is not the greatest of virtues.”

In accord with the teaching of St. Thomas, we must carefully distinguish mercy as it is proper to God, from that which is proper to man. Mercy can only be considered the greatest of virtues as it is applied to God Who is “greater than all others, surpassed by none and excelling all”. God’s mercy in creating angels and men from nothingness, and his further act of calling them to share in the inner life of the Godhead, can therefore be seen in a light which views mercy as His supreme attribute. This, according to Thomas, is not true for man, “since for him that has anyone above him it is better to be united to that which is above than to supply the defect of that which is beneath. Hence, as regards man who has God above him, charity which unites him to God, is greater than mercy…”

And, Thomas concludes:

“The sum total of the Christian religion consists in mercy, as regards external works: but the inward love of charity whereby we are united to God preponderates over both love and mercy for our neighbor.”

As we have seen, the exercise of mercy “as regards external works” is subject to the rule of charity, while the existence of charity within the human soul is subject to the demands of faith. We therefore have a hierarchy in regard to the virtues we have been examining, and which can be enumerated as follows:

1). Mercy, as practiced by man, must be subjected to the demands of charity (the theological virtue of love). And since charity can only be defined as living in friendship with God in the state of sanctifying grace, any action on our part towards our neighbor which compromises or denies the demands of this friendship represents a false mercy. Such, for instance, would include any agenda to admit the divorced and remarried, homosexuals, or those practicing contraception to sacramental communion. This would constitute sacrilege, and sacrilege is the supreme act by which charity is defiled.

2). Charity itself must be subjected to the demands of faith. As Thomas writes, “charity is the form of faith”, because it is to be identified with that love of God which submits fully to God as He has revealed Himself. There can be no charity where faith is denied, compromised, or hidden behind a wall of silence.

3). In all of this, faith is the “first of the virtues”, because only a mind united to the Revealed Truths of God can be the source of that rectitude of will which expresses itself in charity and friendship with God, and in true love and mercy towards our neighbor.

It may be truly concluded, therefore, that recent efforts in pursuit of a false mercy which seek to de-emphasize the intellectual and doctrinal content of the Faith mask a Satanically-inspired hatred of the soul of man. This does not mean that popes, bishops, priests, religious, or laity who promote such an agenda personally possess this hatred themselves. In order to be effective tools for the accomplishment of this agenda, it is only necessary that they be moved away from certain foundational principles of all Catholic thinking and faith. St. Paul writes: “Yet now he hath reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unspotted, and blameless before him: If so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and immoveable from the hope of the gospel which you have heard…’ (Col 1:22-23). The present Pope and many others now in possession of great authority within the Church have been moved away from this gospel and this hope. There is now no charity or mercy in our being silent towards them, or towards what they are now trying to accomplish.

The primary, and very well organized, venue which is being used to force this agenda upon the universal Church is the yearly Synod of Bishops. And since the family is the fundamental unit of both civil society and the Church, it was especially at the 2015 Synod on the Family that the fundamental heresy necessary for the furtherance of this agenda was propagated. We will explore this subject in our next article.

Finally, it must be realized that virtually all the positions of influence (media), money, and power, both in the Church and the world, are now in the hands of the enemy. There is no human solution to what is now befalling us. All that has been (or will be) written here therefore has one purpose: to convince readers that our only solution lies in the supernatural grace which has been promised through the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and that this can be accessed only through fulfillment of Our Lady’s plan. The only question now remaining is whether we will comply with God’s plan through Mary before total chaos descends upon us and those we love. We again, therefore, ask all readers to seriously read our Original Proposal, and to promote what is requested therein.

Please pray the Rosary for the Purification of the Church!

Please spread the word about the Rosary!

The Quintessential Evolutionist

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The Quintessential Evolutionist

 

“Dearly Beloved, think not strange the burning heat which is to try you, As if some new thing happened to you.” (1 Pet. 4:12).

 

It is a very strong tendency, ranging across a broad spectrum of those who would consider themselves to be traditional, orthodox, or conservative Catholics, to erroneously believe that the nightmare which now appears to be overtaking the Church with the Papacy of Pope Francis (and of course also with many others of both the hierarchy and the laity) is an almost complete anomaly – “as if some new thing” is happening to us. The primary effect of this view is that it leads such persons to also believe that in the face of this “burning heat”, the only thing that they are called to do is hunker down, go on with business as usual, and “keep the faith” until all of this passes. They simply do not see that what we are now experiencing was long in the preparing, is the labor of many centuries’ worth of the infidelities of Catholics come to fruition, is now deeply entrenched within the vital energy” of the Church, and that what has now burst open upon the surface of the Mystical Body of Christ is in chastisement for the sins and infidelities of us all.

There is nowhere where this delusion is present more than in the alleged radical contrast which is often drawn between Pope Francis and his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. In our recently published article titled, The Mind of Antichrist, we offered an analysis of the manner in which “Pope Emeritus” Benedict XVI’s 2015 interview with Jacques Servais accords with the thinking and agenda of Pope Francis, and also is aligned with the spirit of Antichrist now unfolding within the Church and the world. And in our article on the Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns, we also documented the extraordinary extent to which Pope Benedict’s philosophy and theology was in profound harmony with the evolutionary views of Teilhard de Chardin.

But it is also true that Pope Benedict’s evolutionary views in regard to man, God and His Revelation, and the future of the Church go way back into his youth, and that they in themselves are the fruit of his having absorbed the “scientism” which is the accelerating fruit of many centuries worth of the falling away of Catholic thinkers from the substantial foundations of the Catholic Faith. We must also add that, although such Popes as Paul VI and John Paul II in their rejection of Thomistic metaphysics and embrace of such philosophies as Integral Humanism, Phenomenalism, and Personalism, were certainly precursors to Pope Benedict XVI, it is Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI who must be considered the primary architect in intellectual systemizing of this agenda.

What follows therefore amounts to an analysis of this betrayal of the foundations of the Catholic Faith found throughout Joseph Ratzinger’s writings, homilies, and speeches. It is not offered simply for the sake of providing history, but rather to convince the reader of the depth of the crisis which we now face, and to convince every serious Catholic of the absolute necessity of the united effort in praying the Rosary and seeking the graces of interior purification and conversion which the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church seeks to promote throughout our nation and the universal Church.

 

Evolution: The Key

Creationists have often pointed out that belief in evolution is at the heart of the crisis which faces modern man. I know of no better testimony to this truth than a little booklet titled The Surrender to Secularism (1967 –  The Cardinal Mindszenty Foundation) written by Most Rev. Cuthbert M. O’Gara, former bishop of Yuanling, China. He relates the following:

“When the Communist troops over-ran my diocese they were followed in very short order by the propaganda corps – the civilian branch of the Red forces – an organization, if anything, more disciplined, more zealous, more fanatical, then the People’s Army of Liberation itself. The entire population, city and countryside, was immediately organized into distinctive categories – grade school and high school pupils and teachers (Catholic, Protestant and pagan), merchants, artisans, members of the professions, yes, and even the lowly coolies. Everyone, for a week or more, was forced to attend the seminar specified for his or her proper category and there, willy-nilly in servile submission, listen to the official Communist line.

“Now what, I ask, was the first lesson given to the indoctrinees? One might have supposed that this would have been some pearl of wisdom let drop by Marx, Lenin or Stalin. Such however was not the case. The first, the fundamental, lesson given was man’s descent from the ape – Darwinism! …. Darwinism negates God, the human soul, the after-life. Into this vacuum Communism enters as the be-all and the end-all of the intellectual slavery it has created. In the Red prison in which I was held, the slogan, ‘Bring your mind over to us and all your troubles will end,” was hammered into the minds of the prisoners with brutal and numbing monotony. Nothing but a groveling holocaust of the human person can satiate the lust for dominance of Peking’s Red Regime.”

Bishop O’Gara goes on to state and offer evidence for the fact that all forms of atheism, including the militant forms of secularism which rule our modern societies, demand this holocaust of the human person. It matters little whether we are dealing with Communism, Socialism, Nazism, abortion, the whole secular culture of perversity and death, the exclusion of God from public education, the crisis within the Church, or a whole host of other individual and social agendas – all are intimately related, and have as a powerful causative factor, belief in Darwinian Evolution.

We also need to emphasize that the destructive effect of evolutionary theory is not only manifested by its effect upon man’s concept of himself as simply a glorified animal (with all the degrading consequences that this implies), but also in terms of “Social Darwinism” which, in one form or another, now perceives the evolutionary future to be manipulable and controllable by man himself. The 20th century was strewn with hundreds of millions of victims of such plans for “social engineering” (Communism, Nazism, the world-wide agenda of Planned Parenthood and the population policies of the UN). And the 21st century opened with the prospect and reality of such technology now being applied to the deepest structures of human genetics and life.

All this is terrifying. And yet we would suggest that evolutionary thinking and theory is capable of penetrating even further into the soul of man, and has in fact already done so.

Most of those involved in the Catholic creationist movement are well aware that Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI believes in evolution. Few, however, appear to be aware of the depths to which evolutionary thinking has penetrated into the philosophy and theology of Joseph Ratzinger. It will be the purpose of this article to explore this depth through examination of his writings.

We will sometimes be using his lay name (most often for his earlier works as a priest or bishop), or at other times designating his status as Bishop, Cardinal, or Pope. What is most important to understand, however, is that Pope Benedict made it quite clear that his thinking on all the essentials has remained fundamentally the same over all the years stemming from the beginning of his priesthood up to the time of his becoming Pope and that, as documented in our article The Mind of Antichrist, it is now fully in accord with this evolutionary agenda which is now being imposed upon the Church.

 

Revelation as Relationship

In his 1998 book Milestones (Memoirs 1927-1977), Cardinal Ratzinger writes about his own intellectual development. In discussing his preparation for his habilitation (the degree which qualifies a Person to hold a chair in a German university – obtained by writing a book proposing and defending a thesis, which is then judged by an academic committee), he writes:

At this time the idea of salvation history had moved to the focus of inquiry posed by Catholic theology and this had cast new light on the notion of revelation, which neoscholasticism had kept too confined to the intellectual realm. Revelation now appeared no longer simply as a communication of truths to the intellect but as a historical action of God in which truth becomes gradually unveiled. Therefore, I was to try to discover whether in Bonaventure there was anything corresponding to the concept of salvation history, and whether this motif – if it should exist – had any relationship with the idea of revelation.”(p.104)

Three pages later he reaches the following conclusion:

I had ascertained that in Bonaventure (as well as in theologians of the thirteenth century) there was nothing corresponding to our conception of ‘revelation’, by which we are normally in the habit of referring to all the revealed contents of the faith: it has even become a part of linguistic usage to refer to Sacred Scripture simply as ‘revelation’. Such an identification would have been unthinkable in the language of the High Middle Ages. Here, ‘revelation’ is always a concept denoting an act. The word refers to the act in which God shows himself, not to the objectified result of this act [read “Dogma”]. And because this is so, the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of ‘revelation’.”

Before entering into a discussion of these passages it is necessary to state that the basic thesis presented here – that the High Middle Ages (the 13th century) knew nothing of a concept of Revelation as being constituted by “all the revealed contents of the faith”, which are revealed by God to the intellect of man, is simply not true. St. Thomas, who represents the essence of 13th century theology, writes:

It was necessary for man’s salvation that there should be a knowledge revealed by God, besides philosophical science built up by human reason. Firstly, indeed, because man is directed to God, as to an end that surpasses the grasp of his reason: The eye hath not seen, O God, besides Thee, what things Thou hast prepared for them that wait for Thee (Isa. lxvi. 4). But the end must first be known by men who are to direct their thoughts and actions to the end. Hence it was necessary for the salvation of man that certain truths which exceed human reason should be made known to him by divine revelation. (ST, Pt. I, Q.1, A.1.)

The reader should notice that the above quote from St. Thomas comes from the very first Article in Question I of Part I of the Summa Theologica. St. Thomas was concerned to immediately establish the absolute foundation upon which our faith is founded – Objective Revelation. In fact, in the very first line of his reply found in the Second Article, he quotes St. Augustine:

“Augustine says (De Trin. Xiv. 1), to this science alone belongs that whereby saving faith is begotten, nourished, protected, and strengthened. But this can be said of no science except sacred doctrine. Therefore sacred doctrine is a science.”

Returning now to Joseph Ratzinger’s statements from his memoirs, we need to extract the essential thesis: “Revelation now appeared no longer simply as a communication of truths to the intellect but as a historical action of God in which truth becomes gradually unveiled.” And, as a corollary to this astounding statement, we need to place the following: The word refers to the act in which God shows himself, not to the objectified result of this act [read “Dogma”]. And because this is so, the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of ‘revelation’.”

What is embraced here is a theological position which places evolution at the very heart of the nature of truth as known and embraced by man. What is more, it places evolution as the modus operandi of God’s evolving revelation to man. Revelation, in Joseph Ratzinger’s view, is always primarily “act” and not “object” because it is not fundamentally a matter of the revelation of God’s Immutable Being and the Truths concerning that Being, but rather an expression of the ever-evolving relationship between God and man. This is why, in the above quotation, Joseph Ratzinger concludes that “the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of ‘revelation’. Consequently, for Joseph Ratzinger and the new theologians, “relationship” has replaced Being (and the “Truth” of Being) as the fundamental concept in philosophy and theology. If truth is an historical process of gradual “unveiling”, rather than the revelation of immutable dogma in a Deposit of Faith, then truth is not constituted by the possession of objective certainty, but rather an evolutionary experience between God and man. Revelation, in other words, is evolving relationship. Any dogmatic formulations must also therefore be subject to change or, in the terminology of Joseph Ratzinger, “essentialization.”

 

Why?

The reader naturally should be puzzled. What possible motive could someone like Joseph Ratzinger have for wanting to make Revelation and Truth into evolving phenomena? It has been our contention woven throughout previous articles that the primary motivation for such aberrations is the perceived necessity to bring the faith into line with reductive physical science. Joseph Ratzinger gives extraordinary testimony to this thesis in his book Introduction to Christianity (1968). We do well to note that Cardinal Ratzinger wrote a new 19 page preface for the Ignatius Press 1990 English edition of this work in which he re-affirms the book’s essential contents.

After discussing what he claims to be contradictory elements in the doctrine of the Trinity, Father Ratzinger went on to state the following:

The Jansenist Saint-Cyran once made the thought-provoking remark that faith consists of a series of contradictions held together by grace [author’s note: We do well here to remember de Lubac’s statement that “paradox exists everywhere in reality, before existing in thought…. Oppositions in thought express the contradiction which is the very stuff of creation.” This notion that contradiction is the very fabric of created reality is extremely popular in Modernistic theology and philosophy. It is this theological position which facilitates Modernism being the “synthesis of all heresies”, since many heresies are obviously in contradiction to one another]. He thereby expressed in the realm of theology a discovery that today in physics, as the law of complementarity, belongs to the realm of scientific thought. The physicist is becoming increasingly aware today that we cannot embrace given realities – the structure of light, for example, or of matter in general – in ‘one’ form of experiment and in ‘one’ form of statement; that, on the contrary, from different sides we glimpse different aspects, which cannot be traced back to each other. We have to take the two together – say, the structure of particle and wave – without being able to find a comprehensive explanation – as a provisional assessment of the whole, which is not accessible to us as a unified whole because of the restrictions implicit in our point of view. What is true here in the physical realm as a result of the limitations in our ability to observe is true to an incomparably greater degree of the spiritual realities of God. Here, too, we can always look from one side and so grasp only one particular aspect, which seems to contradict the other, yet only when combined with it is a pointer to the whole, which we are incapable of stating or grasping. Only by circling round, by looking and describing from different, apparently contrary angles can we succeed in alluding to the truth, which is never visible to us in its totality.” (p.173-74).

Father Ratzinger does not leave us totally in the realm of the abstract. The doctrine which he is specifically discussing, and to which he applies these criteria of understanding, is the Trinity. He first informs us that dogmatic terms used to define the Trinity (he specifically mentions the terms persona, homousious, and the concept of “proceeding.”) were all once condemned as being heretical. He then states: “One must say, I think, that these condemnations of the later formulas of faith form an intimate part of them: it is only through the negation, and the infinite indirectness implicit in it, that they are usable. The doctrine of the Trinity is only possible as a piece of baffled theology, so to speak.”

We need to understand the profound distortion contained in this passage. The theological concepts mentioned by Fr. Ratzinger were all condemned when used falsely or confusedly. However, any honest historical examination of this subject reveals the nature and sources of such confusion, while at the same time it also reveals the profound aptness and intellectual acuteness of the final employment of these terms in formulating doctrinal definitions concerning the Trinity. Thus, when used rightly in regard to the doctrine of the Trinity, they are not in any way mere pieces of “baffled theology,” but are technical theological terms which profoundly reveal truths which supply us with very real and essential, if limited, positive knowledge of the Trinity.

Having said this, let us proceed with Father Ratzinger’s analysis of the role which modern physics plays in our contemporary understanding of the faith:

The intellectual approach of modern physics may offer us more help here than Aristotelian philosophy was able to give. Physicists know today that one can only talk about the structure of matter by approaching the subject from various angles. They know that the position of the observer at any one time affects the result of his investigation of nature. Why should we not be able to understand afresh, on this basis, that in the question of God we must not look, in the Aristotelian fashion [and, obviously, criticism of St. Thomas is also here intended], for an ultimate concept encompassing the whole but must be prepared to find a multitude of aspects that depend on the position of the observer and that we can no longer survey as a whole but only accept alongside each other, without being able to say the final word on the subject? We meet here the hidden interplay of faith and modern thought. That present-day physicists are stepping outside the structure of Aristotelian logic and thinking in this way is surely an effect already of the new dimension that Christian theology has opened up, of its need to think in ‘complementarities’ [which, as Fr. Ratzinger has already noted, are often contrary to one another and are therefore also “contradictories”].

“In this connection I should like to mention briefly two other aids to thought provided by physics. E. Schrõdinger has defined the structure of matter as ‘parcels of waves’ and thereby hit upon the idea of a being that has no substance but is purely actual, whose apparent ‘substantiality’ really results only from the pattern of movement of superimposed waves. In the realm of matter such a suggestion may well be physically, and in any case philosophically, highly contestable. But it remains an exciting simile for the actualitas divina, for the idea that God is absolutely ‘in act’ (and not ‘in potency’), and for the idea that the densest being – God – can subsist only in a multitude of relations, which are not substances but simply ‘waves’, and therein form a perfect unity and also the fullness of being….” ( Ibid, p. 176-77)

And, having dissolved all substantiality in our concept of God, Father Ratzinger then moves on to denying the possibility of our possessing any purely objective knowledge of God:

We know today that in a physical experiment the observer himself enters into the experiment and only by doing so can arrive at a physical experience. This means that there is no such thing as pure objectivity even in physics, that even here the result of the experiment, nature’s answer, depends on the question put to it. In the answer there is always a bit of the question and a bit of the questioner himself; it reflects not only nature in itself, in its pure objectivity, but also gives back something of man, of what is characteristically ours, a bit of the human subject. This too, mutatis mutandis, is true of the question of God. There is no such thing as pure objectivity. One can even say that the higher an object stands in human terms, the more it penetrates the center of individuality; and the more it engages the beholders individuality, then the smaller the possibility of the mere distancing involved in pure objectivity.” (p. 175).

We can only add that, since God is by definition infinitely “higher”, then according to Joseph Ratzinger’s criteria there can be no “objectivity” whatsoever in our understanding of God . He must always remain totally baffling to us.

The great tragedy of all this is that if Joseph Ratzinger had taken seriously God’s Word in the Old Testament, and had dutifully followed the mandates of earlier Popes concerning the absolute centrality of St. Thomas in priestly studies, none of this prostitution to the silliness of the modern scientific worldview would have been necessary. In the Books of Ecclesiastes and Ecclesiasticus, we read:

Nothing may be taken away, nor added, neither is it possible to find out the glorious works of God: When a man hath done, then shall he begin: and when he leaveth off, he shall be at a loss.” (Ecclus 28:5-6).

For the works of the Highest only are wonderful, and his works are glorious, secret, and hidden.” (Ecclus 11:4).

“And I understood that man can find no reason of all those works of God that are done under the sun: and the more he shall labor to seek, so much the less shall he find: yea, though the wise man shall say, that he knoweth it, he shall not be able to find it.”                                                                                                                 (Eccl 8:17).

In other words, what the research of modern physics has shown is that it is absolutely impossible for it to penetrate to an understanding of the nature of any created substance. This is so because any analytical science deals only with “accidental” (quantified) reality. The pride of the secular scientist, in other words, necessarily leads him to that state of intellectual confusion which reveals his fundamental ignorance.

A serious study of the cosmology and metaphysics of St. Thomas, on the other hand, would have led Fr. Ratzinger to the wonderfully liberating understanding that the substantial nature of something is what it is simply because God created it as such out of nothing, and that he created our intellects in such a way that our common-sense perception of created substances is normally very reliable because it is a created participation in the light of God’s understanding.

In other words, contrary to the opinion and false science of Joseph Ratzinger, we already know a great deal about God. And this, despite the fact that there is infinitely more to know.

 

Moderate Modernism

Our analysis of the writings of Joseph Ratzinger, up to this point, has revealed that he has subjected his theological and philosophical thinking to the influence of reductive analytical physics, and that this surrender appears to have necessitated the denial of traditional Catholic teaching in three main areas: the denial of substance; the denial of the law of self-contradiction; and the denial of the nature of dogma as objective, unchanging truth.

The last-mentioned denial – the denial that truth is immutable and non-evolving – is a direct consequence of the belief enshrined in the quote from Father Ratzinger which I offered earlier: “Revelation now appeared no longer simply as a communication of truths to the intellect but as a historical action of God in which truth becomes gradually unveiled.” This is in direct contradiction to the teaching of Vatican Council I:

For the doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention, to be perfected by human ingenuity; but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ, to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared. Hence also, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be retained which our hold Mother the Church has once declared; nor is that meaning ever to be departed from, under the pretext of a deeper comprehension of them.”

The Oath Against Modernism contained the following affirmation:

Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport. Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely.”

We can know with certainty that Joseph Ratzinger took this oath. We can know with equal certainty that he has violated it in its deepest meaning.

It is necessary at this point to understand something about Modernism. Pius X distinguished between a full-blown Modernism which was wholly immanentistic and, on the other hand, lesser forms of “moderate” Modernism. The “pure” form of Modernism locates the evolution of religious truth totally within human consciousness. Such full-blown Modernism is, in essence, pure pantheism. However, there are other forms of moderate Modernism which, while embodying many of the same principles as this form of extreme Modernism, do not embody “pure” immanentism.

We must not make the mistake, however, in believing that these forms of moderate Modernism are any less dangerous. In fact, the opposite is the case. The “pure” Modernist is, in many ways, easier to recognize. The evolutionary nature of the truth which he preaches is much easier understood as a derivative of pantheism. The methodology of the moderate Modernist, on the other hand, is much more subtle. While claiming to recognize the distinct existence of a transcendent God, he yet denies to this God the Revelation which is contained in a fully contained and closed Deposit of Faith, the contents of which were completed upon the death of the last Apostle. Instead, he makes of God Himself the Supreme Agent in the evolutionary process. And most important, he makes God to be the evolutionary agent not only of physical evolution, but of intellectual, moral, and spiritual evolution. In other words, He makes God to be the prime agent of the evolution of Truth and Dogma. Such is the Modernism of Joseph Ratzinger.

One other thing needs to be said at this point about the particular form of moderate Modernism embraced by Joseph Ratzinger, and for this we need to understand something quite peculiar and seemingly contradictory about the Modernist mentality.

Statements concerning Catholic doctrine can be found in the writings of Joseph Ratzinger which sound quite orthodox, and which appear to flatly contradict other very unorthodox pronouncements made elsewhere on the same subject. In the first case, he appears to be embracing traditional explanations of Catholic doctrine;. In the second, he appears to be negating these same traditional explanations. Interestingly enough, Pope Pius X specifically points out in Pascendi Domenici Gregis that such “double-mindedness”, and exposition of contrary doctrines, is something inherent in the Modernist mentality.

We must not conclude that since a Modernist believes in the evolution of doctrine that doctrine is not important to him. Evolution depends upon both stability and change. It is a dialectical process which requires both a thesis and an antithesis – both the forces of conservativism and radicalism. The Modernist plays both parts and, what is more, he believes it is necessary to do so. Without conservativism there is chaos, and no real evolutionary progress is possible in chaos. Doctrine and Dogma represent this conservative principle, closely tied to authority, within the Church. As Pius X said, the Modernist seeks not to destroy authority, but to stimulate it.

When we apply this evolutionary principle of the dialectic to the realm of truth and dogma we come to see the “logic” of the Modernist duplicity. Pius X attributes this duplicity to the mutual separation which the Modernist makes between science and faith. When addressing fellow intellectuals, for instance, he readily plays the rationalist and radical. But when addressing the faithful from the pulpit he may preach Catholic doctrine very clearly. To the Modernist this duplicity involves no real dishonesty simply because such dialectical “contradictories” between science and faith are necessary to that process of growth which demands the constant purification which science effects in our understanding of religious truth.

The above explanation offers a general analysis of Modernist “duplicity” in regard to doctrine. However, in considering the “modified” Modernism of Joseph Ratzinger, we are faced with an additional peculiarity. Fully believing in Christ, and the fact that Christ founded the Catholic Church, while at the same time believing that there is never any pure objectivity in our knowledge of the truth and that truth is constantly evolving, Father Ratzinger is faced with the question of explaining the role of doctrine in the life of the Church and the individual believer. The following passage from Introduction to Christianity ( p. 96-98) constitutes his answer:

Our consideration of the history of the Apostles’ Creed has led us to the recognition that here, in the baptismal formulary, Christian doctrine stands before us in its original shape and, thus, also in its primitive form, what we today call “dogma.” Originally there was no such thing as a series of doctrinal propositions that could be enumerated one after another and entered in a book as a well-defined body of dogmas. Such a notion, which today may be difficult to resist, would have to be described as a misconception of the nature of the Christian assent to the God revealed in Christ [out the window goes the Baltimore Catechism, not to mention the Dogmatic Decrees of the Council of Trent].The content of the Christian faith has its inalienable place in the context of the profession of faith, which is, as we saw, in the form of assent and renunciation, a conversion, an about-turn of human existence into a new direction of life. In other words, Christian doctrine does not exist in the form of discrete propositions but in the unity of the ‘symbolum’, as the ancient Church called the baptismal profession of faith. This is probably the moment to look rather more closely at the meaning of this word. ‘Symbolum’ comes from ‘symballein’, meaning in English: to come together, to throw together. The background to the word’s etymology is an ancient usage: two corresponding halves of a ring, a staff, or a tablet were used as tokens of identity for guests, messengers, or partners to a treaty. Possession of the corresponding piece entitled the holder to receive a thing or simply to hospitality. A ‘symbolum’ is something that points to its complementary other half and thus creates mutual recognition and unity. It is the expression and means of unity.

“Thus in the description of the creed or profession of faith as the ‘symbolum’ we have at the same time a profound interpretation of its true nature. For in fact this is just what the original meaning or aim of dogmatic formulations in the Church was: to facilitate a common profession of faith in God, common worship of him. As ‘sym-bolum’, it points to the other person, the unity of spirit in the one Word. To this extent, dogma (or symbol, respectively) is also always, as Rahner has rightly pointed out, an arrangement of words that from a purely intellectual point of view could have been quite different yet, precisely as a form of words, has its own significance – that of uniting people in the community of the confessing word. It is not a piece of doctrine standing isolated in and for itself but is the form of our worship of God.…”

One and one-half paragraphs later, he draws the astounding conclusion:

This discovery also points, it is true, in another direction: even the Church herself, as a whole, still holds the faith only as a ‘symbolum’, as a broken half, which signifies truth only in its endless reference to something beyond itself, to the entirely Other. It is only through the infinitely broken nature of the symbol that faith presses forward as man’s continual effort to go beyond himself and reach up to God.”

The Church, sent by Christ, is the formulator of creeds and symbolum. If the creed, and the truths it contains, is always a broken thing and incomplete, always in “endless reference to something other”, always something which “could have been quite different”, then this is justification for the Church herself to be considered the supreme agent of doctrinal change and evolution. And the Pope becomes the master change-agent and essentializer.

It is profoundly tragic that Fr. Ratzinger never seems to have understood the real and very profound nature of the symbolum. Our confession of faith is called a symbolum not because doctrine is always a broken and incomplete thing, but rather because we are broken. The subjection of our minds and hearts to the objective truth which constitutes the creed and other revealed truths of our faith is what heals our brokenness and ushers us into union with God. It is Revealed, purely-objective Truth, which not only sets us free, but makes us whole. The past fifty-five years of chaos in the Church are the fruit of having rejected this simple fact.

 

The Three Stages of Intellectual Evolution

For Joseph Ratzinger, the guided (by God) evolutionary growth of truth has, up to the present time, come in the form of three stages. In his 1970 book, Faith and the Future, Fr. Ratzinger adopts the threefold stages of evolutionary intellectual growth proposed by August Comte:

Over a hundred years ago the French philosopher and sociologist August Comte distinguished three phases in the historical evolution of human thought: the theological-fictive; the metaphysical-abstract; the positive [the scientific].” (p.3)

It is clear, indeed, that Fr. Ratzinger personally adopts this belief. In Introduction to Christianity, he makes the simple affirmation: “If by means of the historical knowledge we enjoy today we survey the road taken by the human spirit so far as it is visible to us, we shall observe that in the various periods of this spirit’s development there are various basic attitudes towards reality – the magical, the metaphysical, and finally today the scientific (‘scientific’ here being used in the sense in which we speak of the natural sciences).” With a slight variation in terminology, these are obviously the same three stages proposed by August Comte.

These three stages correspond roughly to three historical periods. The first, the “theological-fictive (“magical”), corresponds in Western Judaeo-Christian history to both Old and New Testament times up until the emergence of metaphysical thinking. The second, the “metaphysical-abstract” applies, obviously, to metaphysical speculation, and especially to scholastic philosophy and theology (but also to Greek thought, especially Aristotle). The “positive” or “scientific” stage of thinking is self-explanatory, and is the dominating intellectual state of our current situation.

 

The Theological-Fictive Stage

Science, according to Joseph Ratzinger and the historical-critical method of exegesis, has shown us clearly the degree to which scripture is largely composed of human fabrications expressive of the theological-fictive or magical mindset of those persons who composed the scriptures. Because of the primitive intellectual state of these peoples, we are therefore required – in order to distinguish between what is truly from God and what is of human invention – to distinguish between form and content in any particular passage of scripture. Content can simply be defined to be the “spiritual” message which God wishes to pass on to us, while form is constituted by all the rest which is conditioned by particular historical circumstances, literary genres, etc.

Thus, in Faith and the Future, Cardinal Ratzinger applies this historical-critical method to the first 3 chapters of the Book of Genesis:

The difficulty begins with the very first page of the Bible. The concept presented there of how the world came to be, is in direct contradiction of all that we know today about the origins of the universe….And the problem continues, almost page by page….in the very next chapter new problems emerge with the story of the Fall. How can one bring this into harmony with the knowledge that – on the evidence of natural science – man starts not from above, but from below, does not fall, but slowly rises, even now having only just accomplished the metamorphosis from animal to human being? And what of paradise? Long before man existed, pain and death were in the world. Thistles and thorns grew long before any man had set eyes on them. And another thing: the first man was scarcely self-conscious, knew only privation and the wearisome struggle to survive. He was far from possessing the full endowment of reason, which the old doctrine of paradise attributes to him. But once the picture of paradise and the Fall has been broken in pieces, the notion of original sin goes with it, to be followed logically, it would seem, by the notion of redemption as well.” (page 5-7.)

It is certainly no wonder, therefore, that Cardinal Ratzinger, in his book In the Beginning…A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, labeled the term original sin as a “certainly imprecise and misleading term”, and then proceeded to describe it as something which is contracted after birth through our relationships with others, and therefore through imitation, rather than it being something inherited at the moment of conception through generation.

Following is an example of Cardinal Ratzinger’s use of the ”form-content” Modernist methodology to bring the Genesis account into subjection to modern science:

“One answer was already worked out some time ago, as the scientific view of the world was gradually crystallizing; many of you probably came across it in your religious instruction. It says that the Bible is not a natural science textbook, nor does it intend to be such. It is a religious book, and consequently one cannot obtain information about the natural sciences from it. One cannot get from it a scientific explanation of how the world arose; one can only glean religious experience from it. Anything else is an image and a way of describing things whose aim is to make profound realities graspable to human beings. One must distinguish between the form of portrayal and the content that is portrayed. The form would have been chosen from what was understandable at the time – from the images which surrounded the people who lived then, which they used in speaking and in thinking, and thanks to which they were able to understand the greater realities. And only the reality [content] that shines through these images would be what was intended and what was truly enduring” (In the Beginning…A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, p. 4-5).

Cardinal Ratzinger applies this historical-critical method to the creation account in Genesis. According to the Cardinal, the Genesis account was written during the Babylonian exile. It was written in response to the Babylonian creation account of Enuma Elish, which he describes in the following passage:

There it is said that the world was produced out of a struggle between opposing powers and that it assumed its form when Marduk, the god of light, appeared and split in two the body of the primordial dragon. From this sundered body heaven and earth came to be. Thus the firmament and the earth were produced from the sundered body of the dead dragon, but from its blood Marduk fashioned human beings. It is a foreboding picture of the world and of humankind that we encounter here: The world is a dragon’s body; and human beings have dragon’s blood in them. At the very origin of the world lurks something sinister, and in the deepest part of humankind there lies something rebellious, demonic, and evil.” (Ibid, p.12).

The Biblical account, according to Cardinal Ratzinger, was written to counter these ideas – to show that the origin of man and all of creation lay not in evil but rather in the loving goodness of God. This is what constitutes the “content” which is truly enduring (and thus, presumably, the only truly inspired element) in the Genesis account. All the rest can be seen as merely “form” expressing the historically conditioned myths of the people of that time. Thus, apparently, we do not have to take seriously the six-day creation account, the creation of Adam from the dust of the earth, the creation of Eve out of Adam’s rib, the description of the Garden of Eden, the state of original innocence and integrity, the literal temptation by Satan, the Fall, the description of the effects of original sin, etc.

It is no wonder, therefore, that Cardinal Ratzinger felt impelled to undermine the whole Biblical tradition strongly re-enforced by the Popes of the 19th and first part of the 20th century, which taught the inerrancy and historical accuracy of all of scripture. In his presentation of the CDF document on The Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian (1990), the Cardinal wrote:

The text also presents the various forms of binding authority which correspond to the grades of the Magisterium. It states – perhaps for the first time with such candor – that there are magisterial decisions which cannot be the final word on a given matter as such but, despite the permanent value of their principles, are chiefly also a signal for pastoral prudence, a sort of provisional policy. Their kernel remains valid, but the particulars determined by circumstances can stand in need of correction. In this connection, one will probably call to mind both the pontifical statements of the last century regarding freedom of religion and the anti-Modernist decisions of the beginning of this century, especially the decisions of the then Biblical Commission….with respect to particular aspects of their content, they were superseded after having fulfilled their pastoral function in the situation of the time.” (from The Nature and Mission of Theology, p.106).

It certainly stretches Catholic imagination to understand how fundamental decisions by previous Popes in regard to the interpretation of the Bible can be “provisional policies.” In order to do so one has to believe that truth itself can be “provisional.” We need only add at this point that the Cardinal’s agenda in regard to “essentializing” previous magisterial teachings was repeated after he became Pope in his Dec 22, 2005 address to the Roman Curia.

 

The Metaphysical-Abstract Stage

Having thus shown how Joseph Ratzinger and other Modernist theologians work to bring the theological-fictive world of the Bible up to date in accordance with the mandate of modern science, we now proceed to the evolutionary phase of the metaphysical-abstract.

The most serious problem posed for the Modernist in his attempt to promote the idea of the evolution of dogma is the fact that absolutely key dogmas are encapsulated in metaphysical language which is defined very precisely. We have already examined Father Ratzinger’s attempt to effectively dissolve this precision in his treatment of Trinitarian language and concepts: specifically the concepts of “one-in-Being” (homousious), “Person”, and “Procession”. Even more problematic is the dogma of Transubstantiation which, because it necessitates a particular understanding of “substance”, constitutes an invasion into the world of physics. Thus, the problem is stated succinctly by Father Ratzinger in Faith and the Future:

“Jumping over all the other affirmations of the Patristic age, that present obstacles to us today, let us take but a single example from medieval dogma, one that recently has aroused much interest: the doctrine of transubstantiation, of the essential change of the eucharistic offerings. As it is, the subtle meaning of this definition can be represented by the ordinary intellect only in a rough and ready manner, so that what is indicated is bound to seem for ever unattainable, especially as there is the additional difficulty, that the medieval concept of substance has long since become inaccessible to us. In so far as we use the concept of substance at all today we understand thereby the ultimate particles of matter, and the chemically complex mixture that is bread certainly does not fall into that category.” (Faith and the Future, p. 14).

In other words, we have here an intractable situation. As we have already seen, the Modernist is backed into the proverbial corner by the teaching of Vatican I which states that neither the formulations nor meanings of defined dogma can be altered. If these dogmas are to be subjected to evolutionary change, therefore, we are faced with the necessity of changing the very meaning of dogma itself, including the last-mentioned dogma of Vatican I which states that they cannot be changed. We are, in other words, faced with changing the very nature of faith itself.

 

The Positivistic Stage

Changing the Meaning of Faith

The third stage in the evolution of human thought, the one which we are in right now, and which has made necessary the “essentialization” of the other two historical periods of human spirituality and thought, is the “positivistic,” or scientific, stage. This is the stage which, according to Fr. Ratzinger, is the defining mentality of our age:

It seems incontrovertible that today the mentality described by Comte is that of a very large section of human society. The question about God no longer finds any place in human thought. To take up a well-known saying of Laplace, the context of the world is self-contained and the hypothesis of God is no longer necessary for its comprehension. Even the faithful, like travelers on a sinking ship, are becoming widely affected by an uneasy feeling: they are asking if the Christian faith has any future, or if it is not, in fact, more and more obviously being made obsolete by intellectual evolution. Behind such notions is the sense that a great gulf is developing between the world of faith and the world of science – a gulf that cannot be bridged, so that faith is made very largely impracticable.” (Ibid, p. 4-5)

Because of this “gulf” which exists between the traditional faith and the world of science, Father Ratzinger informs us that the “plethora of definitions” which the Church has “accumulated in the course of history” has become a “burden.” The irreconcilable nature of such dogmas with the modern positivistic and scientific intellectual consciousness makes the traditional content of the faith “oppressive” to the modern believer. Thus we are faced with the supposed necessity of either setting aside these doctrines as historically provisional, or of engaging in a task of “essentialization” which seeks to determine what constitutes the “content” behind the “form” of such definitions, and therefore altering the traditional understanding of the terms used in these definitions. This, of course, is precisely what Cardinal Ratzinger did in regard to the terms “original sin” and “transubstantiation.”

We must pause at this moment to understand the broader implications of these teachings. Any truly “sensitive” Catholic, if he accepts the truth of Joseph Ratzinger’s analysis and conclusions, should feel betrayed not only by the Church but also by God. This betrayal is multi-leveled. The Bible, which for two thousand years was considered to be inspired and a totally reliable source of truths on all levels of man’s existence is now shredded of virtually all meaning except the symbolical and the allegorical. Catholic dogma which was the absolute sure foundation of faith, and especially catechetical instruction of the young, is now to be essentialized, even to the point of self-contradiction. But even more important the entire traditional understanding of the epistemological structure of the human intellect has now been negated

At the core of all traditional Catholic understanding of both Who God is, and also the nature of man, lies the fundamental Biblical idea that man is created in the image of God with an intellect and will that truly reflect, through the analogy of being, God’s intellect and will.

St. Thomas is very specific in this regard. He writes:

We must needs say that the human soul knows all things in the eternal types, since by participation of these types we know all things. For the intellectual light itself which is in us, is nothing else than a participated likeness of the uncreated light, in which are created the eternal types.” (Pt. I, Q. 84, A.5).

The world of St. Thomas (and therefore the world of traditional Catholicism) is a trustworthy world, because it is a world in which man – his senses, mind and heart – are intimately connected to and reflective of Who God is, and also basically reliable in their knowledge of His creation. It is under such conditions of reliability and correspondence to an objective order of Truth, that trust truly takes root, and hope flourishes.

The world of Joseph Ratzinger, on the other hand, is one in which the disconnect between the human intellect and objective reality and truth is a fundamentally proven fact of historical evolution. It is one in which there appears to be little harmony between human perception and objective reality. The obvious logical conclusion of postulating such a world is that God created man with an intellect oriented towards delusion – towards the perception of shadows that mask reality.

We were led by God and His Church for 2,000 years to believe in creation ex nihilo, in the unique creation of man with a spiritual soul, in an original Paradise free from death and sin, in original sin, in Noah and his ark, in the divine inspiration present in every word of scripture, in sanctifying grace, and in transubstantiation. We are now told these are the “forms” of particular stages in the evolution of human consciousness which must be abandoned or essentialized because they were only provisional expressions of truths which always go beyond the ability of the human intellect to grasp. And it is in the midst of this world of delusions that Fr. Ratzinger asks us now to forget about God and reality as being knowable, and informs us that our new form of faith is not to be founded in knowledge, but rather in trust (we shall examine this point in a moment). One is left with the inevitable question: Why should a man or woman trust such a God?

Having apparently shredded the objective content (defined dogmas) of the faith, Fr. Ratzinger goes on to tell us that there was one thing however which August Comte failed to understand or foresee: namely, that the world of science would also prove to be oppressive, and that man would continue “yearning for faith.” Modern man, now “a prisoner of his own methods” [and an intellectual prisoner of reductive scientific knowledge], longs for a form of faith which will not contradict science, but at the same time will liberate him from the oppressive reductionism of science. We might say that Joseph Ratzinger has spent his entire adult life trying to supply an answer to this yearning, and that his agenda of “essentialization” is entirely devoted to this goal.

His answer, in Faith and the Future, runs as follows:

The basic form of Christian faith is not: I believe something [particular content or doctrine], but I believe you. Faith is a disclosure of reality that is granted only to him who trusts, loves, and acts as a human being; and as such it is not a derivative of knowledge, but is sui generis, like knowledge, although it is indeed more basic and more central to our authentically human nature than knowledge is.

This insight has important consequences; and these can be liberating, if taken seriously. For this means that faith is not primarily a colossal edifice of numerous supernatural facts [we can only understand this demeaning phrase to refer to the Deposit of Faith], standing like a curious second order of knowledge alongside the realm of science, but an ascent to God who gives us hope and confidence. Obviously this assent to God is not without content: it is confidence in the fact that he has revealed himself in Christ and that we may now live safe in the assurance that God is like Jesus of Nazareth, in the certainty, that is, that God is looking after the world – and me in it. We will have to consider this definition of content more closely in the next chapter. It is already clear, however, that the content is not comparable with a system of knowledge, but represents the form of our trust.” ( p. 20-21).

In other words, the real content of our Faith is not to be identified with the Deposit of Faith. Joseph Ratzinger is absolutely emphatic on this point which is the cornerstone of his new approach to the Faith:

Let us repeat: at its core faith is not a system of knowledge, but trust. Christian faith is: ‘the discovery of a You….” (Ibid, p.24)

Further, this “discovery of a You” can be fully redemptive without requiring assent to the “content” (dogmas) of the faith:

A man remains a Christian as long as he makes the effort to give the central assent, as long as he tries to utter the fundamental Yes of trust, even if he is unable to fit in or resolve many of the details [which, of course, are constituted by the Church’s infallible teachings on faith and morals]….As long as this core remains in place, a man is living by faith, even if for the moment he finds many of the details of faith obscure and impracticable.[this, of course, means that he cannot or will not practice them].” (Ibid, p. 24-25)

At this point I think we need to understand how much this way of thinking is integral to Pope Benedict XVI. We may have been surprised that the subject of his second encyclical was Hope. It should not have surprised us at all, however, if we had understood this basic structure of his thinking – a structure which entailed the overturning of virtually all the intellectual content (doctrine) of our faith in favor of a faith rooted not in knowledge, but rather in hope and trust. For Pope Benedict XVI, “‘hope’ is equivalent to ‘faith’.” (Spe Salvi, #2). There is no way, however, in which this “hope” of Benedict XVI can be seen as necessarily related to an ascent to all the previously defined doctrines of the Church.

To understand how wrong all this, we need the help of St. Thomas. Thomas teaches us that hope is an act of the will (the intellectual appetency) which, like all acts of the will, is a choice based on knowledge which resides in the intellect. Now, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.” (Heb 11:1). The knowledge which we call faith is, in other words, not ordinary knowledge. It does not originate through the senses or in our own thinking, but rather through Revelation and Sacred Doctrine. In speaking of Sacred Doctrine as a science, St. Thomas quotes St. Augustine:

To this science alone belongs that whereby saving faith is begotten, nourished, protected, and strengthened.” (ST, Pt. I, Q.1, A.2)

Hope, in other words, is totally rooted in Faith as its substance, and Faith is rooted in the content of what God has revealed to us. This is why in order to possess Catholic faith, submission to all the defined doctrines of our faith is necessary. Faith is constituted by a submission of both intellect and will to the Sacred Deposit of Faith which God has revealed to us through His Church. Because all doctrine is not, and cannot, be fully understood does not mean that this submission is, or should be, or may be, any less. Faith is not, therefore, equivalent to hope, but rather its requisite. And contrary to what Fr. Ratzinger said in regard to a man remaining a Christian despite the fact that he may “find many of the details of faith obscure and           impracticable” (read: cannot be used, accepted or practiced), the absolute obligation to accept the entire Deposit of Faith in order to retain Catholic Faith is still imperative. St. Thomas writes:

Just as mortal sin is contrary to charity, so is disbelief in one article of faith contrary to faith. Now charity does not remain in a man after one mortal sin. Therefore neither does faith, after a man disbelieves one article.” (Ibid, II-II, Q.5, A.3).

In the entire length of Spe Salvi, not a single reference is made to Revealed Truth, the Deposit of Faith, Doctrine, or Dogma as having any relation whatsoever to our Hope.

Having sundered both hope and faith from the absolutely objective content of the Deposit of Faith, Joseph Ratzinger is left merely with the existential choice of continuing to believe in the “You” of Jesus Christ, but not the “something” of this Divine Deposit. And since (Christ’s) claim to be both man and God is just as absurd from the positivistic viewpoint as transubstantiation or original sin, then this choice, this hope, this trust, this faith becomes essentially an existential choice with no objective foundation. As such, it can make no claims to exclusivity, and therefore demand no conversion. It must, in other words, adjust itself to pluralism and ecumenism. Again, from Faith and the Future:

As things are, faith cannot count on a bundle of philosophical certainties [thus Thomism is sent entirely packing] which lead up to faith and support it. It will be compelled, rather, to prove its own legitimacy in advance by reflecting on its own inner reasonableness and by presenting itself as a reasonable whole, which can be offered to men as a possible and responsible choice. To say this is to imply that faith must clearly adjust itself to an intellectual pluralism that cannot ever be reversed, and within this intellectual climate must present itself as a comprehensible offer of meaning, even if it can find no prolegomena in a commonly accepted philosophical system. That means, in the end, that the meaning which man needs becomes accessible in any case only through a decision for a meaningful structure. It may not be proved, but can be seen as meaningful.” (p. 74-75)

Imagine trying to teach such a faith to all the little children who Our Lord instructed us to “suffer” to come unto Him. The victim in all this is not only the Truth. It is also the innocent.

 

The Amazonian Synod:

A “New Path” for the Church

What is now in preparation is a complete alteration of the Church’s mission, and therefore an alteration of the nature of the Church itself. The “Great Event” (a sort of “Woodstock” of the Church) which is now being carefully prepared in order to bring forth this “New Church” is the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to be held in October, 2019. According to the Vatican, it is “called to reflect on the theme”: Amazonia: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology. We would do well to reflect deeply, especially in the light of what has been offered above and also in our previous article on The Mind of Antichrist, upon the question as to what will be involved in using this Synod to define “New Paths for the Church”.

Jesus Christ sent His Apostles forth to all nations “to teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mt. 28:19), and St. Paul tells us that the goal of this mission is to “bring into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5). All of this speaks of the fact that through Christ and His Church the fullness of Truth has been revealed to man; and that the fundamental meaning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that for all men – at all historical times and in all nations and cultures – truth, charity, justice, and happiness can only be realized through submission and conversion to this Light which has come down from above. It is precisely this Light, these Truths and Doctrines of Jesus Christ, which are now being downplayed and contradicted in the words and pastoral policies of Pope Francis and his spokesmen. We have seen this in operation both in relation to the Synod on the Family and the Synod on Abuse, and in many of the talks, interviews, etc. offered by these members of the hierarchy.

Diametrically opposed to the truly Catholic view of the vertical dimension of our faith is that Darkness which is proposed by Joseph Ratzinger above: that we are not in possession of this fullness of Truth; that what we now possess is only the multifaceted, and very partial and contrary, views and aspirations of all of humanity in its progress towards an alleged Omega Point of evolutionary Perfection; and that therefore the future mission of the Church is to dive deeply into an “inter-cultural” inclusiveness and dialogue with the world in order to facilitate this evolutionary progress. This view is perfectly expressed in Teilhard de Chardin’s “prayer”, titled The Mass on the World:

“Since once again, Lord – though this time not in the forests of the Aisne but in the steppes of Asia – I have neither bread, nor wine, nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure majesty of the real itself [Note: there is no way that Teilhard could use these words, and make this juxtaposition if he believed in the substantial Real Presence of Christ after the Consecration]; I, your priest, will make the whole earth my altar and on it will offer you all the labours and sufferings of the world.” (p. 119).

And, a little further on, he elaborates:

“This restless multitude, confused or orderly, the immensity of which terrifies us; this ocean of humanity whose slow, monotonous wave-flows trouble the hearts even of those whose faith is most firm: it is to this deep that I thus desire all the fibres of my being should respond. All the things in the world to which this day will bring increase; all those that will diminish; all those too that will die: all of them, Lord, I try to gather into my arms, so as to hold them out to you in offering. This is the material of my sacrifice; the only material you desire.

“Once upon a time men took into your temple the first fruits of their harvests, the flower of their flocks. But the offering you really want, the offering you mysteriously need every day to appease your hunger, to slake your thirst, is nothing less than the growth of the world borne ever onwards in the stream of universal becoming.

Receive, O Lord, this all-embracing host which your whole creation, moved by your magnetism, offers you at this dawn of a new day.”

Such is the “Living Liturgy,” the “Great Vision,” of Teilhard de Chardin. It is now largely dominant within the Church, including the minds of both Benedict XVI and Francis (please read our article on the Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns for incontestable proof of this). It necessitates the dissolution of all things truly Catholic, simply because it seeks man’s salvation in the becoming of man rather than the Revealed Being, Truth, and Grace of God.

Amazonia represents the perfect petri dish (as it were) for culturing this new version of the Church and her mission. The tremendous diversity of indigenous (and other) peoples; the vast array of often conflicting cultures, ideologies (especially Marxist) and religions; the immense poverty , and the historical connections by which it is linked to European (and American) dominance and exploitation, and therefore also to the Catholic Church; the ecological and sustainability movements which are overridingly pantheistic, and therefore almost universally pagan and anti-Catholic – all of this represents the ideal venue in which to lower the Church down upon the altar of the world, and thereby to work zealously at changing her theology, philosophy, mission, and worship.

The Amazonian Synod is of course linked intimately to all of Latin America, which contains something like forty- percent of all the world’s Catholics. The coming Amazonian Synod was preceded by a very similar meeting in May of 2007 of the General Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM) in Brazil, which produced what is called the Aparecida Document (165 pages), which also focused heavily on the Amazon. One of the things most clearly enunciated in this document is the extent to which both devotion to Mary and devotion to the suffering Christ are recognized as the unifying factors in the spiritual lives of all Catholics in Latin American countries, and that these would therefore also be employed as the unifying forces behind all attempts towards implementing this “New Evangelization”. Love for Mary and the Crucified Christ will also therefore be what is used most effectively to seduce these peoples into worship and belief established upon the Teilhardian theology of evolutionary becoming and worship offered upon the “altar of the world”.

The entire effort of the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church is obviously diametrically opposed to such “use” of devotion to Our Lady and Our Crucified Lord. We consider it to be the ultimate blasphemy and sacrilege in accordance with the designs of the Father of Lies, and will do all we can through the grace of God to expose and condemn it.

We must also add, as a conclusion to this article, that there is no Wall or other edifice which man can construct which will in any way protect us from what is coming. Our only hope lies in the conversion of individuals and nations to the Kingship of Christ. Only Our Lady and Her Immaculate Heart, containing all the graces necessary for our own interior purification and the conversion of sinners, has been promised to us as a place of refuge and the means of Triumph over that Beast whose terrifying figure now hovers over both our Church and our nation. If, at this point in history, we attempt to “hedge our bet” between the plans of man and the way of salvation offered by God , we simply fall into that category of the “double-minded” spoken of by St. James, whose prayers are not answered because they seek friendship with both this world and with God.

Again, we strongly recommend reading our article The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden, which explores the concept of “cosmic evolution” in the thought of Teilhard de Chardin, Pope Benedict XVI, and Pope Francis. It is now the dominant philosophy/theology in the Church, undermining all of the doctrinal teachings of Jesus Christ. The full implementation of this agenda requires that the Church be completely immersed and “integrated” into the world (an integral–Church in accord with integral-ecology) and into what is believed will be the progression towards the Omega Point of Teilhardian evolution, but which will in reality lead to the ascent of the Antichrist upon the world’s stage. The Amazonian Synod is the carefully prepared event by which those who promote this agenda plan to see it brought to fruition.

Please pray the Rosary for the Purification of the Church!

Please spread the word about the Rosary!

The Mind of Antichrist

Image result for our lady of sorrows

The Mind of Antichrist

“We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel, between Christ and the Anti-Christ.

We must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not-too-distant future; trials that will require us to be ready to give up even our lives, and a total gift of self to Christ and for Christ. Through your prayers and mine, it is possible to alleviate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it. . . .How many times has the renewal of the Church been brought about in blood! It will not be different this time.”( Bicentennial talk given in the United States in 1976 by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla the future Pope John Paul II)

Note: The following two short pieces are works of fiction – necessarily so, since they portend the future. The spiritual realities depicted, however, are not at all fictional. We draw near to the final confrontation between Christ and Antichrist, between the Being of God and the becoming of man.

Part I:

Excerpt from:

The Inaugural Address of

The First President of the World Union

Contrary to popular analysis and thinking, the world-wide Crisis which we face – one which is poised to destroy all human life – is not one which finds its ultimate cause in any combination of political, economic, national, or racial factors. Thanks to the exponential growth of knowledge in the various fields of physical science (including neuro-psychology), and also in the realms of behavioral sciences such as psychology and sociology, we now know with certainty that the various forms of individual and collective violence (war) which have plagued man since antiquity are not fundamentally due to any factors which lie in his exterior life.

The real cause of all forms of violence and injustice lies within man. It is constituted by a kind of “original sin” which is the essential root of all his destructive tendencies, and which, if it is not transcended, will be the cause of his final and total self-destruction. We are now at that juncture in human history where we must realize that we possess only two choices. We ignore this truth and perish as a species, or we face up to it, and take those measures necessary to insure our collective transcendence beyond this fundamental flaw in human nature.

What is this flaw, this “original sin”? We must first realize that it is not constituted by any of the ideas, feelings, desires which are the natural fruits of the almost infinite variety of human life. All these are simply expressions of life, energy, and creativity in its natural evolutionary expansiveness and growth. They are therefore also expressions of that fundamental charity and openness towards others which constitutes the very opposite of that exclusiveness which leads to selfishness and violence. It is of course true that our beliefs (especially religious beliefs) and desires can come into conflict with one another, but these conflicts are relatively minor expressions of selfishness, entail minimal degrees of violence and civil disorder, can be seen as the normal consequences of humanity’s “growing pains”, and are controllable through the ordinary means of our legal systems. We must in fact see such diversity, and even such “conflict”, as an integral and necessary part of that dialectical process by which mankind grows towards its final evolutionary fulfillment. In other words, such conflicts are not part of that fundamental threat to humanity of which we here speak.

No, the power that has the potential to destroy all life on our beloved earth is to be found in none of the manifold diversities of human belief and expression which contribute to growth and expansion, but rather in whatever causes contraction and rigidification of this dynamic. Further, this “original sin” must also be seen as the genesis of all those forces in human personality which are diametrically opposed to openness to other persons and thus to their particular variations in thinking, belief, and values. It is this fundamentally anti-social flaw, ensconced deeply in man’s present nature, which must be transcended and eliminated if mankind is to survive beyond the present crisis.

It becomes obvious, therefore, that the original sin of man lies in Absolutism – that fundamental pride of life by which an individual or group claims the possession of a Truth which is static and unchangeable, a Truth which is not subject to the universal laws of growth and evolution, a Truth which excludes the validity of the opinion and beliefs of others, and a Truth therefore which logically excludes and denigrates the personhood of others. In one word, original sin consists in Dogmatism. Dogmatism can simply be defined as any claim to Absolute Truth which is exclusive of any other truth, and is not open to evolutionary growth, change, and dialogue.

It is important at this point to be very clear on one absolutely essential point. No belief, opinion, religious idea or form of worship (except those which involve human sacrifice or are by their very nature exclusive of the dignity of others) is to be condemned for its substantial content. The Constitution of the New World Union embraces all religions and is committed to the defense of complete freedom of religious belief and expression. Without such freedom the Great Dialogue of Ideas which is essential to the evolution of the human spirit can only experience suffocation. Nothing, and we repeat nothing, of the great ideas of the entire gamut of world’s religions, philosophies, or ideologies, is to be considered suppressed. They may all be considered as profound expressions of human consciousness and desire on its way to that Omega Point which is now mysterious to us, but will be the final fulfillment of all evolution and growth.

It is not, in other words, any particular idea or belief in itself that is the source of our present quandary. The problem lies not in ideas themselves, but in what man has done with them. It is, as we have said, at that point where dogma is promulgated – where truth becomes fixed and absolute – that all irresolvable divisions between men, and all large-scale forms of violence, are generated.

We must further realize, however, that such Absolutism and Dogmatism is rooted in a profound philosophical error. If the real and health-fulfilling depths of human life are rooted in growth, expansion, evolutionary ascent, fluidity, flexibility, openness, and the humility which is the constant companion of these virtues, then the opposite of these virtues finds its most concrete expression in a philosophical view which views the world in relationship to the idea of fixed and determinate substances.

It is, in fact, the metaphysical view of “substance”, which has been the primary inhibitive factor in the growth of the human spirit. It has also therefore been the primary factor in generating the schizophrenic departure of the human mind and heart from the realities which have been revealed to us through the beneficence of science. It is now known with absolute certainty through analytical physics that the whole concept of existing, static “substances” is a myth, and that all realities – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual – can be explained in terms of the movement and flow of atomic, sub-atomic, and quantum forces which themselves are not even subject to the term “substance.” The fundamental fabric of human existence must, therefore, be seen as constant change and paradox. The very “substance” of individual personality, and the existence of each one of us as distinct individuals, is identical with that continuous state of flux which is the very negation of the conventional ideas of permanence and substance.

There are, of course, certain religions and philosophies in the world which are already largely in accord with this inescapable knowledge of reality. We might here mention Hinduism and Buddhism. Seeking that final identity of the human spirit with the Spirit of the All, and rejecting all absolutes in this life as forms of maya (illusion), these religions have always embraced rejection of Dogma as necessary for their own belief in transcendence and for that mystical union with the Absolute which is beyond all the deceptively apparent substantial realities of this life.

There are other religions which obviously are destined to have to work harder towards this integration. We must be frank, and especially mention Christianity and Islam in this regard. There is a great deal in each of these major world religions which speaks of absolutism and exclusivity. After much examination by the World Council of Churches and other groups, however, we have become convinced that these great world religions can also be essentialized to allow them to accord with the principles of human growth and evolution. This process of essentialization simply demands that we look deeper into each of the doctrines which appear to speak of absolutism – that we be open to the movement of the human spirit which is able to penetrate to the real locus of human aspirations which are beneath the surface of these dogmatic encrustations, and that we be willing to release this spirit in terms of new formulations and interpretations.

All this will, of course, take time and the collective creative effort of all of mankind. We cannot deny, however, that after sustained study of this issue by the greatest creative minds in the world, we are intensely hopeful of the outcome. Much of our collective optimism comes from the realization that we can afford to be patient. We are fully aware that these reformulations and interpretations, and the release of the creative energies which have been forced to atrophy behind such concretizations of Absolutism and dogma, will take some time. Such is only natural, simply because healing, growth, and maturation always demand time and patience. The absolute pre-condition for such a process, however, cannot be delayed. We must begin at once to reverse the direction of humanity in order that the powers of destructive Absolutism may not reach that critical mass which is bound to destroy us all. We must, in other words, accomplish the fundamental act of conversion Now. In order to initiate this process, the World Council has therefore unanimously passed a resolution that every person in the world be required to sign the following simple Act of Conversion:

Act of Conversion

I………………………. renounce all claims to possession or knowledge of Absolute Truth, either in relation to ultimate reality or moral action. I firmly resolve to commit myself to the principles of dialogue with, and acceptance of, the opinions and beliefs of others on our common journey towards our common destiny.

Signature: _______________________

At this point of great crisis for mankind, refusal to sign this oath and act of conversion cannot be considered a legitimate option. We fully accept that necessary growth always involves purgation. Therefore, beginning at the age of reason (which we mandatorily set at the age of seven), those who refuse their signature must be euthanized using the most humane means available to modern technology. Those who sign, but later are found to commit violations of this oath, will be subject to the generally mild punishments of existing anti-hate crime legislation. They will also be required to retake and sign the Oath. Second offenders will be required to suffer the stiffer penalties assigned for such reoccurrences, and again required to retake the Oath. It will be mandatory that all proven third-time offenders be euthanized.

These regulations are designed to reflect those principles of both mercy and justice inherent in our evolutionary ascent towards the Omega Point of human destiny.

—————————————

 

Part II:

From the Address of the President of the World Union to the Cardinals of the Catholic Church Sitting in Consistory:

[Note: On March 17, 2016 Catholic News Service published an English translation of a discussion/interview conducted by Fr. Jacques Servais with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI in October of 2015. The following article offers an analysis of this interview within a fictional format. It is not fictional in regard to Pope Benedict XVI’s interview, or what we believe to be its implications. No satire or sensationalism is intended, but only an awakening, that we “may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil”. (Eph. 6:11). The Interview itself can be found at a number of places on the Web].

 

Two Hearts Beat as One
Benedict XVI and Francis I: The Path to the Future

My Dear Brothers,

I am quite sure you are well aware that, from the very beginning of my Presidency, I have been always insistent upon the fact that I am not he who will usher in that plenitude of peace for which we all long, but am only a precursor to the One who is to assume this office in the ripeness of time, and bring all to fulfillment. And yet I meet with you today in a spirit of great joy at the progress we have made along this path in such a short time.

In preparation for my departure, I have longed to meet with you once again as an expression of my deepest gratitude. In my Inaugural Address, six years ago, I expressed strong concern about the necessity for Christians – and I might now add, especially Catholics – to meet the demands of the evolutionary growth of all of mankind towards a universal tolerance and acceptance of all that is truly human. This concern, as I am sure you are aware, was motivated by knowledge of the central role which dogmatism and absolutism had played in Christian belief – far more so, especially within the Catholic Church, than any of the other great world religions. For the sake of peace, and the preservation of our species, we were forced to enact strict legislation against such dogmatism and absolutism, even to the point of compulsory euthanasia for those who were persistent in such fanaticism.

During my address I counseled the need for a certain amount of patience in order to temper justice with mercy, and in recognition that change takes some time. It has been for me a matter of surprise and delight that this policy has been fruitful far beyond my expectations. While we are quite aware that there are a great many for whom Christian Absolutism is very difficult to shed, it is now clear that good will is dominant even in most of those from whom we anticipated strong resistance to our beneficent policies. This good will is evidenced, if by nothing else, at least by their silence. It truly is a source of great joy to me personally that so little recourse to the most strict penalties of our Decree has been necessary; we therefore have tremendous confidence, that the children and grandchildren of this silence will be in possession of that fundamental change of heart which will irrevocably entomb Dogmatism in the dustbin of history and human evolution.

We have, of course, been most enthusiastic concerning the new path which the Catholic Church entered upon with the ascension of Pope Francis I to the throne of Peter. Pope Francis has repeatedly made clear the extent to which he places the concept of mercy and inclusiveness above any kind of doctrinal or moral rigidity. At the same time, we were admittedly quite concerned about that rigid orthodoxy and “traditionalism” which tended very strongly to identify with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. We fully recognized that Benedict was in a very real sense “transitional” in his evolution towards modern consciousness. While being fully evolutionary in his thinking and writings as a scholar – writings concerning which virtually all such “Traditionalists” seemed ignorant – he was yet somewhat rigid in his public policies and proclamations. He was a man divided between two ages, and we could not fail to show some compassion and tolerance towards his inner conflict. In addition, his silence in the face of Francis’ liberating agenda was indeed encouraging and deserving of our patience.

Our patience has now been rewarded beyond our highest expectations. In October of 2015, Benedict XVI participated in a discussion and interview with Fr. Jacque Servais. It not only establishes a union of hearts between Benedict and the thinking and policies of Francis, but also profoundly enlightens us as to the deepest source of that Dogmatism and Absolutism which has been the scourge of mankind and the source of all the great conflicts in human history. We are therefore not only deeply pleased, but immensely grateful, for the depth of his thought. His words, and analysis, are therefore worthy of the closest scrutiny. They provide the key to the transformation of Christian consciousness.

The heart of this transformation lies, according to Benedict, in a rethinking of the Catholic concept of “justification by faith”. The passage most expressive of this “rethinking” occurs in approximately the middle of the Interview, in a dramatic exchange between Benedict and Servais:

Benedict XVI: It seems to me that in the theme of divine mercy is expressed in a new way what is meant by justification by faith. Starting from the mercy of God, which everyone is looking for, it is possible even today to interpret anew the fundamental nucleus of the doctrine of justification, and have it appear again in all its relevance.

Servais: When Anselm says that Christ had to die on the cross to repair the infinite offense that had been made to God, and in this way to restore the shattered order, he uses a language which is difficult for modern man to accept (cfr. Gs 215.ss iv). Expressing oneself in this way, one risks likely to project onto God an image of a God of wrath, relentless toward the sin of man, with feelings of violence and aggression comparable with what we can experience ourselves. How is it possible to speak of God’s justice without potentially undermining the certainty, deeply established among the faithful, that the God of the Christians is a God “rich in mercy.” (Ephesians 2:4)?

Benedict XVI: The conceptuality of St. Anselm has now become for us incomprehensible. It is our job to try again to understand the truth that lies behind this mode of expression. For my part I offer three points of view on this point.

Before moving on to further examination of these “three points of view, it is absolutely necessary to understand what has already been accomplished by Benedict’s new way of conceptualization in regard to justification by faith. The concept of a God demanding Justice has been eliminated. At least four times in the course of this interview Benedict specifically identifies such a view with believing in a cruel God. In his entire interview he in fact never mentions God’s justice without identifying it with cruelty. Thus:

Only where there is mercy does cruelty end, only with mercy do evil and violence end. Pope Francis is totally in agreement with this line. His pastoral practice is expressed in the fact that he continually speaks to us of God’s mercy. It is mercy that moves us toward God, while justice frightens us before Him.”

There is here, in Benedict’s view no value in the concept of God’s Justice as leading us towards Him, or towards His Mercy. Justice and Mercy are diametrically opposed. We must also note, as evidenced in this passage, the deep union of hearts between the theology of Benedict and the pastoral work of Francis.

When we now come to examine Benedict’s first point necessary for “overcoming” the conceptuality of Anselm, we encounter the second and third instances of Benedict identifying cruelty with the notion of God’s Justice:

The contrast between the Father, who insists in an absolute way on justice, and the Son who obeys the Father and, obedient, accepts the cruel demands of justice, is not only incomprehensible today, but, from the point of view of Trinitarian theology, is in itself all wrong.”

The Father and the Son are one and therefore their will is intrinsically one. When the Son in the Garden of Olives struggles with the will of the Father, it is not a matter of accepting for himself a cruel disposition of God, but rather of attracting humanity into the very will of God. We will have to come back again, later, to the relationship of the two wills of the Father and of the Son.”

We must here add a bit of theological commentary, even being so bold as to correct deficiencies in Benedict’s view of traditional Catholic theology. Catholic theology has always recognized the unity of Will between the Father and Son. The cruelty suffered by the Son in obedience to the Father, was at the hands of men, and was not seen as the Son subjecting himself to the cruelty of the Father. Rather, it was viewed as a true unity of wills between Father and Son necessary for the satisfaction of Justice in accord with the one divine nature of both Father and Son. What is unique here in the thought of Benedict is that this demand of Divine Justice has ceased to exist, and is replaced solely by an act of Divine Mercy which seeks to attract men. This attraction is, of course, an evolutionary process, devoid of any justification for judgment and condemnation.

This brings us to the second point which Benedict offers us in regard to a “new away” of understanding justification. At the beginning of the long paragraph in which he discusses this point, he simply begins by asking, “So why the cross and atonement?” After talking about the immense amount of cruelty and suffering present in the world, he offers the following answer:

Above I quoted the theologian for whom God had to suffer for his sins in regard to the world [because of all the horrible things in the world and in the face of the misery of being human, all of which ultimately depends on Him]. Now, due to this reversal of perspective, the following truths emerge: God simply cannot leave ‘as is’ the mass of evil that comes from the freedom that he himself has granted. Only He, coming to share in the world’s suffering, can redeem the world.”

Here we arrive at the crux of Benedict’s solution. The “reversal of perspective” which he sees as absolutely essential to modern man and the survival of his faith is to cease viewing man as being under compulsion to satisfy God’s Justice, but rather to view God as under compulsion to show man mercy. As he says elsewhere in his interview, “…the man of today has in a very general way the sense that God cannot let most of humanity be damned. In this sense, the concern for the personal salvation of souls typical of past times has for the most part disappeared.” We might add that in this single admission of Benedict XVI, the guilt, and consequent violence, inherent in all traditional Catholic thought has been dissolved.

The third point simply brings this compulsion of God towards mercy to a conclusion in what Benedict calls the “poverty of God”. The Father must share inwardly the sufferings of the Son. Benedict in fact quotes Henri de Lubac who attributes passion to God, and not only to God the Son in his incarnation, but also to Christ previous to the incarnation, and to the Father Himself. In thus having the very nature of God immersed in the passion of creation, Benedict logically eliminates belief in a God who is ontologically distinct from His creation, and therefore in any position to demand justice. He concludes this point with the a passage in which he again identifies the concept of justice with a cruelty unworthy of God: “It is not a matter of a cruel justice, not a matter of the Father’s fanaticism, but rather of the truth and the reality of creation: the true intimate overcoming of evil that ultimately can be realized only in the suffering of love.” As we have seen in our analysis of the Benedict’s new conceptualization of the Catholic faith, it is in fact not a matter of justice at all, but rather of a compulsory mercy on the part of a God who is truly united in His deepest essence to all of creation.

We also cannot fail to mention that Benedict’s new concept of mercy not only frees man from fear of God’s Justice, but involves a “reversal of perspective” in respect to the act of faith itself. This is certainly logical. If the concepts of “justice” and “justification” are reversed, so also must the entire concept of “justifying faith” be reversed. This becomes abundantly clear when we contrast his views with the definition of the act of faith published by Vatican Council I in the year 1870:

Man being wholly dependent upon God, as upon his Creator and Lord, and created reason being absolutely subject to uncreated truth, we are bound to yield to God, by faith in His revelation, the full obedience of our intelligence and will. And the Catholic Church teaches that this faith, which is the beginning of man’s salvation, is a supernatural virtue, whereby, inspired and assisted by the grace of God, we believe that the things which He has revealed are true; not because the intrinsic truth of the things is plainly perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself, Who reveals them, and Who can neither be deceived nor deceive.”

This entire passage speaks of a servile subjection to a God against whose Justice man can mortally sin through disbelief. Having made God Himself in a very real way “guilty” for having created a world in which immeasurable evil and cruelty are a reality, and having subjected God to a compulsive mercy and suffering passion in order to lift man outside of this state, Benedict has eliminated entirely the concept of a dogmatized faith to which man must submit his intellect and will as being necessary for salvation. If judgment, and the necessity of man justifying himself before a cruel God are eliminated, so also is any requirement of a “justifying faith”. Mercy, working through attractiveness, and not judgment, is what remains.

Finally, in light of the extraordinary insights provided by Pope Benedict XVI, we must address two immediate concerns.

First, we find it necessary to add an additional precept to the Act of Conversion which we promulgated at the beginning of our Presidency. Christians, as a sign of their communal unity, have long recited the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed (and other variations). Certainly there may be a number of elements in these various creeds which can be somewhat offensive to others. We are confident, however, that these will be modified over the course of time without our intervention. There is, however, one element which is totally inimical to the heart of mercy which must become the spirit of mankind. In the Apostles Creed it is simply expressed: “From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.” We therefore decree that any variations of this phrase be eliminated from all public recitations of Christian Creeds, and that all written versions containing the same must be destroyed. Violations of this decree will subject individuals or groups to the same penalties as specified in the Resolution and Act of Conversion promulgated at the inception of our Presidency.

We must also note one other area of growing concern. Pope Francis declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy in 1916, an act for which we again must express our gratitude. He has also made a very strong appeal for participation in the sacrament of confession. We fully accept the fact that confession of our sins against one another, and the asking for forgiveness, is a very valuable and cathartic practice. Our concerns lie with how this is practiced within the Catholic Church. We realize that this is a delicate and very individualized matter, and we have no intention at this time of promulgating any general legislation in this matter which would presume to anticipate every situation.

At the same time, however, we recognize the dangers involved, especially when a minister of the Church presumes to sit in judgment over a penitent. Recently, Pope Francis seemed to offer at least a partial solution in regard to this problem. He has spoken of the sacredness and inviolability of what is termed the “inner forum”, and has suggested that a priest should offer God’s mercy and forgiveness to a penitent who wishes to remain silent (through embarrassment, or for whatever other reason) about the nature of his particular sins. In other words, the humility, contrition, and good will, obviously present in the very fact that the penitent has presented himself for confession, certainly makes him worthy of God’s universal mercy. We encourage Pope Francis to make such a practice universal within the entire Catholic Church.

It is a widely known fact, covered with much publicity in the Media, that we have been receiving an increasing amount of complaints from Catholic penitents who, for whatever reason, have been refused God’s forgiveness and mercy, and who have even been denied communion in their respective churches. Ultimately we have to view any refusal of God’s mercy and communion to one who has placed himself or herself in such a vulnerable, and obviously sincere, position as an act of mental and emotional terrorism, and as being subject to the penalties applicable under current Hate Crime legislation. The International Tribunal is now looking into this matter with great interest. We, however, have very optimistic expectations that Pope Francis, in his obvious and very passionate devotion to universal mercy, will quickly find a solution to this dilemma. After all, if God is under compulsion to a universal forgiveness and union with all human beings, who is man to presume to do otherwise?

I wish to express my deep appreciation for your attention and cooperation in working tirelessly towards a final solution to any and all problems which may still remain in achieving that peace which truly reflects the mercy of God.

Conclusion: It is generally conceded that the Antichrist will arise out of chaos – the chaos generated by a scientific and technologically advanced world in which unity and peace are desperately necessary for survival, but which is descending into inevitable chaos because of all the conflicts between individuals, nations, ideologies, and religions. We are now in the midst of this descent. As a solution, the Antichrist will offer peace and unity through satanically empowered deception and tyranny. It will, of course, be a demonically-inspired peace and unity which he will impose.

There is only one force on this earth which possesses the power to counter this tyranny: the Catholic Church. But the Church itself, now having descended into its own particular form of chaos and impotency, can only come to live this power through unified purification. This is why the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church is not just an attempt to persuade individual Catholics to engage in this effort, but a call to all Catholics on a particular day: the Feast of the Purification and the Presentation on February 2nd. Such a united effort in praying the Rosary and seeking interior purification, called for by Pope St. Pius V, saved Europe from destruction in the great sea battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. In another, more recent, example: On May 13, 1955, due to massive Rosary Processions prayed for an end to Communist oppression, the Soviet Union voluntarily announced that they were abandoning their occupation of Austria. Such historical miracles provide convincing evidence of the power of the Rosary to liberate from evil.

As explained in our Original Proposal, the triumph of the Light of Christ within the Church, and over evil in this world, must begin with the purification of each and every one of our hearts, a task which Our Lord has entrusted to the mediation of Our Lady. As Simeon prophesied to Mary: “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.” Only Our Lady has been prophesied to possess the singular grace and power to accomplish this interior purification, and thereby crush the head of Satan. And this, of course, is why the Feast of the Purification and Presentation is singularly appropriate for expressing this unity in praying the Rosary for deliverance from the impending evil – greater than at any other time in history – which is now descending upon us. We pray and hope that this Double Feast, as a Day of Purification and Triumph for the whole Church, will become a Holy Day of Obligation in these desperate times.

The problem of course is that people will only engage in such united efforts when they see what is about to come upon them. Unless they are reduced to a state of “holy fear” and desperation which shakes them out of the blindness generated through their having compromised and “normalized” their relationships with the world and its evils, they seem destined to think and behave like the proverbial “deer in the headlights”. Our Lord said to the Pharisees and Sadducees: “You know then how to discern the face of the sky: and can you not know the signs of the time?” There does indeed come a time when just “hunkering down” into our own personal faith and personal devotions, with family and like- minded friends and fellow-believers, is not enough; and that the failure to unite in militant effort for our own purification and that of the Church is reflective of that “blindness of heart” and “lukewarmness” condemned by Christ. It is in such a time that we live. It is therefore no wonder that the Holy Spirit appears no longer to be operative as the Soul of the Church.

We have seen the world move in the past 45 years from the slaughter of the unborn, to acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual marriage, to the promotion of transgenderism, and now the outright denial that God created male and female. It is a world in which every form of perversity and transgression of God’s laws is promoted as an inalienable right. And we now see Christians becoming the number-one victims of prosecution by the State for so-called “hate crimes” if they stand up for the absolute values of the moral truths of Christ.

When we come to consider the progression of this spirit of Antichrist within the Church, we encounter the very present reality that we now have a Pope (and many other members of the hierarchy) who promotes a false mercy and inclusiveness towards evil, while embracing silence towards the “hard truths” of Catholic dogma and morals; a Pope who obfuscates the clearly present existence of a homosexual network of power and corruption among the hierarchy, while promoting these persons to higher positions of power in the Church; and who wages a demeaning campaign against those who try to hold firmly to traditional Catholic faith and practice.

It should therefore be abundantly clear that the spirit of Antichrist is now moving at an exponential pace, and that none of our “usual efforts” – and this includes not only such things as political involvement, but also the normal apostolates of Catholic action (evangelization, apologetics, catechetics, etc.) – possess the grace or power to prevail against it.

Through the mystery of Our Lord’s providential will, and in accord with the deepest aspirations of the human heart, the Triumph has been entrusted to Our Lady and Her Rosary. Jesus Christ desires that each one of us enter deeply into the Immaculate Heart of His Mother in order that we might receive the grace and knowledge necessary for that profound interior purification which will make of us a light to the Church and the world. We therefore beg all those who do see, to insistently and persistently implore their pastors and bishops to promote the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church during the coming year, and especially as a united effort next February 2nd.

Please spread the word about the Rosary!

Letter to All the Bishops

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Letter to All The Bishops

 On Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019, we sent the following Letter, by way of regular mail, to over 200 bishops in the United States. We ask that you carefully read this analysis and Proposal (including the three links provided), and pray throughout Lent that the vision presented herein will penetrate deeply into the minds and hearts of the hierarchy within this country. We believe strongly that this provides the solution for the grave crisis which now scourges Christ’s Catholic Church.

 

Your Excellency,

Re: Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church.

It is the central “vision” of the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church that the crisis which we now face in the Church is a chastisement from God, and that therefore its solution lies not primarily on focusing our attention and prayers upon the sins of others, but upon each one of us, our adulteries to the world, and our own personal and collective need for interior purification.

We further believe that this invasion of the world into our minds and hearts has reached such a depth and pervasiveness as to be solvable only through Divine intervention, and this especially through Our Lady and Her Rosary. Whether we are confronted with clerical abuse and its cover-up, doctrinal and theological errors, denial of the Church’s moral teaching, the crisis in catechetical teaching, or the abuse of the sacramental life – all of these are rooted in errors which reach to such depths in the spiritual, intellectual, and moral life of contemporary Catholics and their “friendship with this world, which is the enemy of God” ( James 4:4), that no true solutions are to be found except through the extraordinary graces of God which possess the power and light necessary for triumph over the darkness which now envelops and deceives so many. We ask you to read our Original Proposal , which explores the spiritual reasoning behind this effort, and especially the appropriateness of its being centered upon the Feast of the Purification and Presentation (Candlemas) on February 2nd.

This is especially true in regard to that crisis which is now pre-eminent in the minds of millions of Catholic faithful, and in the media: clerical abuse and its cover-up. Any effort to solve this evil which is primarily dependent or centered upon such things as establishing juridical structures and safeguards, or subjection of dioceses and local hierarchy to lay and secular monitoring, is simply a glaring testimony to the nakedness and powerlessness of the contemporary Catholic Church before the modern world. It is therefore also a profound testimony to the radical impotency of our lives in regard to living the graces of the Holy Spirit, always available to those who truly seek to follow Christ, and which should therefore have provided the real discernment, safeguard, and graces against such abuses and decay. For a deeper penetration into precisely what has caused this loss of the power of the Holy Spirit in our own individual lives, and the life of the Church as a whole, we would invite you to read our article on the Third Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Spirit.

Christ willed a unity of Faith and Charity within His Mystical Body which would be the source of that grace, power, and light which should not only safeguard the Church’s internal purity and integrity, but also be a light to the world in order to effect the conversion of countless souls. This unity and integrity has been so compromised as to now make the Church an object of almost universal scorn, and a victim awaiting the ravages of the Prince of this World – especially in the form of civil powers bent on her subjugation and destruction. In the midst of this division, each of us whether lay, religious, or clerical, are being forced to make a decision.

The absolute imperative of making such a decision became most evident during the recent Vatican Summit on Clerical Abuse. The whole world (so to speak) now knows that those in possession of the highest positions of power in the Church are bent upon denying and obfuscating the most prevailing and obvious external cause of clerical sexual abuse and its cover-up: homosexuality itself, and the Homosexual Network exercising extensive power and control within the Church. What is more, it has become equally evident that maintenance of these positions of power requires the alteration, subtle or not- so-subtle, of Catholic doctrinal and moral truths

Nowhere was this attack upon the doctrinal and moral foundations of our Faith more evidenced than in the press briefings of Archbishop Charles Scicluna, one of the key organizers of this Summit and one of its key speakers. He has been called “the Vatican’s most respected sex crimes expert”, was selected by Pope Benedict XVI to fully investigate and gather testimony in regards to the Legionaries of Christ and their founder Father Marcial Maciel, and has been the primary investigator in the Chilean clergy sex-abuse scandal, etc. He thus seems to have emerged as the Summit’s primary spokesman. On the first day of the Summit, he made the following extraordinary statement to a reporter’s question as to why the word “homosexuality” was completely absent from the Summit’s opening day:

You spoke about one category, someone else could speak about heterosexuality. These are human conditions that we recognize, that exist. But they aren’t something that really predisposes to sin.”

The statement that homosexuality does not “predispose” to sin is of course absurd. Even if we consider homosexuality from the perspective as an orientation or temptation which does not come to fruition in the performance of an objectively evil act itself, it is obviously a “predisposition” towards such an act, and therefore evil in itself, just as are the temptations and predispositions to murder, rape, gluttony, slander, etc. Obviously all of these powerful temptations “predispose” towards sin.

But the real deception in Archbishop Scicluna’s statement lies in the attempt to try to establish some sort of common status between heterosexuality and homosexuality by identifying them both as being human “conditions”. Heterosexuality is not a human “condition”, but rather something fully natural and good within human nature. And like all other things that are integral to human nature, there is no evil in heterosexuality itself, but only in any use of it which goes against the order established by God. On the other hand, God does not create people possessing homosexuality as part of their human nature (created in God’s image). Homosexuality is itself a perversion of human sexuality, and any homosexual inclinations or temptations now present to man in his fallen and disordered passions constitute objective evil, even though they may indeed be resisted and therefore not be constituted as individual sin in a particular person. It is therefore not only the homosexual act itself which must be considered objectively evil, but also the orientation or temptation itself.

The denial of these truths of the Catholic faith concerning homosexuality (and also such things as the objective evil of civil divorce and remarriage) reaches ultimately to the denial, not only of the immutability of God and His revealed Truth, but also of the substantial and universal nature of all men created in God’s image.This extraordinarily explicit heresy is also rooted in the denial of being (“I Am Who Am”) as the fundamental principle in all philosophy and theology and its replacement by the concept of evolutionary becoming. Under the reign of this latter principle, all of what constitutes both the human and Divine is deprived of absoluteness, and reduced to temporary and mutable evolutionary “conditions”, which are always subject to evolutionary growth and change. The concept of a substantial, immutable and irrevocable nature, for which man is responsible and accountable, is thereby obliterated; and a false, universal mercy thereby becomes the governing principle of all moral theology. For a penetrating analysis into the nature and history of this heresy, and its penetration into the depths of Catholic thinking, we ask you to read our article on The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns.

A line has therefore been drawn like no other in the history of the Church. What is at stake is the salvation of thousands of souls under your care, and for whom you are responsible before God. Any bishop who chooses to remain with Christ and His Immutable Truth will now clearly place himself in a perilous position. If he chooses to make a public stand (which we deem admirable) against what is clearly the agenda of many who are in positions of higher power and influence, he clearly risks disciplinary actions and even possibly the loss of his office. This of course does not entail the necessity of any sort of schism, but it certainly may entail an at-least dry martyrdom.

In this extremely painful situation, we would like to suggest that every bishop who truly desires to follow Christ in His immutable Truth possesses a reservoir of power and grace in this supreme crisis. It lies in the hearts all of those of his faithful who truly seek and hunger to follow Christ, and in their prayers for personal and collective interior purification. And it is each individual bishop who has the power and authority to harness and direct these hearts and these graces.

We also fully believe, in the light the Gospel and such private revelations as Our Lady of Fatima, that God has entrusted to Mary the power to bring all of this to fruition: “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed”. We therefore implore you to implement what we describe in our Original Proposal for the Feast of the Purification and Presentation, and consider repeating this on other Feasts of the liturgical year which may seem appropriate. We also request that you not only implement this event in your Cathedral Church, but that you ask each of your parish priests to do so in their local churches. We believe that this will bring great blessings not only for you and all the faithful of your diocese, but also for the universal Church.

As stated in the “About” on our website, none of us involved in this effort seek any personal recognition. We simply wish to decrease in order that Our Lord and Our Lady may increase.

 

Respectfully, In Jesus and Mary

Please spread the word about the Rosary!

Pope Francis and the Sacrilegious Use of the Rosary

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 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.

Please spread the word about the Rosary!

Ask your pastor to Implement this Event!

For those who would like to join in this missionary effort, please refer to  our sample letter which you can send to any priests whom you feel might be interested in promoting this initiative.  Since this is a group effort, you may simply assume and sign the letter as your own.

Alternatively, simply find an open Catholic Church in which to pray the Rosary for this intention, either with a group or alone.

We invite the whole world to join us!

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