The Fourth Glorious Mystery:
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into Heaven
“The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before he made anything from the beginning…. I was with him, forming all things: and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times. Playing in the world: and my delights were to be with the children of men. (Proverbs 8: 22, 30-31).
“For we know that every creature groaneth and travaileth in pain, even till now. And not only it, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8: 22-23).
The two above-quoted passages from Holy Scripture present absolutely contrasting images of human life on this earth. The first, which is applied by the Church to Mary on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (in the Missal of the Traditional Latin Mass), depicts the delight of spiritual childhood, playing before God with the innocence and purity which began for Mary on this earth with the Immaculate Conception, and which culminated with Her Glorious Assumption, Body and Soul, into Heaven. The second resonates with the loss of this spiritual childhood through both original and actual sin, which is the experience of each one of us. The first speaks of radiant perfection and joy achieved; the second, of painful labor, waiting, and hope.
It is of great significance that St. Paul weds the final answer and solution to all our pains and sorrows in this life not only to our adoption as the sons of God, but also to the redemption of our bodies (which unlike Mary’s Bodily Assumption, will not occur until the Final Judgment). Nor is it an accident of history that Pope Pius XII, in the year 1950, on the cusp of the descent of both the world and the Church into the filth of the sexual revolution, solemnly defined the Bodily Assumption of Mary into Heaven.
We might tend to think that Mary’s Bodily Assumption is merely an additional privilege granted to Her by a merciful God, and we might further possess what is probably a mostly unconscious attitude which considers the presence of our own bodies in Heaven as being a not-all-that- important adjunct to our attaining to the Vision of God’s Essence (the Beatific Vision). In this, we would be very wrong. As St. Paul also writes, “For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake; that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” And lest we are tempted to believe that this “life of Jesus in our mortal flesh” refers only to the soul and its presence in mortal flesh during this life, we also have the following from St. Paul:
Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall all indeed rise again: but we shall not all be changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall rise again incorruptible: and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Cor. 15: 51-53).
What we are dealing with here is an extraordinary work of God’s Mercy, a mercy which applies not only to our souls, but also to our bodies which must eventually be gloriously united to our souls in order to constitute what it means to be fully human.
St. Thomas, in considering the question as to what constitutes the greatest act of God’s Mercy, writes the following:
“A work may be called great in two ways: first, on the part of the mode of action, and thus the work of creation is the greatest work, wherein something is made from nothing; secondly, a work may be called great on account of what is made, and thus the justification of the ungodly, which terminates at the eternal good of a share in the Godhead, is greater than the creation of heaven and earth, which terminates at the good of mutable nature.” (ST I-II, Q. 113. A, 9)
The angels were created, and offered a simple choice – whether to submit to God and His plan for creation, or not. Depending on this single choice – yes, or no – they were either instantly admitted to the Beatific Vision, or were irremediably sentenced for all eternity to Hell. The reason for this is that the angels are pure spirits who apprehend and will “immovably”, and therefore their initial choice, either for or against God and His divine order, was immovable and unchangeable. There could therefore be for them no “justification of the ungodly”.
A very different situation exists with human beings. As long as any man is alive, he exists with a potentiality either to accept or reject God and His Ways. The work of “justification of the ungodly” is therefore exclusively reserved to men. God’s greatest work, His supreme act of Mercy, was therefore reserved for men.
It can be of great profit to us to meditate a bit on the mystery of God’s mysterious creation of such “flesh-bound”, fragile, moveable, changeable creatures as are men. God certainly could have created only purely spiritual creatures (angels) from nothing; and, in St. Thomas’s words, this would have still been the greatest work according to its mode (the creation of something from nothing). But in creating man, he chose to unite an eternal, spiritual soul to what is virtually the smallest, weakest, and inconsequential thing imaginable – a mutable physical body possessing an incredible dependence upon the working of an enormous complexity of fragile and intricate parts and systems with all their growth and change, all of this being integrated with an extraordinarily rich complexity of neurological reactions and sensations, and united to an intellect and will, ever subject to change, and which is called upon to make fundamental free choices in the midst of all this mutability. It might almost seem to us as though God’s mercy could not rest until he reached out and offered Beatitude to the smallest and weakest thing conceivable.
At the very center of this Great Mystery stands Jesus Christ in Whom, for all eternity, was willed the unity of God with man – the Incarnation. And alongside Him, willed and conceived for all eternity in the Heart of the Trinity, was the creation of the Immaculate Body and Soul of a Woman Who was to be His Mother, completely united with Him in His work of redemption, and therefore also the Mother of all men. What began to be on this earth with the Immaculate Conception of Mary within the womb of her mother Anne, was present with God from endless ages. Appropriately, in the first reading for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the Traditional Latin Mass missal (and tragically omitted from this Feast in the Novus Ordo Mass) is the following description of both this eternal design, and the fundamental choice which inevitably must be made by every human being:
“The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before he made any thing from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived. neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out: The mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth:
“He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was present: when with a certain law and compass he enclosed the depths: When he established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters: When he compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters that they should not pass their limits: when be balanced the foundations of the earth; I was with him forming all things: and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times. Playing in the world: and my delights were to be with the children of men.
“Now therefore, ye children, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors. He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord:
“But he that shall sin against me, shall hurt his own soul. All that hate me love death.” (Proverbs *: 22-36)
The last two paragraphs of this passage of scripture set before us an eternal enmity. On the one hand are those who attain to spiritual childhood, find our Lady (and of course also Wisdom, Our Lord, and the Holy Spirit), keep her ways, and find life; and, on the other hand, are those who sin against her, “hurt” their own souls by so doing, and “love death”. It is the same enmity which we read about in the Garden of Eden between the Woman Who shall crush Satan’s head, and the Serpent who “lies in wait for her heel”. (Genesis 3:15). In Mary this victory is fully accomplished in Her Immaculate Conception and Her Assumption, Body and Soul, into Heaven. In each and every man and woman, and in the Church, this victory awaits those who “keep her ways”, and die to this world and the ways of “fallen flesh” in order “that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our mortal flesh.”
We might tend to think of this enmity as existing almost exclusively on the level of man’s spiritual faculties – his intellect and will. After all, as St. Thomas taught, original sin consisted in the act of intellectual pride by which man sought to achieve an excellence within himself which was independent of God, and contrary to God’s Will. Original sin was thus truly an act of the will by which he “turned away” from being subject to God.
But St. Thomas also taught that “all actual sins virtually pre-exist in original sin, as in a principle…” (ST, I-II, 82, A.2). This is so because the function of the will is to move all the other powers of the soul to their proper end in subjection to the right order of God. The disorder effected in the human will through original sin necessarily therefore descends into the flesh. As expressed very succinctly by St. Thomas:
“The will being turned away from God, all the other powers of the soul become inordinate…Now the inordinateness of the other powers of the soul consists chiefly in their turning inordinately to mutable good; which inordinateness may be called by the general name of concupiscence.” (ST, I-II, Q. 82, A.3).
In consideration of our own bodily existence in this world, the eternal enmity between God and Satan, and between Christ and the Antichrist, may thus be expressed by two very succinct propositions: The Word became flesh in order that “the life of Christ might be made manifest in our mortal flesh” and that we may come to the vision of God. Satan, on the other hand, works that man may descend ever more deeply into the world of fallen flesh, and finally into the depths of Hell.
Alphonsus Liguori said that no one goes to Hell without un-forgiven sexual sin. And as Our Lady of Fatima said, “More souls go to Hell because of sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”
At the very depths of the depravity of the modern world’s descent into the world of the flesh is the sin of homosexuality. Nothing could be in greater polar opposition to Mary’s purity, and the Mysteries of Her Immaculate Conception and Bodily Assumption into Heaven. St. Paul, in delineating the consequences of the descent of man into the world of the flesh which is the consequence of rejecting God, gives the greatest prominence to the sin of homosexuality:
“Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonor their own bodies among themselves….For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. And in like manner, the men also, having the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error.” (Romans 1: 24, 26-27).
St. Peter Damian writes the following concerning the sin of homosexuality, especially as it was then prevalent within the priesthood:
“Truly, this vice is never to be compared with any other vice because it surpasses the enormity of all vices. Indeed this vice is the death of bodies, the destruction of souls. It pollutes the flesh; it extinguishes the light of the mind. It evicts the Holy Spirit from the temple of the human heart; it introduces the devil who incites to lust. It casts into error; it completely removes the truth from the mind that has been deceived…. It opens hell; it closes the door to heaven…. It separates the soul from God to join it with devils. This most pestilential queen of the sodomists makes the followers of her tyrannical laws filthy to men and hateful to God. She commands to join in evil wars against God, to carry the military burden of a most evil spirit.” (Book of Gomorrah, XVI).
Saint Peter Damian makes of homosexuality a sin of such unsurpassed evil as to constitute a war against the very Being of God Himself. God created man in His own image, “to the image of God He created him: male and female He created them…” The sin of homosexuality, therefore, by which men and women “have changed the natural use into that which is against nature (Ro 1:27)”, constitutes war not only against the nature of man and woman, but also against the very image of God. It is, in other words, the premier sin in the flesh against Being itself – both Supernatural Being, and natural being.
In St. Peter Damian’s day, this war was largely a private matter, practiced in secret. It has now emerged as a full-scale public war conducted openly in both the Church and the world. It has gained almost total victory over all governments in the Western world. It has conquered the minds and hearts of untold numbers of children in our educational systems through such things as “diversity training” and “inclusiveness”. It has befouled almost the entire priesthood and hierarchy within the Catholic Church.
Some, of course, might protest that it is only a small percentage of the clergy who actually commit these sins. But the spiritual defilement goes much deeper – to those members of the hierarchy who have known and been silent; to those have hidden abuse, and retained such abusers in ministry in the Church; to priests and deacons who are silent about this immense evil for fear of persecution, involvement in conflict, or loss of revenue (which would of course be seen as bad “stewardship”); and to the countless number of seminarians who only managed to become priests by remaining silent in the face of this widespread evil in seminaries (the guilt for which may indeed explain their silence as priests). And now, of course, all of this intimidation and silence has now penetrated the hearts and minds of the laity who, if they wish to protest at all against this firestorm of evil within the Church and the world, dare only to do so in private conversation. We used to speak of “closet-homosexuals”. As with so many other beliefs and practices within the modern Church, this has been largely “turned around” or inverted. It would now seem much more appropriate to speak of “closet-Catholics”.
The consequence of all this silence, and its accompanying loss of the virtue of fortitude and commitment to Catholic truth, became overwhelmingly clear during the recent USCCB meeting (Nov 12-14, 2018) and its aftermath. In August of this year Cardinal DiNardo had committed the Conference to addressing the abuse scandal among the hierarchy, and in September the Conference’s Executive Committee released a plan for investigating the Cardinal McCarrick scandal, and also for holding bishops accountable. On the opening day of the Conference, Cardinal DiNardo informed the bishops that he had received instructions from the Vatican insisting that these subjects not be discussed, and that the standards of accountability for bishops, and the formation of a special commission for receiving complaints against bishops, should not be discussed or voted upon during the meetings. On November 28, two weeks after the USCCB meeting, more than 50 law enforcement officials raided the Chancery offices of Cardinal DiNardo searching for secret archives related to clergy sexual abuse. All of this is an ominous sign of what is almost certainly to come.
The line has been crossed. We must expect much more of the same. The State is now poised to take a posture towards the Roman Catholic Church which will treat it as an organization or corporation engaged in criminal activity (under the RICO Laws). We should expect more raids, actions by Attorney Generals in all 50 states against the dioceses under their jurisdiction, passing of laws which will make it a criminal offense to withhold information regarding abuse obtained in the confessional, etc. And now that the Vatican has intervened to silence the bishops in regard to the treatment of abuse among the hierarchy, we may expect attempts to prosecute Vatican officials despite any claims to diplomatic immunity. The one thing most instrumental in preventing the success of such efforts in the past is that Church lawyers have been able to successfully argue that the bishops in this country are not “subjects” of the Vatican. There would seem little credibility left in such a claim after the recent USCCB meeting.
The extraordinary irony is that while the Church is now in the process of being invaded and prosecuted for homosexual abuse, any member of the clergy who preaches against homosexuality or “Gay Marriage” places himself in a position where he is prosecutable under hate-crime legislation. The Church now lies almost totally prostrate before the world.
It is, however, never too late to stand with Christ.
We must begin by fully affirming the truth that God does not create homosexuals, any more than He creates murderers or rapists. Nor does God create people with homosexual “orientation.” Whether due to the cumulative effects of original sin, to upbringing, or to actual sin, homosexual “orientation” is in itself disordered and neither innate or natural to anyone. The temptation to homosexual acts is nothing less than temptation to grave sin, just as is any other serious temptation towards mortal sin. The notion that there can be any such thing as a licit celibate homosexual vocation to the priesthood is therefore absurd. Nor should anyone who is actively homosexual or who claims such “orientation” be allowed any role in any of the ministries of the Church, and this of course includes teaching. All we need to do in order to understand this elementary truth is to imagine trying to justify admitting to such ministries a person with a history or strong inclination towards rape or murder.
The question remains, of course, as to what exactly is our proper response as Catholics to such persons. The answer is simple: charity. We owe charity to all human beings created in God’s image, no matter how great their sin. The problem today, however, is that both within and without the Church charity is equated with a false mercy and inclusiveness. In order to exercise charity, we must therefore come first to a proper understanding of what the very precise concept of Catholic charity actually entails.
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 (from which the above passage is taken) 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. Satan reigns in his flesh.
What then of mercy, and its relationship to charity?
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 man out of a state of condemnation in order 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.”
There can therefore be no charity towards homosexuals, or towards any other persons living in objective mortal sin, which does not place above all other considerations their being converted away from sin and into a state of friendship with God. Any concept of mercy or charity which would detract from this supreme truth of the spiritual life embodies Satan’s agenda for the ruin of all human souls
That this false mercy and charity have penetrated to the apex of the Church cannot now be reasonably denied. It is at the very heart of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Constitution Amoris Laetitia. Much has been written about the at-least implicit heresy contained in this document in regard to its proposing of the possibility of receiving communion for the civilly divorced and remarried, or for any others living in a state of objective mortal sin (including homosexuality). But the real heresy contained therein is succinctly stated in the following two passages:
“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 community 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 clear from the context of Amoris Laetitia that the Pope is here speaking of the individual person, and the state of his soul which determines whether he is justified or condemned. As Catholics, whatever he says therefore must be judged in the light of the Council of Trent’s infallible teaching concerning justification. Chapter VII of the Council’s Decree on Justification is titled What the Justification of the Impious Is, and What Are the Causes Thereof. It contains this crucial passage:
“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: whence, man, through Jesus Christ, in Whom he is ingrafted, receives, in the said justification, together with the remission of sins, all these (gifts) infused at once, faith, hope, and charity.”
To assert, as does Pope Francis, that such charity is unmerited, unconditional, and gratuitous is simply a form of the Lutheran heresy, which views justification, and the perseverance in God’s friendship as totally unmerited by man, and as not requiring the cooperation of man in virtue and the performance of good works. There are at least 21 Canons of the Council of Trent’s Decree on Justification which condemn Luther’s position, and detail that at every stage of the process of man’s justification – from preparation for conversion up to the grace of final perseverance – there exists the absolute necessity, not only of god’s grace, but also of the cooperation of man’s free will in the attainment and possession of, and perseverance in, that charity which is also called sanctifying or justifying grace. These canons are succinctly summarized in the following two paragraphs from Chapters XI and XV of the Council’s Decree:
“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.”
“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, liers 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.”
In direct contradiction to this doctrinal teaching of the Council of Trent, Pope Francis, in paragraph #305 of Amoris Laetitia , 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. Moreover, in his footnote (#351) to this statement, he writes (the quotes which he uses are from Pope Paul VI):
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 , 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”).
We must first note that Pope Francis completely distorts the meaning of Pope Paul VI’s statement that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak”. The Eucharist is indeed a powerful medicine for overcoming the venial sins that plague us all. It is not a “medicine” to be given to those 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.”
There are indeed “conditioning and mitigating factors” which can affect the degree of culpability of a person living in objective mortal sin. But every person in this world, if he is going to consider receiving Holy Communion, is absolutely obliged to first prove himself – to judge himself – in the light of God’s Truth (both faith and morals). 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 in situations where it is clearly applicable 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 the sin of sacrilege against God, and the spiritual death of a human soul which is a consequence of such sacrilege, is a worse evil than that of killing of the body of a human being, even if the body be that of an innocent, unborn child.
Pope Francis’ invitation to those living in objective mortal sin to receive Holy Communion is therefore not an act of charity. It is not an act of mercy. It is an invitation to judgment and condemnation.
But there truly is a “medicine” which exists for all sinners. It is Our Lady, Refuge of Sinners.
The Church teaches that, no matter how deep into the darkness of evil a man may descend, his human nature created by God in His image cannot be destroyed. No matter how clouded over with sin, the life of Christ is still the light of his soul (John 1:4). As St. John says, the darkness may not “comprehend it”, but it can also never completely erase it. There always remains the call to truth, to innocence, to the delight of “playing before God”. In all periods of history, no matter how debased by error and sin, there has therefore always existed the potentiality for conversion of vast numbers of human souls.
The problem which is upon us now is twofold. On the one hand, what St. Paul calls the “operation of error” has descended upon us with a deceitfulness and spiritual deadliness which has never existed in past errors and heresies. We need only compare the complexity and deceitfulness of Modernism (as explored by Pope Pius X in his encyclical Pascendi) to something like the Arian heresy in order to understand how true is such an assertion.
Secondly, virtually all the powers that be in every sphere of thought and activity in this world – finance, economics, political power, the media, the educational systems, etc. lie prostrate before this “operation of error” (reductive science, physical and spiritual evolution, consumerism, an unending quest for scientific-technological and economic development, the homosexual agenda, etc.), and promote it militantly. What is more, their pervasiveness and influence over the human heart and mind is enormously greater because of such things as modern social communications and the power of government over all the areas of our lives. And, possibly most important, the money is in their hands to do so.
We therefore need to realize that we are virtually powerless in regard to all exterior activity. Even more devastating, however, is the fact that, for the most part, the Church has been deprived of the interior spiritual power which was with her from the beginning (see The Third Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Spirit). For centuries, Catholics (and the Church) have been subjected to a dialectical process of compromise with the world which has finally led us to a state of almost total impotency in regard to possessing the spiritual power to combat the enemy. As St. James wrote, “The friendship of this world is an enemy of God.” No matter how integral our faith, no matter how free we may be of mortal sin, no matter how many rosaries and other prayers we may recite, or how many hours we spend in Eucharistic Adoration, we cannot be effective vessels of the Holy Spirit and his power if we live in an adulterous relationship with the modern world.
Our Lady of Fatima prophesied the rise of the “errors of Russia” which would spread throughout the world. The extraordinary thing is that someone like Lenin saw quite accurately that the best friends of Communism would be what he is alleged to have called “useful idiots” – the liberals who, despite being ignorant of the full depth, meaning, and evil of Communist ideology, and who almost surely would have been horrified at its ultimate fruits, were yet to constitute an integral part of the dialectical (step-by-step) process of decay of Christian truth and civilization which was necessary for Communism’s triumph. In similar fashion, we might well imagine the delight of Satan with all those who might consider themselves faithful and devout Catholics, and who yet somehow still think and act as though they can be friends of the modern world with all of its advanced forms of affluence, and seduction away from the Cross of Christ. It should be no matter of wonder that such a diluted and divided love allowed the entrance of every form of perverse love, and that such an emasculated Christianity has given rise to the homosexual revolution within the Church.
It is the primary message of Fatima that the Triumph of Mary’s Immaculate Heart over the sins and errors which are besieging our modern world is dependent upon a circle of love which must be completed by the depth of our conversion, prayers, and sacrifice. This is why the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church seeks first, and above all, a unified effort to place all those who consider themselves faithful Catholics before Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, begging for that interior light and grace which will accomplish their own deeper conversion away from the world, the flesh, and the devil, and make them true vessels of the power of the Holy Spirit for the conversion of souls.
We ask everyone to please ask their pastor (and bishop) to implement the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church in their churches on February 2, 2019. Please read the Original Proposal in regard to this event. There is also a one-page Handout on our website which can be duplicated and distributed at all Catholic venues. We especially ask those who will be attending the various Marches for Life in January to make copies and distribute them widely.
The Third Glorious Mystery:
The Descent of the Holy Ghost
“Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the spirit that is of God. (1Cor. 2:12)
In the midst of the present crisis, possibly no question now presents itself with greater urgency to the minds and hearts of those who consider themselves faithful Catholics than the following:
“What has happened to the Holy Spirit and His promised protection of the Church, and His strengthening, sanctification, and confirming it in Truth and Holiness?”
The past 121 years have seen two Papal encyclicals devoted to the Holy Spirit: Pope Leo XIII’s Divinum Illud (1897), and John Paul II’s Dominum Vivicantem (On the Holy Spirit in the Life of the Church and the World – 1986). Both are replete with detailed examination of the extent to which the work of the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity is “appropriated” to all that can be seen as God’s gifts to man. He is the Creator Blessed, the Sanctifier, the Soul’s Delightful Guest, the Comforter, the Spirit of Charity, the source of Heavenly Water, the source of all Spiritual Unction, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of all the Seven Gifts enumerated by the Prophet Isaiah which are especially poured out in the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Spirit of Fire, the Spirit of the adoption of the children of God.
It is the Holy Spirit by Whom Our Lord Jesus Christ was conceived in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and, in the words of Pope Leo XIII: “By the operation of the Holy Spirit was not only the conception of Christ accomplished, but also the sanctification of His soul, which, in Holy Scripture is called His anointing. Wherefore all His actions were performed in the Holy Ghost, and especially the sacrifice of Himself: Christ, through the Holy Ghost, offered Himself without spot to God (Heb. 9: 14).” This also means that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the action of Jesus Christ through His priest, is also accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit. Pope John Paul II wrote: “In every celebration of the Eucharist His coming, His salvific presence, is sacramentally realized: in the Sacrifice and in Communion. It is accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit, as part of His own mission.” (62).
It should be no matter of wonder, therefore, that the Holy Spirit is considered to be the very Soul of the Church. Pope Leo XIII, in consideration of the birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost, proclaimed “As Christ is the Head of the Church, so is the Holy Ghost her soul.” He quotes St. Augustine: “What the soul is in our body, that is the Holy Ghost in Christ’s body, the Church.”And he continues: “This being so, no further and fuller ‘manifestation and revelation of the divine Spirit’ may be imagined or expected; for that which now takes place in the Church is the most perfect possible, and will last until that day when the Church herself, having passed through her militant career, shall be taken up into the joy of the saints triumphing in heaven.”
It is also not surprising that, as a consequence of this overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit within the Church and the individual souls of the faithful, Popes such as Leo XIII and John Paul II should be effusive in regard to their evaluation of the effects of this presence of the Holy Spirit within the individual souls of Catholics. Thus, Pius Leo XIII:
“The manner and extent of the action of the Holy Ghost in individual souls is no less wonderful, although somewhat more difficult to understand, inasmuch as it is entirely invisible. This outpouring of the Spirit is so abundant, that Christ Himself, from whose gift it proceeds, compares it to an overflowing river, according to those words of St. John: ‘He that believeth in Me, as the Scripture saith, out of his midst shall flow rivers of living water’; to which testimony the Evangelist adds the explanation: Now this He said of the Spirit which they should receive who believed in Him (Jn. 7: 38-39).”
When we study the Book of Acts and the very early history of the Church, we see these “rivers of living water”, which are the life of the Holy Spirit, profoundly active and fruitful. The disciples issued forth from the cenacle at Pentecost with great power in the Holy Spirit, and converted three thousand souls. Then Peter and John went up to the Temple at the ninth hour of prayer and converted 5,000 more. The Book of Acts tells us that that the people “brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that when Peter came, his shadow at the least, might overshadow any of them, and they might be delivered from their infirmities. And there came also together to Jerusalem a multitude out of the neighbouring cities, bringing sick persons, and such as were troubled with unclean spirits; who were all healed.” (Acts 5: 15-16).
But most important, as witnessing to what was the source of this great power and grace of the Holy Spirit of these earliest of Christians, is the description which the Book of Acts gives of their daily lives:
“And they were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles, and in the communication of the breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul, many wonders and signs were done by the apostles in Jerusalem, and there was great fear in all. And all they that believed, were together, and had all things common. Their possessions and goods they sold, and divided them to all, according as every one had need. And continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they took their meat with gladness and simplicity of heart; Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord increased daily together such as should be saved.” (Acts 2: 42-47).
What an extraordinary contrast and sign of contradiction the lives of these people provided in contrast to the world around them. They were truly contra mundum (against the world). Instead of accumulating, they sold their possession and gave the proceeds to the Church for distribution to the poor. They lived in great simplicity with their daily lives centered around the Eucharist. They surrendered completely to God’s revealed truth. And in all of this they possessed a unity of mind and heart almost unimaginable to us today.
While gazing into this mirror in which is reflected this marvelous fruitfulness of the work of the Holy Spirit in the early Church, we now need to look at ourselves and our Church. We shall begin with excerpts from Pope John Paul II’s encyclical on the Holy Spirit, who truly believed that the fruits of the Second Vatican Council would be a “New Springtime” for the Church:
“As the Council writes, ‘the Spirit dwells in the Church and in the hearts of the faithful as in a temple (cf. 1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19). In them he prays and bears witness to the fact that they are adopted sons (cf. Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:15-16:26). The Spirit guides the Church into the fullness of truth (cf. Jn 16:13) and gives her a unity of fellowship and service. He furnishes and directs her with various gifts, both hierarchical and charismatic, and adorns her with the fruits of his grace (cf Eph. 4:11-12; 1 Cor. 12:4; Gal. 5:22). By the power of the Gospel he makes the Church grow, perpetually renews her and leads her to perfect union with her Spouse’(#25).”
“For we know that it [Vatican Council II] was in a special way an ‘ecclesiological’ Council: a Council on the theme of the Church. At the same time, the teaching of this Council is essentially ‘pneumatological’: it is permeated by the truth about the Holy Spirit, as the soul of the Church. We can say that in its rich variety of teaching the Second Vatican Council contains precisely all that ‘the Spirit says to the Churches’ with regard to the present phase of the history of salvation…. In a certain sense, the Council has made the Spirit newly ‘present’ in our difficult age. In the light of this conviction one grasps more clearly the great importance of all the initiatives aimed at implementing the Second Vatican Council, its teaching and its pastoral and ecumenical thrust…. This work being done by the Church for the testing and bringing together of the salvific fruits of the Spirit bestowed in the Council is something indispensable. For this purpose one must learn how to ‘discern’ them carefully from everything that may instead come originally from the ‘prince of this world.’ This discernment in implementing the Council’s work is especially necessary in view of the fact that the Council opened itself widely to the contemporary world, as is clearly seen from the important Conciliar Constitutions Gaudium et Spes and Lumen Gentium.”(#26).”
That the Second Vatican Council “opened itself widely to the contemporary world” cannot be questioned. That the World, the Flesh, and the Devil have taken tremendous advantage of this “opening”, and are now ravaging the Church, should also now be obvious to everyone. In light of the current state of the Church, John Paul II’s proposition that “the Council has made the Spirit newly ‘present’ in our difficult age” would seem to be the cruelest of delusions.
We are therefore left with the following question. If the Holy Spirit is truly present to the Church as “rivers of flowing water”, then what has happened within the hearts and minds of the faithful, both hierarchy and laity, which is preventing these graces from bearing fruit?
In several articles we have explored the descent of the Church into the world of the flesh over recent decades. In our article on the First Sorrowful Mystery, for instance, we offered statistics which indicate the extent to which such descent into the world of the flesh has led over 80 % of Catholics to denial of at least one of the Church’s moral doctrines on such things as abortion, contraception, divorce and re-marriage, and homosexuality, and which has almost certainly culminated in the fact that the vast majority of communicants receive Our Lord in objective sacrilege. And in several articles, we have explored the primary causative factor in this descent: the abandonment of the Christian life of simplicity and poverty towards all the things in this world, which according to the Gospel is the foundation of all growth in the spiritual life. As Our Lord declares, “You cannot serve God and mammon.” Mt. 6:24).
However, the road between the human mind and the flesh is a two-way street. Just as immersion in the world of the flesh can rise up to poison the mind, and therefore also our faith, so also can errors of the mind, and therefore also errors of our faith, cause us to plummet into the world of the flesh. Above all is this true in regard to the Church’s infallible teaching on the Eucharist. Vatican II’s Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests (#5) states:
“But the other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate are bound up with the Eucharist and are directed towards it. For in the most blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself our Pasch and the living bread which is given life and gives life through the Holy Spirit.”
If our faith in regard to the Eucharist becomes poisoned, then everything else in the Church – all the other sacraments and all the ministries and works of the apostolate – enter upon a path of falsification, perversion, and eventual death. Polls indicate that large numbers of Catholics do not believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist (without even considering whether or not they believe in the infallibly defined doctrine of Transubstantiation). Our Lord asked His disciples the following question: “But yet the Son of man, when He cometh, shall He find, think you, faith on earth?” (Luke 18: 8). This should now present itself to us as a question to be taken very seriously. 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.” (1 Cor. 11: 27-29).
If we therefore truly seek to understand why the Holy Spirit seems to lie hidden and inoperative in the Church, we would do well to ask what has happened to Catholic faith in the Eucharist. And in so doing, we may well uncover the roots of that loss of simplicity, poverty, unity, Fear of the Lord, and deep devotion to all the revealed truths of our Faith which was the source of that unity possessed by the early Christians, and from which proceeded that power in the Holy Spirit which accomplished the conversion of nations.
And the Light that is in Man
In what is often called the Prologue to the Gospel of St. John, we read, “In Him [Christ] was life, and the life was the light of man.” This entails that there is a certain structure to the consciousness of man which should naturally “leap” in response to supernatural truths when they are revealed to him. A remarkable explanation of this relationship between the Truths of God’s Revelation and the human mind is available to us in the writings of Cardinal Henry Edward Manning. His work, The Glories of the Sacred Heart, contains a chapter titled “Dogma the Source of Devotion.” After quoting Our Lord’s words, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” Cardinal Manning offers the following analysis (selected quotes):
“Now, first of all, let us see what is dogma….It means the precise enunciation of a divine truth, of a divine fact, or of a divine reality fully known, so far as it is the will of God to reveal it, adequately defined in words chosen and sanctioned by a divine authority.”
“Every divine truth or reality, so far as God has been pleased to reveal it to us, casts its perfect outline and image upon the human intelligence. His own mind, in which dwells all truth in all fullness and in all perfection, so far as He has revealed of His truth, is cast upon the surface of our mind, in the same way as the sun casts its own image upon the surface of the water, and the disc of the sun is perfectly reflected from its surface.”
“If when a divine truth is declared to us, our hearts do not turn to it, as the eye turns to the light; if there be not in us an instinctive yearning, which makes us promptly turn to the sound of the divine voice, the fault is in our hearts; for just in proportion as we know the truth we shall be drawn towards it.”
Finally, we cannot resist offering one more marvelous passage taken from Manning’s work, The Four Great Evils of Our Day:
“God, who is the perfect and infinite intelligence – that is, the infinite and perfect reason – created man to His own likeness, and gave him a reasonable intelligence, like His own. As the face in the mirror answers to the face of the beholder, so the intelligence of man answers to the intelligence of God. It is His own likeness.”
None of this of course means that man is born with explicit natural knowledge of God and His Truths. What it does mean is that man is born with an intellectual light within him which is structured in such a way that each moment of his conscious existence encounters realities which point beyond the finite to the Infinite and make it natural for his intelligence to answer to the intelligence of God. For this reason, St. Thomas could write, “Man naturally knows God in all that he knows.”
Loss of faith in the Eucharist is therefore indicative of a more universal poisoning of the human intellect and its God-given capacity to see the necessary existence of a supernatural world, and to respond to the work of the Holy Spirit in the human soul. And just as the Holy Spirit is the “source of Heavenly Water”, and the supernatural grace which reveals the Mysteries of God, so there now exists a Satanic fountain in this world from which flows a river of darkness which is profoundly obscuring and blocking this work of the Holy Spirit in the souls of modern men, and poisoning their natural disposition for receiving the light of supernatural truth into their minds and hearts.
The source of this evil is reductive science. It is such reductive science which is the primary tool of Satan in his war to destroy the God-created light of human intelligence.
Original and Final Sin
In considering what might be called the “collective thinking” of the entire Western world (and beyond), there is no position one can take which elicits more universal disdain than that of being “anti-science.” It immediately calls forth stereotyped images of backwardness, anti-progress, rigidity, and just plain stupidity.
Integral to this world-view is the belief that there is a world of “Science” containing all knowledge of the depths of the physical world, that the human mind has the potential to fully encompass this knowledge, and that it is only in the use of this knowledge that man sins.
It will be our contention here, however, that the scientific weltanschauung (worldview) is integrally constituted by a dominant hubris (pride), which has profoundly altered human consciousness, and constitutes a war against both God and man.
We will explore this subject from three perspectives: 1) in the light of what Scripture has to say in regard to the nature of God’s creation, and the inevitable consequences of man’s attempts to penetrate the nature of God’s “works”; 2) the consequences of original sin upon man’s intellect and will; 3) the overwhelming existential and historical facts concerning the immensely destructive fruits of the scientific enterprise itself.
Before proceeding with this analysis, however, we wish to acknowledge that we may have already alienated some readers. Let us begin, therefore, by offering some very down-to-earth statistics in order to convince the reader of the possibility that there may indeed be a raging fire from which precedes the following smoke.
In the United States, the members of the National Academy of Sciences represent the elite of those on the cutting edge of their corresponding scientific disciplines. Membership is by election only (no applications please), and such membership is considered one of “the highest honors that a scientist can receive.” The total membership is approximately 2,200, with 400 foreign associates. Approximately 200 have received Nobel Prizes.
In the 23 July, 1998 issue of Nature, authors Edward J. Larson and Larry Witham presented the results of a survey of NAS scientists in an article titled Leading Scientists Still Reject God. Their questionnaire duplicated that used by researcher James H. Leuba in his surveys of “leading scientists” in the years 1914 and 1933. The results show in fact that the title of the Nature article understates the significance of their findings – leading scientists do not merely still reject God, but increasingly reject God in what appears to be geometric proportions.
In 1914, “leading scientists” responded with statistics showing that 27.7% believed in a Personal God (“a God in intellectual and affective communication with humankind”). In 1933, this percentage was down to 15%. And, in Larson and Witham’s 1998 study, this belief in a personal God had reached a low of 7.0% (approximately one-fourth of the number found in 1914).
In the words of Larson and Watham, “Disbelief in God [not only a Personal God, but God in any form] and immortality among NAS biological scientists was 65.2% and 69.0%, respectively, and among NAS physical scientists it was 79.0% and 76.3%. Most of the rest were agnostics on both issues, with few believers.” The first sentence of this quote adds another dimension. Obviously, the closer one gets to being the type of scientist (especially physicists) whose pretention is to penetrate to the absolute foundations of physical reality, the less likelihood there is of a belief in God.
We can contrast the above statistics with a Pew Forum survey in 2007 which found 78.4% of Americans professing to be Christians, 4.7% “Other Religions”, and 5.8% identifying themselves as “Unaffiliated Believers” – a total of 88.9% who believe in God.
The contrast revealed here is absolutely stark. Unquestioningly, these statistics (even if we are somewhat skeptical about such polls) reveal that there is something within the scientific enterprise itself which is destructive of faith in God. As we shall see, its destructiveness extends equally to human life and dignity.
We begin with the first perspective mentioned above: the inevitable consequences, from a Biblical perspective, of the scientific enterprise itself.
It is a kind of dogma of modern life that man has the inalienable right, and even responsibility, to the pursuit of unending growth in all the spheres of his secular activity: economic, political (New World Order), scientific knowledge, technological development, etc. Such “unending quest for knowledge and growth” would almost seem to constitute modern man’s definition of his most fundamental dignity. This is fully in accord with the dominant forms of modern philosophy which define him in terms of evolutionary becoming rather than created being.
Such is not the Biblical view, which rather sees such pursuits as wreaking disaster to both individual and society, and to man’s relationship to the Truth of God. The Biblical perspective begins with Original Sin which, according to St. Thomas, was constituted as an intellectual pride by which Adam and Eve sought an intellectual excellence of knowledge independently of God. In the situation of Original Sin, this is described in terms of “knowledge of good and evil.” It is obvious in the light of further Old Testament scriptures, however, that this disorder also extends to the “seeking after an excellence” which would presume to penetrate to the depth of the nature of created things. Thus, we have the following scriptures:
“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.” (Ecclesiasticus 28:5-6).
“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.” (Ecclesiastes 8:17).
“For the works of the Highest only are wonderful, and his works are glorious, secret, and hidden.” (Ecclesiasticus 11:4).
“For great is the power of God alone, and he is honoured by the humble. Seek not the things that are too high for thee, and search not into things above thy ability: but the things that God hath commanded thee, think on them always, and in many of his works be not curious. For it is not necessary for thee to see with thy eyes those things that are hid. In unnecessary matters be not over curious, and in many of his works thou shalt not be inquisitive. For many things are shewn to thee above the understanding of men. And the suspicion of them hath deceived man, and hath detained their minds in vanity.” (Ecclesiasticus 3:21-26).
These scripture passages proscribe any effort by man which attempts to penetrate (or even be inquisitive and curious about) the hidden depths of God’s “works.” It is evident that in these scriptures the word “works” refers to the physical world itself – to all those “works of God that are done under the sun.” There is no allegorical interpretation possible here. We are simply faced with a choice between considering these teachings as divinely revealed truth, or merely the product of primitive and ignorant Old Testament human minds.
The last sentence in the final quote offered above is possibly the most revealing. It speaks both of the disordered motivation (“suspicion”) for such a quest, and it also pegs its consequent fruit (vanity).
The “suspicion” which scripture designates as the source for this “seeking” to understand the depths of God’s works must relate not only to God’s works themselves (their substantial reality, and man’s ability to objectively know them with his ordinary perception), but to the trustworthiness of God Himself as revealed through the substantial reality of His creation. In 1996, a book was published titled The End of Science, written by John Horgan, former senior science writer for Scientific American magazine. In this work, Mr. Horgan interviews over 40 of the top scientists in the world (many of them physicists, and Nobel Prize winners) on the subject of “the end of science,” the ultimate meaning of reality, and whether science can ever hope to penetrate to the depths of reality. What is revealed through these interviews is that none of these men is, in even the remotest fashion, a Christian or a believer in a Personal God. Possibly even more revealing is that they have no epistemology whatsoever. In other words, none have the slightest notion of how it is even remotely possible to equate the findings of their “science” with reality as we perceive it. As the first scriptural passage quoted above states; “When a man hath done, then shall he begin: And when he leaveth off, he shall be at a loss.”
None of these scientists, for instance, have any idea as to how to connect the “scientific” understanding of water – of two atoms of Hydrogen compounded with one of Oxygen, constituted by electrons spinning at comparatively enormous distances around nuclei, with the whole thing being comprised of 99.999999999 % void – to the marvelous substance we know as water. They are, in other worlds, and in the most profound sense, “lost” in a world of suspicion in regard to the substantial reality of God’s creation, and therefore also of God Himself. This is why we often see such scientists flirting with Eastern forms of religion which deny the reality of our perceived world.
Further, the fruit of this “suspicion” is described by the scripture as “detainment” in “vanity.” Vanity is, of course, the same as St. Thomas’ “vainglory.” It is an inordinate desire to manifest one’s own excellence, very similar to that original sin of intellectual pride by which Adam and Eve sought an excellence above their nature, with the only significance difference here being its communitarian nature. The scientist becomes, in other words, a kind of Magi, guardian of an esoteric knowledge obtainable only to the elite, and before whom the multitudes must bow in reverence. The scientist, in other words, becomes the ultimate Gnostic Wise Man. In regard to almost any subject under the sun in our modern world, all that is necessary is for some prominent form of the media to declare “Science says”, and the average person is cowed into acceptance.
The Old Testament proscriptions against such Gnostic-inspired “scientific” pursuits come to fruition in the Beatitudes of the Gospel. The Beatitudes demand a simplicity of life, founded upon humility and poverty of spirit, in the exercise of all of man’s faculties in regard to all the things of this world. It demands, “Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God….” It demands that we “lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven”, and insists on the truth that “where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.” These demands upon us in the ways we live our lives are absolutely necessary in order that the light of our intelligence may be able to rightly perceive both natural and supernatural realities:
“For the light of thy body is thy eye, And if thy eye be single, they whole body shall be lightsome. But if thy eye be evil [double-minded] thy whole body shall be darksome. If then the light that is in thee, be darkness: the darkness itself how great shall it be! No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6).
There is no way in which we can imagine the living of the simplicity and poverty of spirit demanded by the Beatitudes as being in any way compatible with the development of the modern affluence and complexity of the scientific, technological, consumeristic, economic, and political cultures in which we now are immersed and spiritually poisoned.
But it is especially upon the healthy life of our minds that the effective work of the Holy Spirit depends. It is here where science has accomplished its greatest work of destruction. Just as the entire life of the early Christians was centered upon belief, without duplicity, in Our Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist, and received from this source all of its profound vitality in the Holy Spirit, so the reason for the equally profound decay in regard to the ability of the modern Catholic to live his life in the fecundity and power of the Holy Spirit is largely due either to a complete loss of this belief, or to its dilution in minds and hearts living in duplicity with the corrosive poison of a reductive scientific worldview. And all of this betrayal centers upon the Catholic doctrine of Transubstantiation. It is here where we encounter the absolute enmity between the Catholic Faith and reductive science. And it is in understanding the nature and depths of this this enmity that our minds may be cleared of the intellectual poison of modernity,
And the Roots of Catholic Fidelity
What follows will definitely take some intellectual labor on the part of the reader in regard to their faith. It is not a fashionable thing to do in our modern world. We have largely been cowed into the attitude that we are to discipline ourselves with much demanding mental work if we are to become a scientist, a doctor, an engineer, a mechanic, or electrician, but that the world of our Catholic Faith is a world of belief and devotion which does not require this kind of effort. Such sloth in the intellectual realm may be seen as foundational in Satan’s success of “ruining” countless numbers of souls through that “operation of error” which leads to the rise of the Antichrist:
“Whose [Antichrist’s] coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders. And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore, God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying….Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle” (2Thess 2:9-14).
This “operation of error” which causes men to reject the traditions and truths which they have received from God, and “to believe lying”, is also called by St. Paul “the mystery of iniquity” which “already worketh” (2Thess 2:7).” It becomes so intense towards the end of time that Our Lord says that it will have the effect “to deceive (if possible) even the elect (Mt 24:24)”. Our Lord, in fact, poses the question, “But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth (Luke 18:8)?”
We therefore ask the reader to persist (and hopefully read more than once) all that follows.
In its infallible definition of the Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist, The Council of Trent declares:
“If anyone saith that, in the sacred and holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of
the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood – the species only of the bread and wine remaining – which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls transubstantiation; let him be anathema.”
In order to understand what a contradiction this doctrine represents to reductive science, it is worthwhile to consult the enemy himself. The war between scientific reductionism (atomism) and Thomistic metaphysics always comes down to the Catholic dogma of Transubstantiation. This is something little understood by Catholics, but fully comprehended by many of their enemies. Dr. Bernard Pullman, late Professor of Quantum Chemistry at the Sorbonne, wrote the following in his 1998 book The History of the Atom in Human Thought:
“There remains a very specific and quite important disagreement – the most important one in the view of many – dividing Christians and the atomists. It centers on the problem of the Eucharist….As we have seen, the only reality is this theory [Atomic theory, which is the foundation of all modern science] is atoms (and void), and the perception of sense qualities derives solely from the movements of particles, which bring them in contact with our sensory organs and stimulate them. Sense qualities have no independent existence per se. When a substance (bread or wine) disappears, all that is left of these qualities are names. Borrowing the language of Democritus, we might say that they exist only ‘by convention.’ Under these conditions, while sensory effects are produced by atoms, the persistence of these effects in the consecrated wafer implies, of necessity, the persistence of the atoms of the bread. The substance remains, therefore, bread, squarely in contradiction with Church dogma.” (p. 93-95).
The almost universal rejection of Catholicism by “eminent” scientists is therefore not the product of some sort of undefined indifferentism, but rather a very specific necessity of their “science,” which requires rejection of the intellectual contents of Catholic Dogma. And, of course, this rejection is not restricted to the Dogma of Transubstantiation. The Theory of Evolution, for instance, leaves no room for such doctrines as those which posit an original state of Justification for Adam and Eve, the fall of that “Nature” through Original Sin, restoration through Sanctifying Grace, and all the rest of Catholic doctrine which so profoundly relies on the concepts of substantial being and nature, as being distinct from accidental being.
For now, however, we shall focus on the absolute opposition which exists between the theory of reductive “Atomism” and the Catholic Dogma of Transubstantiation. We need point out from the beginning of our discussion concerning this subject that it makes little difference whether one makes the ultimate constituents of all physical things to be atoms, sub-atomic particles, quanta, superstrings, or whatever. In all of these instances, we are dealing with a theory which reduces physical realities to quantification or measurement (at least theoretically). In other words, we face a worldview which reduces everything which exists and happens in this world to a causation which is this world itself. It is a world that is totally self-enclosed, self-caused, and self-explainable. This is diametrically opposed to the Catholic worldview, which sees God not only as having created everything from nothing, but which sees everything in this world as being sustained every moment of its existence by this same creative power of God
We also realize that we have already used two “metaphysical” terms in the definition of the Council of Trent which might pose a threat for some readers: “substance” and “species” (or, as they are more commonly called: “accidents” – which is the term we will employ for the rest of this article). This need not be so, since these terms are simply time-honored terms of genuine Catholic philosophy which, as we intend to show, embody very common-sense concepts of our understanding of reality And what is equally important, since these terms are used in this Dogma in such a way as to apply to how bread and wine are composed as physical substances, what these terms signify must also apply to all physical things in their physical constitution. It is here, in its understanding of all physical reality, and in its understanding of the nature of every physical thing created by God from nothing (the Catholic Dogma Creation Ex Nihilo), where the Catholic Faith stands opposed to the whole world. And it is here where, as we shall see, the vast majority of Catholic minds and hearts (as well as the minds and hearts of virtually everyone else in the civilized world) have been invaded by a poison which is always in the process of eating away at the substantial foundations of their faith.
The word “metaphysics” is the third term which might be intimidating. Most people probably tend to go “blank” when this term is mentioned, and view it as a sort of undefined realm where philosophers deposit things they do not understand. They would certainly believe that it has little or nothing to do with the real physical world. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Metaphysics is the most rigorous of sciences. It deals with the foundations of the substantial reality of all the real world around us.
Metaphysics is defined as the “science of being, considered simply as being”. The word itself is a composition derived from two Greek roots: meta, meaning “beyond” or “after”; and physika, meaning “physical.” But its actual meaning is derived from Aristotle’s philosophical works. After treating of “Physics” – the analyzable and quantifiable aspects of physical things – Aristotle went on to treat of the deeper realities of things (including physical things) which take us beyond quantification and measurement, and therefore beyond all the various analytical empirical sciences. The word “metaphysics” literally means, therefore, “beyond physics.” However, we must be very clear from the beginning of our inquiry that this does not at all mean that metaphysics deals exclusively with things that are beyond the “physical.” In fact we shall begin by stating this primary principle: From the standpoint of the philosopher, if one does not understand the metaphysical being of created things, one is incapable of understanding the substantial nature of any created substance whatsoever. We have already seen this to be true in our examination of John Horgan’s book, The End of Science.
The first thing we need to know about metaphysics, therefore, is that the word itself is dedicated to a science which establishes the truth that no physical substance is reducible to analysis by any physical science. In other words, there is something “beyond” analytical physics, chemistry, etc. in the very composition of every physical substance itself.
Such a notion should be immediately thrilling to any Catholic, and provide a very strong incentive to look into this subject further. The very idea that there is something “transcendent” (in the sense of “transcending” physical analysis and quantification) as the defining essence of every created substance shatters all scientific reductionism and opens up our entire world to the presence of the supernatural. It restores divine poetry (and every other true form of beauty and goodness) to the world. Metaphysics is, in other words, the gateway to the supernatural. It is the gateway to the good, the beautiful, and the true. I therefore ask some patience from the reader while we explore the various steps in this metaphysical journey.
Finally, it might well be a temptation for the reader to pose the question: “Why should we need all this ‘metaphysics stuff’?” After all, for the first 1,200 years of Christianity, the Catholic world did just fine without Thomistic metaphysics. Peter and Paul and the rest of the apostles converted whole nations without it, and we have already admitted that work of the Holy Spirit was much more effective through them than it is now.
In answer to this objection, we only need to point out that the minds and hearts of the people during these centuries had not been assaulted by the reductive scientific thinking with which our modern minds and hearts are poisoned. The world was not a closed-in, materialistic, scientifically explainable, self-caused place. It was full of mystery. This is precisely why paganism was rampant. The very trees, mountains, rivers, and animals, for these people, were inhabited by other-worldly spirits. They were contaminated with superstition and sometimes immense evil, but their minds were open to the supernatural. At the very least, they possessed enough sense of reality to know that their idols could not lie in the reductive constructs of their own materialistic minds.
It is to Thomistic metaphysics that we must turn in order to free us from both the materialism of modern reductive science, and the Paganism which has now re-emerged with vengeance as a reaction to the suffocating spiritual vacuum which has been the over-riding fruit of the scientific enterprise.
And the Restoration of the Supernatural
It has often been said that the Church embraces no particular philosophy as her own. This is absolutely false. Pope Pius XI, in his encyclical on St. Thomas titled Studiorum Ducem, wrote:
“We so heartily approve the magnificent tribute of praise bestowed upon this most divine genius that We consider that Thomas should be called not only the Angelic, but also the Common or Universal Doctor of the Church; for the Church has adopted his philosophy for her own.
And Pope St. Pius X, in his encyclical on the Angelic Doctor, wrote:
“We therefore desired that all teachers of philosophy and sacred theology should be warned that if they deviate so much as a step, in metaphysics especially, from Aquinas, they exposed themselves to grave risk.” (Pius X, Doctoris Angelici).
The Council of Trent’s definition of the doctrine of Transubstantiation is taken almost verbatim from Thomas’ writing on this subject (ST. III, Q. 75, A.4). In his encyclical Aeterni Patris (On the Restoration of Christian Philosophy, 1879), Pope Leo XIII wrote the following:
“The ecumenical councils, also, where blossoms the flower of all earthly wisdom, have always been careful to hold Thomas Aquinas in singular honor. In the Councils of Lyons , Vienna [1311-1313], Florence , and the Vatican [1869-1870] one might almost say that Thomas took part and presided over the deliberations and decrees of the Fathers, contending against the errors of the Greeks, of heretics and rationalists, with invincible force and with the happiest results. But the chief and special glory of Thomas, one which he has shared with none of the Catholic Doctors, is that the Fathers of Trent [1545-1563] made it part of the order of conclave to lay upon the altar, together with sacred Scripture and the decrees of the supreme Pontiffs, the Summa of Thomas Aquinas, whence to seek counsel, reason, and inspiration.” (22).
There is therefore no question but that the metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas is absolutely integral to the Church’s Dogma of Transubstantiation.
As we have seen, it is this doctrine which is the great sign of contradiction to modern science and scientists. And it is the metaphysical distinction between “substance” and “accidents” (or “species”) which is at the heart of this conflict.
Both Aristotle and St. Thomas establish that there exist ten fundamental categories of being: one category of substantial being, and nine categories of accidental being..
Substance is a reality which is “suited to exist as itself, and not as the mark, determinant, or characteristic of some other thing.” We can immediately perceive that there is only one category of substance since all those things which we consider as substance fit under this definition.
Accidents, on the other hand, are realities “which are not suited to exist as themselves, but exist as the mark, determinant, modification, or characteristic of some other thing, and ultimately of a substance.” There are nine categories of accidents: quantity, quality, relation, action, passion, place, time, posture, habit. We can now see why we must be very careful to distinguish scholastic usage of the word “accidents” from its modern English connotations. Accidents are real being, and are not something to be considered “accidental”, unimportant, or non-essential to our understanding of created things. Accidents are said to inhere in substance. Substance is said to “stand under” the accidents of which it is the subject.
If this seems to be getting too complicated, then we should realize that what Aristotle and St. Thomas have put into philosophical terminology is simply common sense. We know that somehow the mature tree possesses identity with the seed or seedling, despite the fact that there have been innumerable “accidental” but very real changes in its being. The only way of explaining this “substantial” identity in the midst of all this change is to philosophically and scientifically posit this distinction between substantial and accidental being. Without this distinction the whole concept of substantial reality is lost, not only to science, but also to simple human experience and values. All notion of substantial reality becomes lost in the ever present reality of change.
At the same time, this real distinction between accidental and substantial being is equally important for us to explain change in the midst of permanence. This is a philosophical problem which paralyzed much of Greek Philosophical thinking up to Aristotle. Such philosophers as Xenophanes, Parmenides, and Zeno taught that all change was an illusion (only immutable Being was real – shades of philosophical Hinduism)), while the philosopher Heraclitus taught the equally absurd doctrine that only change was real – there is no stability or substantiality to anything.
This problem with explaining the relationship between substantial permanence and real change does not, however, reach to the depths of the folly of pre-Aristotelian Greek philosophy. What this philosophy effected was a profound intellectual and spiritual disorder within the soul of Western man, a disorder which has plagued Christianity throughout its 2,000 year history, and which can now be seen to be very much a cause and precursor of modern reductive science. Therefore, it will be much to our advantage to spend some time in examination of this disorder in order to facilitate understanding of its Thomistic remedy.
The Greek Perversion
It is part of the intellectual accoutrement of every American school boy and girl that much of what constitutes the modern values which we hold most dear – freedom, democracy, the primacy of respect due to the individual rather than the collective, and the real beginnings of what we recognize as rational thought and philosophy – began with the Greeks. Somehow, according to this popular perspective, it all boils down to the idea that what we owe to the Greeks is some deep internal change within the mind and heart of man by which science began its long march of triumph over superstition.
All serious historians of science and its affects upon modern thought conclude that it all began with the “Greek miracle” over 2500 years ago, specifically with the philosopher Thales and the Milesian School . It is quite wrong to place these early Greek philosophers in a category which only perceives their errors and naivety. What began with them was something radically new and different. It consisted in a proposal to the human spirit that truth was to be found only in that which human reason could discover and confirm. Daniel-Rops put it this way:
“Athens and Jerusalem are the epitome of two contradictory attitudes of the spirit: one calls only on the intellect for an explanation of the world, of life, and of man, while the other relies exclusively on faith to reach the same ultimate goal. In the fifth century B.C., these two paths are pursued independently, totally oblivious to each other. They will eventually collide…; the ultimate showdown was to build up through a lengthy journey across history.”
All of this is true enough. Yet, this explanation does not truly penetrate to the real depths of what its admirers call the “Greek Miracle,” but which in fact is more appropriately called the “Greek Inversion” (which is at the same time a profound perversion).
Virtually all of the early Greek philosophers practiced one form or another of a very strange scientific reductionism. Imagine, for instance, gazing at two very different things standing next to one another – let us say, the extraordinary thing that is a fully flowering peach tree and a very large boulder – and concluding that the substantial natures of both of these things are reducible to water. You would then have the “science” of the Greek philosopher Thales. Or, picture a large substantial thing called an elephant, and imagine that its substance is entirely reducible to air, and you would have the science of Anaximenes. Finally, but certainly not exhausting the list, imagine that all things, including water and ice, are reducible to fire, and you have the Greek Perversion as practiced by Heraclitus.
Now, we should realize that something truly extraordinary and perverted has happened to the intellectual soul of man in order for him to do such a thing – something on the scale of that original perversion and inversion by which Adam and Eve attempted to become “like gods” in replacing God as the source of the knowledge of good and evil. The one thing which we should notice that all of these “sciences” have in common is their philosophical monism – the reduction of everything in the universe to a unity of one material substance. The interesting thing is that each of these gentlemen also considered their “One” divine. Heraclitus even identified his “fire” with “logos” – the divine principle of reason in the universe. It is no wonder, therefore, that modern scientists are in pursuit of finding what many call the “God-particle”. All of this would indeed seem to be the ultimate form of that idolatry described by St. Paul in Romans 1, in which man “changed the glory of the incorruptible God” into the likeness of created things. The significant difference, however, is that these new objects of man’s “glorification” are not the idols of birds, beasts, and snakes which we associate with the Old Testament concept of idolatry, but rather idols concocted of his own ideas, conceptualizations, and quantifications. Idolatry, in other words, has been fully internalized, and in this process the entire cosmos has been inverted.
The roots of this fundament inversion – this turning of everything upside down – lie in what might be called a fundamental “philosophical idolatry”: the identification of accidental reality with substance. This might at first be a little difficult to see. Water, for instance, is not an accident, but rather a real substance. But science (or the reductive philosophy that accompanies it) never knows water as water, just as it never knows man as man or atom as atom. If Thales had really known water as water he would never have tried to make it into a peach tree or a boulder. Science can only know the quantification (and the other 8 categories of accidental being) of a thing. Pythagoras, because of this inbuilt reality of the scientific method, even went so far as making “number” the substantial essence of all things. But in identifying the “scientific” analysis of accidents of things with their substantial nature – whether those accidents are of water, air, fire, number, or atoms – and in identifying the accidents of any one of these substances as the unitary substance behind all created reality, reality is perfectly inverted. Such “science” makes accidents into substance, and turns real substance into an accidental appearance for which we have no explanation except the subjectivity of our own minds. Thus we end up in that philosophical idealism which will plague Western man from Plato through all the nightmare of relatively modern Western Philosophy – from the Nominalism of Ockham to contemporary Phenomenalism.
This whole tradition of reductive analytical science can be viewed as sort of a “diabolical transubstantiation.” After engaging in such analysis, as we have noted, the products of accidental analysis remain as the real substance, and our normal perception of substantial reality is reduced to “appearances.” Analytical science then becomes the perfect Anagram of reality, in which the “word” or “logos” of God’s creation is perfectly inverted, turned upside down, and read backward. We may therefore see the “Greek Miracle” and scientific reductionism as germinating from the same force which draws a Man to say the Mass backward or invert a Crucifix.
In other words, what is effected by the Greek Perversion is not, as postulated by Daniel-Rops, merely a substitution of rational knowledge for faith. Rather, what occurs is the most profound perversion of the inner consciousness and intellect (and thus “rationality” itself) of man at a level which is bound eventually to destroy any possibility of faith in God. This, of course, is Satan’s Master Plan. He desires not only the destruction of myriads of individual souls, but also that final alteration of human consciousness which makes it impossible not only to believe in God, but even to desire Him.
In the ancient Greek world, this reductionism reached its pinnacle in the Atomism of Leucippus, Democritus and, most of all, Epicurus, who formulated a logical structure to the theory of Atomism which would remain practically unchanged for the next 2,000 years. With Atomism, philosophical Idealism is in a very real sense completed. Substance becomes totally invisible and unrelated to normal human perception, objective reality ceases to exist as something graspable by the human intellect, subjectivity and idealism triumph, and, matter replaces God as being eternal and infinite.
With some notable exceptions, Atomism was suppressed in the West by Christian realism and the power of the Church from the 1st century AD until the time of the Renaissance. Since the Renaissance consisted largely of the “reawakening” of Greek and Roman culture and thought, the reemergence of Atomism was bound to happen. It exploded upon the scene at the very beginning of the Renaissance in the person of William of Ockham. The great significance of Ockham is that his Atomism was united to his Nominalism, and thus constituted a specific attack upon the metaphysics of St. Thomas. From that point we can gaze upon an ever-increasing tide of Atomism engulfing the West – people like Bruno, Bacon, Galileo, Gassendi, Descartes, and onward through all the empiricists, phenomenologists, etc. We must also include Luther among the Nominalists – he was educated at the University of Erfurt, which was under the control of professors who were Nominalists. Luther himself detested Thomism and opted for the Nominalism of Ockham, which denied the minds ability to grasp universals and the substantial forms of real things.
The immediate victim of the Greek Inversion is the epistemological (epistemology is the branch of philosophy which deals with how we know things, and with the validity of our knowledge) health of man’s mind itself. To convince a man that what he ordinarily perceives as substantive is only subjective, and that what is truly substantive are the reductive formulations, particles, or waves of scientific analysis is to destroy the reliability and objectivity of all of man’s perception and knowledge. The ultimate victim, however, of this intellectual nightmare is faith and trust in God Himself. If God created man to see delusions, then the ultimate delusion must be the trustworthiness of God Himself and His Revelation.
What began as ambrosia for wooly-headed philosophers 2500 years ago is now the daily bread of our children. Every child in the public educational system of this country is taught a reductive scientism which produces in them a state of epistemological schizophrenia. And since one can only will on the basis of what one knows, this also results in increasingly widespread moral inversion and perversion.
If we wish to know why we have with us the wholesale destruction of what was once Christian civilization; if we wish to know why we now have the murders of millions of the unborn every year, wholesale pornography, child-abuse (and yes, priestly pedophilia), rampant homosexuality, children murdering their fellow students and teachers in school shootings, the drug problem, increased suicide rates, a vast loss of civil courtesy and honesty, the virtual total loss of all public morality, and an endless list of other evils, we need only to look at the common link that connects all these evils. Human beings and societies have simply lost that basic spirituality and rationality founded upon belief in the substantial reality of man’s natural perception, which in turn has profoundly undermined man’s ability to believe in any notion of objective, absolute Truth. Consequently, they have also lost the moral will capable of following through upon what the mind perceives to be absolutely true. This loss of mind and will is the absolutely logical fruit of a worldwide scientific “ambience” which reduces all of creation and all human beings and their activities to blind material forces. Nothing is absolute, nothing is substantial, and the human heart and mind react with confusion, despair, irrationality, perversion, and violence.
The Thomistic Remedy
The Greek perversion has as its root cause one fundamental metaphysical error: belief that the nature of substance is quantifiable by the human mind. It was the genius of Aristotle and St. Thomas to see that this is not the case. But such a conclusion should not have taken genius. It is really a matter of common sense. The notion, for instance, that the marvelous substance which we call water could in any way be equated with, or reduced to, a particular atomic structure is absolutely absurd. There is simply no reasonable way that the human mind can equate electrons, spinning at comparatively immense distances around protons and neutrons, with what it knows as the substance water.
But there remains one more level to be explored in our attempt to understand the metaphysical constitution of created, material substances. The proper distinction between substantial and accidental being, while freeing us from the absurdity of trying to equate substance with the end results of quantification or measurement, does not yet reveal to us what substance is in itself. It does not reach to the depths of the reality constituted by physical things. It therefore remains for us to look more deeply into the reality of substance itself.
The Thomistic-Aristotelian term which explains the nature of substance is hylemorphism, this word being composed of two Greek words (hyle and morphe), meaning matter and form respectively. In scholastic terminology, we would say that any physical substance is the union of primal matter with substantial form. The philosopher Paul Glenn offers an explanation of these two principles of any physical substance:
“Now all bodies – solid, liquid, gaseous, living, non-living – are at one in this point: they are bodies. There is something, therefore, in all bodies, some substratum, some substantial principle, which is common to them: it makes bodies. There is also in bodies something substantial which distinguishes them into different species or essential kinds of bodies. By reason of the first substantial principle each body is a body; by reason of the second substantial principle each body is this essential kind of body. The first substantial principle is called Prime Matter; the second is called Substantial Form.” (The History of Philosophy, p. 90-91).
There is a point to be made here which is absolutely crucial to our discussion concerning the nature of all created things. The reader will remember that in the Aristotelian-Thomistic scheme of things there are only ten categories of being – one of substance and nine of accidents. We are now at the point of analyzing physical substance itself. We are therefore ontologically (or “metaphysically) “below” or “previous” to any category of being. Substantial Form and Prime Matter are not to be considered as in any way independent being, or as in any way “existents” previous to their union in some particular substance. Substantial Form and Primary Matter, while being totally real and necessary to our understanding of the nature of any physical thing, and of God’s creative action, are not in themselves to be considered any sort of being. They are, in the terminology of St. Thomas, principles of being. We might colloquially say, “It is how God works in His creation of things from nothing.”
And yet we know that these principles of being are absolutely necessary to our understanding of any physical thing. It is our everyday experience that when we encounter any substantial thing, we are face to face with something that must have a form which makes it what it is and not something else. A cow is a cow, and not a man or molecule of water, or a banana. Yet this form is not identifiable with anything (including atomic structure) that we can quantify, or with any of the other accidental categories of being. Nor is the problem solved by postulating any particular arrangement (the category of relation) of atoms, such as the DNA arrangements in respect to human beings. In this particular case we are still left with the reduction of the extraordinary substance that we know as a human being to the absurdity which we have already examined in our treatment of atoms and molecules. No amount of complexity of relationships involving structures which involve 99.999999999 % void can be equated with the substantial world around us.
At the same time, we also encounter the fact that this thing is “material”, and that the form itself would not exist without being informed in matter. It is therefore integral to all our knowledge of created, physical things that these two principles of being are real. And since these principles cannot be categorized as any sort of existent being, it is at this point that any created substance devolves upon God’s creation of all things from nothing. It is here that the human intellect hovers over what scripture refers to as the glorious, mysterious, hidden, and secret work of God. We must be clear, however, that these two principles of created being are not in any way to be identified with God’s Being. They are the first principles of being encountered by the human intellect within creation itself. They are fundamental principles in God’s creative action.
With these two principles, we also stand at the source of all integrity and truth in philosophical knowledge. We are at that point where the human mind assents to two truths which are absolutely essential to both human and divine integrity. These two truths are:1) that every created substance is what it is simply because God willed its creation, as such, out of nothing and, 2) that God is absolutely distinct from all created reality. These two truths are encapsulated in one absolutely defined dogma of the Catholic Faith: Creation ex nihilo. It is here where we stand upon the foundation of all true knowledge of both God and all of His Creation.
It is this wondrous, mysterious, and hidden point that human hubris finds so difficult to leave alone. There can be no creation ex nihilo if these two principles of being are denied and yet it is astounding the extent to which Christian philosophers of all sorts of stamps and denominations, who would never have admitted to denying the doctrine of God’s creation from nothing, have violated this point in their metaphysics.
Reductive science is the most destructive heresy of our times. But it is more than a heresy. It an ambience, a poisoned atmosphere, which modern man takes in with virtually every breath. This poison convinces modern man not only that material realities are reducible to accidental and quantifiable being, but it also creates that intellectual poison which convinces him that he himself is reducible to accidental properties – that his love is reducible to hormonal reactions; his aspirations for truth reducible to conditioned responses; his belief in God a neurological reaction to fear and uncertainty.
But its most destructive effect is that it eliminates that fundamental mysteriousness about life and creation which leads a person to think about and hunger after God. It suffocates the work of the Holy Spirit. This is why there is now so much indifference towards God. And this is also why, despite all the scientific and technological advance of our time, man becomes more and more confused not only as to his own nature, but also as to the nature of the smallest substance. It is not that analytical science is intrinsically evil, but rather that it is intrinsically superficial (and yet enormously seductive to the fallen human mind) simply because quantitative analysis can never touch or understand the nature of any substance created by God out of nothing.
This is the world that science has built, and it is the world which now faces a decay and dissolution which will make any previous holocaust appear miniscule. The “scientific” experiments of Communism and Nazism are only mild precursors and foreshadowers of what is yet to come unless the hold is broken upon this “Brave New Scientific World,” and we return to a truly Christian civilization, which achieved perfection of intellectual expression in the great synthesis of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Science: The Engine of Destruction
One of the great, collective delusions of both the so-called “conservative” and “traditional” Catholic worlds is the prevalent view that the accomplishments of the West in regard to science, technology, etc. are the glorious fruits of Catholicism, and its embrace of rationality as the handmaid of Faith and Revelation. Few seem to even consider the possibility that true Catholic rationality demands a profound poverty of spirit in relation to any scientific endeavor, a devotion to both material and intellectual humility, and a commitment to material and technological asceticism, etc. No one seems to consider, in other words, that the “Goddess of Reason” which Western Culture has embraced, with its scientific and technological revolutions, represents a profound decay in Catholic civilization. It represents the “worm within”, which has caused the profound destruction of the Christian world which is now upon us. It is not a true reflection of the Holy Spirit of Wisdom, but rather the offspring of that original sin which also sought a knowledge which was prostitute to the temptation of Satan to be “like Gods.”
All this brings us to the third point mentioned above: that the scientific enterprise has predominantly been employed for destruction– in war against both man and God.
There are several good books which delineate the unholy marriage between scientists and mass slaughter of human beings down through history. Possible the best is titled Science Goes to War: The Search for the Ultimate Weapon, from Greek Fire to Star Wars, by Ernest Volkman. It represents a fascinating and terrifying exploration of the degree to which science and scientists, over thousands of years of human history, have been the concubines of the god of War. The Twentieth Century represented, of course, the great zenith of this holocaust conducted by science and “scientific materialism” (which, appropriately, was an often-used name for Communism) against human dignity. The list of such scientific achievements in the torture and murder of human beings during the last century is almost endless.
But it has been so, to varying extents, from the beginning. Let us take, for instance, the example of Alexander the Great, considered by many to be the greatest conqueror of all time. Alexander the Great is famous for establishing the great Library in Alexandria, Egypt. But what is little known is that this Library was actually part of the Museion which, in the words of Volkman, was centered upon the creation of “the penultimate scientific research institute that would join Western and Eastern science in an effort to solve all practical problems of running the Greek Empire and ensuring that it remained supreme over all possible competitors. Its mandate included engineering, navigation, astronomy, geography, road-building, determining land boundaries – and the machines of war….All living expenses of the scientists working at the Museion were underwritten by the state. They learned that they could hardly think of a line of research that would not be funded if it had anything to do with benefitting the state [and especially improving the engines of war], there was a certain guarantee that the state would throw money at it.”
And, it has been the same ever since. Scientific research and the development of its technology always demands an immense amount of money and resources, and the State supplies. Political power- Money- Science-War – these are the Four Horses of the War against Man and Human Dignity. As Heraclitus said, “War is the Father of all things.”
Inevitably, and even right from the beginning, this war against man evolved into a War against God. Scientific reductionism, as we have seen, immerses the human mind in accidental analysis, which inevitably creates the poisoned world-view which identifies substantial reality with the fruits of such reductive analysis. And since accidental being is the basis of all change, then Being becomes identified with Becoming, and God as an Immutable Being must die. Man thus loses his moorings in both the substantial being of created things and in his relationship to the Absolute Being of God. He becomes lost in phenomena. As a philosopher in the modern world he is forced into Nominalism, Empricism, Kantianism, Phenomenalism, Personalism, Modernism, or any of a host of idealistic and subjectivist philosophies by which man is forced to retreat into himself, and away from objective, absolute truth. And this spiritual retreat also necessarily devolves into rejection of any belief in an immutable Natural Law.
All this came home to roost in the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Virtually no “serious” philosopher or scientist could hold to Thomistic metaphysics. And if they stayed in the Catholic Church during the 16th or 17th centuries it was usually more from fear of being burned at the stake than because of any faith they still possessed.
Let us briefly look at four famous scientists who, it is often claimed, were “deeply religious men.” We will begin with Galileo.
Scientists will often attempt to dismiss Catholicism using what could be called a “polemical shortcut” – arguing that they cannot have anything to do with a Church that once condemned Galileo and his heliocentrism. As a consequence, an immense volume of Catholic literature and apologetics has issued forth from Catholic pens attempting to justify the Church’s condemnation, make excuses for it, or apologize for it. Such authors fail to comprehend the much deeper issues at stake here in regard to science and faith. Nor do they comprehend the depths of Galileo’s own infidelity.
Recent research in the Vatican archives, resulted in discovery of a document that clearly showed Galileo’s rejection of Transubstantiation. Under the power of his own reductive atomic science, there could no longer exist a real distinction between substance and accidents. It was the contention of Pietro Redondi, in his 1998 book Galileo Heretic, that the real motive for the Holy See’s condemnation of Galileo was his heretical views regarding the Eucharistic Presence, and his rejection of Transubstantiation. Whatever merits one might ascribe to this theory, we cannot deny the almost infinitely greater consequences of such a heresy to the Catholic Faith. Such reductionism in the microcosmic realm, dealing as it does with the very nature of substantial reality itself, is vastly more destructive to Catholic faith than any errors or misunderstandings which might ensue upon rejection of geocentrism. Any honors that the Church now bestows upon Galileo can therefore only be viewed as a self-inflicted wound to Her own integrity.
The delusion endemic among Catholics in regard to the alleged “compatibility of Faith and Science,” is inevitably associated with attempts to offer us instances of “good Catholic scientists.” For instance, in the pre-Vatican II Catholic textbooks for children, Pasteur is often extolled as the premier example of the really great “Catholic” scientist. A serious study of his life, however, reveals that he came to be a modern type of Siger of Brabant, embracing a two-truth epistemological position – one truth for religion and one for science, each in contradiction with the other. Towards the end of his life he quit frequenting the sacraments.
Newton is our third example of a scientist whom Catholic sycophancy has often embraced as a “scientist who believed in God.” Yes, he did believe in God, but it was not our God. Newton was an Arian who totally rejected Christ as God, and considered worship of Christ to be idolatry. For a Catholic to therefore consider him as some sort of spiritual fellow-traveler is simply self-deception.
Finally, we cannot leave this subject without examining the case of Einstein who, in one of his most famous quips, stated, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” He is also credited with quotes about the mysteriousness of the universe requiring intelligence in its origins. But this “intelligence” has nothing to do with a personal God. The following two quotes are from his letters:
“It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”
“I believe in Spinoza’s God [Spinoza was a pure Pantheist] who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings.”
This dissolution of Einstein’s intellectual world extended to his moral life, which included divorce and remarriage, abandonment of two of his children (the first, which was conceived illegitimately before his first marriage, to adoption; the second to a sanatorium), and “serial” sexual affairs and adulteries. In The World As I See It, Einstein wrote: “There is nothing divine about morality; it is a purely human affair.” He apparently reaped the benefit of such affairs: it was the conclusion of his personal physician that he died of syphilis (see Robert Sungenis’ Galileo Was Wrong, The Church Was Right, Vol. II, p. 40-48 for a more extensive treatment of this subject).
It also should be noted that Einstein’s position in regard to Catholicism proved to be a prophetic anticipation of President Barack Obama’s HHS mandate which would force Catholic institutions to provide health insurance to cover contraception Thus, the following from a 1954 letter:
“I am convinced that some political and social activities and practices of the Catholic organizations are detrimental and even dangerous for the community as a whole, here and everywhere. I mention here only the fight against birth control at a time when overpopulation in various countries has become a serious threat to the health of people and a grave obstacle to any attempt to organize peace on this planet.”
It is time that we stopped being “useful idiots” in the hands of our enemies. Catholics, for centuries, have been like frogs in the slowly warming water of this universal scientific ambience. It is now virtually impossible for them to perceive the obvious historical truth: that virtually no one could be in any sense on the cutting edge of the scientific endeavor, and remain a faithful Catholic. The practice of science is a vortex which almost inevitably drowns the Catholic intellect. Nor is this effect exclusive to only the Grand Poobahs of science. The world hangs on every word and attitude of the Magi of science, and it reflexively (even if more slowly) absorbs the rejection of the Christian Faith which is the necessary consequence of their Gnosticism. And if some particular scientist does attempt to hold to both science and faith, science almost inevitably ends by being the victor in an even more diabolical manner: through subtle or not-so-subtle distortions and dilutions of his faith. Such constitutes the history of the relationship between science and Christianity over the past several-hundred years.
In other words, the War against God which is integral to scientific reductionism goes much deeper than the seemingly inevitable loss of faith of individuals. As I have said, in rejecting Thomistic metaphysics and embracing the fruits of accidental analysis, scientists and philosophers become immersed in a world which replaces the concept of being with that of becoming. They consequently become the Magi and inculcators of Gnostic- evolutionism in every sphere of human thought and belief. And in so doing, they become the declared enemy of all that is Absolute – Revelation, Dogma, the very idea of a fixed human nature, and God Himself. Such Gnosticism is thus the true spiritual descendant of the Museion of Alexander the Great, and the inevitable fruit of the scientific enterprise itself.
The scientific quest which was initiated by original Sin finds its ultimate expression today in the efforts of genetic engineering to totally transform human nature itself. Under an umbrella of associated names and movements – which is probably best designated by the popular term Transhumanism – it promotes goals such as the following: the overcoming of human disease and even mortality, the uploading of human intelligence and moral consciousness into machines and robots, total access to “rewriting” any part of the human genetic code, the synthetic “writing” of an entirely new genetic code, etc. In other words, the “Scientific Enterprise” believes that it is now on the threshold of gaining full control over what is conceived as the evolutionary process itself, and of enabling man to become “like Gods,” – even to the point of creating “post-humans.” This point of radical transformation in human history and evolution has even been given a name: “Singularity.”
We must not make the mistake of believing that all of this resides only in the world of science fiction. The Museion of Alexander the Great finds its logical fruition in Singularity University, named precisely in honor of, and belief in, this radical transformation. The founding of Singularity University was hosted by NASA in 2007. Its facilities are at NASA’s Research Park in the Silicon Valley, CA. Raymond Kurzwell, co-founder of Singularity University was awarded the National Medal of Technology by President Bill Clinton. This is now a main-stream, government-associated agenda.
In looking at the website of Singularity University, one discovers that their oft-repeated mantra is exponential technology, which is, of course, the evolutionary engine by which they expect to transcend the present limitations of humanity. It is clear, even from a purely biographical and historical study of science and scientists, as I have sketched above, that exponential technology effects a corresponding exponential loss of the ability not only to understand the revealed Truths of God, but also Natural Law itself. This makes it to be a Draconian threat to man’s future.
For instance, it was, for many centuries of Christian civilization, a matter of basic moral synderesis concerning the conduct of warfare, embraced by virtually all, that direct killing of innocent civilians was morally unacceptable. In World War I, the civilian casualty rate was 10 %. In World War II, conducted with an exponential growth in science and weaponry, it was 60 %. And lest we are tempted to attribute this loss of basic moral fiber exclusively to Hitler and Nazism, we need only remember Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the fire-storm, phosphorous bombing of civilians in such cities as Tokyo (80,000), Dresden (130,000), Hamburg (80,000), and other German cities, – all this perpetrated by “civilized” western democracies. The civilian casualty rate in all wars conducted since 1980 is now reputed to be 80%. This is just one area which demonstrates that any real, active sense of the natural law diminishes with the growth of science and technology.
In order to provide even more clarity, let us look at the issue of pro-life, specifically from the perspective of the concept of “exponential growth” of human knowledge. In recent decades there has occurred an exponential growth in science and technology in relation to contraception, abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, etc. – everything involved in the destruction of unborn human life. At the same time, however, there has also been an exponential growth in revelation (I won’t say “understanding,” because the “revelation” has been largely rejected) to scientists concerning the facts of embryonic development (think of the models of embryonic development popular with Pro-Life groups or the famous images and genetic information involved in the Carnegie Stages of Human Development). It is abundantly clear from this latter “scientific” knowledge that at all stages of embryonic development the “substantial form” (soul) of a human person is present. Despite this objective knowledge which is rudimentary education for any student of genetics, we know which “exponential” has won – it was not even a real contest. Natural Law, and even obvious scientific “fact,” did not possess a ghost of a chance against the intellectual and moral disintegration which has been accomplished by the engines of science.
We now find ourselves thoroughly ensnared in a world constructed upon the foundation of scientific hubris. Every field of human endeavor – economics, politics, education, communications, recreation, and yes, religion, is enslaved and perverted by the scientific Weltanschauung. There may be little hope for the world – it would seem impossible to conceive a reversal, without total political and economic chaos. The world waxes old, enmeshed in its own sins.
But there is indeed hope for the Church and every individual who will look, see, and be converted. The definitive solution to our present crisis was given to us, in all its clarity, purity, and grace in the Thirteenth Century: through the extraordinary example of simplicity and poverty towards all the things of this world of St. Francis (including his Rule for the Third Order); and the radiant philosophy and theology of St. Thomas. This twofold grace offered a vision of the integrated life of intellect and will (truth and charity) which was to be man’s only solid defense against the rising tide of Renaissance humanism and science that was about to break upon Christian civilization. Both of these gifts from God were almost immediately compromised and distorted by Catholics, and simply denied by the world. We are now bearing the full weight of our betrayal. It is not too late, however, for the Church to revisit and embrace these gifts.
Mary and the Holy Spirit in Our Souls
Our Lord proclaimed, “Amen I say to you, whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter into it.” (Mk. 10:15). It is such spiritual childhood which is necessary for the fruition of the Holy Spirit and His work in our souls.
The Christian world has now waxed old and stinted through centuries of betrayal of the infinite Gifts of Our Lord in His Incarnation, Sacrifice on the Cross, and continued presence with us in the Eucharist. The accumulated “wisdom of this world” which has been absorbed into the collective consciousness of Catholics (and of course the rest of the world) through surrender to the threefold concupiscence of this world – the concupiscence of the flesh, of desire, and pride of life (especially false “science) – has produced a false “adulthood”, and a coarseness of perception in the depths of our hearts and minds which threatens the very nature of man created in the image of God and the innocence of spiritual childhood.
It is a coarseness which, no matter how much human effort we may put forth in order to live the simplicity and poverty demanded by the Beatitudes, or no matter how much we may work at regaining philosophical and theological clarity of vision in line with the teachings of St. Thomas, cannot be restored to the depths of our hearts except through extraordinary spiritual graces. It is for this reason that the last great Gift of God to fallen man is Total Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
It is only within the spiritual womb of Mary’s Immaculate Heart that modern man can be reborn into a childhood of true spiritual vision and holy desire. Mary, being the true Spouse of the Holy Spirit, is the source of all fruitfulness in the Holy Spirit, and it is in Mary’s Immaculate Heart that God has established a storehouse of graces for the End Times. It is here we may receive the grace to truly see with the eyes of faith Our Lord’s Real Presence in the Eucharist. It is here that we may receive the grace to see through creation to God and His ever present action and power. And it is through such spiritual childhood to Mary that we may receive the grace to effectively believe in the truths revealed in the Book of Genesis (please see our article The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion), and all of the Truths revealed through Holy Scripture and the Church’s Infallible Magisterium: “He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.” (Proverbs 8: 35).
Our embrace of, and surrender to, Mary in total consecration is a grace which must be received into our souls and hearts similar to the act of faith itself. It is a refuge which God has prepared for His children when the “operation of error” spoken of by St. Paul has reached such a state of universal presence in this world that the only real choice of man is between surrendering in simplicity to the childhood of God, or embracing the mock maturity of modern man grown old in service to Satan.
Total Consecration to Mary is not, however, only a one-time effort, or even just something that we renew once a year. It is a posture of mind and heart which demands our constant effort. There is a marvelous passage from the Book of Deuteronomy which encapsulates such a “work”:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart: And thou shalt tell them to thy children, and thou shalt meditate upon them sitting in thy house, and walking on thy journey, sleeping and rising. And thou shalt bind them as a sign on thy hand, and they shall be and shall move between thy eyes.” (Deut. 6: 5-8).
Our Lady needs to “move between our eyes” if she is to be truly enabled to change our hearts and minds. A once-per-year St. Louis de Montfort Consecration or the Daily Rosary, while indeed being wonderful practices, would not seem to be enough. We would like to therefore suggest that a constant devotion to the Hail Mary itself is what is needed in order that Our Lady might come to possess our whole soul, and be fully active in transforming our hearts while we are “sitting in thy house”, “walking on thy journey” (or travelling in a car), and “sleeping and rising”.
Each Hail Mary, with the simplest mental act, can be made into both a total act of consecration to Mary and a spiritual communion with Jesus. With the words “Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee”, we recognize Jesus really present within Mary through the Incarnation. With the words “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus”, we enter into Her Immaculate Heart in order to receive Jesus in Spiritual Communion. And in the second part of the Hail Mary – “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen”, we rest in this Communion and resolve never to depart from this Refuge.
Praying a Hail Mary takes less than 20 seconds. It is the golden thread of access to the graces of the Holy Spirit through Mary which can be woven into all the activities of our daily lives.
The Rosary and the Hail Mary have been minimized in the past as “mere” vocal and mentally discursive (meditational) prayer which, so it is said, must be eventually surpassed in order that we may draw nearer to God in truly affective and contemplative prayer. This is a cruel delusion – one that is immensely destructive to souls. There can be nothing more inviting to the operation of the graces of the Holy Spirit in our souls than the simple act of the will by which we continually surrender ourselves in spiritual childhood to Mary in order that we may receive Jesus Christ in the fullness of His grace and truth.
The Second Glorious Mystery:
“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.” (John 16: 7).
The Mystery of the Ascension is rightly viewed as the beginning of the Christian Interior Life.
For three years, the Apostles (all except Paul) walked alongside Jesus. They experienced the light and power of His presence. They heard all his teachings. They witnessed Him walking on water, turning water into wine, countless miraculous healings, raisings of the dead, and multiplication of fishes and loaves. Peter, James, and John even witnessed His Transfiguration. And yet all during this period when God was physically and visibly with them, the Gospel reveals their ignorance, their slowness to believe and understand, their competitiveness with one another, their lack of mercy and quickness to judge others, their abandonment of Jesus in the time of His sorrows and Passion, and their slowness and skepticism in believing in His Resurrection. And even after He appeared to them in the flesh after the Resurrection, they cowered in the Upper Room.
An extraordinarily different group of men burst forth from the Upper Room after Pentecost, and after the Holy Spirit had descended into their souls. The speech of fishermen became eloquent. They preached with power, and in the tongues of all the various nations. They immediately converted thousands. They raised persons from the dead, performed many miracles, and healed the sick. They converted whole nations, while treating persecution, imprisonment, and torture as naught. All of them, except St. John (and it is not because the world didn’t try), were martyred in love for Christ and their fellow man.
Christ came visibly in the flesh in order to accomplish man’s redemption on the Cross. In order that the grace of redemption might bear fruit, however, it was necessary that man be deprived of the Visible God, and baptized into the Invisible: the Interior life of the Holy Spirit. In order for this life to bear fruit, however, it is required that man, in imitation of Christ, die to this world.
As St. John explains, the fundamental fruit of original sin in human nature is a threefold concupiscence: “the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes [desire], and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). The overall effect of this threefold concupiscence is that man tends to take all that he has received from God and “consume it on his concupiscences.” In his fallen nature, he always leans towards taking that which is high and dragging it down into his lower nature, consuming God’s gifts in a thousand subtle and deceptive ways, and transforming them into every conceivable form of self-love. In so doing, he becomes a spiritual adulterer who chooses to become a “friend of this world” at the price of being “an enemy of God,” (James 4: 3-4). It is for this reason that it is not only “expedient” that Christ be not visibly with us, but that He also deprive us of many consolations, and not alleviate many of our sufferings. At the end of Mary of Agreda’s visions concerning the Mystery of the Ascension, Our Lady says to her:
“It is in conformity with the inclinations of His Holy and Perfect Will to regale rather than afflict creatures, to console them rather than cause them sorrow, to reward them rather than to chastise them, to rejoice rather than grieve them. But mortals ignore this Divine Science, because they desire from the hands of the Most High such consolations, delights and rewards, as are earthly and dangerous, and they prefer them to the true and more secure blessings. The Divine Love then corrects this fault by the lessons conveyed in tribulations and punishments. Human nature is slow, coarse and uneducated; and if it is not cultivated and softened, it gives no fruit in season, and on account of its evil inclinations, will never of itself become fit for the most loving and sweet intercourse with The Highest Good. Therefore it must be shaped and reduced by the hammer of adversities, refined in the crucible of tribulation, in order that it may become fit and capable of The Divine gifts and favors and may learn to despise terrestrial and fallacious goods, wherein death is concealed.”
St. Paul writes: “But the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God.” (1Cor. 2:14). And St. James writes: “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners: and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” (James 4:8). What can it mean for God to “draw nigh” unto us except that He answers our prayers and heals our wounds? The work of the Spirit of God within us depends on our not being sensual and double minded. Again, the Apostle James: “You ask, and receive not; because you ask amiss; that you may consume it on your concupiscences.” (Ibid. 4:3).
When, therefore, we consider the present state of the Church – the chaos which exists in relation to such things as the perversions and duplicity of many in the hierarchy, clerical abuse, bad catechetics, widespread denial and perversion of Catholic doctrine – and when we also consider what has seemed to be the ineffectiveness of all our prayers in bringing any sort of solution to this crisis – we should honestly ask ourselves, Why? Pope St. Gregory the Great taught that, “Divine Justice provides Shepherds according to the just desserts of the faithful.” In view of the present crisis among our shepherds, we should therefore logically first ask, “What duplicity, what base sensuality and pride of life, what sort of immersion and attachment to the things of this world, has brought us to such a state that we deserve this sort of punishment and chastisement?
There is a kind of satanic dialectic in the progression of sin in this world which is leading us (and Catholics are very much participants in this dialectic) towards the final ascension of the Antichrist to power. It is similar in many ways to the dialectic which exists in the realm of politics. It might help our understanding of how this dialectical process works if we spend a moment examining this comparison.
One hundred years ago, any Republican who was a Federal representative or senator would have claimed to be “conservative” just as Republicans do now. Back then, this almost universally required a firm public stance against all artificial contraception, against abortion in all cases, against all divorce, against promiscuity, and against homosexuality. The idea of “gay marriage” would have been something so absurd as to not even be a subject for debate. As the world waxed more towards anti-Christian principles in the following decades, the same Republican Party was of course able to continue calling itself “Conservative” (which of course many Catholics equate with “Christian), because the Democratic Party was always two steps ahead of it in its embodiment of the principles of Antichrist. But now we have a Republican Party which is almost universally pro-contraception, weak and divided on abortion (with virtually all members of the senate and congress being pro-abortion in some cases), accepting of divorce, and now increasingly accepting of homosexuality and gay marriage. And yet these members of the senate and congress are still able to call themselves “Conservative”, and even “Christian”. Meanwhile, their leader and President, who claims to be a Christian, proudly proclaims that he has never asked God for forgiveness and has no need to do so.
A very similar process of decay has occurred in Catholic belief and practice. In our article on the First Sorrowful Mystery we quoted all sorts of statistics in regard to current Catholic beliefs concerning abortion, contraception, divorce and remarriage, homosexuality, etc., and reached the conclusion that apparently over 80% of Catholics now receive Holy Communion sacrilegiously.
It is therefore tempting for us whose beliefs remain in accord with the traditional doctrine of the Church on these crucial doctrines and moral teachings to assume the posture of the “remnant” who are faithful to Christ, and therefore hopefully assured of salvation. After all, we can rightly claim that we are guilty of none of these individual mortal sins. And we therefore feel fully justified in pointing our fingers at others – those bad members of the hierarchy, or those Catholics who are in explicit denial of the Catholic Faith and its moral teachings.
The question needs to be asked, however, whether there is not a deeper and more all-pervasive adultery to this world existing even among those of us who might consider ourselves faithful Catholics – an adultery which, while not involving guilt in regard to any one of the mortal “sins of the flesh” mentioned above, nor being guilty of rejection of any doctrine of the Faith, has yet sunk us so deeply into the pleasures, possessions, pretentions, and preoccupations of our modern world so as to have it constitute a form of the most severe duplicity towards God. In other words, we also need to ask whether such duplicity can exist even within the souls of those who might pride themselves on fully accepting all of the Catholic Faith, who attend Mass regularly, pray the Rosary daily and participate in all sorts of Catholic devotional practices, including Eucharistic Adoration. Is it possible that even in the midst of so much Catholicity, our hearts might be far from God, and that this is why our requests and prayers to God go unfulfilled? We quote again the words of St. Paul: “But the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God.” Is it possible that through the dialectical process of cultural decay working upon our minds and hearts over the past decades, and even centuries, we have become so immersed in our lower natures through compromise with the sensuality and affluence of the modern world, that it has become virtually impossible that God should draw nigh to us and answer our prayers?
In order to help us answer this question, we wish to offer here an analysis of just one example of such immersion of Catholics in the sensuality and paganism of the modern world. It involves that event which is surely the largest simultaneous and collective mass-descent of persons in this country (including Catholics) into the crudity, vulgarity, and luxury of man’s lower appetites. It occurs this coming year on February 3, 2019, one day after the next Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church. It is the Super Bowl.
It is estimated that in 2018, 188.5 million adult American viewers of the Super Bowl spent 15.3 billion dollars on this event (National Retail Federation). This expenditure included everything from the tickets, travel, hotel, and other expenses incurred by those who actually attended the game, to home TV- parties, attendance at bars and restaurants, etc. in order to view and party during the game. It does not include the expenses of the event itself. Each 30 second commercial, for instance, cost 5 million dollars, and it is estimated that the insurance alone for the Half-Time event cost 100 million dollars.
None of these statistics touch on what interior states of mind and heart motivate such massive enthusiasm and passion for this event. We leave that up to the self-examination of those who participate. There of course can be nothing spiritually elevating in it. It was the Roman poet Juvenal who said that, in the age of the decline of Roman civilization, the people were kept from revolution by providing them with “bread and circuses”. The word “circus” is defined as a “large, oblong, unroofed enclosure used for performances and contests”.
What we do know with a certain amount of accuracy is that 815 million people in the world will go to bed hungry that same Sunday night, and that the next morning 66 million primary school-age children will attend classes hungry in the so-called “developing world”. It is estimated by the WFP (World Food Program) that it would take 3.2 billion dollars per year to insure that these children were fed. This tallies out to the fact that what is spent by consumers on just one Super Bowl would eliminate hunger for all of these 66 million children for slightly less than 5 years.
We also know from statistics provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that, worldwide, 780 million people do not have access to an improved water source, and that 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation, and that because of these privations, 801,000 children under the age of 5 die from diarrhea each year. Meanwhile, according to Nielsen statistics, Americans spent 1.3 billion dollars on beer and cider, 979 million on soft drinks, and 597 million on wine for consumption during the 2018 Super Bowl.
St. Paul writes, “For if you live according to the flesh, you shall die”. (Romans 8: 13). The Super Bowl, while indeed seeming to represent that event which constitutes the most massive and communal descent of Americans into the world of the flesh, is of course only one example of our profound abandonment of that poverty of spirit (and of the flesh) which is the First of the Beatitudes, and the foundation of all spiritual life. This abandonment of the Christian spirit of poverty exists everywhere in developed countries, and in all the various facets of our lives – in economics, in our massive and suffocating system of usury, in all the various forms of money speculation (including the stock market), in the way we recreate and entertain ourselves, in every sector of advertizing, selling, buying, and consumption, and even in such sacramental occasions such as marriages and funerals. We are as immersed in this anti-Christian spirit as fish are in water.
The Gospel demands simplicity both in regard to our living in this world, and simplicity of intention towards God: “If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome.” (Mt. 6: 22). The Christian interior life can only exist where there is exterior mortification. It may indeed be difficult for any of us to see how we can possibly reverse our present immersion in this world “which is an enemy of God”. However, if we do not set our foot on the path of return it is impossible to believe that God will honor our prayers for purification of the Church, no matter how many Masses we offer, Rosaries we pray, or hours we spend in Adoration Chapels.
We therefore propose as a beginning, that all faithful Catholics absolutely resolve not to participate in any way in the upcoming Super Bowl. We cannot expect Our Lord to answer our prayers as long as we continue to participate in such a thing.
We ask that all Catholics participate in, and promote, the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church on the Feast of the Purification and Presentation, February 2, 2019. We are also asking that people copy off the one-page Handout promoting this event, which is available here: http://rosarytotheinterior.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Handout.pdf, and distribute these at every Catholic venue conceivable – parish churches, Rosary Marches, Catholic Conferences, etc.
In addition, we ask that each person consider the following:
Lord, What Wilt Thou Have Me to Do?
After Our Lord’s Ascension into Heaven, and during the nine days preceding the Descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, Mary and the Apostles and other faithful gathered in the Cenacle in prayer. The following is taken from Mary of Agreda concerning this “Novena”:
“They were so unanimous and united in charity, that during all these days none of them had any thought, affection or inclination contrary to those of the rest. They were of one heart and soul in thought and action…into this holy congregation no discord found entrance, because they were united in prayer, in fasting and in the expectation of the Holy Ghost, who does not seek repose in discordant and unyielding hearts. In order that it may be inferred, how powerful was this union in charity, not only for disposing them toward the reception of the Holy Ghost, but for overcoming and dispersing the evil spirits, I will say: that the demons, who since the death of the Savior had lain prostrate in hell, felt in themselves a new kind of oppression and terror, resulting from the virtues of those assembled in the Cenacle. Although they could not explain it to themselves, they perceived a new terrifying force, emanating from that place, and when they perceived the effects of the doctrine and example of Christ in the behavior of the disciples, they feared the ruin of their dominion.”
Through the grace of God we may also become vessels of this “terrifying force” which is capable of driving the demons from ourselves, and out of the Church. But we must begin with ourselves: “Wherefore, Go out from them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing.” (2 Cor. 6: 17).
It is in such a spirit that we need to prepare for the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church. Providentially, nine days before this event, on January 25, occurs the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. While bathed in the light of Christ, and lying on the ground in confusion and humility, Paul raised his eyes heart to Christ, and said, “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” (Acts 9: 6).
In a world now arrayed against us, and in the midst also of our own personal infidelities, we therefore ask that, in preparation for the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church, all of us pray a Novena of Rosaries beginning on January 25 with this simple prayer as our intention: “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?”
We are convinced that Our Lord does not now expect perfection in order to bless this prayer, and begin the process of our purification. He simply wants us to be honest, and to begin.
The First Glorious Mystery:
“But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand.” (Luke 21: 28)
The Resurrection is the Mystery of our Faith most directly tied to the theological virtue of Hope. St. Paul writes the following:
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, the firsfruits of them that sleep: For by a man came death, and by a man, the resurrection of the dead. And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive. But every one in his own order: the firstfruits Christ, then they that are of Christ, who have believed in his coming. Afterwards the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God and the Father, when he shall have brought to nought all principality, and power, and virtue. For he must reign, until he hath put all his enemies under his feet.” (1 Cor. 15: 19-25).
Through the supernatural gift of faith we know that Christ rose from the dead. The virtue of hope on the other hand, is directed towards the future – towards our own resurrection from the dead, and the Triumph of Christ and His Mystical Body the Church over all His enemies. If we do not firmly possess this hope, then our faith itself is under severe threat. If we lose this hope, then we are bound to become, as St. Paul writes, “of all men most miserable”, for then we have also lost our faith..
During historical periods of chaos and confusion both in the world and the Church, this hope can be tried severely. We therefore must begin by repeating the words of Our Lord quoted above:
“But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand.” (Luke 21: 28).
The above-quoted words of Our Lord were spoken after He had enumerated many of the evils that can befall his faithful followers – both at the end of time, and all those situations and foreshadowings which will prefigure the final confrontation between Christ and Antichrist, and between the City of God and the City of this world.
Jesus begins, appropriately, with a warning against following any of the many false messiahs who will precede His Second Coming: “Take heed you be not seduced; for many will come in my name, saying, I am he; and the time is at hand: go ye not therefore after them.” He then proceeds to enumerate a host of other evils which might indeed, on the natural level, force us to cast our heads downwards in despair and loss of faith: wars between nations and kingdoms; earthquakes, famines, and pestilences; terrors from heaven and other great signs; persecutions; delivering up “to the synagogues and into the prisons”, “dragging before kings and governors”; betrayal by parents, brethren, kinsmen, and friends; being put to death; being hated by all men for His name’s sake. A similar list is offered in Matthew 24.
It matters little whether we choose to apply Our Lord’s words to the Apostles themselves, to the times of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D, to the crisis we now face, or to the time immediately preceding the Final Judgment. Each of these applications is legitimate because the essential truths enumerated herein apply to all generations of Christians: the world necessarily hates Christ and His followers, and will wage unceasing and accelerating war against them until the final confrontation between the Antichrist and Christ.
But it is not necessarily this list of evils, to which the Christian life is subject, which is difficult for us to accept. If we have any knowledge of the Gospel, we must know these things to be inevitable. Rather, it is the “lifting up of our heads” while we are suffering such trials that provides the greatest challenge. Every intense manifestation of the spirit of Antichrist performs its unique seduction upon the faithful of that particular period in human history. It can be easy for us now to place things in perspective that occurred in the past – “How could Judas have been so blind?” – but it can be nigh unto impossible to possess such perspective when a new form of the outpouring of evil is upon us. It can overwhelm us with the sense that what we are now seeing is something entirely new which presents an unsolvable dilemma, that our faith is a chimera, that the Church has failed, and that Christ’s promises have failed. Such is the real work of the spirit of Antichrist down through history, and thus the enormous importance of Our Lord’s words of warning and preparation.
The seduction of this spirit of Antichrist which we now face might seem the most poisonous and insidious in all of Christian history, and therefore presents an enormous temptation not only to despair, but to profound bitterness, loss of charity, schism, and sedevacantism. The following is written, hopefully, as a contribution to strengthen our faith, that we might lift our heads in the midst of the present crisis and rejoice in the promises of Christ and Our Lady.
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 all agreed in seeing “he who now holdeth” to be the Roman Empire and the Caesars who ruled this empire. The Roman Empire represented the force of law (despite all its tyrannies, injustices, and immoralities) which prevented the “man of lawlessness” from ascending to power.
The pagan Roman Empire fell in 476 AD. However, the restraining force of the Roman Empire against “the man of lawlessness” did not cease. This principle of continuity in the history of the Roman Empire was delineated with 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.”
In other words, the “bottom line” behind the rule of law and social order now passed from the realm of physical force into the spiritual realm – the rule of Christian Truth and Charity. This is what built Christian Civilization. And since all of this is a gift of God through His Church, which is built upon the rock of the Papacy, it is the Roman Pontiff who must be seen as the one who “witholdeth” the rise of the Antichrist.
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. The world has already experienced extended Papal interregnums, and these have not provided the conditions necessary for the ascension of Antichrist.
All of this should tell us that what we are dealing with here is the possibility of the interior intellectual and 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 previous articles concerning the philosophy and theology of Joseph Ratzinger, and the words and pastoral policies of Pope Francis. We do not intend to repeat all that here. But there is one quote from Joseph Ratzinger early writings which would seem to epitomize the extent to which the once absolutely certain intellectual and moral force of the Church and the Papacy has been reduced to a small, timid, and virtually inconsequential voice:
“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)”
Can we even begin to imagine any Pope from the time of Peter up until Vatican Council II conceivably making a statement which so reeked of spiritual castration? If this was still the position of Pope Benedict XVI, then it gives ample testimony to a Papacy that was very close to being in that position of philosophical, theological, and moral bankruptcy as to constitute its having been “taken out of the way”.
This bankruptcy has been dramatically accentuated during the Papacy of Francis, not because his philosophical and theological orientation and ideas are much more radical than that of Benedict, but because Francis, unlike Benedict, is a troubadour loudly and crudely acting out these heresies and demonic errors upon the world’s stage. And, contrary to the fantasies of many Traditionalists, it is clear that Benedict approves. At the recent ceremony (June 28, 2016) featuring Pope Francis honoring Benedict on the 65th anniversary of his priesthood, Benedict stated, “Thank you, Holy Father, for your goodness, which from the first moment of your election has struck me every day of my life. We hope that you can go forward with all of us on this path of divine mercy, showing us the path of Jesus, toward Jesus, toward God.” As has been clearly revealed in Pope Francis’s statements and actions during his Papacy, this “path of mercy” is largely constituted by a silence towards Christ’s Truth, which facilitates an inclusiveness towards evil. Pope Benedict’s fulsome embrace of this agenda is proof-positive that his “hermeneutics of continuity” ultimately devolves into a simple prostitution to the evils of this world.
Concerning the “leaven” of the Pharisees, Our Lord said, “For whatsoever things you have spoken in darkness, shall be published in the light: and that which you have spoken in the ear in the chambers, shall be preached on the housetops.” The consequences of what was spoken in the darkness of Joseph Ratzinger’s philosophy and theology are now being shouted, through the words and actions of Pope Francis, from every headline, and carried on every wave of the media. It is a spiritual miasma which penetrates everywhere, and receives from a jubilant world the exclamation, “He is one of us!” – “He has been taken away!”
It is important to admit to ourselves that our present situation is without precedent in the history of the Papacy. The Church has certainly had Popes who were profoundly immoral. It has had Popes who have been wrong in their personal views in regard to some point of doctrine, or who made horrendously bad juridical decisions. But never has it had a Pope who believed that Divine Revelation was itself an evolutionary phenomenon (as does Benedict and, apparently, Francis), and who believes that a bogus mercy trumps Catholic doctrine (as Francis has explicitly expressed), and who loudly and triumphantly proclaims this to be so. We are therefore faced with a situation, which seems to have never been anticipated in all of the sermons and writings of the early Church Fathers (and others down through history) concerning the subject of the Antichrist and his rise to power – that a Pope (or Popes) could become so interiorly corrupted, philosophically and theologically, as to become the cause of his (or their) own being “taken away” as the effective intellectual and moral force which prevents the rise of Antichrist.
We wish to be quite clear in stating here that none of this amounts to predicting the immediate rise of the Antichrist. It has always been acceptable in Christian tradition to view the Second Coming of Christ as immanent, but it has always been folly to claim its immediacy. Our Lady of Fatima prophesied the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart would come first. But it is also true that St. John spoke of “many antichrists” preceding the final “man of lawlessness”, that the spirit of Antichrist has increasingly poisoned and contaminated what might loosely be called the collective and historical consciousness of humanity over the centuries, and that this present infection amounts to a huge step “forward” towards this eventual unfolding of apocalyptic prophesy.
In the latter part of the 19th century, Cardinal Henry Edward Manning gave a series of four lectures titled The Present Crisis of the Holy See: A Warning About Antichrist. While Cardinal Manning did not at all seem to anticipate the present interior crisis of the Papacy (or that such a crisis was possible), he did indeed understand that the “one who holdeth” was the Pope:
“We have now come nearly to a solution of that which I stated in the beginning, namely, how it is that the power which hinders the revelation of the lawless one is not only a person but a system, and not only a system but a person. In one word, it is Christendom and its head; and therefore, in the person of the Vicar of Christ, and in that twofold authority with which, by Divine Providence he has been invested, we see the direct antagonist to the principle of disorder. The lawless one, who knows no law, human or divine, nor obeys any but his own will, has no antagonist on earth more direct than n the Vicar of Jesus Christ….”
Cardinal Manning also offers the following remarkable analysis and metaphor for this process of the historical unfolding of the spirit of Antichrist:
“I shall hope to show hereafter that the antagonism between two persons [between Antichrist and Christ, with the Pope as the latter’s Vicar] is an antagonism also between two societies, and that as our Divine Lord is the Head and Representative of all the truth and justice of the world from the beginning, so Antichrist, be he who or what he may, will be the head and representative of all the falsehood and wrong, which has been accumulating for these 1800 years, in the heresies, schisms, spiritual seditions, intellectual infidelities, social disorders and political revolutions of the anti-Catholic movement of the world.
“Such is the great deep upon which the Christian society of the world is resting. From time to time it has lifted itself up with preternatural power, and has made the Christian order of Europe vibrate and reel. Then again it has seemed to subside into a calm. But no one with any discernment can fail to see that it is deeper, mightier, and more widely spread now [Manning writes this in the year 1861) than ever. That this antichristian power will one day find its head, and for a time prevail in this world, is certain from prophecy. But this cannot be until ‘he who holdeth’ [the Pope] shall be taken out of the way….”
“But such is the state of the world, and to this end we are rapidly advancing. We are told that [Mount] Etna has one hundred and sixty craters, besides the two vast mouths which, joined together, form the immense crater commonly so called; on all its sides it is perforated and honeycombed by channels and by mouths, from which in centuries past the lava has, from time to time burst forth. I can find no better illustration of the state of Christendom at this moment. The Church of God rests upon the basis of natural society, on the foundations of the old Roman Empire, on the civilization of the heathen nations of the world, which for a time has been consecrated, consolidated, preserved, raised, sanctified; but beneath the Church is working continually the mystery of iniquity which already wrought in the Apostles’ time, and is culminating at this moment to its strength, and gaining the ascendency. What, I ask, was the French revolution of 1789, with all its bloodshed, blasphemy, impiety, and cruelty, in all its masquerade of horror and of mockery – what was it but an outbreak of the antichristian spirit – the lava font beneath the mountain? And what was the outbreak in 1830 and 1848 but precisely the same principle of Antichrist working beneath Christian society, forcing its way upward? In the year 1848 it opened simultaneously [in Revolutions} its many mouths in Berlin, in Vienna, in Turin, in Florence, in Naples, and in Rome itself. In London it heaved and struggled, but its time was not yet. What is all this but the spirit of lawlessness lifting itself against God and man, – the principle of schism, heresy, and infidelity running fused into one mass, and pouring itself forth wherever it can force its way, making craters for its stream wherever the Christian society becomes weak? And this, as it has gone on for centuries, so it will go on until the time shall come when ‘that which holds’ shall be taken out of the way’.”
Cardinal Manning was convinced in 1861 (157 years ago) that Christian Society, the Church, and the Papacy were experiencing attacks by the forces of Antichrist greater than ever before. In the above quote he attributes the intensity of this attack to the Church’s weakness, a weakness which he sees as mainly deriving from depriving the Pope of his temporal sovereignty, and therefore correlating to attacks from without. Cardinal Manning did not seem to anticipate the extraordinary degree to which the Church interiorly would, in the future, be found lying down in spiritual fornication with its enemies, and thus be the source of its own weakness. We need only compare the Papacy of Pius IX to that of Francis in order to understand the difference. But I think we might also conclude that, had he been living in our own time, he would have very likely perceived the providential meaning of what is now occurring with the Papacy of Pope Francis. The “lava” of Antichrist has increased geometrically precisely because the spirit of Antichrist has invaded the thinking and actions of the Pope himself. The same may of course be said of a great many others – clergy, religious, and laity – within the Church. However, there is no greater chastisement which could befall the Church than for God to allow a man to be Pope who, while prevented by God from compromising the indelible Marks of the Church, is yet primarily a natural man – seeped in philosophical and theological error, redolent with the hubris of his own agenda, rejoicing in “making a mess” [Pope Francis’ repeated exhortation to various people, and especially youth], contemptuous of those who hold firmly to absolute truth and defined dogma, enamored of a false mercy, oblivious to the primacy of the concept of God’s Rule, masquerading a false humility, and rejoicing in his own role as a world-wide game-changer.
“Truth Shall Be Cast Down on the Ground”
It is clearly taught in Holy Scriptures and confirmed by the unanimous teaching of the early Church Fathers that the Antichrist at the apex of his power will prevail over, and crush (Daniel 7:25), the Church, even to the point of the total suppression of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In Daniel 8: 12, we read:
“And strength was given him against the continual sacrifice, because of sins: and truth shall be cast down on the ground….”
Cardinal Manning, commenting on the prophecies of Daniel, concludes:
“The holy Fathers who have written upon the subject of Antichrist, and of these prophecies of Daniel, without a single exception, as far as I know, and they are Fathers both of the East and of the West, the Greek and the Latin Church – all of them unanimously – say that in the latter end of the world, during the reign of Antichrist, the holy sacrifice of the altar will cease.”
We may certainly therefore conclude that at this point the Pope is “taken away” even in the physical sense. But it is equally clear from the words of St. Paul in 2Thess 2:3-11 that there is a uniquely different sort of “taking away” of the Pope, which precedes the final triumph of the Antichrist over the Church, and enables his rise to power;
“And we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of our gathering together unto him: that you be not easily moved from your sense, nor be terrified, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by epistle, as sent from us, as if the day of the Lord were at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means, for unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth, and is lifted up above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself as if he were God. Remember you not, that when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now you know what withholdeth, 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. And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, him, whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.”
We have purposely rendered the words “And then” in bold in the above passage. There is a sequence of events depicted here in which we must clearly perceive that there is a taking away of “he who now holdeth” preceding the Antichrist’s actual ascent to worldwide dominion. And, especially relevant to our present subject, there is a specific delineation of what constitutes the working of the “mystery of iniquity” that leads to this “weakening” and betrayal of the power of the Papacy which heretofore had prevented the rise to power of Antichrist:
“And then that wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth; and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming, him, whose coming is according to the working of Satan, in all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity.”
It is “love of truth” which is here clearly proposed as the fundamental passion of the human soul which restrains the Antichrist. Jesus Christ is the Word of Truth Who is generated eternally from the Father, and therefore it only makes perfect sense that the path to Anti-Christ should be paved with betrayal of, or silence in regard `toTruth. It is this silence of Pope Francis – this interior “casting down of truth” in the name of a false mercy and inclusiveness – which now facilitates the rise of the man of lawlessness.
This does not mean that the papacy of Francis will lead directly into the reign of Antichrist. Our Lady has promised that her triumph will precede this final chastisement. But it is also true that there is a kind of collective consciousness involved in human history – especially entrenched in the memory and accumulated knowledge of humanity – which has been most profoundly poisoned over the centuries by the hubris of reductive scientific thinking, rejection of leading the life of the Beatitudes, avarice, and technological progress, and which has grown like a massive cancer within the human heart, choking off any real possibility of returning to the full Truth of Christ and the integral living of the Beatitudes. This “lava” of iniquity will likely rise again to the surface shortly after Our Lady’s Triumph, and constitute the final blasphemy and betrayal of the greatest gift of God since Our Lord’s Incarnation – the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
There will then be no recourse left except the direct intervention and victory of Christ. In regard to the present oppression and weakness of the Church, Cardinal Manning writes the following:
“There is in store for the Church of God a resurrection and an ascension, a royalty and dominion, a recompense of glory for all it has endured. Like Jesus, it needs must suffer on the way to its crown; yet crowned it shall be with Him eternally. Let no one, then, be scandalized if the prophecy speak of sufferings to come. We are fond of imagining triumphs and glories for the Church on earth – that the Gospel is to be preached to all nations, and the world to be converted, and all enemies subdued, and I know not what, – until some ears are impatient of hearing that there is in store for the Church a time of terrible trial: and so we do as the Jews of old, who looked for a conqueror, a king, and for prosperity; and when their Messiah came in humility and in passion, they did not know Him.”
We must understand, however, that the treachery of the Jews – which it is now our unfortunate role to imitate – was something much more than merely looking for a triumphant and worldly God and kingdom. More deeply, it was rooted in a hypocrisy and betrayal by which God and His Gifts (including Faith itself) were seen as “monuments” to be possessed, rather than passionately and militantly believed and lived. Much of our modern “triumphalism” and Pharisaism, especially in the centuries preceding Vatican II, has been nourished by a mushrooming infidelity to the teachings of Christ (especially the Beatitudes), including the teachings of the great Popes whose absence we now lament. God gave us these men (these gifts), we largely “consumed them and their teachings in our concupiscences”, and continued to prostitute ourselves ever more deeply to the world. And it would seem that God has largely now taken the moral force of the Papacy away in chastisement of our infidelities and prostitutions. At a certain point, this will devolve upon a situation in which the Church is apparently totally crushed and defeated, and then the victory will be seen as Christ’s alone. Again, in the words of Cardinal Manning:
“And from whence, I ask, is deliverance to come? Is there on earth any power to intervene? Is there any king, prince, or potentate, that has the power to interpose either his will or his sword for the protection of the Church? Not one; and it is foretold it should be so. Neither need we desire it, for the will of God seems to be otherwise. But there is One Power which will destroy all antagonists; there is One Person who will break down and smite small as the dust of the summer threshing-floor all the enemies of the Church, for it is He who will consume His enemies ‘with the Spirit of His mouth’, and destroy them ‘with the brightness of His coming’. It seems as if the Son of God were jealous lest any one should vindicate His authority. He has claimed the battle to Himself; He has taken up the gage which has been cast down against Him; and prophecy is plain and explicit that the last overthrow of evil will be His; that it will be wrought by no man, but by the Son of God; that all the nations of the world may know that He, and He alone, is King, and that He, and He alone, is God.”
The Triumph of Christ will not be attributable to any earthly king. It will, however, be also attributable to Mary who, from the beginning, has been appointed by God to crush the head of Satan (Gen. 3:15, Apoc. 12: 1). It is in the hearts of all the faithful that She, who has been appointed by God as the Co-Mediatrix of all the graces of redemption for those who are predestined in Christ, must achieve her Triumph. Just as Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and formed as the perfect God-Man within the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, so it is that those who are conceived into the life of supernatural grace by the Holy Spirit in Baptism, are destined to be formed within Her Immaculate Heart to the likeness of Her Son. And this is true whether we are speaking of this time of crisis which now precedes the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary spoken of by Our Lady of Fatima, or the final Triumph of Christ at His Second Coming. Total Consecration to Mary is absolutely crucial to the triumph of Christ in our own souls over all those forces of Satan that would lead us into loss of hope. We must be schooled in the Heart of our Mother if faith, hope, and charity are to survive this current outburst of the “lava” of Antichrist upon us. And this entails that all three of these theological virtues must be wedded to the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We must believe in (the midst of) suffering, we must hope in suffering, we must possess charity in suffering.
The problem is that virtually everything in our modern culture mitigates against what Our Lady has to teach us. The very superficiality of modern life is designed to keep us thrashing away on the surface of the present crisis, rather than reaching to the depths of what is wrong. A perfect example is the current explosive revelations concerning homosexuality and abuse, and its cover-up, among members of the hierarchy, including the Papacy. We tend to think that such things as these are at the real root of what is currently wrong in the Church. We fail to understand that these egregious and disgusting sins, and their concealment, must be seen as being like cancerous ulcerations that appear on the surface of the skin, which, while certainly being extremely grave in themselves, are yet only manifestations of a much deeper and all-pervasive evil hidden within. As St. Paul writes in the first chapter of Romans, fornication, homosexuality and all such sins of the flesh are the effect of “being delivered up” to shameful affections because we have not really glorified God as God, have “detained the truth of God in injustice, and have “changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” (Romans 1: 17-32)
As pointed out in our articles on the Third and Fifth Sorrowful Mysteries, this failure to truly glorify God as Creator now comes to us in the realm of our intellects as the almost universal denial of the substantial nature of things created by God, surrender to a reductive scientific view of all created things, and the embrace of evolution – with all of this culminating in the rejection of the immutability of Truth and the infallibility of God’s revealed Truth. This is especially prevalent and dominant in the Catholic intellectual world, and therefore in the world of theologians and the Catholic hierarchy. We should therefore no more wonder at the extent of the homosexual network within the priesthood of the Catholic Church, than we should wonder that thousands of people might die of cancer from a nuclear meltdown.
But this rejection of the primacy of God and His Truth in our lives has also culminated in our present “cultural Catholicism” which is profoundly duplicitous in believing that we can serve both God and Mammon. This is a vast subject, which was dealt with in our article on The Third Joyful Mystery: The Birth of Jesus. The Gospel, and especially the Beatitudes, demands a poverty towards all the things of this world. Without this poverty, and in the context of our possessing fallen natures whose inclination is always to descend into the “concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2: 16), we are bound to pursue lives of duplicity in which our hope is found not in the Cross of Jesus Christ but rather in consuming the gifts of God in our own concupiscences (James 4:3). In the face of any severe manifestation of the outpouring of the spirit of Antichrist, such a duplicitous hope is almost surely to descend into the caves of despair, and die.
In the City of God, Our Lady addresses the following words to Venerable Mary of Agreda:
“By the Divine teaching thou knowest the Mysteries of the Passion and Death of Christ and the one true way of life, which is the Cross; and thou knowest that not all who are called, are chosen. Many there are who wish to follow Christ and very few who truly dispose themselves to imitate Him; for as soon as they feel the sufferings of the Cross they cast it aside….Many imagine that they are following Christ their Master, though they neither suffer affliction nor engage in any exertion or labor. They are content with avoiding boldness in committing sins, and place all their perfection in a certain prudence or hollow self-love, which prevents them from denying anything to their will and from practicing any virtues at the cost of their flesh. They would easily escape this deception if they would consider that My Son was not only the Redeemer, but their Teacher; and that He left in this world the treasures of His Redemption not only as a remedy against Eternal ruin, but as a necessary medicine for the sickness of sin in human nature. No one knew so much as My Son and Lord; no one could better understand the quality of love than the Divine Lord, who was and is wisdom and charity itself; and no one was more able to fulfill all His wishes (John 1: 4, 16). Nevertheless, although He well could do it, He chose not a life of softness and ease for the flesh, but one full of labors and pains; for He judged His instructions to be incomplete and insufficient to redeem man, if He failed to teach them how to overcome the demon, the flesh and their own self. He wished to inculcate, that this magnificent victory is gained by the Cross, by labors, penances, mortification and the acceptance of contempt: all of which are the trade-marks and evidences of true love and the special watchwords of the predestined.”
St. Paul puts it most succinctly: “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him. If we deny him, he will also deny us.” (2 Tim. 2:12). Even in the Resurrection, and especially in the Resurrection, our cross remains.
Lift Up Your Heads
We therefore lower our heads in despair and fear only to the extent that we either compromise the Truth of Christ, or place our hopes in the gifts of Christ rather than in Christ Himself. Christ’s victory is certain, and all that we experience now is only testimony to its immanence. It matters little whether or not this immanence comes to fruition during our own lives, just as it was of little consequence to St. Peter or Paul. In all things we need to lift our hearts and minds in rejoicing that God is All in All, and will achieve the final and total victory. This, after all, is the bottom line of the “nakedness” of the Christian life, a nakedness which, as we have seen, can reach even to the cessation of the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar. We rejoice in the coming final victory of Our Lord, and it is this joy which is the ultimate testimony of our faith, and to the life of charity which is its supernatural expression. This is the ultimate test as to whether we possess the Heart of Jesus – as to whether we lift up our heads, or cover them and seek refuge in the caves of self-despair and loss of faith. It is this test which Judas failed, and which hopefully we shall not.
In order to pass this test, however, the hearts of each of us must be purified. God, in these latter times, has opened to us a portal in which all the “secrets” of our own infidelities and ingratitude may be revealed, and the hearts and minds of each one of us purified. This portal, this refuge, is the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and Her Rosary. Let us all therefore engage in the work of The Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church. It is a work for the whole Church, which we hope will gather in all the parish churches in this country and the world on February 2, 2019, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple.
A new phase in our effort!
If you see the value of this effort and wish to participate in its success, please download and print our one-page printable handout. Distribute it to all possible Catholic venues: Churches, Rosary Marches, Adoration Chapels, Catholic Conferences, etc.
Also, please pray every Rosary to include the intention: For the Purification of the Church.
Finally, please consider having a Mass offered for this explicit intention.
“When Jesus therefore had seen his mother, and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.” (John 19:26-27).
In the midst of the greatest agony ever suffered by any human being, the last gift offered by Jesus Christ before His death on the Cross was the gift of His Mother to His disciple John, and through John to all men. At the same time, and equally important, this singular act of Our Lord was also the gift of spiritual childhood within His Immaculate Mother’s Heart for all those who would be saved: “Amen I say to whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter into it.” (Mark 10: 15). Such is a mother’s sacred role, and it has been this Sacred Mediatorship which has been assigned by God to the Blessed Virgin Mary for all eternity.
“The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before he made any thing from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old before the earth was made…. I was with him forming all things: and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times; Playing in the world: and my delights were to be with the children of men. Now, therefore, ye children, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my doors. He that shall find me, shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord: But he that shall sin against me, shall hurt his own soul. All that hate me love death.”( Prov. 8: 22-36).
It is the destruction of spiritual childhood which is now the primary objective of Satan within Christ’s Mystical Body the Church. And it is because of Satan’s success in this work that the infinite graces of Christ’s redemptive sacrifice are now bearing so few graces within the Church, and that the Church is now ascending its own, largely self-inflicted, Calvary.
The primary characteristic of truly Christian spiritual childhood is that simplicity, and singleness of intention and desire, which seeks God’s Truth above all things. In His Sermon on the Mount, Our Lord told His disciples: For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also. The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome. But if thy eye be evil thy whole body shall be darksome. If then the light that is in thee be darkness: the darkness itself how great shall it be!” (Mt. 6:21-23). The light spoken of in this passage is that which is derived from Christ, “in Whom we live, and move, and are” (Acts 17:28), Who is the Word eternally generated from the Father as the Truth of His Being. The light of man becomes “darksome” to the extent that he depreciates and departs from eternal Truth.
It was John who, to all appearances, most possessed this “singleness” of intention among the Apostles. He was simply called “the disciple whom Christ loved”. It was he who, in tender, child-like love, “leaned on the breast of our Lord” at the First Eucharist, and to whom Our Lord first revealed His betrayer. It was John, alone among the Apostles, who was present with Our Lady at the Cross, where he received Mary as his mother. And it was John who wrote the most exalted and mystical of the four Gospels, and to whom the secrets of the Book of the Apocalypse were revealed. As Our Lady of Good Success said to Mother Mariana on February 2, 1610, “For our Heavenly Father communicates His secrets to the simple of heart, and not to those whose hearts are inflated with pride, pretending to know what they do not or infatuated with empty science.” As we shall see, it is precisely such “empty science” which is the primary source of the loss of spiritual childhood within the Church, and its present crucifixion upon the cross of this world.
The Gospel of St. John rightly deserves the title “Gospel of Light”. The word “light” is used therein 23 times. What is more, the word “light” in the Fourth Gospel is used in such a manner as to be virtually synonymous with the words “life” (which is employed 43 times) and “truth” (27 times); and this is equally so, whether these words are applied to God or man. Thus it is that Jesus teaches: I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), and “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). He declares that “life is in Him” and that His life is the “light of men” (John 1:4), and He proclaims to Pilate that His Kingship over this world is a Kingship of truth (John 18: 37). In regard to these same terms and their application to men, we read: “But he that doth truth cometh to the light” (John 3:21), and: “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me, walketh not in darkness, but shall have the light of life (John 8:12). Throughout the Gospel of John, these three terms – light, life, and truth – would seem to dance around one another as though they revealed not only the substantial nature of God Himself, but all that is contained in the Biblical concept that man is created in the image of God.
John is also extraordinarily clear as to the fundamental choice that must be made by each man in regard to the light of God’s life and truth:
“And this is the judgment: because the light is come into this world, and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their works 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: 19-21).
It is the love of darkness – the hatred of light, life, and truth – which, as we have seen in our study of the other sorrowful mysteries, came to its evil fruition in the Crucifixion of Our Lord. Mystics such as Venerable Mary of Agreda or Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, who have received vision and understanding of the Passion of Christ, describe it in terms of a viciousness which far surpasses in cruelty that which has ever been perpetrated upon any other human being. We are not here dealing with a mere cruel execution. It is as though the torturers and executors of Christ’s death were filled with a satanically-inspired rage to rip away all flesh from His Sacred Body in order to gain access to, and to ravage and destroy, all that is truly constituted as light in this world – to destroy Incarnate Truth Himself. As St. Paul told the Jews, “The author of life you killed.” (Acts 3:15).
This same “hatred of light” is now ravaging Christ’s Mystical Body the Church. It is not a hatred directed primarily at flesh, but rather against the divine life of truth which is the light of man and the soul of the Church. For the most part it is unaccompanied by blood, torn flesh, or the obvious spittle of open contempt. It is extraordinarily more deceitful. And, unlike Christ’s torture, which came wholly from without, the Church’s present agony is stemming disproportionately from within. It is the work of Antichrist within the Church. Again, it is St. John who unmasks the fundamental modus operandi of this Spirit of Antichrist within:
“Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that Antichrist cometh, even now there are become many Antichrists: whereby we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us. For if they had been of us, they would no doubt have remained with us; but that they may be manifest that they are not all of us.” (1 John: 2: 18-19).
We must note that the sentence “They went out from us, but they were not of us” does not at all necessitate that they do not maintain the appearance of being members of the Church. They have gone “without” the Faith, but their presence may indeed be very much within. And what is more, they may indeed believe that it is they who are truly “Church”.
What is most deceptive about this work of the Antichrist within the Church is that it is always touted as the most Catholic thing to believe and do, and is most often accomplished behind the masks of friendship, charity, mercy, and inclusiveness. Beneath these masks, however, it constitutes the most savage brutality and death for countless souls. Its primary aim is to pervert and destroy the faith of every Catholic.
The most fundamental act of spiritual childhood, by which one becomes both a child of the Church and a child of Mary, is the act of faith itself. Holy Scripture tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please God”. (Heb. 11: 6). It is therefore absolutely necessary for us to understand precisely in what the act of faith consists. Vatican Council I provided us with a marvelous definition:
“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. ‘For faith’, as the Apostle testifies, ‘is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not’ (Heb 11: 1).”
It is precisely the act of yielding – with the aid of the absolutely necessary inspiration and grace of God – both our intellect and will to the authority of God’s Revelation, wherein the act of faith exists. And herein also lies true spiritual childhood to God:
“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. For of his own will hath he begotten us by the word of truth, that we might be some beginning [through spiritual childhood] of his creature.” (James 1: 17-18).
It is here where Our Lady plays her greatest role in our salvation – the forming of our souls in the dispositions necessary that we might receive the light of God’s truth with the heart of children. And unless this child-like heart and faith truly exists in us, we may indeed participate in all sorts of Catholic things – including the Mass, all the other sacraments, and devotions, but the light of our faith has indeed become to one extent or another darksome.
There are two sources of God’s Infallible Truth and Revelation: Holy Scripture and the Infallible Magisterium of the Catholic Church. They are both, of course, now under vicious attack by Satan and by those, especially within the Church, who are doing his work. It would seem certain, however, that Satan’s most effective “front” for destroying the spiritual childhood and faith of Catholics has been Holy Scripture. Many Catholics, while being largely ignorant of magisterial teaching, are yet deeply devoted to reading the Bible. After all, it is Scripture which they hear, read, and preached upon at every Mass, and it is through sermons on Holy Scripture, and through meditations and books written on scriptural passages and themes, that the average faithful receive most of their spiritual “daily bread”. It is the “rape of scripture” by Modernists which has proved to be Satan’s most effective tool in destroying the child-like faith of Catholics in God’s Revelation. It is false, reductive “science” which has provided the motive and methodology for this perversion of Holy Scripture, and it has been going on for many decades (long before Vatican Council II).
St. Thomas, in the very first words of his work titled On Being and Essence, quotes Aristotle: “A small error in the beginning can lead to great errors in the end.” Nowhere is this more true than in Modernism’s attempt to destroy the infallibility of God’s Revelation in Holy Scripture. It begins with Genesis, proceeds onward through the entirety of the Old Testament, and thereby comes to believe that it is also justified in “reworking” all the truths clearly revealed in the New Testament, and also those which have been defined by the Church’s Infallible Magisterium. It is therefore with the beginning that we begin – the Book of Genesis. And since we are dealing here with the subject of that spiritual childhood which makes possible the reception of the grace of Our Lord’s redemption, we will also begin with the subject of our very own children.
The book of Genesis begins with the creation of all things outside of God from nothing. This of course entails that the substantial nature of every single real thing in the universe comes to exist solely from the creative intelligence and will of God. In speaking of Christ, St. Paul writes: “All things were created by him, and in him.” (Col. 1:16). What is more, God created all living things possessing specific natures, which produce seeds or offspring “after their kinds” (Gen. 1: 11, 12, 21, 24, – one needs to read these passages in the Douay-Rheims Bible in order to get the right translation). God is insistent – all living creature were created with defined and specific kinds of nature, and these in turn produced their own kinds).
Within almost any educational system in the civilized world, children, at an early age (usually grades 4-5), are taught that all physical things in the universe are reducible to atoms, and their actions equally reducible to the constantly changing and evolving interplay of these atomic realities. This produces a state of mind, heart, and spirit in our children which, at least implicitly, is a denial of the reality and goodness of God’s creation. They now learn that what is experienced as substantial to them with their senses and minds, is merely an illusion, or a semi-illusional effect, of the interplay of atomic realities upon one another and their senses. And since these atoms are constantly subject to change, there is no permanent “nature” to anything. In other words, such children have become epistemological (the philosophical science of how we know things) schizophrenics – livng in, believing in, and loving a world which they perceive to be real, but which is, in their newly acquired “scientific” understanding, an illusion. In such a world, all absoluteness in regard to either Truth or Morality is destroyed.
Consequent upon this basic atomic reductionism, all aspects of human nature and personality are reduced to material causation. Such children discover that their minds and thoughts are reducible to neurological causation, their emotions to hormonal determination, and their moral and spiritual values to a causation which is determined from both within and without (environmental causation) by what must be seen as universal material determination. They are pawns in an endless chain of chemical interactions and unfolding evolutionary processes.
It is my belief that the only way that children can be protected from such reductionism, and its resultant state of spiritual schizophrenia, is through teaching them the basic principles of Thomistic metaphysics, and that this can indeed be done as early as fourth or fifth grade. It is not difficult, for instance, to lay out to any child the model of an atom with its essential construction of electrons spinning at relatively astronomic distance from the nucleus – the entire thing being comprised of 99.999999999% void (yes, this is a literal and accurate assessment), to show them the absurdity of scientific reduction. There is no way that any human mind, whether it be that of a child or that of a Nobel Prize Physicist, can make the connection between the world of atomic physics (or Quantum Theory) and what it fully perceives as being real in its daily experience. It then becomes easy to introduce them to the reality that what anything is as a substance is not reducible to any sort of physical analysis or measurement, but simply is what it is because God has created it so out of nothing. Here, the human mind is restored not only to intellectual sanity, but also spiritual childhood. Here it rests in God.
But there is another problem. The mistress of reductive, atomic science is evolution. What is deprived of substantive “nature” by the analysis of reductive physics, then only becomes meaningful in terms of endless becoming. Evolution allegedly supplies this meaning through an all-inclusive mental construct in which life is now to be viewed as a grand, almost endless, march towards aTeilhardian perfection (see our article on the Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns). It is evolution, in other words, which has proved to be the most powerful tool for seducing the vast majority of peoples into what must be viewed as a “New-Age” Religion. Evolution replaces the descent of God (the Incarnation) with the ascent of man. It is the religion of Antichrist, despite the fact that it often attempts to co-opt Christ as being on the cutting edge of this ascent.
It might be asserted that it is preposterous to claim that children at a very early age (let us say 2-4 years old) are developed enough to absorb evolutionary concepts. But this would be false. These errors begin in what might first seem to be a very odd place – the concept of Time. In our modern world of invasive mass media, the child is, from the earliest years, assaulted by the concept that the material universe is virtually eternal, that our world is billions of years old, that simple life on earth is also billions of years old, and that human beings can trace their ancestry back through millions of years. Largely, this induces in the minds and hearts of these children the mental construct and ambience which says that they are inconsequential specks in an endless and impersonal process. As such, it makes a mockery of a personal and loving God.
Parents might at first think that it is an exaggeration to say that their five or six year old child is exposed to such things or, even less, understands them. In response, I would simply ask them if their children at such an age have ever been exposed to the modern culture of “dinosaur worship” through such things as TV, cartoons, videos, DVD’s, books, or even a comic book picked up at the dentist’s office. In popular conception, the existence of dinosaurs is inseparable from the concept of “millions of years ago.” (the earliest dinosaur fossil is now dated at 231.4 million years ago). And, of course, this is only one example. How many mothers, for instance, rely on the TV to babysit their children, and often surrender them to such things as the Discovery or National Geographic Channels (all those cute and interesting animals), which are incredibly effective sources of infusion of evolutionary concepts into modern minds. And even if a child is shielded from these media sources, they are almost certainly exposed in many other ways to such spiritual poison, especially through their not-so-carefully guarded peers for whom such things are daily bread.
Creation scientists have done an admirable job in refuting evolutionary concepts. But such arguments require extensive knowledge in all sorts of fields: geology, paleontology, sedimentary formation, radiometric dating, etc, much of which is not fully comprehensible even for the average college graduate. Even an educated person is never quite sure whether the arguments of creation scientists really quite destroy those of the enemy. Science is always changing, always coming up with new “evidence”, which is always around the corner waiting to open up new arguments, doubts, and defensiveness. And, of course, much of this science is not comprehensible to parents, and none of it to a young child.
It is therefore not sufficient for parents to just defend their children from being subject to such errors. What is most needed is an offense which will instill in the minds and hearts of their children something which will not allow such destructive ideas effective access to their spiritual, mental, and emotional lives.
There is an “Achilles heel” present within all evolutionary theory. It is indeed the same concept of Time mentioned above. There can be no evolution without vast amounts of seemingly interminable and “impersonal” time being postulated for the mutational processes and selection integral for such radical changes. Correspondingly, there can be no egress into the hearts of children of evolutionary theory if everything to do with “time” is made deeply personal and finite.
Catholic parents have always possessed an enormously effective tool for infusion of this reality into the depths of their children’s souls. It is the Bible. The problem is that most Catholic parents have largely surrendered the Bible to Modernism. They have done so because a myriad of “experts”, including recent Popes, have insistently identified belief in the truth of the historical accounts of the Old Testament with what has become a derogatory name or position with which no Catholic wishes to be labeled: Fundamentalism.
What is not realized, or fully taken into account, is that the Old Testament is a tremendous wellspring of historical facts establishing the extreme finitude of creation, and the history of Man. There have been many attempts to determine the precise number of years from the creation of Adam to the birth of Christ. All these attempts, at least by Roman Catholics and Protestants, closely converge on a period of 4,000 years. It is really quite an interesting study to follow the descent from Adam to Jesus through the genealogies presented in the books of the Old Testament. The descent from Adam to Abraham, for instance, is quite precise (1948 years) and can be traced in three chapters of Genesis: Genesis 5: 3 – 29), Genesis 7:6 (covering the period of the Flood), and Genesis 11: 10-26. We must realize, of course, that this “precision” is somewhat modified by the obvious fact that the period of time between generations is measured by how old a certain person was when a son was born, and this is always given in years. Absolute precision would require the addition of the months, weeks, and days beyond this particular person’s birthday. Such additions would obviously amount to a very small variance in our calculations.
The effect of all this precise genealogy and history, if it is taken seriously as part of the inspired word of God, is to absolutely destroy any contentions concerning human evolution. The Bible literally saturates the time period between Adam and Christ with the stories of persons who are as we are, who possess the same nature, created in the image of God as do we: subject to the effects of original sin, and yet possessing a nobility created in the image of God; fully human persons who are born, mature, love, sin, form friendships and enmities, grow in knowledge and wisdom or sink deeper into evil and tyranny, repent of their sins or harden their hearts, and who God ultimately looks upon with eyes towards salvation or judgment unto perdition. This history involves a fairly long time (approximately 4,000 years) by human estimation, but it is in no way a Time for evolution. A child who is gradually immersed in reading about this sacred history, and studying the lives of these very real people, is receiving the food that will preserve and protect him or her as a child of God from seemingly endless Time and Meaninglessness.
Much of this, and certainly the entire creation account, has been dismissed by Modernist Biblical scholars as myth or “popular history”. The problem is that it is impossible to do such a thing while at the same time believing in the reliability or Truth of God’s Revelation. In order to understand fully why this is so, we can do no better than quote passages from Pope Leo XIII’s magnificent encyclical Providentissimus Deus – On the Study of Sacred Scripture:
“But it is absolutely wrong and forbidden either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture or to admit that the sacred writer has erred.
“For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit; and so far is it from being possible that any error can coexist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true.
“Hence, because the Holy Spirit employed men as his instruments, we cannot, therefore, say that it was these inspired instruments who, perchance, have fallen into error, and not the primary author. For, by supernatural power, He so moved and impelled them to write – He so assisted them when writing – that the things which he ordered, and those only, they, first, rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write down, and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth.
“It follows that those who maintain that an error is possible in any genuine passage of the sacred writings either pervert the Catholic notion of inspiration or make God the author of such error.” (the above quotes are all taken from section 3a).
Therefore, anything that is presented in Scripture as simple historical fact necessarily has God, Who cannot error, as its author. In 1909, the Pontifical Biblical Commission published a decree condemning errors being propagated concerning the first three chapters of Genesis. The first paragraph below summarizes these errors, and the judgment of the Commission follows:
Notwithstanding the historical character and form of Genesis, the special connection of the first three chapters with one another and with the following chapters, the manifold testimonies of the Scriptures both of the Old and of the New Testaments, the almost unanimous opinion of the holy Fathers and the traditional view which the people of Israel also has handed on and the Church has always held, may it be taught that: the aforesaid three chapters of Genesis contain not accounts of actual events, accounts, that is, which correspond to objective reality and historical truth, but, either fables derived from the mythologies and cosmogonies of ancient peoples and accommodated by the sacred writer to monotheistic doctrine after the expurgation of any polytheistic error; or allegories and symbols without any foundation in objective reality proposed under the form of history to inculcate religious and philosophical truths; or finally legends in part historical and in part fictitious freely composed with a view to instruction and edification?
Answer: In the negative to both parts.
The true, historical character of all the rest of the Old Testament necessarily follows as a logical consequence.There is no way that what is presented as thousands of historical facts in the Old Testament can be some sort of “figure”, allegory, or myth. It is certainly true that scripture often speaks in different forms of figurative language, and this has been thoroughly explored and explained by Doctors and Fathers of the Church. But all of these Doctors and Fathers accepted matter-of-factly that in all this data, we are simply encountering what are historically true facts.
It is also important to us to realize that when Scripture does use figurative language, it is done for very serious and necessary reasons – to impart truths in the moral or spiritual order. There are in fact several distinctions to be made as to the type of these “figures”. The best summary of these distinctions is to be found in the very beginning of the First Part of St. Thomas’ Summa Theologica.
For instance, Thomas writes, “It is befitting Holy Writ to put forward divine and spiritual truths by means of comparisons with material things [metaphors – analogies]. For God provides for everything according to the capacity of its nature. Now it is natural to man to attain to intellectual truths through sensible objects. Because all our knowledge originates from sense. Hence in Holy Writ spiritual truths are fittingly taught under the likeness of material things.” Thus when scripture speaks of “God’s arm”, it simply denotes his operative power. When it speaks of His “wrath”, it signifies such things as chastisement, punishment, and judgment. In other words, we need such “figures” in order to gain a real, but imperfect, knowledge of God.
St. Thomas delineates two basic senses of Holy Scripture – the historical/literal, and the spiritual (“which is based on the literal, and presupposes it”). The historical/literal is simply what it is – revealed, literal facts and truths, with God as their author. The spiritual sense has a threefold division: allegorical, tropological, and anagogical. Something is written allegorically in so far as “the things of the Old Law signify the things of the New Law” [think of the entire Song of Songs in this regard]. The tropological, or moral sense, indicates “that things done in Christ, or so far as the things which signify Christ, are types of what we ought to do”. And the third spiritual sense (anagogical) indicates things “in so far as they relate to eternal glory”. All these “senses” are involved in Biblical interpretation.
In other words, to try to demean someone as believing in “the literal meaning of scripture”, and then to oppose them to those persons (supposedly much more mature and sophisticated) who believe in the “spiritual meaning of scripture” is a cheap trick of the Modernist. There is a great deal of both literal and figurative meaning in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. However, while there certainly is no sin in not being able to understand all the metaphorical, figurative, and otherwise hidden depths of scripture, there is a great deal of malice towards both God and man in undermining or denying what is simply presented as literal and historical facts which are revealed truths, and have God as their author.
There is simply no way in which all the vast amount of genealogical, chronological, and historical facts present in the Old Testament can be reduced to some spiritual, metaphorical, figurative meaning, or to a “popular myth”, without either denying God’s authorship of the entirety of Holy Scripture, or subjecting Him to error or deception. Historical facts are not metaphors or allegories; they are either simply true or false. If any one of these facts is false, then God has simply erred, thus violating the most sacred truth about God, as laid down by Pope Leo XIII: “it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true”.
The “modern” Catholic is made to feel that the Catholic Church has never taken these facts literally, and that such foolishness and naiveté is only to be found in fundamentalist sects. But the fact is that all faithful Catholics took them literally for almost 2,000 years. The Douay-Rheims Bible was in almost universal use by English-speaking Catholics for approximately 450 years, until the middle of the Twentieth Century. The 1899 Challoner edition of the Douay–Rheims which I possess contains a detailed “Historical and Chronological Index” [actually a Table] to the Old Testament. It begins with Adam and the “Creation of heaven and earth, and all things therein, in six days” at the beginning of year One. It then proceeds through a chronology listing very specific persons and dates, and ends with the birth of Joseph, foster-father of Jesus, during the High Priesthood of Hyrcanus (which succeed that of Alexander who became High Priest 3,934 years after the creation of Adam).
In other words, modern Catholics have largely been hoodwinked into denying, and being embarrassed by, what is obviously a huge part of God’s Divine Revelation. They have been overrun by a spiritual timidity and cowardice towards bogus science which places them in a continual posture of prostitution towards the modern world, and ever ready to take the next step backward as Satan whittles them down to little more than stumps of what was once considered integral and necessary to being a Christian.
We must turn this around if we are to preserve our children for Christ. We must turn this around if we are to preserve, or regain, our own spiritual childhood in God.
To ascent to the Truths revealed by God in the genealogies and history of the Old Testament utterly destroys any possibility of human evolution. This of course throws into chaos all of evolutionary theory. Evolutionists date fossils possessing fully- human anatomic characteristics to 200,000 years ago, and Homo species itself to 2.5 million years ago. These numbers are based on both the depth of geological strata in which these fossils are found, and radiometric dating of these strata. If this data is erroneous, the reliability of all such dating based on geological stratification or radiometric testing is profoundly undermined. Belief in Divine Revelation as present in the history of the Old Testament necessarily does just that.
It is the Flood, however, which administers the coup de grace to all such dating methods. It is admitted by both Creationists and Evolutionists alike that dating of fossils by both of the methods mentioned above is dependent upon the theory of geological “Uniformatism”. A Universal Flood destroys the reliability of these methods.
A critical question for any Catholic, therefore, is whether we are required by Faith to accept the Genesis account of the Flood as being literally true. As we have seen in relation to the rest of the Old Testament, the determining factor in answering this question is whether God, the author of all of Scripture, simply presents us with “literal” facts which must be judged as either true or false.
The history of the Flood and its aftermath is to be found in Genesis 6-10. It is quite detailed with historical facts.
We must first take into account that Noah, along with his son Sem, are in the line that leads from Adam directly to David, and consequently to Christ. They are listed at the very end of the complete chronology from Adam to Noah offered in Genesis 5. These are real, historical personalities. We must take all of the following seriously:
God, “seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times”, resolved to destroy all living things on the earth except Noah and his wife, his sons and their wives, one pair each of all the unclean beasts, seven pairs of the clean beasts and seven pairs of all fowls. God gives very detailed instructions for the building of the Ark in order to preserve them from the Flood which He is about to bring upon all the earth.
The details of the flood are also specific – it took 7 days to cover the whole earth, the rain fell for forty days and forty nights. The precise height of the water is given – fifteen feet above the highest mountain – and the number of days the waters “prevailed over the earth” – one hundred and fifty days.
The Flood came not only from above in the form of rain, but also from below – “all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the flood gates of heaven were opened”. It seems that both earth and the “heavens” were constituted differently before the Flood. Many creation scientists have speculated that there was a vapor canopy around the earth which created a greenhouse effect, and consequent temperate climate over all the earth. This disappeared when the “flood gates of heaven were opened”. This would account for such phenomena as mammoths being found in Siberia, apparently rapidly frozen, with green vegetation in their stomachs. The destruction of such a canopy, and the consequent elimination of this greenhouse effect, would account for rapid freezing and preservation of these mammoths. It might also account, at least partially, for the fact that people lived much longer before the flood – such a vapor canopy would have blocked harmful cosmic radiation from space.
It is also speculated that such a vapor canopy would have increased gas pressures on the earth, causing a 50% higher concentration of oxygen. In 1987, Time Magazine reported that amber crystals (formed from the fossilization of tree sap) had been discovered with trapped air bubbles containing50% more oxygen than the current atmosphere (32% vs. 21%). Reduction of the oxygen content of the atmosphere after the Flood could very well account for the inability of dinosaurs to survive. The higher oxygen rates before the Flood could also account for longer life spans, healthier lives, larger fossils of all sorts found in the fossil record. I mention all this, not to presume to give any sort of extensive or exhaustive scientific arguments, but only to give the reader some small indication of the great number of possible ramifications, even beyond geological and radiometric dating, of Noah’s Flood.
To continue with the specifics facts concerning the Flood:
After the hundred and fifty days, God “brought a wind upon the earth, and the waters were abated”, and “the fountains also of the deep, and the flood gates of heaven were shut up, and the rain from heaven was restrained, and the waters returned from off the earth going and coming: and they began to be abated after a hundred and fifty days. And the ark rested in the seventh month, the seven and twentieth day of the month, upon the mountains of Armenia.” Further, “in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared”. The scripture then tells us that after forty more days, Noah opened the window of the ark, and sent forth a raven, which did not return. He then sent forth a dove which, “not finding where her foot might rest”, returned to the ark. Finally, after waiting another seven days, Noah sent forth the same dove, which returned to him in the evening carrying “a bough of an olive tree, with green leaves, in her mouth”. Noah stayed in the ark yet another seven days, sent forth the dove again, which did not return.
The scripture continues: “Therefore in the six hundredth and first year [Noah was 600 years old at the beginning of the Flood – Genesis 7:6), the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were lessened upon the earth, and Noah, opening the covering of the ark, looked, and saw that the face of the earth was dried. In the second month, the seven and twentieth day of the month, the earth was dried. And God spoke to Noah, saying: Go out of the ark, thou and thy wife, thy sons, and the wives of thy sons with thee. All living things that are with thee of all flesh, as well in fowls as in beasts, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, bring out with thee, and go ye upon the earth; increase and multiply upon it.” And, finally, Noah built an “altar unto the Lord”, “offered holocausts upon the altar”, and God established His “rainbow covenant” with man by which He promised never again to destroy all life on earth with water.
What is often overlooked in the account of the Flood and its aftermath is Chapter 10 of Genesis, which in its entirety is devoted to enumerating the sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons of Noah (all 71 of them), and the specific nations and areas of the world which they and their descendents re-populated. The final two sentences of this chapter read: “These are the families of Noe, according to their peoples and nations. By these were the nations divided on the earth after the flood.”
One of the more interesting facts revealed in all of this chronology is that Abraham was 58 years old when Noah (who lived for 950 years) died. It is tempting to consider the possibility that, in God’s providence, these two men of God might have exchanged a glass of wine and discussed what God might do next in order to try and straighten out sinful man (Abraham would not receive God’s calling for another 17 years, when he was 75). Such might be the stuff of imagination, but the very fact that it is conceivable illustrates the profound finitude and “personality” of time in God’s dealings with man and all of creation.
Let us address a young child:
Grandpa (or Great Grandpa) is 80 years old. That may seem a long time to you, but it is not really a very long time for Grandpa. Your life will seem much shorter as you grow older. There are 25 (we might lay out 25 eggs as illustration) of Grandpa’s life going back to the time when Christ walked this earth. If we then use an apple to show the time of Christ until you were born, there are less than two apples, before Christ, back to the creation of Adam and the world.
I quote Pope Leo again: “It follows that those who maintain that an error is possible in any genuine passage of the sacred writings either pervert the Catholic notion of inspiration or make God the author of such error.”To claim that God would provide all this erroneous data in order to create some sort of metaphor or allegory is preposterous. This is either historical truth, or God has erred. If God has erred, then all of Revelation is called into question, and our faith is entirely destroyed.
If God has not erred, then man has not evolved. The choice is simple for any Catholic.
We are now left with the Old Testament account of Creation itself. It is presented to us as occurring over a period of six days; the seventh day, God “rested” (the notion that God “rested”, obviously being a classic use of metaphor in Holy Scripture).
In his excellent work, The Doctrine of Genesis 1-11, Fr. Victor Warkulwiz, M.S.S., offers the following conclusions regarding the teaching of the Fathers of the Church in regard to the Six- Day Creation account: “None of them professed belief that God took eons of time to create the world”, and “The great majority of the Fathers of the Church believed that God created the world in six natural days.” (p. 164). He offers the following examples of their thought on this matter:
From St. Ephrem the Syrian, he quotes the following passages:
So, let no one think that there is anything allegorical in the works of the six days. No one can rightly say that the things pertaining to these days were symbolic, nor can anyone say that they were meaningless names or that things were symbolized for us by their names.
Although both the light and the clouds were created in the twinkling of an eye, still both the day and night of the First Day continued for twelve hours each.
Although the grasses were only a moment old at their creation, they appeared as if they were months old. Likewise, the trees, although only a day old when they sprouted forth, were nevertheless like trees years old as they were fully grown and fruits were already budding on their branches. The grass that would be required as food for the animals two days later was thus made ready. And the new corn that would be food for Adam and his descendants, who would be thrown out of paradise four days later, was thus prepared.
”There was evening and morning.” This means the space of a day and a night….”And there was evening and morning, one day.” Why did he say “one” and not “first”? [note: this is how it is erroneously translated in the New American Bible]….He said “one” because he was defining the measure of a day and night and combining the time of a night and a day, since the twenty-four hours fill up the interval of one day, if, of course, night is understood with day.
In notable fashion has Scripture spoken of a “day”, not the “first day”. Because a second, then a third, day, and finally the remaining days were to follow, a “first day” could have been mentioned, following in this way the natural order. But scripture established a law that twenty-four hours, including both day and night, should be given the name of day only, as if one were to say the length of one day is twenty-four hours in extent.
Fr. Warkulwiz then proceeds to state that St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Jerome, and St. Gregory the Great also believed that God created the world successively in six natural days.
The one exception to this almost universal view held by the Church Fathers that the world was created in six simultaneous days was St. Augustine. St. Augustine believed that all things were created “simultaneously” on the first day, but that plants and animals were created in “seed” form (what he called rationes seminales – “rational seeds”), to be distinguished later. St. Thomas held a similar view, but was very careful to note that both his and St. Augustine’s view on this matter differed from the rest of the Church Fathers, and that it was only his personal opinion. It should also be carefully noted that the rationes seminales of Saints Augustine and Thomas Aquinas have nothing to do with evolution, and are diametrically opposed to it. Whatever “rational seeds” may be, they already are in possession of the substantial form of a particular “kind” of thing. In the teaching of St. Thomas, there can be no change of one “kind” of substance into another. The appearance of a new “kind” requires the corruption of the substantial form or essence of the former “kind” (in the case of living thing this entails its death). This absolutely negates the “evolution” of one substance into another, and entails that no living species could undergo any sort of mutation which would generate a different “kind”. There is, in other words, no way in which Thomas can be used to endorse evolutionary theory. The “rational seeds” of St. Augustine and St. Thomas, if they could be said to exist, are just that – “rational”. They speak of the fact that all the “kinds” of both living and non-living thing are intelligently created, and have a created, intelligible “form” that makes them what they are. There is no intelligence in material causation itself, and there can therefore be no creation of new kinds through such material causation in itself. It is interesting that in Chapter One of Genesis, the word “kind” or “kinds” is used nine times in order to emphasize this fact. God’s Ways are not indefinite, interminable, or evolutionary. All the Church Fathers, being wise, and at the same time being the spiritual children of a Personal God, understood this.
As we have pointed out, it is in the very nature of evolutionary theory that in order for it to win over the human mind, interminable lengths of Time, with its consequent principle of Endless Becoming, must claim victory in our minds over substantial being, essence, and nature. In Thomistic metaphysics, time is one of the nine accidens of being. It exists only as a reality by inhering in substance. To “free” time from this inhering in something substantial – something with an inviolable nature – to make it interminable, vast beyond human comprehension, and something to which substantial being is subject for its very essence and fulfillment, amounts to a destruction of being. In regard to human substantiality – the nature of a human being – this entails the disintegration of human integrity and personality. The human mind and heart become “lost in time”, like an astronaut whose tether- line to his ship has been cut, and who now floats further and further away from any contact with what is real.
That Which Overcomes Science:
Possibly the most debilitating error of our time is the belief that, in the face of all the assaults of modern science and technology, we must prove our faith (very often to ourselves) by using science itself.
The past 50-100 years have seen a great many such efforts, mostly unsuccessful. We see this reality in the tragic struggle to end abortion – all those baby-models, employment of the science of genetics, ultra-sounds, etc. Despite all of this effective use of science, we plummet more deeply every day into the culture of death.
We see it in the attempts to use every form of the media to counteract the secularist agenda of those who were, in reality, the creators of Modern Media. Pope Pius XII, who was called the “Science Pope”, had great hopes for us in this contest (see his encyclical Miranda Prorsus –On the Communication Fields: Movies, Television, and Radio). His writings on this subject now seem redolent with naiveté . The Mass Media is almost entirely in the hands of the Enemy.
And, of course, we see it in “Creation Science” – the effort to overcome the grip of evolutionary thinking upon the minds and hearts of modern men by using science itself. There are some who think that they make some progress in this direction, but this optimism would seem unfounded. Some may indeed be helped by such efforts. But all statistics reveal a rapidly growing secularism – the rejection of God’s Rule – which runs on the rails of evolutionary thinking.
Everything in our cultures gives testimony to the fact that Modern Science and technology are much more effective weapons in the hands of Satan than they are, or ever will be, in ours.
The question then becomes: do we possess some other weapon which is more powerful than Science?
St. John provides a very definite answer to this question:
“For whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world: and this is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith.” (1 John 5:4).
The problem is that, for centuries now, our faith has not been overcoming the world, but rather the opposite: the world, and especially the world of science, has been overcoming and destroying the faith of Catholics. We are therefore faced with drawing one of two conclusions: either God and His Word are wrong, and faith is really just a powder-puff in the face of the weapons of science; or, somehow an awful lot of people who claim to possess the faith, are in reality profoundly depreciated in their faith, or at least the full virility of that faith. Something therefore must be awfully wrong in their understanding and living of the grace of faith itself.
As we have seen, faith is a grace by which and through which we believe in things that “appear not”. It is, in itself, the “substance” and “evidence” for these things. The direct object of this faith is God’s Revelation. The immediate effect of our receiving and accepting this gift is the movement of our wills which causes our mind to surrender to these truths, not on basis of any evidence provided by our use of “the natural light of reason”, but on the authority of God Who is our Father. Faith, in other words, is the supreme expression of spiritual childhood.
Faith is weakened through a myriad of subtle devices by which we subject our child-like faith in God’s Revelation to conditional verification by the world and ourselves. It is certainly legitimate to fully assent to God’s Revelation, and then use every natural means at our disposal to support Revealed Truth. Such, for instance, is the role of philosophy as the “handmaid of theology”. But it is also true that it is very easy for us to begin to weaken and detract from this supernatural grace of faith by subtly beginning to make it conditional upon verification by “the natural light of reason” in one form or another, and especially in relation to science. Here, faith is profoundly weakened. Thus begins that slippery slope which eventually slides down into the darkness of disbelief.
This process – by which Catholic faith “gently” slides into disbelief – is most evident in regard to the rejection of the Book of Genesis as God’s Revelation, especially by members of the Catholic hierarchy. It reaches its apex in the theology of Joseph Ratzinger.
Joseph Ratzinger: The Man Who Destroyed Genesis:
“Being is time; it does not merely have time. Only in becoming does it exist and unfold into itself.”
The above quote is from the chapter titled “Creation” in Joseph Ratzinger’s book Credo For Today. The reader will note that it expresses the same, profoundly evolutionary metaphysical-theological orientation as that of Pope Francis. It is one thing to recognize that human life involves potentiality and change. It is altogether another thing to equate being with time, and to declare that being itself is identifiable with becoming and “unfolding into itself” (this latter phrase is redolent with Teilhardian pantheism).
I have never read anything in which Pope Francis directly addresses the subject of evolution – his thinking is simply saturated with its implications: his belief in evolution would seem fully “natural” to him and therefore not in need of justification or explanation. But in order for victory of evolutionary thinking to have triumphed over the Catholic hierarchy, the theological and metaphysical field” of battle had first to be won to its service. The primary architect of this intellectual victory was Joseph Ratzinger.
We dealt some with Joseph Ratzinger’s (and Pope Francis’) evolutionary thinking in The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns (we will here repeat some quotations), but believe it necessary here to draw together all these strains of his evolutionary thought as they relate to the first three chapters of Genesis. If docility in receiving God’s Revelation in its entirety is reserved to the faith of God’s “little children”, we need a clear and complete understanding of what is entailed by becoming “old” in the faith to the point where we become like the man in St. James’ Epistle who after having once truly seen himself in a mirror, “went his own way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was.” And even if this man is a Pope, we need to pray for him not just as one who suffers persecution from without, but as one who suffers and is deluded from within. And, most significantly, we need to expose and do battle with those forces, ideas, philosophies, theologies, and sciences which have imprisoned him in this delusion. If we dare not to do this, we will never reach down to the root of what is wrong with the Church in order to effect the necessary cure.
It is first necessary to understand that Joseph Ratzinger places himself in direct opposition to the decisions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission under Pope Pius X. In his presentation of the CDF document on The Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian (1990), Cardinal Ratzinger wrote:
“The text [of the CDF document] 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.” (The Nature and Mission of Theology, p.106).
This reduction of the decisions of the PBC under Pius X to being “provisional” would of course include Pius X’s condemnation of any efforts to detract from the true historicity of Genesis, and it would therefore also extend to Pope Leo XIII’s teaching on this subject. It would indeed seem an extraordinary act of hubris on Cardinal Ratzinger’s part to make such teachings regarding the very truth of scripture to be “provisional”. However, such would appear to be the necessary foundation for justifying what Joseph Ratzinger had been doing all of his priestly life – destroying the historical veracity of Genesis. This was perceived as a necessity in the face of what he saw as the absolute certainty of the reality of man’s evolution. Thus, the following from his essay Creation: Belief in Creation and the Theory of Evolution (published in his 2006 work Credo for Today: What Christians Believe, and taken from his 1972 work Dogma and Verkündung:
“…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 as Revelation]; 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)
“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).
We see here, as stated succinctly by Joseph Ratzinger, the necessity of submitting Revelation to the judgment of science. Pope Pius X, in Pascendi Dominici Gregis (On the Doctrine of the Modernists) makes such subjection of the Faith to science as being a primary tenet of Modernism, and then draws the following conclusion concerning this Modernist perversion:
The Modernists completely invert the parts, and of them may be applied the words which another of Our predecessors Gregory IX, addressed to some theologians of his time: “Some among you, puffed up like bladders with the spirit of vanity strive by profane novelties to cross the boundaries fixed by the Fathers, twisting the meaning of the sacred text…to the philosophical teaching of the rationalists, not for the profit of their hearer but to make a show of science…these men, led away by various and strange doctrines, turn the head into the tail and force the queen to serve the handmaid.” (#17
Joseph Ratzinger’s surrender to evolutionary theory not only necessitated the inversion of the proper relationship between faith and science, but also, as a necessary consequence, totally perverted his understanding of the nature of man as he was created by God. The following is taken from his 1970 work, Faith and the Future:
“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.” (p. 5-7).
Once it is granted that man’s appearance in this world was a work of “gradual ascent” (and this is absolutely the position of Joseph Ratzinger), then it necessarily follows that at whatever stage we decide to designate man as man, he is indeed a primitive thing. This is perfectly expressed in the following passage from Credo for Today (p. 46-47):
“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.”
It should be obvious that the intellect and will of such a “stammering” Adam are not capable of morally responsible actions, and that such an “Adam” is not in possession of original justice and sanctifying grace. Original Sin and the Fall then also become mythological. Thus, in his 1995 book In the Beginning…A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, we encounter the following from Cardinal Ratzinger:
“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?
“Finding an answer to this requires nothing less than trying to understand the human person better. It must once again be stressed that no human being is closed in upon himself or herself and that no one can live of or for himself or herself alone. We receive our life not only at the moment of birth but every day from without – from others who are not ourselves but who nonetheless somehow pertain to us. Human beings have their selves not only in themselves but also outside of themselves: they live in those whom they love and in those who love them and to whom they are ‘present.’ Human beings are relational, and they possess their lives – themselves – only by way of relationship. I alone am not myself, but only in and with you am I myself. To be truly a human being means to be related in love, to be of and for. But sin means the damaging or the destruction of relationality. Sin is a rejection of relationality because it wants to make the human being a god. Sin is loss of relationship, disturbance of relationship, and therefore it is not restricted to the individual. When I destroy a relationship, then this event – sin – touches the other person involved in the relationship. Consequently sin is always an offense that touches others, that alters the world and damages it. To the extent that this is true, when the network of human relationships is damaged from the very beginning, then every human being enters into a world that is marked by relational damage. At the very moment that a person begins human existence, which is a good, he or she is confronted by a sin-damaged world. Each of us enters into a situation in which relationality has been hurt. Consequently each person is, from the very start, damaged in relationships and does not engage in them as he or she ought. Sin pursues the human being, and he or she capitulates to it (P. 71-73).”
The long paragraph quoted above, which follows Joseph Ratzinger’s rejection of the traditional explanation of original sin, is simply a way of “essentializing” this doctrine in order to make it accord with man’s evolutionary beginnings, and the progression of his original primitive nature down through time.
It is not, however, only the Catholic doctrine of original sin that is destroyed by such Modernist exegesis, but also the entire creation account of Genesis. Following is an example of Joseph Ratzinger’s use of what is called the “form-content” Modernist methodology to bring the Genesis account of creation 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).
According to Joseph Ratzinger (who at the time was a 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 only real “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.
The other-half of this subject is, of course, Joseph Ratzinger’s view of ultimate redemption. This, as we have detailed in our article on the Third Sorrowful Mystery, involves the virtual total submission of the mind of Joseph Ratzinger to the bogus evolutionary-cosmological mysticism of Teilhard de Chardin. It begins with matter as the “pre-history of spirit”, sees spirit evolving through the “complexification” of matter, and this complexification further evolving towards a unity which reaches the Omega point of perfection which is Christ. We strongly recommend reading of the above-mentioned article for a proper understanding of the depths of Joseph Ratzinger’s evolutionary thinking, and that which is now also being promoted by Pope Francis.
We must realize that there is nothing radically new about Joseph Ratzinger’s “methodology” in the treatment of Holy Scripture. It largely originated in the philosophies of Hegel and Marx, and the evolutionary theories of Darwin, in the 19th century. It has poisoned the minds of millions of Catholics, and has spread to every doctrine of the Catholic Faith. After all, if we can now rightly consider the accounts of Creation and the Fall to be forms of mythology or story-telling, why should it not also be permitted to engage in methodologies of “essentialization” or “hermeneutics of continuity” (both of these are favorite terms of Joseph Ratzinger) which deconstruct the Immaculate Conception, the Incarnation, the Virgin Birth, Transubstantiation and the Real Presence, or the Resurrection. After all, each one of these traditional doctrines of the Catholic Faith are absolute foolishness in the face of modern “science”.
It should be clear that the ultimate goal of Satan in his corruption of our innocence and acceptance God’s Revelation in Holy Scripture is to bring us to that point of corruption of our minds and hearts where we become like the man whom the Apostle James compared to “a man beholding his own countenance in a glass. For he beheld himself, and went his way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was.” It is such a man described by Our Lord in His Sermon on the Mount: “If then the light that is in thee be darkness: the darkness itself how great shall it be!” It is here that we are faced with the destruction of all that it means to be a child of God. The mirror of our soul, while yet still possessing a light of intelligence derived entirely from the life of Christ, sees nothing of the Truth of God. It is the ultimate tragedy, and triumph of Satan in the human soul. And it is now the re-crucifixion of Christ in His Mystical Body the Church.
Providentially, God has provided in out times a remedy for this vast confusion which has now penetrated His Church. Again, we quote from Our Lord’s words to Mary of Agreda:
“Now I will make manifest my indignation and exercise my justice in equity; I will show how well justified is my cause. In order that this may come to pass more speedily, and because it is now time that my mercy show itself more openly and because my love must not be idle, I will offer to them an opportune remedy, if they will but make use of it for returning again to my favor. Now, at this hour, when the world has arrived at so unfortunate a pass, and when, though the Word has become incarnate, mortals are more careless of their weal and seek it less; when the day of their transitory life passes swiftly at the setting of the sun of time; when the night of eternity is approaching closer and closer for the wicked and the day without a night is being born for the just; when the majority of mortals are sinking deeper and deeper into the darkness of their ignorance and guilt: oppressing the just and mocking the children of God; when my holy and divine law is despised in the management of the iniquitous affairs of state, which are as hostile as they are contrary to my Providence; when the wicked least deserve my mercy; in these predestined times, I wish to open a portal for the just ones through which they can find access to my mercy; I wish to give them a light by which they can dispel the gloom that envelops the eyes of their minds. I wish to furnish them a suitable remedy for restoring them to my grace. Happy they who find it, and blessed they who shall appreciate its value, rich they who shall come upon this treasure, and blessed and very wise those who shall search into and shall understand its marvels and hidden mysteries. I desire to make known to mortals how much intercession of Her is worth, who brought restoration of life by giving mortal existence to the immortal God. As recompense I desire that they look upon the wonders wrought by my mighty arm in that pure Creature, as upon a mirror by which they can estimate their own ingratitude….I will not longer withhold from men this mystical City of refuge….”
It is within the absolutely pure “Mirror” of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart that we may enter the “portal” of self-knowledge and true contrition, be freed from the darkness of deceit and duplicity, and be restored to the spiritual childhood originally intended for us by God. It is here that we may truly bring to fruition the graces merited through Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross. It is towards this goal that the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church is entirely directed. There can be no victory over the enemy without, unless there is first victory over the enemy within.
Please pray every Rosary to include the intention: For the Purification of the Church. And please also participate in the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church, to occur on February 2, 2019, and ask your pastor to implement this event in his parish (see the Original Proposal, which is linked on our Home Page).
But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world. (Gal. 6: 14)
To “glory” in something necessarily speaks of surpassing joy. Among all the thousands of Catholic saints, nowhere is the joy of carrying the cross of Christ more evidenced than in St. Francis of Assisi, whom Pope Pius XI called ‘the Second Christ” (the encyclical Rite Expiatis). The following, from Ch. VIII of The Little Flowers of St. Francis, contains St. Francis’ own exposition of the wellsprings of this holy joy:
One day in winter, as St Francis was going with Brother Leo from Perugia to St Mary of the Angels, and was suffering greatly from the cold, he called to Brother Leo, who was walking on before him, and said to him: “Brother Leo, if it were to please God that the Friars Minor should give, in all lands, a great example of holiness and edification, write down, and note carefully, that this would not be perfect joy.”
A little further on, St Francis called to him a second time: “O Brother Leo, if the Friars Minor were to make the lame to walk, if they should make straight the crooked, chase away demons, give sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, speech to the dumb, and, what is even a far greater work, if they should raise the dead after four days, write that this would not be perfect joy.”
Shortly after, he cried out again: “O Brother Leo, if the Friars Minor knew all languages; if they were versed in all science; if they could explain all Scripture; if they had the gift of prophecy, and could reveal, not only all future things, but likewise the secrets of all consciences and all souls, write that this would not be perfect joy.”
After proceeding a few steps farther, he cried out again with a loud voice: “O Brother Leo, thou little lamb of God! if the Friars Minor could speak with the tongues of angels; if they could explain the course of the stars; if they knew the virtues of all plants; if all the treasures of the earth were revealed to them; if they were acquainted with the various qualities of all birds, of all fish, of all animals, of men, of trees, of stones, of roots, and of waters – write that this would not be perfect joy.”
Shortly after, he cried out again: “O Brother Leo, if the Friars Minor had the gift of preaching so as to convert all infidels to the faith of Christ, write that this would not be perfect joy.”
Now when this manner of discourse had lasted for the space of two miles, Brother Leo in great amazement asked him: “Father, I beg thee to tell me wherein is perfect joy.”
St Francis answered: “If, when we shall arrive at St Mary of the Angels, all drenched with rain and trembling with cold, all covered with mud and exhausted from hunger; if, when we knock at the convent-gate, the porter should come angrily and ask us who we are; if, after we have told him, `We are two of the brethren’, he should answer angrily, `What ye say is not the truth; ye are but two impostors going about to deceive the world, and take away the alms of the poor; begone I say’; if then he refuse to open to us, and leave us outside, exposed to the snow and rain, suffering from cold and hunger till nightfall – then, if we accept such injustice, such cruelty and such contempt with patience, without being ruffled and without murmuring, believing with humility and charity that the porter really knows us, and that it is God who maketh him to speak thus against us, write down, O Brother Leo, that this is perfect joy.
And if we knock again, and the porter come out in anger to drive us away with oaths and blows, as if we were vile impostors, saying, `Begone, miserable robbers! Go to the hospital, for here you shall neither eat nor sleep!’ – and if we accept all this with patience, with joy, and with charity, O Brother Leo, write that this indeed is perfect joy.
And if, urged by cold and hunger, we knock again, calling to the porter and entreating him with many tears to open to us and give us shelter, for the love of God, and if he come out more angry than before, exclaiming, `These are but importunate rascals, I will deal with them as they deserve’; and taking a knotted stick, he seize us by the hood, throwing us on the ground, rolling us in the snow, and shall beat and wound us with the knots in the stick – if we bear all these injuries with patience and joy, thinking of the sufferings of our Blessed Lord, which we would share out of love for him, write, O Brother Leo, that here, finally, is perfect joy.
And now, brother, listen to the conclusion. Above all the graces and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit which Christ grants to his friends, is the grace of overcoming oneself, and accepting willingly, out of love for Christ, all suffering, injury, discomfort and contempt; for in all other gifts of God we cannot glory, seeing they proceed not from ourselves but from God, according to the words of the Apostle, `What hast thou that thou hast not received from God? and if thou hast received it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?’
But in the cross of tribulation and affliction we may glory, because, as the Apostle says again, `I will not glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Amen.
All three of the synoptic Gospels (with very minor variation) contain the following, absolutely-central teaching of Jesus:
“And he that taketh not up his cross, and followeth me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for me, shall find it.” Mt. 10: 38-39).
And St. Paul writes, “For the word of the cross, to them indeed that perish, is foolishness; but to them that are saved, that is, to us, it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18).
That carrying the cross of suffering is joy, and that it is wisdom, power – all of this is unique to Catholicism. Voluntary embrace of the cross – the embrace of suffering as a way of both salvation and sanctification by which we die to self in order that Christ may live within us – exists nowhere else in the world. For the atheist or agnostic, who has no hope but in the pleasures of this present life, it is of course absolute foolishness. For the eastern religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, suffering is simply something from which they seek escape. Islam, which does indeed believe that dying in battle against the infidel results in the gift of a sensuous paradise, there is yet no concept of personal sanctification or true union with God, and the holiness to be attained through suffering and purification. The Jew rejects both Christ and His Cross, and awaits a Messiah who will bring victory over his earthly enemies. The Protestant rejects the necessity of any “works” for salvation (“Faith alone”), and therefore also rejects the work of the cross on the part of individual men. And it also therefore rejects the necessity of that personal sanctification which finds fulfillment in the Beatific Vision of God’s Essence.
We are truly alone in this world. And because we do indeed propose that there is salvation only in the cross, and that the bearing of this cross is something all men must do if they wish to find salvation, then the entire world, whether explicitly or implicitly, is bound to hate us.
The problem for us, therefore, in the midst of a world which is rapidly plummeting into a hatred of everything to do with Christianity, is to truly find the joy which lies deeply hidden in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And this requires vision – to be able to see just how it is that the cross is the source of all power, wisdom, and freedom in Christ.
There are two things which would seem to be the source of bewildering amazement in the lives of the greatest saints. The first lies in the fact that it is these same saints who virtually always see themselves as the worst of sinners. Such is indeed a wonder to all of us who hold them up as profound examples of sanctity.
The second source of amazement is the extraordinary degree to which such men and women seek out suffering, humiliation, and even death. We think for instance of St. Francis who longed for martyrdom at the hands of Moslems in the Middle East; or of someone like St. Ignatius of Antioch (a direct disciple of the Apostle John), who on the way to martyrdom, wrote the following to the Christians in Rome, begging them not to interfere: “I am God’s wheat, and by the teeth of wild beasts I am to be ground that I may prove Christ’s pure bread.”
We rightly say that only certain persons are called to such ultimate sacrifice, and therefore receive the grace from God to be faithful to such a call. But this does not mean that there is not a profound truth hidden deeply in these examples of ultimate sacrifice which is not only applicable, but absolutely necessary, for all men if they are to truly live as Christians. This truth lies in this: that each one of us is called to profoundly desire the death of everything within ourselves which detracts in any way from the truth that God is all in all, and that there is only room for Christ’s life and light within us to the extent that we die to self.
This should provide us with the answer as to why great saints inevitably have come to the conclusion that they are the worst of sinners. The greater is the life of Christ which has penetrated into their hearts and minds, the greater is the supernatural light which radiates into all the hidden corners of their being in order to reveal all their own infidelities and sins. This, in turn, increases in them the desire for the cleansing fire of God’s grace for their own purification, which is always accomplished through some degree of suffering. Their joy, wisdom, and power come not in having achieved absolute perfection in this life, but in the knowledge and love which burns ever closer to Christ. It is this “River of Light” in which, despite all the sufferings we may be called to embrace, lies also our own joy and perseverance. When Christ proclaimed, “Come to me, all you that labour, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet, and my burden light”, this entails not that we will escape suffering or the need for continual penance and self-mortification, but that such refreshment, rest, sweetness, and light are to be found in the depths of these crosses.
Carrying the cross consists therefore not just in accepting the sufferings that come to us throughout life, and especially in death, but also actively seeking out this cleansing fire through voluntarily efforts towards self-knowledge, penance and self-denial. This sweet, cleansing River of the Light of Purification has been entrusted by Christ to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. On the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Presentation of our Lord in the Temple, we read the following words of St. Simeon to Mary: “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.” (Luke 2:35). Holy Scripture tells us that the “[human] heart is perverse above all things, who can know it?” (Jer. 17: 9). It is within the absolutely pure, Immaculate Heart of Mary that God has established the fountain of light which alone can unmask all our deceits, double-mindedness, and duplicity. And it is here, wrapped in the embracing love of the Mother of Christ and of all men, that we receive the supernatural grace to be immersed in her Motherly love flowing from Christ, and to be transformed into the likeness of her Son. It is only here where the way of the cross becomes the great sweetness of our lives.
This is the radical difference of the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church. It recognizes that at the heart of our own powerlessness, in the face of a world turning at a geometric pace into the face of Antichrist, is our own duplicity and radical need for self-purification. Our light is dimmed, our power severely diminished. Millions join in Rosary crusades in Washington D.C. and elsewhere for the end of abortion, with no answer in sight. Irish Catholics journey to their coasts to pray the Rosary for the same intention, and within days the people of this nation, once considered by many to be the most Catholic of all nations, vote 2-1 in favor of murdering untold numbers of their future children. The chastisement we are facing, both from within and without the Church, is clearly a chastisement from God for our own infidelities. There can be no remedy for this crisis unless we first turn inward, and seek with all the integrity that we can muster, the light and power of Our Lady’s Motherly care which will first accomplish our own interior purification.
*Please join us on February 2, 2019, Feast of the Purification and the Presentation (and also a First Saturday) for the second annual Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church. Please pray every Rosary to include this intention, and also ask your pastor to implement this event in their churches or chapels. More details are to be found on our website at: www.rosarytotheinterior.com
“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?”
In the following analysis, I 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.
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 stepes 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 in Part I, 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 dos 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 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 Teihard 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 51 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)
“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 in 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 up 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 relative 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)
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.
In prophetic anticipation of the crisis which we now have with us, Teilhard de Chardin wrote the following 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’.” (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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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’, 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 some 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.
“But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Is. 53: 5-6).
When we read about the bruises and stripes suffered by Christ, whether in Old Testament prophesy or the words quoted above from Peter’s epistle (a stripe, as defined by Webster, is “a stroke or blow with a rod or lash”), we are of course led to consideration of the Scourging of Our Lord at the Pillar. It is most appropriate, therefore, that we begin with some degree of comprehension of the extraordinary horror of this Mystery. For this purpose, we quote from the visions of Mary of Agreda to be found in the City of God:
“Thus the Lord stood uncovered in the presence of a great multitude and the six torturers bound Him brutally to one of the columns in order to chastise Him so much the more at their ease. Then, two and two at a time, they began to scourge Him with such inhuman cruelty, as was possible only in men possessed by Lucifer, as were these executioners. The first two scourged the Innocent Savior with hard and thick cords, full of rough knots, and in their sacrilegious fury strained all the powers of their body to inflict the blows. This first scourging raised in the Deified Body of the Lord great welts and livid tumors, so that the Sacred Blood gathered beneath the skin and disfigured His entire body. Already it began to ooze through the Wounds. The first two having at length desisted, the second pair continued the scourging in still greater emulation; with hardened leather thongs they leveled their strokes upon the places already sore and caused the discolored tumors to break open and shed forth the Sacred Blood until it bespattered and drenched the garments of the sacrilegious torturers, running down also in streams to the pavement. Those two gave way to the third pair of scourgers, who commenced to beat the Lord with extremely tough rawhides, dried hard like osier twigs. They scourged Him still more cruelly, because they were wounding, not so much His Virginal Body, as cutting into the wounds already produced by the previous scourging. Besides they had been secretly incited to greater fury by the demons, who were filled with new rage at the Patience of Christ.
“As the veins of the Sacred Body had now been opened and His whole Person seemed but one continued Wound, the third pair found no more room for new wounds. Their ceaseless blows inhumanly tore the Immaculate and Virginal Flesh of Christ Our Redeemer and scattered many pieces of it about the pavement; so much so that a large portion of the shoulder-bones were exposed and showed red through the flowing Blood; in other places also the bones were laid bare larger than the palm of the hand. In order to wipe out entirely that Beauty, which exceeded that of all other men (Ps. 44, 3), they beat Him in the face and in the feet and hands, thus leaving unwounded not a single spot in which they could exert their fury and wrath against the Most Innocent Lamb. The Divine blood flowed to the ground, gathering here and there in great abundance. The scourging in the face, and in the hands and feet, was unspeakably painful, because these parts are so full of sensitive and delicate nerves. His Venerable Countenance became so swollen and wounded that the Blood and the swellings blinded Him. In addition to their blows the executioners spirited upon His Person their disgusting spittle and loaded Him with insulting epithets. The exact number of blows dealt out the Savior from head to foot was 5,115.”
All that we read in Mary of Agreda’s account of Our Lord’s Scourging at the Pillar speaks of horrific evil in those responsible – the conspirational designs and inspiration of Satan, the malice of the Jewish leaders, the Satanically inspired brutality of the scourgers, and the cowardly capitulation of Pilate to what he knew to be terribly unjust. We are tempted therefore to believe that such persons and fallen angels are the real depths and sources behind Our Lord’s “stripes” and “bruisings”. Although we admit, at least nominally, that we are also sinners and that Our Lord died also for our sins, it may also be our tendency to assume a spiritual posture which believes and acts on the presumption that it was really them, and others who are somehow like them, who are ultimately responsible for Our Lord’s torture and death. This is not the verdict of Holy Scripture:
“All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
It would therefore seem of great benefit towards understanding our relationship to God, and especially for gaining that self-knowledge which is integral to this understanding, to penetrate more deeply into how such iniquity can exist even where there is no conscious, deliberate rejection of God, and where there may exist, in fact, explicit belief in Christ and the Catholic Faith. Our Lady of Fatima said that more people go to Hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason. Such mortal sins are most often committed in the heat of desire and passion, wherein there is no conscious consideration of God whatsoever. We must therefore look elsewhere, other than explicit malice towards God, for the root causes of Our Lord’s suffering and death, and the corresponding sources of the eventual eternal estrangement of countless souls from God and their eternal condemnation in Hell.
Any attempt to attain some depth of understanding of the scriptural truth that all of us have gone astray, and that every one hath turned aside into his own way, would therefore seem to demand further penetration, not only into the nature of the original sin committed by Adam and Eve, but also into how its consequences come home to roost in the sins of each one of us – whether these sins be mortal or venial,
St. Thomas teaches that the essence of original sin, and therefore of man’s loss of created friendship with God, could not in any way lie in the passions or any form of concupiscence of the flesh. In addition to possessing sanctifying grace, Adam and Eve were created with the added supernatural gift of integrity, in which there could not be any disharmony between their sensitive passions and right reason. The cause of original sin could therefore only lie in the will of man, wherein he was truly a free spiritual being and possessing the freedom to make his own choices. And since the will of man is an integral part of man’s mind (St. Thomas terms it the intellectual appetency – man cannot will what he does not in some way know), then original sin could only consist of an intellectual pride by which he sought an excellence in his own being which detracted from God, was contrary to right reason, and came to rest in himself as the source of that excellence. Thus, the fundamental temptation of Satan: “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 God, knowing good and evil.
Original sin, as received through generation, is therefore what St. Thomas calls a habit of nature (St. Augustine calls it the languor of nature), by which all men (except of course Our Lord and our Blessed Mother), naturally (in their fallen nature) possess an inordinate disposition (or incentive) to turn from right reason – and therefore the order established by God – to love of self. This tendency is also rightly called concupiscence, and even though in baptism the guilt of original sin is remitted, and friendship with God is restored, this tendency remains.
St. Thomas writes:
“Augustine says (De Civ. Dei, xiv. 28) that ‘self love, amounting to contempt of God, builds up the city of Babylon. Now every sin makes man a citizen of Babylon.’ Therefore self-love is the cause of every sin.
“The proper and direct cause of sin is to be considered on the part of the adherence to a mutable good; in which respect every sinful act proceeds from inordinate desire (against God’s divinely established order) for some temporal good. Now the fact that anyone desires a temporal good inordinately, is due to the fact that he loves himself inordinately; for to wish anyone some good is to love him. Therefore it is evident that inordinate love of self is the cause of every sin.” (ST, I-II, Q. 77, A. 4).
This means of course that the possibility of mortal sin exists in conjunction with all of man’s faculties, and on all levels of his fallen nature – his thoughts, imagination, sensitive appetites, desires, words, passions, deeds, and even in what are called sins of omission. All that is necessary for a sin to be mortal in regard to any of these areas of man’s being is that it be objectively a matter of grave evil, and that man’s free will, which was not taken away through original sin, accedes to it.
One of the greatest delusions present in modern Catholic thought is the belief that sin can only be mortal where there exists some sort of very calculated and conscious rejection of God and His revealed truths or laws. This delusion has even been elevated to the theological theory that all men who do not entertain such direct, conscious rejection of God are really “anonymous” Christians and can thus attain salvation. This delusion is present especially in regard to sins of the flesh. We tend to see these sins almost exclusively as a matter of weaknesses, the guilt for which is almost totally mitigated by the presence of powerful passions and appetites which are virtually impossible to control. In response to this specific question, St. Thomas writes:
“I answer that, Mortal sin, as stated above, consists in turning away from our last end which is God, which aversion pertains to the deliberating reason, whose function it is also to direct towards the end. Therefore that which is contrary to the last end can happen not to be a mortal sin, only when the deliberating reason is unable to come to the rescue, which is the case in sudden movements. Now when anyone proceeds from passion to a sinful act, or to a deliberate consent, this does not happen suddenly: and so the deliberating reason can come to the rescue here, since it can drive the passion away, or at least prevent it from having its effect, as stated above: wherefore if it does not come to the rescue, there is a mortal sin; and it is thus, as we see, that many murders and adulteries are committed through passion.” (ST, I-II, Q. 77, A. 8).
What this means in simple language is that any “sin of passion”, which is objectively a mortal sin against the universal law written in the hearts of all men, is also subjectively (in terms of human responsibility and guilt) a mortal sin, except where there has occurred loss of reason through insanity, brain damage, etc. This is an enormously important truth for us to understand in the face of so many attempts now being made by those within the Church to establish conditions under which engaging in sexual sins in cases of civil divorce and remarriage, co-habitation outside of marriage, homosexuality, etc is something less than grave sin, and can therefore be reconciled with receiving Holy Communion. It is sadly the case today that such persons can almost always find a priest or bishop who will approve such a sacrilege either explicitly or by their silence. Before doing so, however, they should carefully consider the following words of God addressed to the Prophet Ezechiel:
“So thou, O son of man, I have made thee a watchman to the house of Israel: therefore thou shalt hear the word from my mouth, and shalt tell it them from me. When I say to the wicked: O wicked man, thou shalt surely die: if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked man from his way: that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at thy hand.” (Ez. 33: 7-8)”
In other words, we need to take absolutely seriously Our Lady’s statement that more people go to Hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason.
We are therefore faced with the question as to how such sins, despite the fact that they are most often committed in “weakness”, and with no conscious rejection of God – no deliberated malice towards Him or His revealed truths, can yet be mortal because they do indeed constitute a contempt for God for which the persons who commit these sins are gravely responsible.
The answer to this question is clearly delineated for us in Holy Scripture, and especially in the first two chapters of St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans. We begin with the following:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and injustice of those men that detain the truth of God in injustice: Because that which is known of God is manifest to them. For God hath manifested it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable. (Rom. 1: 18-20).
The first thing we must understand about this passage is that Paul is here referring to all men of all times – to Adam and Eve before their Fall, to those living both before and during God’s covenant with the Jews, and to those now living after the redemptive Sacrifice of Christ. All men, created in the image of God, possess an intellectual light which derives from the Life of Christ (John 1: 4) which, when encountering all the marvels of God’s creation, should naturally acknowledge the existence of an infinite God who is the creator of all being: “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” (Col. 1: 16). St. Paul tells the Athenians:
[God] hath made of one, all mankind, to dwell upon the whole face of the earth, determining appointed times, and the limits of their habitation. That they should seek God, if happily they may feel after him or find him, although he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and are…. (Acts 17: 26-28).
St. Thomas flatly states: “All knowers know God implicitly in all they know.” (De Veritate, Q.22, .2). As St. Thomas here points out, this knowledge, especially in consideration of our fallen nature, is implicit. However, just because such knowledge is not explicit, or the subject of intellectual clarity, does not at all excuse man. It is within the human heart that these implicit truths reverberate, and it is here where man freely chooses (wills) either to happily seek and feel after and find God, or whether he chooses to detain the truth concerning both God and himself in the injustice of self-love.
For those who do truly seek God with integrity of heart, we have the promise of God that He will answer their prayers and conduct them into His saving grace and truth, and this is true even of those who do not begin with any explicit knowledge of God’s Revelation: “For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, who have not the law do by nature those things that are of the law; these having not the law are a law to themselves: Who shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness to them, and their thoughts between themselves accusing, or also defending one another, in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.” (Romans 2: 13-16).
The perversity of will (heart) by which man chooses not to glorify God as the complete creator and sustainer of every faculty of his being, and the consequent choosing of self-love over the feeling and seeking after God which is truly natural to the human heart, has absolutely grave consequences for every facet of man’s being. St. Paul gives a detailed account of this “detaining the truth of God in injustice”:
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 a corruptible man [this can certainly be seen to include false humanism and the belief in the evolutionary perfectibility of man himself], and of birds, and of fourfooted beasts, and of creeping things. Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart [self-love], unto uncleanness, to dishonor their own bodies among themselves. Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen
“For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that which is against nature. And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error.
“As they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness, full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity, whisperers, detractors, hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, without mercy. Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.” (Rom. 1: 22-32).
Most important for us to realize is the fact that in order for “inordinate love of self” to produce both the pride that occasioned the Fall of Adam and Eve, and all the sins enumerated above to which our fallen natures are subject to temptation, mankind must have first have “liked not to have God in their knowledge”.
Finally, it behooves us as Catholics, who consider ourselves faithful to the Church’s teaching and subject to the moral law, to inquire how we also have” gone astray”, and” turned aside into our own way”.
At first glance, such a statement might not seem to apply to those who sincerely profess the Catholic Faith. We might protest that we possess the Faith, that we have studied our Faith, that we attend Mass regularly, that we pray our daily prayers, that we “know” God.
With a second look, however, we might begin to see deeper. Does the fact that we are so easily distracted while assisting at Mass or praying the Rosary (are we distracted like this while watching a movie we really like?) indicate a disposition deep within us which does not particularly desire “having God in our knowledge”? Does the fact that we might not be able to keep the “eyes” of our mind on the prayers and meditations of the Rosary, or can barely stay awake while reading the Bible or another spiritual book for 20 minutes, while we might go on for a couple hours reading a novel, tell us something similar? That we can fish, or hunt, or sew, or play volleyball, watch professional sports on TV, talk about many trivial things, all these things occupying many pleasurable hours of our days; while, on the other hand, one hour of discussion about some truth of God, is a relatively rare occurrence – can all of this be telling us that there is a very strong languor of nature” in all of us which demonstrates that we prefer to have other things on our minds more than God?
We might well consider the fact that the primary effect of concupiscence upon our lives as Catholics is a sin of omission – the almost overwhelming tendency not to place God in the very center of all that we do. We tend to make God and our Catholic Faith an adjunct to our lives in this world – a possession which is only a part of our lives. St. Thomas teaches that a sin of omission is not just the absence of something, but an actually deed. It is a deed which departs and detracts, and therefore is in contempt of the good which we are called to do, in order to pursue something else. In the case of God and our Catholic Faith, this of course entails detraction from our absolute obligation to glorify God in every facet of our lives and being, and to seek Him in all that we do. This latter, of course, is an enormously difficult work, an art that we must pursue with passion, and a constant bearing of the Cross of Christ. Possibly the most beautiful and compelling passage of Scripture encapsulating this truly divine and obligatory work of the human mind and heart is to be found in the Old Testament:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength. And these words which I command thee, this day, shall be in thy heart: And thou shalt tell them to thy children, and thou shalt meditate upon them sitting in thy house, and walking on thy journey, sleeping and rising. And thou shalt bind them as a sign on thy hand, and they shall be and shall move between thy eyes.” (Deut. 6: 5-8).
The state of mind and heart described in the above passage is indeed a great labor which requires a magnanimous heart absolutely committed to its pursuit. Without such commitment, we are bound to be lukewarm in both our faith and love towards God, and this is the seedbed of betrayal of Christ. The most violent words in all of scripture are those of Our Lord in the Book of the Apocalypse condemning just such lukewarmness of those in the Church at Laodicea:
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot. But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.” (Apoc. 3: 15-16).
We might even conjecture that such lukewarmness is the primary reason that so many Catholics ultimately find themselves outside of God’s mercy and grace. The Catholic Church of course teaches that no one is condemned without mortal sin, and we tend to think of such mortal sins in regard to the obvious and grosser sins of the flesh. But none of us (except God) can calculate at what point lukewarmness towards God and our Faith, especially among Catholics who have been given the extraordinary gift of God’s life in their souls, becomes an idolatry towards the world which settles into a contempt of God which is mortal. Saint James writes:
“Adulterers, know you not that the friendship of this world is the enemy of God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of this world, becometh an enemy of God”. (James 4: 4-5).
We must realize that the attentiveness of mind and heart to the truths and ways of God described in the above-quoted passage from Deuteronomy was an art enormously easier to practice in a culture embodying the relative simplicity of Old Testament times, or in previous centuries of Christianity. There is much freedom of mind and heart to practice closeness to God when life is simple. As demonstrated in our article on The Third Joyful Mystery: The Birth of Jesus, it was precisely this simplicity and poverty which was sought out and embraced by Joseph and Mary (and Christ) for Our Lord’s birth and family life. The Catholic truth that God is Absolute Divine Simplicity, and that, on the contrary, Satan is the author of superfluous complexity both in the individual soul and in human society, deserves much consideration. All we have to do in order to make this abundantly clear is to look into the possibilities which exist for such closeness to God in the “primitive” farmer plowing his field or the simple craftsman employing his skills, and then contrast this with professions constantly preoccupied with the world of the internet in order to make money, compete, and survive in this modern world. And if we add to this the world of TV, all the superfluous and dangerous other forms of involvement with the internet, the ever expanding world of new forms of expensive and complex entertainment and recreation, the incredible complexity of life in terms of such things as every conceivable form of insurance, taxes, investments, retirement plans, the demands of ever-increasing expense and specialization of education which is supposedly a must for the survival and advancement of our children in this modern world, etc., we can certainly begin to see that mankind has built a world in which it is virtually impossible for God and His Word to “move between our eyes”. We now live in a world which is a garden of delight for Satan’s constant effort to breed forgetfulness and “contempt” of God.
It therefore is now incumbent upon us as Catholics to do everything we creatively can to reduce this “friendship with the world” in our own lives and in those we love and for whom we are responsible – to seek out poverty and simplicity in all the various facets of our lives in order that God may move not only “between the eyes”, but within our whole being: “If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome.” (Mt. 6:22). This is a vast subject for our contemplation and creativity. It is not a task which should be seen as increasing the complexity of our lives, but a constant work of giving glory to God through imitation of the simplicity and poverty of the Holy Family. It is the work of the Cross of Jesus Christ. It is an art by which we must seek freedom in the Holy Spirit.
There is a place of refuge, wherein we may be taught this art. The following words were addressed to Mary of Agreda by the Lord God Almighty, and recorded by her in the City of God:
“Now I will make manifest my indignation and exercise my justice in equity; I will show how well justified is my cause. In order that this may come to pass more speedily, and because it is now time that my mercy show itself more openly and because my love must not be idle, I will offer to them an opportune remedy, if they will but make use of it for returning again to my favor. Now, at this hour, when the world has arrived at so unfortunate a pass, and when, though the Word has become incarnate, mortals are more careless of their weal and seek it less; when the day of their transitory life passes swiftly at the setting of the sun of time; when the night of eternity is approaching closer and closer for the wicked and the day without a night is being born for the just; when the majority of mortals are sinking deeper and deeper into the darkness of their ignorance and guilt: oppressing the just and mocking the children of God; when my holy and divine law is despised in the management of the iniquitous affairs of state, which are as hostile as they are contrary to my Providence; when the wicked least deserve my mercy; in these predestined times, I wish to open a portal for the just ones through which they can find access to my mercy; I wish to give them a light by which they can dispel the gloom that envelops the eyes of their minds. I wish to furnish them a suitable remedy for restoring them to my grace. Happy they who find it, and blessed they who shall appreciate its value, rich they who shall come upon this treasure, and blessed and very wise those who shall search into and shall understand its marvels and hidden mysteries. I desire to make known to mortals how much intercession of Her is worth, who brought restoration of life by giving mortal existence to the immortal God. As recompense I desire that they look upon the wonders wrought by my mighty arm in that pure Creature, as upon a mirror by which they can estimate their own ingratitude….I will not longer withhold from men this mystical City of refuge….”
At Fatima, Our Lady told us that her Immaculate Heart would be our refuge and the way that would lead us to God. As revealed in the words of the Almighty at the end of the passage quoted above, this refuge – this portal which God has in recent centuries opened up to mankind, is not only a refuge from the world, but one in which a light will be given to us to see, as upon a mirror, the profound ingratitude – the contempt of God – which is hidden in our own friendship with the world, lukewarmness towards God, and consequent iniquities inflicted upon Our Lord in His Passion. It is only here, in the light of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, that we may be cleansed of our adulteries with this world.
Above all, however, one thing is necessary in order that we should even possess the desire to pass through this portal and enter into this refuge: we must rekindle within the depths of our hearts and minds the Gift of the Holy Spirit which is called Fear of the Lord. This Gift has been a casualty of the spirit of the world which has largely reigned in the Church since Vatican Council II. Fear of the Lord has been widely eliminated (usually by substituting words such a wonder, awe, and reverence) from catechisms, prayers, and the general consciousness of the Catholic faithful, and it has been totally eliminated from the Bishop’s prayer over the confirmands in administration of the New Rite of Confirmation. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. It is established upon knowledge of a twofold truth: the infinite goodness and majesty of God on the one hand, and the always threatening lukewarmness, and duplicitous and treacherous tendencies of our own fallen natures. It is only with this Gift, and this honesty, that we can conceivably be also gifted with the desire to cast ourselves into the Tabernacle of Mary’s purifying Heart.
In this regard, we offer one final quote from Mary of Agreda:
“Ever since I have had the use of reason, I was conscious of especially one blessing, which in my estimation is the greatest of all those bestowed upon me by God’s liberality; namely, a great and penetrating fear, lest I should lose Him. And this moved and urged me on to strive after the better and more secure way and to follow after it and implore it from the Lord day after day. He has wounded my flesh with the dart of fear of his judgments (Ps. 118,120), and I live continually in the dreadful thought: Have I perhaps lost the friendship of the Most High or am I still in his friendship? My bread day and night have been the tears, which this fear has drawn from my eyes (Ps. 91, 4). On account of this dread, since it is more necessary than ever that the friends of the Lord should practice their virtues in secret and without ostentation, I have in these latter times begun to send up earnest and heartfelt prayers and petitions to the Lord, asking also the intercession of the Queen of Virgins, that I may be guided and led along the secure paths hidden from the eyes of men.”
It would seem that it is precisely because of this blessing bestowed upon Mary of Agreda in her youth that she was subsequently chosen to reveal to the world the Tabernacle of Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart as the refuge which would protect and preserve us from the evils of this modern world, and from our own duplicity:
“One thing I have asked of the Lord, this will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. That I may see the delight of the Lord, and may visit his temple. For he hath hidden me in his tabernacle; in the day of evils, he hath protected me in the secret place of his tabernacle.” (Ps. 26: 4-5).
It is in such a spirit that the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church is directed – not primarily towards all those evils which do indeed truly exist out there, but rather towards that which has become dimmed, darkened, or even extinguished within each one of us, and in the Church as a whole. We ask all Catholics to fill their churches on February 2, 2019 to beseech Our Lady, through her Rosary, that she flood our souls with the light of the Gift of Fear of the Lord which is necessary to accomplish this self-knowledge and purification in our hearts and minds. Only thus will the Light of Christ be enkindled once again in His Church for the conversion of nations:
I am come to cast fire on the earth: and what will I, but that it be kindled? (Luke 12: 49).
The Suffering and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Before beginning our examination of the Agony in the Garden, it would be well for us to be clear on some truths which must govern our approach to all of the Sorrowful Mysteries.
That God, in the infinite Person of Jesus Christ, should become man and choose to die the most horrible death imaginable is, for us mortals who try to penetrate this mystery, virtually incomprehensible. Yet, while the depths of this limitless love may indeed be unfathomable to our human minds and hearts this side of the Beatific Vision, there are indeed some things in this absolutely central truth of our Faith which are crucial for our understanding.
In our examination of the First Joyful Mystery, we quoted rather extensively from Pope St. Leo the Great’s Tome on the Incarnation. Again, in order to gain some insight into the nature of Our Lord’s suffering and death, it will serve us well to consider some shorter passages from this marvelous document:
“In this preservation, then, of the real quality of both natures, both being united in one person, lowliness was taken on by majesty, weakness by strength, mortality by the immortal. And in order to pay the debt of our fallen state, inviolable nature was united to one capable of suffering so that (and this is the sort of reparation we needed) one and the same mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, could die in the one nature and not die in the other.”
“Both His natures keep their intrinsic quality without defect; and just as the aspect of God does not remove the aspect of servitude, so also this latter does not lessen the aspect of God…. Each aspect performs its own acts in cooperation with the other; that is, the Word doing what is proper to the Word, the flesh pursuing what pertains to the flesh.”
“Although in the Lord Jesus Christ there is one person, of God and man, it is only from one of these sources that contempt comes to both in common, and from the other source that glory comes to both in common.”
“For to have possessed one of these [natures] without the other was of no value for salvation.”
It has always been the tendency of heretics and heresies to emphasize one of the natures of Christ at the expense of the other. As evidenced in the final quote offered above, success in such an enterprise absolutely destroys the entire Catholic concept of salvation. The first seven Ecumenical Councils were, in fact, all centered on crushing such heresies, and formulating all of the central dogmas concerning the full divinity and true humanity of Jesus Christ, and penetrating as far as possible into some human understanding of their true union in the Divine Person of Jesus Christ. Again, from Pope Leo’s Tome:
“Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is of God. And every spirit that dissolveth Jesus is not of God’. [1John 4: 2-3]. What is meant by ‘dissolving” Jesus if not the taking away from Him of His human nature and nullifying by the foulest imaginings the mystery through which alone we have been saved?”
Pope Leo in the above passage refers to the Monophysite [One Nature] heresy which emphasized the divine nature of Christ to the point of denying that He also truly possessed a human nature. The other side of this coin (the Arian heresy) denied Christ’s divinity by refusing to affirm that He is consubstantial (homoousious – one in being) with the Father. And finally, to complete the unholy trinity of Christological errors, there was a third heresy (Nestorianism) which effectively declared that there were two Persons in Jesus Christ – a human person and a Divine Person, thereby dissolving any possible unity of two natures in One Divine Person.
In other words, one way or another, it is a fundamental tendency of man in his fallen state to attempt to “dissolve” the great Mystery of the unity of God and man in the Divine Person Jesus Christ. We witness this phenomenon fully blown in the heresies of the major heretics (Arius, Nestorius, Eutyches, etc.), but it is also true that these insidious errors (and their sponsoring demons) are always prowling around, especially among the Catholic intelligentsia, seeking to destroy or severely compromise the integrity of our own faith. Most important, we must also recognize this temptation in ourselves. The fallen human mind, in its pride and conceits, “naturally” becomes restless when it is faced with a mystery which in this life it cannot fully comprehend, and is greatly tempted to leap forward into some sort of false solution which will resolve this tension. This, of course, is where the theological gift of faith can be seen as absolutely crucial, and where, on the contrary, such “leaps” towards false solutions necessarily constitute a denial of this faith.
In regard to the study of the Sorrowful Mysteries which we are about to undertake, we must therefore always keep in mind the following truths.
The depths of the mystery of the union of the divine and human natures in the One Divine Person of Christ is a mystery impenetrable to human discursive reasoning. Our fundamental response to this truth must therefore be humble submission of our intellects and wills to this truth revealed by God.
In respect to the suffering and death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, certain rules of language and thought are absolutely essential. These include the following:
During the entirety of His life on this earth, from conception through death (including during His Passion), Our Lord Jesus Christ in His human nature was in possession of the fullness of the Beatific Vision. St. Thomas, quoting St. John Damascene on this subject, writes: “Christ’s Godhead permitted His flesh to do and to suffer what was proper to it. In like fashion, since it belonged to Christ’s soul, inasmuch as it was blessed, to enjoy fruition [the Beatific Vision], His Passion did not impede fruition.” (III, Q. 46, A. 8).
It is absolutely true and right to say that Jesus Christ suffered and died for our sins. It cannot be said that Jesus Christ in His Divine Nature suffered and died. God, in His Divine Nature, is subject to neither passion nor to any kind of limitation. Quoting Paul Glenn’s summary of the teaching of St. Thomas: “The Passion of Christ was the suffering and death of our Lord as man. We cannot say that the Godhead suffered and died. It is perfectly true that He who died is God. But He is also man, in the unity of the divine Person of the Son. It is the divine Person in His human nature that suffers and dies. The Godhead lives, both in the body of the dead Christ on the cross, and in the separated soul of Christ in Limbo.” (Tour of the Summa, IIIa, Q.46, A. 12).
Again, quoting Pope St. Leo the Great: “Although in the Lord Jesus Christ there is one person, of God and man, it is only from one of these sources that contempt comes to both in common, and from the other source that glory comes to both in common.”
In other words, we must not compromise in any way either the full divinity or the true humanity of Our Lord, or their unity in the One Divine Person Jesus Christ. If during this life affirming all of these truths simultaneously appears to be difficult for our finite intelligences, we must yet possess the humility and faith to accept these truths, and humbly await more complete understanding in the Beatific Vision after death. Our minds must find true rest in this infinitely profound Mystery if we are not to be led astray by pride, and the demons which always congregate around such pride.
The Agony in the Garden and the Virtue and Gift of Fortitude
St. Thomas, in discussing the question as to “Whether the Pain of Christ’s Passion Was Greater Than All Other Pains” (ST, III, Q. 46, A. 6), begins by quoting the Book of Lamentations (I, 12): “O all ye that pass by the way attend, and see if there be any sorrow like unto My sorrow”.
Thomas considers this supreme greatness of Christ’s suffering from both the exterior (physical) and interior aspects. It was the greatest physical suffering for a number of reasons: because of the specific nature of the death inflicted (crucifixion); because of the perfection of His own physical constitution in which the sense of touch (the source of physical pain) was more acute than in other men; because Christ, in His willingness to suffer for the sins of all men, chose not to mitigate this suffering through the mental acts that other men use to ameliorate such suffering: and because Christ embraced that fullness of pain which would be proportionate to the fullness of salvation which this suffering would merit for mankind: “He embraced the amount of pain proportionate to the magnitude of the fruit which resulted therefrom.”
In regard to the interior suffering of Christ, which of course is the primary subject of the First Sorrowful Mystery, St. Thomas writes: “The cause of the interior pain was, first of all, all the sins of the human race, for which He made satisfaction by suffering…. Secondly, especially the fall of the Jews and of the others who sinned in His death, chiefly of the apostles, who were scandalized at His Passion….”
It is, of course, precisely the fall of the apostles in regard to Christ’s Suffering and Passion which we witness in this First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden.
St. Matthew tells us that twice Jesus returned to his disciples (specifically Peter, John, and James) to seek comfort and solace in His sufferings, and found them asleep. Each time He asked them to watch and pray that they might not enter into temptation, and both times they failed in the necessary exercise of the virtue of fortitude in the face of fear, anguish, weariness, and sorrow. As such, they became for all future generations of Christians the archetypal image of all those Christians, and especially bishops and priests, who would fail in fortitude in their defense of all things Catholic. This is especially true in regard to defense of all that surrounds the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Blessed Catherine Emmerich (beatified by Pope John Paul II), in her visions concerning The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, offers an extraordinarily explicit and detailed account of the interior sufferings of Our Lord in His Agony in the Garden. These sufferings, while being caused by His vision and knowledge of the vast multitude and variety of all the specific sins of mankind, were at the same time reducible to one primary source:
“Now, however, he beheld all the future sufferings, combats, and wounds of his heavenly Spouse [the Church]; in one word, he beheld the ingratitude of men.”
This ingratitude of men in all the centuries since Christ’s Passion and Resurrection is centered upon insult and outrage to Our Lord in the Eucharist. After describing the frightful visions experienced by Jesus of all the future ingratitude of men – visions which were replete with demons in terrifying forms (each representing a particular sin) inflicting upon Our Lord “the most fearful outrages, cursing, striking, wounding, and tearing him in pieces”, Catherine Emmerich proceeds with the following:
“It was made known to me that these apparitions were all those persons who in diverse ways insult and outrage Jesus, really and truly present in the Holy Sacrament. I recognized among them all those who in any way profane the Blessed Eucharist. I beheld with horror all the outrages thus offered to our Lord, whether by neglect, irreverence, and omission of what was due to him; by open contempt, abuse, and the most awful sacrileges; by the worship of worldly idols; by spiritual darkness and false knowledge; or, finally, by error, incredulity, fanaticism, hatred, and open persecution. Among these men I saw some who were blind, paralyzed, deaf, and dumb, and even children; – blind men who would not see the truth; paralytic men who would not advance, according to its directions, on the road leading to eternal life; deaf men who refused to listen to its warnings and threats; dumb men who would never use their voices in its defense; and, finally, children who were led astray by following parents and teachers filled with the love of the world and forgetfulness of God, who were fed on earthly luxuries, drunk with false wisdom, and loathing all that pertained to religion…I beheld with terror that many priests, some of whom even fancied themselves full of faith and piety, also outraged Jesus in the Adorable Sacrament. I saw many who believed and taught the doctrine of the Real Presence, but did not sufficiently take it to heart, for they forgot and neglected the palace, throne, and seat of the living God; that is to say, the church, the altar, the tabernacle, the chalice, the monstrance, the vases and ornaments; in one word, all that is used in his worship, or to adorn his house.”
The Vatican II document Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests states:
“But the other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate are bound up with the Eucharist and are directed towards it. For in the most blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself our Pasch and the living bread which gives life to men through his flesh – that flesh which is given life and gives life through the Holy Spirit.”
All that pertains to the guardianship of this absolutely central Mystery of Catholic life and worship – its integrity, defense, and administration – descends from Christ through His Apostles to the Bishops and their priests. It is their most sacred duty not only to administer this most holy Sacrament, but to teach thoroughly the doctrine concerning what constitutes its reality, and also what is necessary on the part of all the faithful for its reception. This of course necessitates the teaching of the nature of sanctifying grace, and the nature and consequences of receiving Our Lord in mortal sin.
The Catholic Church teaches that to knowingly or culpably deny even one doctrine of the Catholic Faith is to lose sanctifying grace (and thus charity, or the state of being in God’s friendship), and to fall into mortal sin. And, of course, to commit even one grave moral sin results in the same loss. The Council of Trent solemnly declares:
“In opposition also to the subtle wits of certain men, who, by pleasing speeches and good words, seduce the hearts of the innocent, it is to be maintained, that the received grace of Justification is lost, not only by infidelity 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.” (Session VI, chapter XV).
According to Pew Research Polls (and basically verified by other polls), we have the following statistics in regard to the acceptance of serious mortal sins among American Catholics: 50% of American Catholics believe that abortion should be legal in “most or all cases” (and surely a much higher percentage believe it should be legal in at least the “hard” cases such as “life of the mother”, rape, and incest), 70% believe gay marriage “should be accepted by society” (this figure is up 12% in just the past 10 years), 89% believe that artificial contraception is morally acceptable or not a moral issue at all, 85% believe it is acceptable for unmarried couples to live together outside of marriage, 76% believe that unmarried, co-habiting couples should be allowed to receive Holy Communion, and over 60 % believe that divorced and remarried couples (without an annulment) should be allowed to receive Holy Communion (this last statistic may have grown significantly since the data collected here came before the apparent endorsement of such a practice in certain instances by Pope Francis in “Amoris Laetitia”, and before being put into practice by a significant number of bishops), . All this would make it almost certain that over 80 % of Catholics in this country embrace at least one of these errors (and this without even considering infallible dogmatic teachings of the Faith such as Transubstantiation, Original Sin, Mary’s Perpetual Virginity, the Immaculate Conception, etc.).
Holy Scripture and the Church also teach that anyone who receives Holy Communion while being in mortal sin not only commits sacrilege (“guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord”), but also “eateth and drinketh judgment to himself” (1 Cor. 11: 27-29). What duty, therefore, can be more incumbent upon every priest in this present age of apostasy from Catholic Truth than that of very carefully explaining from the pulpit the nature of both mortal sin and Eucharistic sacrilege, of being very specific in regard to the sins enumerated above, and declaring emphatically that anyone who commits these sins, or denies these teachings of Christ and His Church, must not receive Holy Communion? To be silent in regard to this obligation entails not only complicity in “re-crucifying” Christ, but also amounts to confirming the vast majority of Catholics in mortal sin. This is not charity or mercy towards souls.
Of course, any priest who would fulfill this obligation would almost certainly and immediately begin losing many parishioners, and this translates into a large loss of revenues. It is necessary first of all, therefore, that a priest who is to be faithful in preaching these truths makes the fundamental choice of serving God rather than Mammon.
It is also true that when any priest chooses to follow Christ by preaching these truths, his bishop will be besieged by outraged parishioners. The minimum reaction by the bishops of most dioceses will be an order to tone it down, and possibly even to make a public apology to his parishioners. If such a priest continues to preach these truths, he will likely face suspension of his faculties.
Even more important, however, is the question as to whether priests are willing to follow Christ and be a sign of contradiction to “the world, the flesh, and the devil”, or whether they choose to abet, especially through their silence, the descent of the Church into the cesspool of this modern world. The latter, of course, is precisely the course upon which the priesthood almost universally embarked after Vatican II – which every Sunday found the priest in the pulpit preaching about love, mercy, and forgiveness, while the vast majority of the faithful were amalgamating their faith to the world and succumbing to the mortal sins enumerated above (and others), and which destroy their life in God. We also cannot fail to note that this silence rebounded upon the priesthood itself with a huge loss of vocations, desertions from the priesthood, and the descent of many into every conceivable form of “filth”. As Jesus said to his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.” (Mt. 5:13).
The Apostles failed in fortitude in the Garden of Gethsemane. Their failure is understandable, for they were then responding to Our Lord’s Agony with their own weak human natures which had not yet received the Pentecostal Gift of the Holy Spirit which is called Fortitude. Our Lord, in fact, offers no condemnation to them when He comes and finds them sleeping: “Sleep ye now and take your rest; behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners.” (Mt. 26: 45).
The very opposite is seen after these same Apostles received the Gifts of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We fail to realize the extraordinary difference the Sacrament of Confirmation (our own Pentecost) is meant to create in our own souls. The Apostles, all of whom were cowering in fear before the descent of the Holy Spirit, now burst forth from their hiding place to proclaim everywhere the fullness of the truth of Jesus Christ. All, except John (and John survived only through supernatural intervention), were martyred for this witness. It is in fact martyrdom which is the ultimate test of the Gift of the Holy Spirit which we know as Fortitude.
A very different spirit has now permeated the priesthood. The apparitions to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres (1563-1635), which we covered extensively in The Fourth Joyful Mystery: The Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple, and which deal extensively with the crisis in the Church during the last half of the Twentieth Century (and now obviously extending into the Twenty-First), include the following:
“Then, Our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Mother Mariana as He was in the Garden of Olives, kneeling in mournful, ardent prayer. She was given to understand the most bitter sorrow that overpowered His Sacred Heart in those moments when, feeling the tedium of life, He said, ‘My Father, if it be possible to take from Me this bitter chalice, do so…but not My will, but Thine be done.’ She saw that the greatest interior torments of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were the ingratitude and indifference of those souls who, chosen among millions to be His spouses and ministers, abandoned Him in the most absolute solitude. This, despite the fact that He would live under the same roof with His spouses and descend into the hands of His priests at the simple call of their voices at the most solemn moment of the Consecration of the Holy Host and Chalice.”
Virtually the entire priesthood (at least in the West) has now been bullied by the world, and by a hierarchy seeking inclusiveness and a false ecumenism towards this world, into a silence, and therefore a profound loss of the Gift of Fortitude, in regard to the “hard” teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church. Even those priests with strong “conservative” sentiments who might occasionally say something against abortion, contraception, or divorce and remarriage, seem to do so in a half-hearted manner, and certainly almost never firmly specify these beliefs and practices as mortal sins which absolutely forbid the reception of Holy Communion. Preaching against homosexuality as an abominable sin is even more unthinkable, and might indeed lead to secular prosecution.
Equally important, we must see all these mortal sins as being sustained and promoted by a culture which provides its seeds and nourishment: a scientism which reduces all of created realities (including spiritual, mental, and emotional) to reductive “atomism” (material causation) and evolutionary progression : economic systems which demand usury and the making of money fecund (including such things as the stock market); public, secular education, which of necessity always becomes irreligious and anti-religious; the promotion of, and addiction to, unending technological and material progress; addiction to ever expanding varieties of entertainment and recreation which become increasingly violent and purveyors of impurity; the almost universal acceptance of immodesty; and last, but not least, the descent of all value systems, morality, and religious belief into a permissive relativity.
All of these subjects, and more, are fully worthy of a true pastor’s teaching office, and can even be considered as necessary to his efforts to protect his flock from the work of Satan, who prowls about the world seeking to use every cultural institution for the ruin of souls. This is especially true in regard to children and the education which they receive. And yet it is almost impossible to imagine, for instance, a priest now standing in the pulpit and telling all those in his care that they should do everything possible, and expend every resource necessary, in order to avoid sending their children to public schools. In stark contrast to such modern timidity, it certainly was not impossible to imagine, and was indeed a very common practice, for priests to preach these necessary truths only 70 years ago. It was, in fact, Pope Pius XI who, in his encyclical on the Christian Education of Youth (Divini Illius Magistri, 1929) taught these truths to the whole world.
To be a priest true to Jesus Christ in such a world as we now have with us is to invite almost certain martyrdom (whether “wet” or “dry”). The fact that there are so few martyrs (at least in the lands dominated by Western culture and liberal democracy) is in itself a profound testimony to the almost universal loss of the Gift of Fortitude among the descendents – both bishops and priests – of the Apostles. It is such a priesthood, according to mystics such as Blessed Catherine Emmerich and Mother Mariana, which was the greatest source of pain and sorrow for Our Lord in His Agony in the Garden.
Most of our individual churches have become temples of massive sacrilege, and therefore almost certainly the habitation of all the devils depicted in the visions of Catherine Emmerich concerning Our Lord’s Agony in the Garden. And this, despite all the gentle sentiments of love, forgiveness, mercy, and inclusiveness that each week waft forth from the pulpit. It is here, in the pulpit, where the local priest must take his stand either for Belial or Christ: “He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.” (Mt. 12:30). It is here where he succumbs to silence, or speaks the Word of Truth which is the life of Christ and the only light by which he and all his flock may be drawn out from all the evils of this modern world.