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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.