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Our Chastisement, Our Blessing

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Please read our Original Proposal

Our Chastisement, Our Blessing

 

Woe to you who build the monuments of the prophets: and your fathers killed them….That the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation. (Luke 11: 47-50)

 

While reading the Gospels, it might often appear that the Pharisees present themselves to us as proverbial “deer in the headlights”. Much of the time, their subterranean betrayal and malice were hidden behind real incomprehension. Theirs was the “What have we done wrong? – we have only been faithful to God’s tradition” look. Their unconscious betrayal was the result of building centuries of “monuments” (both physical and spiritual) that appeared God-like, but which in reality dulled, obscured, and finally profoundly falsified the Spirit of God’s Truth and Life. In so doing – in not having kept careful “watch” over their own spiritual integrity – their failure to understand was truly culpable, and therefore the blood of all the Old Testament prophets was upon their generation.

We are now experiencing a chastisement, come to fruition in the Papacy of Francis, which might leave us in a similar “what have we done to deserve this” bewilderment and confusion. We stand on thin ice if we attempt to claim that this is not a deserved punishment from God. The necessary question therefore is: Is it conceivable that we have been so whittled down through a long historical betrayal of the Gospel that we now stand, uncomprehending, in the face of a severe chastisement which we deserve, and which is a necessary blessing inflicted for our return?

Jesus’ words condemning the “monument-building” Jews occurred at a dinner to which he was invited by a Pharisee, who had earlier heard the following words spoken by Jesus:

“The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body will be lightsome: but if it be evil, thy body also will be darksome. Take heed therefore, that the light which is in thee, be not darkness. If then thy whole body be lightsome, having no part of darkness; the whole shall be lightsome; and as a bright lamp, shall enlighten thee.”

This passage speaks of a unity of spirit and flesh, each dependent upon one another for integrity, which is single in intention. The nature of this singleness of intention is more fully elaborated in a parallel passage in Matthew 6:

Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up to yourselves treasures of heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also. The light of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome. But if thy eye be evil thy whole body shall be darksome. If then the light that is in thee, be darkness: the darkness itself how great shall it be! No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

After these words of Jesus comes the “Lilies of the Field” passage, which ends with the equally famous: “Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.”

In the light of the above scriptures, we would like to pose, and attempt to answer, three questions: First, was there a “single eye” present in the first Christians (and not excluding other individuals and groups down through the centuries), but which has now been almost universally abandoned, and which has become virtually incomprehensible to the modern Catholic consciousness? Second, as the fruits of this betrayal, have we built monuments to Christianity at the expense of living it? And, finally, is it the Blood of Jesus that may be required of this generation because of this betrayal?

If we seek an absolutely reliable account of how the first Christians lived, we inevitably are pointed to the Book of Acts, and to the two passages which are brief, but most telling, in this regard:

“They therefore that received his word, were baptized; and there were added in that day about three thousand souls. 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 also 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.” (2: 42-47).

“And the multitude of believers had but one heart and one soul: neither did any one say that aught of the things which he possessed was his own; but all things were common unto them. And with great power did the apostles give testimony of the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord; and great grace was in them all. For neither was there any one needy among them. For as many as were owners of lands or houses, sold them, and brought the price of the things they sold, and laid it down before the feet of the apostles. And distribution was made to every one, according as he had need. (Acts 4: 32-35).

We ask the reader to consider whether he has ever heard or read any contemporary preacher or writer offer an analysis of these passages, or take them seriously in any way. It is as though they are incomprehensible – a conclusion which must certainly be false, given the specificities offered in St. Luke’s description.

In the first place, these first Christians were baptized into the Faith, and were persevering in the doctrine of the apostles. There can be here no de-emphasis of doctrine at the price of a false mercy. Twice, in fact, it is said that holy Fear was upon them all. To culpably transgress the faith which they had received was impossible as long as this fear of the Lord was operative in their hearts.

Second, there was a bond of unity, founded upon true poverty and the rejection of worldly possessions, which St. Luke describes as “having all things in common” – they sold their possessions, and laid the money which they received at the feet of the apostles, so that distribution could be made where needed. It is this particular “specificity”, of course, which is the primary reason these two passages of scripture are virtually totally ignored. As St. John Chrysostom pointed out in his commentary on Acts, it is this “having all things in common” that we fear above all, and avoid taking seriously. We must therefore look more closely.

These passages have been employed as an argument for Communism. This is ludicrous. Communism totally rejects God, and any communal living involved in its system is founded upon the elevation of collective man, and the state, over God, the rejection of individual dignity and freedom, and the rejection of the right to private property itself. Any communal living proposed by the Gospel or the Church, on the other hand, involves voluntary giving of the members of the Mystical Body of Christ. It is not in any way a tyranny.

It is equally false to exaggerate the degree to which this “having all things in common” was external. There could be endless, useless speculation in this regard. It is clear, however, that these first Christians broke bread “from house to house”, and therefore probably possessed their own homes. We in fact need speculate no further in this regard than did the writer of the Epistle to Diognetes, writing almost 100 years later (130 A.D.): “They have a common table, but not a common bed.” It was the spirit that mattered – the externals obviously had their limits. As the passage from Acts 4 states, “Neither did any one say that aught of the things which he possessed was his own”. Their physical poverty was real, but not absolute. Their “spirit of poverty”, on the other hand, was quite absolute indeed. This Christian heart in which this spirit was operative was aptly described in the following passage from St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians (7: 29-31):

This therefore I say, brethren; the time is short; it remaineth, that they also who have wives, be as if they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice as if they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as if they used it not: for the fashion of this world passeth away.”

And what makes this spirit possible?

In our article on St. Francis (St. Francis of Assisi: They Pretended to Love You So That They Might Leave You), we quoted the above passages from Acts in order to exemplify the simplicity and poverty which was the core charism of St. Francis. But these passages also expose to our vision something deeper within the human heart, which makes such simplicity and poverty both possible and necessary. There would seem to be one word which best expresses this “something”: Immediacy. It is immediacy – defined as “the quality of bringing one into direct and instant involvement with something, giving rise to a sense of urgency or excitement” – which most characterizes the heart of these first Christians, and their relationship to Christ and the Gospel. And this immediacy is at the same time always present – it penetrated into all that these first Christians did, and every moment and part of their existence.

Interestingly, God’s demand that man recognize the immediacy of His presence, and be constantly preoccupied with his presence, is not something which only became possible after the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. Possibly the greatest passage in all of scripture depicting this “spirit” is to be found in Deuteronomy:

Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. 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 the eyes.” Deut 6:4-8).

This image of the constant presence of God “moving between the eyes” is possibly the greatest mystical image in all of Christian literature. We are dealing here with human hearts and minds possessed by God in all their thoughts and activities.

It is this immediacy of the human heart among these first Christians which made possible the “single eye” which directed everything towards Christ. Further, this immediacy made possible not only this singular relationship with Christ, but with others who were members of His Body, and it also enabled true charity towards all other human beings (both friends and enemies) simply because they were all created “by Him, and in Him” (Colossians 1:16).

This profoundly “common” union of hearts with Christ and one another merited the grace that “the Lord increased daily such as should be saved”. This is why we see so many miracles among the early Christians, why we see the fulfillment of Our Lord’s words that “you shall ask whatever you will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7), why 3,000 would be converted one day, and 5,000 another, and that there could be such astonishingly rapid conversions of whole people and nations to Christ.

It is not at all necessary to be utopian in order to understand the unique spirit of these first Christians. Where there is human nature, there is always sin. We see these sins in the story of Ananias and Saphira, who sold land, gave part while hypocritically pretending to give all, and were punished by God. We see it present in the various churches as revealed in the letters of St. Paul, especially those to the Corinthians, in regard to the unseemly behavior indulged in at Agape Feasts, the adulterous behavior of a son with his Father’s wife, the competition of various factions who claimed to be followers of one teacher in opposition to others, etc. We explore the lives of these early Christians not because the perfection of human beings was across-the board accomplished, but because it was indeed present and visible in a way which it is not now – present to such an extent as to merit all sorts of extraordinary graces from God, and in a way which can clearly be contrasted with our present nakedness in this regard.

And so, we are compelled to ask the inevitable question: What happened within the depths of the souls of Catholics during the early decades and centuries of the Christian era which compromised this immediacy of Christ presence within the followers of Christ, and profoundly diminished the visible evidence of the power of God’s grace operative through them? Again, the answer is to be found in scripture – this time most aptly expressed in the Letter of St. James:

You ask, and receive not; because you ask amiss: that you may consume it on your concupiscences.” (4:3).

Everything we have is a gift from God. To see the life of Christ which is “the light of men” (John 1: 4), and to follow this life and light with an upright heart is to remain in the immediacy and presence of God’s Truth and Life. Sin, both original and personal, is the turning aside the gifts of God in order to possess and use them as our own possessions: “All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way….” (Isaiah 53: 6). We all tend to do it. The extent to which we do it, corresponds to the degree to which God’s immediacy and presence is lost to us, and we become immersed in hypocrisy and duplicity. At a certain point such hypocrisy almost inevitably leads to spiritual death through mortal sin. But even short of mortal sin, it has the effect of depriving both individual Catholics and the Church as a whole of the power of the Holy Spirit necessary, not only for the conversion of the world, but also for the protection of the Church itself from invasion by the spirit of Antichrist.

The “turning aside into their own way” of the truth and light which God had given through the prophets is therefore perfectly expressed in the reality of the Pharisees having built their “monuments”, but denying the spirit of God present in their teachings: “This people honoureth me with their lips but their heart is far from me.” (Mat. 15: 8).The word “monument” is also properly translated as “tomb” or “sepulchre”. The Pharisees themselves were therefore described by Jesus as being “whited sepulchres”, appearing just to men, but inwardly full of hypocrisy and iniquity (Mat. 23-27-28). The “building of monuments” is therefore the pre-eminent metaphor employed by Jesus for the falsification of the true spirit of religion while retaining its appearance – beauty on the surface, spiritual death within.

This is the deepest tendency within fallen human nature – that point where “turning aside” begins. We must not conceive of it as always being fully developed, or accompanied by intense malice as exhibited by the Pharisees. It is most often an evolutionary progression with small but deadly beginnings initiating a process of growing compromise and falsification. Many events and persons – sinners and saints – contribute to this process. Because persons may have contributed in some way to this decay does not mean that they are in Hell, does not entail that they were evil men, and does not contradict the fact that they may even be canonized saints. All men fall short in certain areas, Satan is able to add all these failures to his conspiratorial mix, the world waxes old and more deceitful in the web which it spins, and Christianity decays. What we have now is the product of a long historical process, with many twists and turns, progressions and regressions, but with an overall trend of deepening falsification and obscuration of God’s immanence to the human heart.

In our article on St. Francis, we discussed the Portiuncula of St. Francis as an “icon of betrayal”. It seems appropriate to mention it again here.

Four kilometers from Assisi is the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, the seventh largest church in Christendom, built over and around the original home of the Franciscan Order. Within this magnificent and massive structure, and directly under the cupola, stands a tiny church (only 22’ X 13’6”) called the Portiuncula (the word translates as “little portion of land” – it is also called “Mary of the Angels”). The Portiuncula is the singular place on this earth most beloved to St. Francis; it is where he founded his Order, and where he passionately desired the most perfect preservation of his ideal.

Because St. Francis considered the Portiuncula to be “holy, beloved, and chosen before all others by Christ and the glorious Virgin” (Mirror of Perfection, 55), and because he intensely desired that the Portiuncula be the example and model for all the rest of the order, he gave minute instructions before his death for the preservation of this ideal. These instructions applied first of all to all those practices which cultivate the interior life of holiness – silence, prayer, holy conversation, physical labor, fasting and other forms of physical mortification. Especially, he sought to keep this place free from worldly conversation and news, and free from all that is not edifying. He gave specific instructions as to the qualities needed in the clergy and friars who were to reside and serve here, and he stated, “I do not wish anyone else, whether layfolk or friars, to enter this place, except the Minister General and the lay-brothers who serve them.” (Ibid.).

The Portiuncula is now entombed within the grandiosity of the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli, and is a prominent tourist site with all the noise, commotion, irreverence, etc. which this entails.

Many Popes have born witness to the fact that St. Francis was an extraordinary gift of God sent in order to turn mankind away from a long immersion in the concupiscenses of this world, and back towards Christ and the living of His Gospel. He has been called by at least two Popes “the Second Christ”. And yet it was a canonized Saint, Pope Pius V, who ordered that the Portiuncula, and all that it meant to Francis and his ideal, be entombed within the Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli. The Basilica, as beautiful as it is, therefore represents a monument to the killing of the spirit of St. Francis – the culmination, as it were, of many betrayals of Francis’ ideal of Gospel poverty by saints (including St. Bonaventure) and sinners alike (all of this is discussed extensively in our article on Francis). Again, this does not make Saint Pius V (or Bonaventure) into evil men. It makes them out to have been human, with certain actions, unbeknownst to them, playing into the hands of all that wages against Christ’s presence and immanence in the heart of man.

Little escapes from such decay. Even the development of the forms in which the Mass is offered may be mentioned in this regard.

The early Christians, whose intimacy with Christ we have examined, “broke bread from house to house”. It is almost certain that there was no incensing, ornate vestments, elaborate altars, statuary, developed chant, magnificent architectural monuments, etc. There certainly was a distinct order, comprised by scripture readings, sermon, prayers for the people, kiss of peace, offering of bread and wine and thanksgiving, consecration of the bread and wine, intercessions, etc., all very much reflected in our Mass. But as Adrian Fortescue (highly respected in Traditionalist circles) states in his article on the Liturgy in the Catholic Encyclopedia (1910), even as late as the fourth century the Roman Rite “had practically no ritual beyond the most necessary actions”.

And yet it was the “breaking of bread…in simplicity of heart”, and the “great grace” which was received in the hearts of these first Christians, which produced the charity, massive conversions, and miracles which confront our own poverty in this regard. The question needs to be asked as to what extent the evolution of the form of the Mass into “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven” masked an historical process in which the collective Christian heart (with many exceptions) drew further and further away from the immediacy and simplicity of Christ, and in so doing violated the deepest reality of Christ’s Sacrifice. The deep divisions which now exist in the Traditionalist movement would seem ample evidence of this decay, to say nothing of all the banalities, irreverence, and extraordinary lack of unity in truth which exists under the reign of the New Mass.

We realize that in writing about the spirituality of the early Church, and casting it in a light more favorable than those later developments in Christian spirituality which built the monuments of Christendom, we might be accused of Modernist leanings. Anyone who has read the rest of our writings should be able to understand the unfairness of such an accusation. It is certainly true that Modernism is often accompanied by a resourcement theology which rejects scholasticism (especially St. Thomas), undermines the development of dogma, and promotes a return to the early Fathers and a “simpler”, much less-developed and confrontational intellectual tradition. We, on the other hand, believe in the absolute necessity of both Thomism and defined dogma in order to counter Modernist errors in the Church and in the world. The simplicity and immediacy of which we speak in this article is a return of the heart to living the immediacy of God, and is in no way constituted by retreat of the mind away from the Deposit of Faith or the grace of Thomism.

Another icon of our times comes to mind. At the beginning of the pontificate of Pope Francis a prominent, traditional Catholic website offered two photographs in opposition to one another. The one was of Francis in his simple white vestments, the other of Cardinal Burke processing down the aisle in his red cappa magna vestment with its forty-foot train. The message, of course was that we had a choice – either the “phony” simplicity of Pope Francis or the magnificence of the traditional characterized by Cardinal Burke in his cappa magna. However, irrespective of whether Francis’ motivations were phony or not, there is much to be said for a beauty and nobility in worship which is reflected by simplicity rather than such opulence and grandiosity Further, and again irrespective of Francis’ sincerity or lack of it, there is much to be said for the idea that we need a poor Church, and a Church of the poor, which journeys out to the peripheries and seeks out souls who are “outside the camp”. That we tend to view almsgiving and the other temporal and spiritual works of mercy as a sort of minimalist duty which accompanies our pursuit of the “good life”, rather than a real passion, might be a pre-eminent sign of the loss of the immediacy of Christ’s Truth and Mercy in our own hearts.

In other words, the Papacy of Francis might just be a message, and chastisement, from God. The fact that he uses these concepts to undermine doctrine, deny the Church’s mission to convert all these peoples, and to promote pastoral practices which represent a false mercy and charity, and which at least implicitly violate dogma and encourage sacrilege, does not mean that we should entrench ourselves in a kind of pharisaism embodied in a “monumental” traditionalism which masks the loss of the simplicity and urgency of the Gospel. We might well consider that something like the cappa magna is a very worldly effort (the garb of kings) to imitate an unworldly majesty. God’s majesty on this earth is most adequately mirrored and represented by the union of human hearts with His Truth, Love, and Mercy. Beautiful things are of course appropriate to the worship of God, but they too should reflect the sanctity and majesty of Christ through a holy modesty and simplicity, rather than through a Renaissance-inspired, or even pagan, garishness.

Again, we find it necessary to repeat that all of this criticism of “Traditionalism” does not mean that we do not recognize the horror of things which Pope Francis says and does. The whole point of this analysis is that “the center will not hold”; falsification and duplicity seem to reign “on all sides”; and the temptation towards taking refuge in one or more extremes seems almost overwhelming.

The conversion of Emperor Constantine and embrace of Christianity by the Roman Empire in the fourth century was accompanied by a vast expansion in the building of the monuments of Christian civilization – the building of Churches, spinning of a complex legal system, ritualization of the Liturgy, creation of a complex organization within the Church itself with all the various gradations of rights and privileges of various Sees, the establishment of the Church as a political, diplomatic, and economic power, etc. All of this tends to speak of a Christ Who, while not having abandoned us, is yet no longer the object of a single-minded immediacy and presence to the human mind and heart.

Running parallel to these developments within the Church, all Christians were now free to engage fully with the world in all aspects of its evolutionary progression towards what we now have with us. And what we now have with us is an extraordinarily complex web of both intellectual and physical structures which seem almost perfectly designed to sap any consciousness of Christ’s presence out of our lives. As recent polls indicate, at least in this country, Catholics appear to be just as immersed in these structures and their pagan roots as is the general public.

We would like to propose three qualities of human life that must be present in order for the mind and heart of man to adequately respond to the immediate presence of Christ to his soul: mystery, simplicity, and insecurity.

We have written much in other articles about what is necessary in order that the quality of mystery be present to our consciousness, and we have also analyzed the scientific reductionism which has made the perception of such mystery virtually impossible for modern man. Suffice to say here that once we understand that science is totally impotent to penetrate to the substantial nature or essence of any created thing, and that the substantial reality of any created thing is simply what it is because God has created it out of nothing and sustains it in being every instant of its existence, then we become intellectually capable of understanding the presence of this mystery. But this does not mean that the apprehension of the mystery of all of creation is fully restored to our daily lives. Almost inevitably, our perception has been so blunted by the effect of scientific thinking that we have been largely sapped of the ability to fully experience this mystery. God has effectively and affectively been billeted outside of creation.

In regard to simplicity, this quality of life has virtually been destroyed for the vast majority of human beings, especially those living in developed countries. God, in a sense, “incarnated” all sorts of values and truths in nature and in the simple life of toil and craftsmanship. Much of this has been obliterated in a world of concrete, factories and offices, contrived recreation, passive entertainment through all the various forms of media, and a host of other things which constitute the unnatural pulsations of modern life (especially of city life). It has been said that there are a great many people in cities that have never seen a cow. It is even more likely that they have never seen anyone born or die.

Finally, in order that God be effectively present to the human heart, there must be a great insecurity present in our lives. After all, there can be no Christian spirituality where there is not prayer; and the most fundamental form of prayer is asking. If we feel secure in this world, there is little motivation for asking of God. And since insecurity in regard to the things of this world is considered a deficiency, it is almost inevitable that any prayer that we do offer for such things will be directed towards “consuming them in our concupiscences”.

It is astounding the degree to which we have surrounded ourselves with institutions which generate a false sense of security in regard to the things of this world. We only need to consider, as an example, the omnipresence of insurance policies in all the areas of our lives: life, liability, damage, health, car, home, business, etc. There is no area or activity of our lives that cannot be, and often must be, insured. There is even an Alien Abduction Insurance. One company in England alone has sold 30,000 of these policies. Why should we ask of God if we are already “covered” by man?

There is no escape from all of this except in spiritual childhood: “Unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 18: 3). Herein lies the “foolishness” that overcomes the world.

There is one great advantage which the present generation possesses over all previous generations. All the monuments of man are now being rent asunder, and the rottenness within revealed. The chaos which the world now experiences reaches more deeply into souls than anything previously experienced by mankind. It is not primarily the brutality of war, the terror of plague or other sicknesses, or the agonies of torture (although all these things certainly exist). Rather, it is an overwhelming insecurity as to whether life has any meaning at all. It is in the depth of this total insecurity – this nakedness – that the cry of a child may still come forth. With such a cry, God can work: “Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy to sorrow. Be humbled in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James 4: 9-10).

For those who weep and cry already, their nakedness is a blessing and a way that can lead them to God. A path has been prepared: “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge, and the way that will lead you to God.” We must, however, treat this prophesy not as something we own because we are Catholics and “possess” the Faith, but as a passion to be lived in the simplicity of a child’s cry. Our Lady has in fact given us the words and grace of this cry in the Hail Mary and the Rosary. It must be prayed with the immediacy of a child’s heart, and not the automated rapidity and rhythms of hearts grown cold and remote.

Please read our article The Rosary: The Way of Perfection.

Please also read our article The Third Glorious Mystery: The Descent of the Holy Spirit. We consider it a companion-piece to the above article in understanding why the power of the Holy Spirit seems to be so inoperative in the contemporary Church. It is especially necessary for those who in any way might be tempted to feel that Christ has abandoned His Church.

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Receiving the Kingdom of God as a Little Child

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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)

A simple, humble faith in the truth of my apparitions to you, my favored child, will be reserved for humble and fervent souls who are docile to the inspirations of grace, for our Heavenly Father communicates His secrets to the simple of heart, and not to those whose hearts are inflated with pride, pretending to know what they do not or infatuated with empty science.

                             (Our Lady of Good Success, in her Apparition of Feb 2, 1610)

 

The words spoken by Our Lady above – that, “our Heavenly Father communicates His secrets to the simple of heart, and not to those whose hearts are inflated with pride, pretending to know what they do not or infatuated with empty science” – apply not only to the apparitions of the Mother of God, but especially to all that is contained within God’s inspired and infallible Word in Holy Scripture and Tradition.

In our most recent article, Science: Original and Final Sin, we examined the extraordinary effect which reductive physical science and evolutionary theory has had upon the thinking and basic perception of reality among Catholics, and especially among members of the hierarchy (and notably among recent Popes). It has reduced their faith to a mush of various forms of subjectivism, which completely undermine and negate the absolute objectivity and immutability of Catholic doctrine. This is especially true of the Teilhardian evolutionary theology which is the agenda for the upcoming Amazonian Synod, and is the means by which Pope Francis and others in the hierarchy are seeking to completely change the theology and sacramental practice of the universal Church (see our articles: Teilhardian Evolution and the Amazonian Synod: The Nest of the Antichrist. and The Amazonian Synod and Teilhardian Evolution: A Journey into the Heart of Antichrist, and also Pope Francis and Teilhardian Evolution: Program for the Amazonian Synod.

But the betrayal of Christ which has led to the subjection of the Faith to such reductive science – this betrayal having been pin-pointed by Pope Pius X as the fundamental act of cowardice behind all of Modernism – has not confined itself to the realms of philosophy, theology, and Catholic doctrine. It also could not help but concoct a false “science” which it then applied to Sacred Scripture. Dating from the 17th century, this “science” came to be called “Historical Criticism” (with many sub-categories such as “source-criticism”, “form-criticism”, “redaction criticism”, “tradition-criticism” etc). It was at first largely a Protestant endeavor (completely understandable since Protestants lacked a source of unity, in either the Papacy or the Magisterium, for the interpretation of scripture). But by the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries, this bogus science had penetrated deeply within the Catholic Church in the form of the Modernist Heresy.

It has been our contention in a number of articles that the primary and most extensive victims of the mental and spiritual disintegration, produced by reductive modern science, are children. It is here, for the most part, that the loss of faith begins. Most parents who have tried to raise their children to be faithful Catholics, and then find out that these same children abandon or compromise their faith later on, would probably take the position that this has occurred despite what they were taught when they were younger. We propose here, however, that even what is considered the best early education offered to our children, including home-schooling, usually contains powerful seeds of accommodation to the errors of this world which provide powerful inclination towards this loss of faith. It is unfortunately very true that most parents are very motivated by the desire not to feel backward in this modern world, and therefore seek to excel in all that this world deems most important. It is here where, very often, they make a fatal mistake. This is especially true in relation to the study of science.

Within almost any educational system in the civilized world, children, at an early age (usually grades 4-5), are taught that all physical things in the universe are reducible to atoms, and their actions equally reducible to the interplay of these atomic realities. This produces a state of mind, heart, and spirit in our children which, at least implicitly, is a denial of the reality and goodness of God’s creation. They now learn that what is experienced as substantial to them with their senses and minds, is merely an illusional, or a semi-illusional effect of the interplay of atomic realities upon one another and their senses. And since these atoms are constantly subject to change, there is no permanent “nature” to anything. In other words, such children have become epistemological schizophrenics – living in, believing in, and loving a world which is fundamentally a chimera. In such a world, all absoluteness in regard to either Truth or Morality is destroyed.

Consequent upon this basic atomic reductionism, all aspects of human nature and personality are reduced to material causation. Such children discover that their minds and thoughts are reducible to neurological causation, their emotions to hormonal determination, and their moral and spiritual values to a causation which is determined from both within and without (environmental causation) by what must be seen as universal material determination. They are pawns in an endless chain of chemical interactions and unfolding evolutionary processes.

It is our belief that the only way that children can be protected from such reductionism, and its resultant state of spiritual schizophrenia, is through teaching them the basic principles of Thomistic metaphysics, and that this can indeed be done as early as fourth or fifth grade. It is not difficult, for instance, to lay out to any child the model of an atom with its essential construction of electrons spinning at relatively astronomic distance from the nucleus – the entire thing being comprised of 99.999999999% void (yes, this is a literal and accurate assessment), to show them the absurdity of scientific reduction. There is no way that any human mind, whether it be that of a child or that of a Nobel Prize Physicist, can make the connection between the world of atomic physics (or Quantum Theory) and what it fully perceives as being real in its daily experience. It then becomes easy to introduce them to the reality that what anything is as a substance is not reducible to any sort of physical analysis or measurement, but simply is what it is because God has created it so out of nothing. Here, the human mind is restored not only to intellectual sanity, but also spiritual childhood. Here it rests in God. And here, at this very early stage, a child is also introduced to the truth that he or she is called upon to stand up against a world which is at war with God and His Truth, and that each one is therefore called upon to be a soldier for Christ. After all, this is precisely the grace and truth that they will receive in the Sacrament of Confirmation.

But there is another problem. The mistress of reductive, atomic science is evolution. What is deprived of substantive “nature” by the analysis of reductive physics, then only becomes meaningful in terms of endless becoming. Evolution allegedly supplies this meaning through an all-inclusive mental construct in which life is now to be viewed as a grand, almost endless, march towards aTeilhardian evolutionary perfection. It is evolution, in other words, which has proved to be the most powerful tool for seducing the vast majority of peoples into what must be viewed as a “New-Age” Religion. Evolution replaces the descent of God (the Incarnation) with the ascent of man. It is the religion of Antichrist, despite the fact that it often attempts to co-opt Christ as being on the cutting edge of this ascent.

Recently, in conversation with my daughter-in-law who home-schools her children, I mentioned a plan I have long nourished to write a series of small books for children at different grade levels in order to counter the effects of reductive science at the various stages of their intellectual development. I mentioned to her that I thought fourth or fifth grade would be an appropriate point to start, since this is usually when they begin to learn about such things as molecules and atoms.

Her response to me was that this was not early enough. The threat comes much earlier. It comes in the form of evolutionary concepts, and it begins in what might first seem to be a very odd place – the concept of Time. In our modern world of invasive mass media, the child is, from the earliest years, assaulted by the concept that the material universe is virtually eternal, that our world is billions of years old, that simple life on earth is also billions of years old, and that human beings can trace their ancestry back through millions of years. Largely, this induces in the minds and hearts of these children the mental construct and ambience which says that they are inconsequential specks in an endless and impersonal process. As such, it makes a mockery of a personal and loving God.

Parents might at first think that it is an exaggeration to say that their five or six year old child is exposed to such things or, even less, understands them. In response, we would simply ask them if their children at such an age have ever been exposed to the modern culture of “dinosaur worship” through such things as TV, cartoons, videos, DVD’s, books, or even a comic book picked up at the dentist’s office. In popular conception, the existence of dinosaurs is inseparable from the concept of “millions of years ago.” (the earliest dinosaur fossil is now dated at 231.4 million years ago). And, of course, this is only one example. How many mothers, for instance, rely on the TV to babysit their children, and often surrender them to such things as the Discovery or National Geographic Channels (all those cute and interesting animals), which are incredibly effective sources of infusion of evolutionary concepts into modern minds. And even if a child is shielded from these media sources, they are almost certainly exposed in many other ways to such spiritual poison, especially through their not-so-carefully guarded peers for whom such things are daily bread.

Creation scientists have done an admirable job in refuting evolutionary concepts. But such arguments require extensive knowledge in all sorts of fields: geology, paleontology, sedimentary formation, radiometric dating, etc, much of which is not fully comprehensible even for the average college graduate. Even an educated person is never quite sure whether the arguments of creation scientists really quite destroy those of the enemy. Science is always changing, always coming up with new “evidence”, which is always around the corner waiting to open up new arguments, doubts, and defensiveness. And, of course, much of this science is not comprehensible to parents, and none of it to a young child.

It is therefore not sufficient for parents to just defend their children from being subject to such errors. What is most needed is an offense which will instill in the minds and hearts of their children something which will not allow such destructive ideas effective access to their spiritual, mental, and emotional lives.

There is an “Achilles heel” present within all evolutionary theory. It is the concept of “Time” mentioned above. There can be no evolution without vast amounts of seemingly interminable and “impersonal” time being postulated for the mutational processes and natural selection integral for such radical changes. Correspondingly, there can be no egress into the hearts of children of evolutionary theory if everything to do with “time” is made deeply personal and finite.

Catholic parents have always possessed an enormously effective tool for infusion of this reality into the depths of their children’s souls. It is the Bible. There can be no endless Time, no evolutionary theology, if the Bible is truly believed to be the inspired and infallible Word of God. The problem is that most Catholic parents have largely surrendered the Bible to Modernism. They have done so because a myriad of “experts”, including recent Popes, have insistently identified belief in the truth of the historical accounts of the Bible, and especially of the Old Testament, with what has become a derogatory name or position with which no Catholic wishes to be labeled: Fundamentalism.

What is not realized, or fully taken into account, is that the Old Testament is a tremendous wellspring of historical facts establishing the extreme finitude of creation, and the history of Man. There have been many attempts to determine the precise number of years from the creation of Adam to the birth of Christ. All these attempts, at least by Roman Catholics and Protestants, closely converge on a period of 4,000 years. It is really quite an enlightening study to follow the descent from Adam to Jesus through the genealogies presented in the books of the Old Testament. The descent from Adam to Abraham, for instance, is quite precise (1948 years) and can be traced in three chapters of Genesis: Genesis 5: 3 – 29), Genesis 7:6 (covering the period of the Flood), and Genesis 11: 10-26. We must realize, of course, that this “precision” is somewhat modified by the obvious fact that the period of time between generations is measured by how old a certain person was when a son was born, and this is always given in years. Absolute precision would require the addition of the months, weeks, and days beyond this particular person’s birthday. Such additions would obviously amount to a very small variance in our calculations.

The effect of all this precise genealogy and history, if it is taken seriously as part of the inspired word of God, is to absolutely destroy any contentions concerning human evolution. The Bible literally saturates the time period between Adam and Christ with the stories of persons who are as we are, who possess the same nature, created in the image of God as do we: subject to the effects of original sin, and yet possessing a nobility created in the image of God; fully human persons who are born, mature, love, sin, form friendships and enmities, grow in knowledge and wisdom or sink deeper into evil and tyranny, repent of their sins or harden their hearts, and who God ultimately looks upon with eyes towards salvation or judgment unto perdition. This history involves a fairly long time (approximately 4,000 years) by human estimation, but it is in no way a Time for evolution. A child who is gradually immersed in reading about this sacred history, and studying the lives of these very real people, is receiving the food that will preserve and protect him or her as a child of God from seemingly endless Time and Meaninglessness.

Much of this, and certainly the entire creation account, has been dismissed by Modernist Biblical scholars as myth or “popular history”. The problem is that it is impossible to do such a thing while at the same time believing in the reliability or Truth of God’s Revelation. In order to understand fully why this is so, we can do no better than quote passages from Pope Leo XIII’s magnificent encyclical Providentissimus Deus – On the Study of Sacred Scripture:

“But it is absolutely wrong and forbidden either to narrow inspiration to certain parts only of Holy Scripture or to admit that the sacred writer has erred.

For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit; and so far is it from being possible that any error can coexist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true.

“Hence, because the Holy Spirit employed men as his instruments, we cannot, therefore, say that it was these inspired instruments who, perchance, have fallen into error, and not the primary author. For, by supernatural power, He so moved and impelled them to write – He so assisted them when writing – that the things which he ordered, and those only, they, first, rightly understood, then willed faithfully to write down, and finally expressed in apt words and with infallible truth.

“It follows that those who maintain that an error is possible in any genuine passage of the sacred writings either pervert the Catholic notion of inspiration or make God the author of such error.” (the above quotes are all taken from section 3a).

It follows that anything that is presented in Scripture as simple historical fact necessarily has God, Who cannot error, as its author. In 1909, the Pontifical Biblical Commission, under Pope St. Pius X, published the following decree concerning the historicity of the first three chapters of Genesis (certainly the most contested chapters in the entire Bible as regards their containing genuine history):

“Notwithstanding the historical character and form of Genesis, the special connection of the first three chapters with one another and with the following chapters, the manifold testimonies of the Scriptures both of the Old and of the New Testaments, the almost unanimous opinion of the holy Fathers and the traditional view which the people of Israel also has handed on and the Church has always held, may it be taught that: the aforesaid three chapters of Genesis contain not accounts of actual events, accounts, that is, which correspond to objective reality and historical truth, but, either fables derived from the mythologies and cosmogonies of ancient peoples and accommodated by the sacred writer to monotheistic doctrine after the expurgation of any polytheistic error; or allegories and symbols without any foundation in objective reality proposed under the form of history to inculcate religious and philosophical truths; or finally legends in part historical and in part fictitious freely composed with a view to instruction and edification?

Answer: In the negative to both parts.”

In other words, it was the decision of the 1909 Biblical Commission, in complete continuity with almost 2,000 years of Church teaching, that the historical facts, persons, events and times related in Genesis correspond to objective historical truth, and fall under the infallible truth of Divine Revelation. And, further, that to claim otherwise is tantamount to asserting that God is a liar.

The true, historical character of all the rest of Old Testament (and of course all of the New Testament) necessarily follows as a logical consequence.There is no way that what is presented as thousands of historical facts in the Old Testament can be some sort of “figure”, allegory, or myth. It is certainly true that scripture often speaks in different forms of figurative language, and this has been thoroughly explored and explained by Doctors and Fathers of the Church. But all of these Doctors and Fathers accepted matter-of-factly that in all this data, we are simply encountering what are historically true facts.

It is also important for us to realize that when Scripture does use figurative language, it is done for very serious and necessary reasons – to impart truths in the moral or spiritual order. There are in fact several distinctions to be made as to the type of these “figures”. The best summary of these distinctions is to be found in the very beginning of the First Part of St. Thomas’ Summa Theologica.

For instance, Thomas writes, “It is befitting Holy Writ to put forward divine and spiritual truths by means of comparisons with material things [metaphors – analogies]. For God provides for everything according to the capacity of its nature. Now it is natural to man to attain to intellectual truths through sensible objects, because all our knowledge originates through the senses. Hence in Holy Writ spiritual truths are fittingly taught under the likeness of material things.” Thus when scripture speaks of “God’s arm”, it simply denotes his operative power. When it speaks of His “wrath”, it signifies such things as chastisement, punishment, and judgment. In other words, we need such “figures” in order to gain a real, but imperfect, knowledge of God.

St. Thomas delineates two basic senses of Holy Scripture – the historical/literal, and the spiritual (“which is based on the literal, and presupposes it”). The historical/literal is simply what it is – revealed, literal facts and truths, with God as their author. The spiritual sense has a threefold division: allegorical, tropological, and anagogical. Something is written allegorically in so far as “the things of the Old Law signify the things of the New Law” [think of the entire Song of Songs in this regard]. The tropological, or moral sense, indicates “that things done in Christ, or so far as the things which signify Christ, are types of what we ought to do”. And the third spiritual sense (anagogical) indicates things “in so far as they relate to eternal glory”. All these “senses” are involved in Biblical interpretation.

In other words, to try to demean someone as believing in “the literal meaning of scripture”, and then to oppose them to those persons (supposedly much more mature and sophisticated) who believe in the “spiritual meaning of scripture” is a cheap trick of the Modernist. There is a great deal of both literal and figurative meaning in the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. However, while there certainly is no sin in not being able to understand all the metaphorical, figurative, and otherwise hidden depths of scripture, there is a great deal of malice towards both God and man in undermining or denying what is simply presented as literal and historical facts which are revealed truths, and have God as their author..

There is simply no way in which all the vast amount of genealogical, chronological, and historical facts present in the Old Testament can be reduced to some spiritual, metaphorical, figurative meaning, or to a “popular myth”, without either denying God’s authorship of the entirety of Holy Scripture, or subjecting Him to error or deception. Historical facts are not metaphors or allegories; they are either simply true or false. If any one of these facts is false, then God has simply erred, thus violating the most sacred truth about God, as laid down by Pope Leo XIII: “it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true”.

The “modern” Catholic is made to feel that the Catholic Church has never taken these facts literally, and that such foolishness and naivety is only to be found in fundamentalist sects. But the fact is that all faithful Catholics took them literally for almost 2,000 years. The Douay-Rheims Bible was in almost universal use by English-speaking Catholics for approximately 450 years, until the middle of the Twentieth Century. The 1899 Challoner edition of the Douay–Rheims, for instance, contains a detailed “Historical and Chronological Index” [actually a Table] to the Old Testament. It begins with Adam and the “Creation of heaven and earth, and all things therein, in six days” at the beginning of year One. It then proceeds through a chronology listing very specific persons and dates, and ends with the birth of Joseph, foster-father of Jesus, during the High Priesthood of Hyrcanus (which succeed that of Alexander who became High Priest 3,934 years after the creation of Adam).

In other words, modern Catholics have largely been hoodwinked into denying, and being embarrassed by, what is obviously a huge part of God’s Divine Revelation. They have been overrun by a spiritual timidity and cowardice towards bogus science which places them in a continual posture of prostitution towards the modern world, and ever ready to take the next step backward as Satan whittles them down to little more than stumps of what was once considered integral and necessary to being a Christian.

We must turn this around if we are to preserve our children for Christ.

To ascent to the Truths revealed by God in the genealogies and history of the Old Testament utterly destroys any possibility of human evolution. This of course throws into chaos all of evolutionary theory. Evolutionists date fossils possessing fully- human anatomic characteristics to 200,000 years ago, and Homo species itself to 2.5 million years ago. These numbers are based on both the depth of geological strata in which these fossils are found, and radiometric dating of these strata. If this data is erroneous, the reliability of all such dating based on geological stratification or radiometric testing is profoundly undermined. Belief in Divine Revelation as present in the history of the Old Testament necessarily does just that.

 

The Flood

It is the Flood, however, which administers the coup de grace to all such dating methods. It is admitted by both Creationists and Evolutionists alike that dating of fossils by both of the methods mentioned above is dependent upon the theory of geological “uniformatism”, which states that in order for such dating methods to be reliable, the geological processes which now appear to be happening on the earth must have ruled also in the past. A “catastrophic” Universal Flood destroys the reliability of these methods.

A critical question for any Catholic, therefore, is whether we are required by Faith to accept the Genesis account of the Flood as being literally true. As we have seen in relation to the rest of the Old Testament, the determining factor in answering this question is whether God, the author of all of Scripture, simply presents us with “literal” facts which must be judged as either true or false.

The history of the Flood and its aftermath is to be found in Genesis 6-10. It is quite detailed with historical facts.

We must first take into account that Noah, along with his son Sem, are in the line that leads from Adam directly to David, and consequently to Christ. They are listed at the very end of the complete chronology from Adam to Noah offered in Genesis 5. These are real, historical personalities. We must take all of the following seriously:

God, “seeing that the wickedness of men was great on the earth, and that all the thought of their heart was bent upon evil at all times”, resolved to destroy all living things on the earth except Noah and his wife, his sons and their wives, one pair each of all the unclean beasts, seven pairs of the clean beasts and seven pairs of all fowls. God gives very detailed instructions for the building of the Ark in order to preserve them from the Flood which He is about to bring upon all the earth.

The details of the flood are also specific – it took 7 days to cover the whole earth, the rain fell for forty days and forty nights. The precise height of the water is given – fifteen feet above the highest mountain – and the number of days the waters “prevailed over the earth” – one hundred and fifty days.

The Flood came not only from above in the form of rain, but also from below – “all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the flood gates of heaven were opened”. It seems that both earth and the “heavens” were constituted differently before the Flood. Many creation scientists have speculated that there was a vapor canopy around the earth which created a greenhouse effect, and consequent temperate climate over all the earth. This disappeared when the “flood gates of heaven were opened”. This would account for such phenomena as mammoths being found in Siberia, apparently rapidly frozen, with green vegetation in their stomachs. The destruction of such a canopy, and the consequent elimination of this greenhouse effect, would account for rapid freezing and preservation of these mammoths. It might also account, at least partially, for the fact that people lived much longer before the flood – such a vapor canopy would have blocked harmful cosmic radiation from space.

It is also speculated that such a vapor canopy would have increased gas pressures on the earth, causing a 50% higher concentration of oxygen. In 1987, Time Magazine reported that amber crystals (formed from the fossilization of tree sap) had been discovered with trapped air bubbles containing50% more oxygen than the current atmosphere (32% vs. 21%). Reduction of the oxygen content of the atmosphere after the Flood could very well account for the inability of dinosaurs to survive. The higher oxygen rates before the Flood could also account for longer life spans, healthier lives, larger fossils of all sorts found in the fossil record. We mention all this, not to presume to give any sort of extensive or exhaustive scientific arguments, but only to give the reader some small indication of the great number of possible ramifications, even beyond geological and radiometric dating, of Noah’s Flood.

To continue with the specifics facts concerning the Flood:

After the hundred and fifty days, God “brought a wind upon the earth, and the waters were abated”, and “the fountains also of the deep, and the flood gates of heaven were shut up, and the rain from heaven was restrained, and the waters returned from off the earth going and coming: and they began to be abated after a hundred and fifty days. And the ark rested in the seventh month, the seven and twentieth day of the month, upon the mountains of Armenia.” Further, “in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains appeared”. The scripture then tells us that after forty more days, Noah opened the window of the ark, and sent forth a raven, which did not return. He then sent forth a dove which, “not finding where her foot might rest”, returned to the ark. Finally, after waiting another seven days, Noah sent forth the same dove, which returned to him in the evening carrying “a bough of an olive tree, with green leaves, in her mouth”. Noah stayed in the ark yet another seven days, sent forth the dove again, which did not return.

The scripture continues: “Therefore in the six hundredth and first year [Noah was 600 years old at the beginning of the Flood – Genesis 7:6], the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were lessened upon the earth, and Noah, opening the covering of the ark, looked, and saw that the face of the earth was dried. In the second month, the seven and twentieth day of the month, the earth was dried. And God spoke to Noah, saying: Go out of the ark, thou and thy wife, thy sons, and the wives of thy sons with thee. All living things that are with thee of all flesh, as well in fowls as in beasts, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, bring out with thee, and go ye upon the earth; increase and multiply upon it.” And, finally, Noah built an “altar unto the Lord”, “offered holocausts upon the altar”, and God established His “rainbow covenant” with man by which He promised never again to destroy all life on earth with water.

What is often overlooked in the account of the Flood and its aftermath is Chapter 10 of Genesis, which in its entirety is devoted to enumerating the sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons of Noah (all 71 of them), and the specific nations and areas of the world which they and their descendents re-populated. The final two sentences of this chapter read: “These are the families of Noe, according to their peoples and nations. By these were the nations divided on the earth after the flood.”

One of the more interesting facts revealed in all of this chronology is that Abraham was 58 years old when Noah (who lived for 950 years) died. It is tempting to consider the possibility that, in God’s providence, these two men of God might have exchanged a glass of wine and discussed what God might do next in order to try and straighten out sinful man (Abraham would not receive God’s calling for another 17 years, when he was 75). Such might be the stuff of imagination, but the very fact that it is conceivable illustrates the profound finitude and “personality” of time in God’s dealings with man and all of creation.

Let us address a young child:

Grandpa (or Great Grandpa) is 80 years old. That may seem a long time to you, but it is not really a very long time for Grandpa. Your life will seem much shorter as you grow older. There are 25 (we might lay out 25 eggs as illustration) of Grandpa’s lives going back to the time when Christ walked this earth. If we then use an apple to show the time of Christ until you were born, there are less than two apples, before Christ, back to the creation of Adam and the world.

I quote Pope Leo again: “It follows that those who maintain that an error is possible in any genuine passage of the sacred writings either pervert the Catholic notion of inspiration or make God the author of such error.”To claim that God would provide all this erroneous data in order to create some sort of metaphor or allegory is preposterous. This is either historical truth, or God has erred.

If God has not erred, then man has not evolved. The choice is simple for any Catholic. Any attempt to escape this truth simply speaks of a very unnatural hunger to be prostituted to the world, while yet claiming to be a follower of Christ. It simply does not work.

 

 The Genesis Creation Account

We are now left with the Old Testament account of Creation itself. It is presented to us as occurring over a period of six days; the seventh day, God “rested” (the notion that God “rested”, obviously being a classic use of metaphor in Holy Scripture).

In his excellent work, The Doctrine of Genesis 1-11, Fr. Victor Warkulwiz, M.S.S., offers the following conclusions regarding the teaching of the Fathers of the Church in regard to the Six Day Creation account: “None of them professed belief that God took eons of time to create the world”, and “The great majority of the Fathers of the Church believed that God created the world in six natural days.” (p. 164). He offers the following examples of their thought on this matter:

From St. Ephrem the Syrian, he quotes the following passages:

“So, let no one think that there is anything allegorical in the works of the six days. No one can rightly say that the things pertaining to these days were symbolic, nor can anyone say that they were meaningless names or that things were symbolized for us by their names.

“Although both the light and the clouds were created in the twinkling of an eye, still both the day and night of the First Day continued for twelve hours each.

Although the grasses were only a moment old at their creation, they appeared as if they were months old. Likewise, the trees, although only a day old when they sprouted forth, were nevertheless like trees years old as they were fully grown and fruits were already budding on their branches. The grass that would be required as food for the animals two days later was thus made ready. And the new corn that would be food for Adam and his descendants, who would be thrown out of paradise four days later, was thus prepared.”

St. Basil:

”There was evening and morning.” This means the space of a day and a night….”And there was evening and morning, one day.” Why did he say “one” and not “first”? [note: this use of the word “first” is how it is erroneously translated in the New American Bible, which contains many such Modernist distortions of Holy Scripture]….He said “one” because he was defining the measure of a day and night and combining the time of a night and a day, since the twenty-four hours fill up the interval of one day, if, of course, night is understood with day.”

St. Ambrose:

“In notable fashion has Scripture spoken of a “day”, not the “first day”. Because a second, then a third, day, and finally the remaining days were to follow, a “first day” could have been mentioned, following in this way the natural order. But scripture established a law that twenty-four hours, including both day and night, should be given the name of day only, as if one were to say the length of one day is twenty-four hours in extent.”

Fr. Warkulwiz then proceeds to state that St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, St. Jerome, and St. Gregory the Great also believed that God created the world successively in six natural days.

The one exception to this almost universal view held by the Church Fathers that the world was created in six simultaneous days was St. Augustine. St. Augustine believed that all things were created “simultaneously” on the first day, but that plants and animals were created in “seed” form (what he called rationes seminales – “rational seeds”), to be distinguished later. St. Thomas held a similar view, but was very careful to note that both his and St. Augustine’s view on this matter differed from the rest of the Church Fathers, and that it was only his personal opinion. It should also be carefully noted that the rationes seminales of Saints Augustine and Thomas Aquinas have nothing to do with evolution, and are diametrically opposed to it. Whatever “rational seeds” may be, they already are in possession of the substantial form of a particular “kind” of thing. In the teaching of St. Thomas, there can be no change of one “kind” of substance into another. The appearance of a new “kind” requires the corruption of the substantial form or essence of the former “kind” (in the case of living thing this entails its death). This absolutely negates the “evolution” of one substance into another, and entails that no living species could undergo any sort of mutation which would generate a different “kind”. There is, in other words, no way in which Thomas can be used to endorse evolutionary theory. The “rational seeds” of St. Augustine and St. Thomas, if they could be said to exist, are just that – “rational”. They speak of the fact that all the “kinds” of both living and non-living thing are intelligently created, and have a created, intelligible “form” that makes them what they are. There is no intelligence in material causation itself, and there can therefore be no creation of new kinds through such material causation in itself. It is interesting that in Chapter One of Genesis the word, “kind” or “kinds” is used nine times in order to emphasize this fact. God’s Ways are not indefinite, interminable, or evolutionary. All the Church Fathers, being wise, and at the same time being the spiritual children of a Personal God, understood this.

As we have pointed out, it is in the very nature of evolutionary theory that in order for it to win over the human mind, interminable lengths of Time, with its consequent principle of Endless Becoming, must claim victory in our minds over substantial being, essence, and nature. In Thomistic metaphysics, time is one of the nine accidens of being. It exists only as a reality by inhering in substance. To “free” time from this inhering in something substantial – something with an inviolable nature – to make it interminable, vast beyond human comprehension, and something to which substantial being is subject for its very essence and fulfillment, amounts to a destruction of being. In regard to human substantiality – the nature of a human being – this entails the disintegration of human integrity and personality. The human mind and heart become “lost in time”, like an astronaut whose tether- line to his ship has been cut, and who now floats further and further away from any contact with what is real.

 

Pope Francis and Time

Those who have read Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium may have been puzzled by the following paragraph #222, under the rather strange sub-heading, Time is Greater than Space:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Space, for Pope Francis, is simply a euphemism for what we are in possession of now – in other words, what we traditional Catholics believe to be the fullness of God’s Immutable Revelation, Rules, Dogma, the Infallible Magisterium, and the reality that we each possess a substantial human nature and soul, requiring the same fundamental choice now as was true of the first man. Time is proposed as being greater than Space because “becoming” is more real than God’s Supreme Being, and takes precedence over the Revealed Truths which are the fullness of that Being. It is therefore quite easy to see why, in the mind of Pope Francis, a bogus mercy trumps immutable dogma – why the divorced and remarried may receive Holy Communion, why we must be “inclusive” towards practicing homosexuals (who must certainly also be admitted to Sacramental Communion if such a “mercy” holds true), and why, in fact, we must be inclusive towards everyone (except the Mafia, and possibly Traditionalists). It is the Journey into the future which is everything. There can be no Now which demands conversion to any Absolutes, and such conversion cannot be a requisite for being included within the sacramental and supernatural life of Christ’s Mystical Body.

If Time triumphs over what we possess Now then we float, untethered, until the life of God’s Revelation is left behind. The world has for some time rejected all Absolutes, and prostrated itself before the goddesses of scientific change and progress. This world, of which Satan is the Prince, now has a friend within the Church in the person of Pope Francis.

 

That Which Overcomes Science

Possibly the most debilitating error of our time is the belief that, in the face of all the assaults of modern science and technology, we must prove our faith (very often to ourselves) by using science itself.

The past 50-100 years have seen a great many such efforts, mostly unsuccessful. We see this reality in the tragic struggle to end abortion – all those baby-models, employment of the science of genetics, ultra-sounds, etc. Despite all of this effective use of science, we plummet more deeply every day into the culture of death.

We see it in the attempts to use every form of the media to counteract the secularist agenda of those who were, in reality, the creators of Modern Media. Pope Pius XII, who was called the “Science Pope”, had great hopes for us in this contest (see his encyclical Miranda Prorsus –On the Communication Fields: Movies, Television, and Radio). His writings on this subject now seem redolent with naivety. The Mass Media is almost entirely in the hands of the Enemy.

And, of course, we see it in “Creation Science” – the effort to overcome the grip of evolutionary thinking upon the minds and hearts of modern men by using science itself. There are certainly some who have made some progress in this direction, but any sort of optimism in relation to final victory is delusional. All statistics reveal a rapidly growing secularism – the rejection of God’s Rule – which runs on the rails of evolutionary thinking.

Everything in our cultures gives testimony to the fact that Modern Science and technology are much more effective weapons in the hands of Satan than they are, or ever will be, in ours.

The question then becomes: do we possess some other weapon which is more powerful than Science?

St. John provides a very definite answer to this question:

For whatsoever is born of God, overcometh the world: and this is the victory which overcometh the world, our faith.” (1 John 5:4).

The problem is that, for centuries now, our faith has not been overcoming the world, but rather the opposite: the world, and especially the world of science, has been overcoming and destroying the faith of Catholics. We are therefore faced with drawing one of two conclusions: either God and His Word are wrong, and faith is really just a powder-puff in the face of the weapons of science; or, somehow an awful lot of people who claim to possess the faith, are in reality profoundly depreciated in their faith, or at least the full virility of that faith. Something therefore must be awfully wrong in their understanding and living of the grace of faith itself.

Vatican I defines faith as follows:

“Man being wholly dependent upon God, as upon his Creator and Lord, and created reason being absolutely subject to uncreated truth, we are bound to yield to God, by faith in His revelation, the full obedience of our intelligence and will. And the Catholic Church teaches that this faith, which is the beginning of man’s salvation, is a supernatural virtue, whereby, inspired and assisted by the grace of God, we believe that the things which He has revealed are true; not because the intrinsic truth of the things is plainly perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself, Who reveals them, and Who can neither be deceived nor deceive. For faith, as the Apostle testifies, is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.” (Heb 11: 1).

Faith is a grace by which and through which we believe in things that “appear not”. It is, through God’s grace, and in itself, the “substance” and “evidence” for these things. The direct object of this faith is God’s Revelation. The immediate effect of our receiving and accepting this gift is the movement of our wills which causes our mind to surrender to these truths, not on basis of any evidence provided by our use of “the natural light of reason”, but on the authority of God Who is our Father. Faith, in other words, is the supreme expression of spiritual childhood.

Faith is weakened through a myriad of subtle devices by which we subject our child-like faith in God’s Revelation to conditional verification by the world and ourselves. It is certainly legitimate to fully assent to God’s Revelation, and then use every natural means at our disposal to support Revealed Truth. Such, for instance, is the role of philosophy (and especially the philosophy and metaphysics of St. Thomas) as the “handmaid of theology”. But it is also true that it is very easy for us to begin to weaken and detract from this supernatural grace of faith by subtly beginning to make it conditional upon verification by “the natural light of reason” in one form or another, and especially in relation to science. Here, faith is profoundly weakened. Thus begins that slippery slope which eventually slides down into the darkness of disbelief.

We have spoken much in previous articles of the decay of Faith which has occurred because of the almost total surrender of Catholic hearts and minds to the world, especially in two realms: the abandonment of the life of poverty and simplicity demanded by Our Lord’s teaching of the Beatitudes, and which is absolutely necessary that our hearts be not divided between the world and God; and the subjection of our minds to reductive “atomic” science and evolutionary theory. We must also realize, however, that the means by which this spiritual blindness has penetrated most effectively into the minds and hearts of most Catholics is through that gradual process of erosion of their belief in the reliability and inspired infallibility of Holy Scripture. It is Scripture, after all, that is the “daily bread” which either nourishes or dilutes the faith of the vast majority of “faithful” Catholics. If the Bible itself is compromised, either by Modernist-inspired translation and evolutionary-inspired footnotes (as is the New American Bible), or by both theological and popular literature saturated with such “dilutions” and outright contradictions in regard to its divinely inspired infallibility, then the faith of the vast majority of Catholics becomes like a vastly compromised immune system subject to every new disease of the mind and heart.

This process – by which Catholic faith “gently slides into disbelief” – is most evident in regard to the rejection of the Book of Genesis as God’s infallible Revelation, especially by members of the Catholic hierarchy. It reaches its apex in the theology of Joseph Ratzinger.

 

Joseph Ratzinger: The Man Who Destroyed Genesis

“Being is time; it does not merely have time. Only in becoming does it exist and unfold into itself.”

The above quote is from the chapter titled “Creation” in Joseph Ratzinger’s book Credo For Today. The reader will note that it expresses the same, profoundly evolutionary metaphysical-theological orientation as that of Pope Francis. It is one thing to recognize that human life involves potentiality and change. It is altogether another thing to equate being with time, and to declare that being itself is identifiable with becoming and “unfolding into itself” (this latter phrase is redolent with Teilhardian pantheism).

We have never read anything in which Pope Francis directly addresses the subject of evolution – his thinking is simply saturated with its implications: his belief in evolution would seem fully “natural” to him and therefore not in need of justification or explanation. But in order for victory of evolutionary thinking to have triumphed over the Catholic hierarchy, the theological and metaphysical field” of battle had first to be won to its service. The primary architect of this intellectual victory was Joseph Ratzinger.

We have dealt with Joseph Ratzinger’s evolutionary views in a number of articles (most noteworthy in The Quintessential Evolutionist), but it is necessary here to draw together all these strains of his evolutionary thought as they relate to the first three chapters of Genesis. If docility in receiving God’s Revelation in its entirety is reserved to the faith of God’s “little children”, we need a clear and complete understanding of what is entailed by becoming “old” in the faith to the point where we become like the man in St. James’ Epistle who after having once truly seen himself in a mirror, “went his own way, and presently forgot what manner of man he was.” And even if this man is a Pope, we need to pray for him not just as one who suffers persecution from without, but as one who suffers and is deluded from within. And, most significantly, we need to expose and do battle with those forces, ideas, philosophies, theologies, and sciences which have imprisoned him in this delusion. If we dare not to do this, we will never reach down to the root of what is wrong with the Church in order to effect the necessary cure. Nor will we be exercising charity towards the souls of such men as Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI or Pope Francis.

It is first necessary to understand that Joseph Ratzinger places himself in direct opposition to the decisions of the Pontifical Biblical Commission under Pope Pius X. In his presentation of the CDF document on The Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian (1990), Cardinal Ratzinger wrote:

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

This reduction of the decisions of the PBC under Pius X to being “provisional” would of course include Pius X’s condemnation of any efforts to detract from the true historicity of Genesis, and it would therefore also extend to Pope Leo XIII’s teaching on this subject. It would indeed seem an extraordinary act of hubris on Cardinal Ratzinger’s part to make such teachings regarding the very truth of scripture to be “provisional”. However, such would appear to be the necessary foundation for justifying what Joseph Ratzinger had been doing all of his priestly life – destroying the historical veracity of Genesis. This was perceived as a necessity in the face of what he saw as the absolute certainty of the reality of man’s evolution. Thus, the following from his essay Creation: Belief in Creation and the Theory of Evolution (published in his 2006 work Credo for Today: What Christians Believe, and taken from his 1972 work Dogma and Verkündung:

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

And, further:

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

We see here, as stated succinctly by Joseph Ratzinger, the necessity of submitting Revelation to the judgment of science. Pope Pius X, in Pascendi Dominici Gregis (On the Doctrine of the Modernists) makes such subjection of the Faith to science as being a primary tenet of Modernism, and then draws the following conclusion concerning this Modernist perversion:

“The Modernists completely invert the parts, and of them may be applied the words which another of Our predecessors Gregory IX, addressed to some theologians of his time: “Some among you, puffed up like bladders with the spirit of vanity strive by profane novelties to cross the boundaries fixed by the Fathers, twisting the meaning of the sacred text…to the philosophical teaching of the rationalists, not for the profit of their hearer but to make a show of science…these men, led away by various and strange doctrines, turn the head into the tail and force the queen to serve the handmaid.” (#17

Joseph Ratzinger’s surrender to evolutionary theory not only necessitated the inversion of the proper relationship between faith and science, but also, as a necessary consequence, totally perverted his understanding of the nature of man as he was created by God. The following is taken from his 1970 work, Faith and the Future:

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

Once it is granted that man’s appearance in this world was a work of “gradual ascent” (and this is absolutely the position of Joseph Ratzinger), then it necessarily follows that at whatever stage we decide to designate man as man, he is indeed a primitive thing. This is perfectly expressed in the following passage from Credo for Today (p. 46-47):

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

It should be obvious that the intellect and will of such a “stammering” Adam are not capable of morally responsible actions, and that such an “Adam” is not in possession of original justice and sanctifying grace. Original Sin and the Fall then also become mythological. Thus, in his 1995 book In the Beginning…A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, we encounter the following from Cardinal Ratzinger:

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

 “Finding an answer to this requires nothing less than trying to understand the human person better. It must once again be stressed that no human being is closed in upon himself or herself and that no one can live of or for himself or herself alone. We receive our life not only at the moment of birth but every day from without – from others who are not ourselves but who nonetheless somehow pertain to us. Human beings have their selves not only in themselves but also outside of themselves: they live in those whom they love and in those who love them and to whom they are ‘present.’ Human beings are relational, and they possess their lives – themselves – only by way of relationship. I alone am not myself, but only in and with you am I myself. To be truly a human being means to be related in love, to be of and for. But sin means the damaging or the destruction of   relationality. Sin is a rejection of relationality because it wants to make the human being a god. Sin is loss of relationship, disturbance of relationship, and therefore it is not restricted to the individual. When I destroy a relationship, then this event – sin – touches the other person involved in the relationship. Consequently sin is always an offense that touches others, that          alters the world and damages it. To the extent that this is true, when the network of human relationships is damaged from the very beginning, then every human being enters into a world that is marked by relational damage. At the very moment that a person begins human existence, which is a good, he or she is confronted by a sin-damaged world. Each of us enters into a situation in which relationality has been hurt. Consequently each person is, from the very start, damaged in relationships and does not engage in them as he or she ought. Sin pursues the human being, and he or she capitulates to it.” (P. 71-73).

 What Joseph Ratzinger denies here, of course, is the Catholic concept of Original Sin as something which resulted in the Fall of man’s nature away from God’s grace, and the transmission of this fallen nature through generation. He in fact ridicules this concept by comparing it to a God Who is the Commandant of a concentration camp punishing people for the deeds of their relatives. This is an extraordinary act of hubris on his part in the face not only of the manifold witness of God’s Revelation in Holy Scripture, but also defined Catholic Dogma.

The long paragraph, quoted above, which follows Joseph Ratzinger’s rejection of the traditional explanation of original sin, is simply a way of “essentalizing” this doctrine in order to make it accord with man’s evolutionary beginnings, and the progression of his original primitive nature down through time.

The other-half of this subject is, of course, Joseph Ratzinger’s view of ultimate redemption. This we have covered in detail in our article The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns. It involves the virtual total submission of the mind of Joseph Ratzinger to the bogus evolutionary-cosmological mysticism of Teilhard de Chardin. It begins with matter as the “pre-history of spirit”, sees spirit evolving through the “complexification” of matter, and this complexification further evolving towards a unity which reaches the Omega point of perfection which is Christ. We strongly recommend reading of the above-mentioned article for a proper understanding of the depths of Joseph Ratzinger’s evolutionary thinking.

 

Little Children and the Holy Father

One of the most difficult tasks for any parent is the task of teaching their children about the reality of sin and evil. We naturally want to shelter them, and thus we also tend to delay, or even omit, this teaching, especially when it concerns anything that has to do with the Church and its history. This is especially true in regard to our Popes. When such overly-protected children, formed in a “sanitized” education concerning the Church, mature, they are bound to encounter truths concerning Church history, the Popes, and even lives of the Saints which may cause deep crises in their faith. This is not at all necessary. Nor is it productive of true Catholic charity.

Just as children, rightly taught and formed, quite quickly become aware of their own sinfulness and limitations, so they can be taught that all the members of the Church are like themselves – a mixture of light and darkness, goodness and sinfulness, and always in need of conversion and prayer from others. Such also is the entire history of the Church, which is both profoundly divine and deeply human – the latter sometimes even to the point of great wickedness. What is needed to prevent such crises in the lives of our children is that, on the one hand, they be deeply formed from the beginning about all the Beauty, Goodness, and Truth of God and His Church, but also quite early become gradually admitted to knowledge of the reality of sin and ignorance within the Body of Christ. They must be awakened to the fact that they are involved in a great contest in which, by the grace of God, they have been called to wage spiritual warfare in both love and truth.

We have the extraordinary example of Fatima. During the Apparition of July 13, 1917, Our Lady showed the three Fatima children a vision of Hell. The following is Lucia’s description of that vision:

We could see a vast sea of fire. Plunged in the flames were demons and lost souls, as if they were red-hot coals, transparent and black or bronze-coloured, in human form, which floated about in the conflagration, borne by the flames which issued from them, with clouds of smoke falling on all sides as sparks fall in a great conflagration without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of sorrow and despair that horrified us and caused us to tremble with fear. The devils could be distinguished by horrible and loathsome forms of animals, frightful and unknown, but transparent like black coals that have turned red-hot.”

Little Jacinta was only six years old when she received this vision. This does not at all mean that other children of her age should be fed such graphic images and details, but it certainly does indicate the fact that children must be taught something about sin and evil at an early age in order to pray and love rightly. Equally important, they must quickly come to understand that they have a very important role to play in overcoming sin and error in both the Church and the world.

It is during this same Apparition that the children were also told that “the Holy Father will have much to suffer”. Interestingly enough, it was little Jacinta who then appeared to become obsessed with praying for the Holy Father and his sufferings. It has been our contention for quite some time that the sufferings of the Pope prophesied by Our Lady, while certainly involving persecutions from without, primarily refer to sufferings stemming from within – to a “diabolical disorientation’” which has deeply affected the minds and hearts of recent Popes.

It is not necessary that we be overly specific with our young children as to why they must pray for the Pope, any more than we are specific in our admonitions to them that they must practice purity in their own lives. We might begin with the youngest by simply explaining that, like all men, the Holy Father is subject to confusion and to not thinking and acting as Christ would want him to think and act. Like Jacinta, they must therefore pray a great deal for him. A time will come later when more specific details become appropriate and beneficial.

It is most important to realize, however, that the present chastisement which we are experiencing in relation to both the Church and the world is not without meaning and purpose in regard to God’s providential love and care for us. Pope St. Gregory the Great is reputed to have said that “Divine Justice provides shepherds according to the just deserts of the faithful”. If we are now suffering a severe crisis within the Church in terms of error and confusion in regard to the theology and pastoral policies of Pope and other members of the hierarchy, it almost certainly must be considered a divine chastisement of God for our prostitutions to the world, and for the purpose of the deeper conversion of each one of us to believing and living the Gospel. This is why all that we offer here is with the single intention of fulfilling what is contained in our Original Proposal, and the purification of the minds and hearts of each one of us which is necessary that the Light of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit may come to fruition once again in the Church, and the preaching of the Gospel to all nations.

Let us not shelter our children from that battle for souls which is the substance of our love for one another in Christ. Let us not deprive ourselves of the merits of their faith, for of such is the Kingdom of God, and the hope of the world.

To think, desire, and act as true Children of God, especially in these times of almost universal false adulthood, requires the extraordinary graces which can only be found in a complete and total spiritual childhood to the Mother of God and Her Immaculate Heart. And the path to this childhood, and these graces, winds through the depths of the Mysteries of Her Rosary. We therefore also ask all readers to also read the article which is linked here: The Rosary: The Way of Perfection.

Please spread the word about the Rosary!
error

Science: Original and Final Sin

Image result for Our Lady of Sorrows

 

 

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.

There are of course other epithets that are accompanied by much more vehement condemnations: terms as such anti-semite, racist, etc. But we are not here concerned with such individual prejudices and passions, but rather with the scientific weltanschauung (world-view) which now dominates our thinking, and the rejection of which is almost unthinkable to modern man.

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 is our contention here, on the other hand, that the scientific weltanschauung is integrally constituted by a dominant hubris, which has profoundly altered human consciousness, and constitutes a war against both God and man.

Such an “anti-science” position is bound to elicit the following protest: “But the Popes have said that there is no conflict between true science and Faith – between the natural laws that govern the physical universe and Divine Revelation!” Yes, this is certainly true. But what has never been fully explored by these same Popes is that “Science”, as a human endeavor, is never just about objective truth, and that its pursuit inherently involves perversions of the intellect and will which alter not only man’s relationship with God, but also human psychology and spirituality itself.

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 proceeds 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 current membership is approximately 2,350, with 485 foreign associates. Approximately 500 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.

 

Holy Scripture and the Scientific Enterprise

We begin with the first perspective which 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 Truth and to 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.” (Ecclus 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.” (Eccl 8:17).

For the works of the Highest only are wonderful, and his works are glorious, secret, and hidden.” (Ecclus 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 many, and hath detained their minds in vanity.” (Ecclus 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 Destruction of Human Intelligence

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. Most revealing in this regard was a book written in 1996 by John Horgan, former senior writer at Scientific American, titled The End of Science. Mr. Horgan interviewed 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, etc. 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 (the philosophy of how we know things) 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 having their minds “detained 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.

The Old Testament proscriptions against such Gnostic-inspired “scientific” pursuits come to fruition in the most profound violations of the Beatitudes of the Gospel. We will not attempt to explore that teaching here. Suffice to say that the Beatitudes demand a simplicity of life, founded upon humility and poverty of spirit, in regard to the exercise of all of man’s faculties, and in all realms of human endeavor. There is no way in which we can imagine the living of the simplicity and poverty of spirit described in the Beatitudes as being in any way compatible with the development of the modern consumeristic, scientific, technological, economic, and political cultures in which we now are immersed and spiritually poisoned.

All of this leads to the second perspective mentioned above: the consequences of original sin upon man’s intellect and will.

The “vanity” which is the moral inversion involved in the Gnostic-scientific enterprise seeking to reach to the depths of created realities, produces a parallel inversion in man’s intellectual perception of reality. The entirety of the scientific quest is immersed (involved) in accidental being. The scientific method, although it indirectly deals with substantial being, is directly concerned only with accidental (quantifiable) realities. As such, it involves a continuous series of reductionisms through accidental analysis. Thus, a living substance is reduced to cells, cells to chromosomes and other structures, chromosomes to DNA molecular arrangements, molecules to atoms, atoms to sub-atomic particles, quanta, etc. In this ever-descending process, each reduction somehow becomes the substantial “reality” behind the previous “appearance,” accompanied by a total epistemological disconnect between the present reduction and what came before. The whole process entails a recurring and deepening process of dissolving what appears to our senses and minds as truly substantial, and replacing it with greater obscurity and unsubstantiality. Suspicion replaces substantiality, Gnostic-becoming replaces God, vanity replaces humility, and man becomes in the most profound sense “lost.” The whole interior order of human psychology and spirituality, in other words, becomes inverted.

It is therefore profoundly naïve to believe that such “scientists,” immersed in this deadly, poisoned, and inverted interior world, can be turned around through better or deeper knowledge concerning their own particular discipline, or through education in “natural law.” Their fundamental spiritual and intellectual perceptions are too perverted in order to make sense of such an enterprise. They must first be turned completely around, and that is possible only through a profound conversion of their whole being to God and His Church, and to the substantial natures of both God and man. And, if they are scientists, this must also involve a conversion of their entire intellectual orientation to a Thomistic metaphysical view of created realities.

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 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.”

The absurdities in the thinking of conservative and traditional Catholics which flow from this are startling. Just to offer one example: Any attempt to seriously consider the possibility of global warming (and we here make no judgment about its objective truth or falsity) is absolutely dismissed as a liberal agenda. This, despite the fact that the profound violations of the Sermon on the Mount, and its prescriptions for living a life of simplicity and poverty towards all the goods of this world, are morally bound to have their consequences upon the physical world in which we live. The same, of course, may be said of all the other hubris’ of modern science and technology: industrialization, urbanization, massive pollution, chemically-based industrial agriculture, genetic-modification, etc.

 

War Against God and Man

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. The one I now have in my possession 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 oft-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 – 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 and Immutable Truth of God. He becomes lost in phenomena. As a philosopher in the modern world he is forced into Nominalism, Empiricism, 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 of 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.

This 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 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.

 

The Myth of “Religious” Scientists

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 we might call 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 either justify the Church’s condemnation or make excuses 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, and a prostitution to the world of reductive science.

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. 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 – also available from many other sources on the internet).

It also should be noted that Einstein’s position in regard to Catholicism proved to be a prophetic anticipation of the current effort to 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 infections 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 (and Eugenics) to totally transform human nature itself. Under an umbrella of associated names and movements – which are, I think, best designated by the popular term Transhumanism (or Teilhard de Chardin’s term “Ultra-human”)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.” The term “singularity” was in fact coined by Teilhard de Chardin. It is no accident, therefore, that he is considered a “father” to both the New Age movement and to the secular effort which is called “Transhumanism”. He is also integral to the one-world “spirituality” of the United Nations. On the UNESCO website, one finds the following:

In 1981, UNESCO convened an international symposium and exhibition to mark the birth centenary of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, the French theologian, philosopher and paleontologist. A medal was also issued. Designed by the French artist Paul Belmondo and struck at the Paris Mint, the obverse side shows a portrait of Teilhard de Chardin. The reverse features a map of the world, in its centre, the Greek letter ‘omega’, the philosopher’s term for the convergence point of the earth’s evolution.”

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 evolution and transformation into the Ultra-human. 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 Kurzweil, 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 we 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 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 (we 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 (especially in regards to Teilhardian evolutionary theory), 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. We believe that the definitive solution to our present crisis was given to us, in all its clarity, purity, and grace, through Saint Francis and St. Thomas in the Thirteenth Century. 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. This twofold grace of God was 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 this Gift.

But this twofold Gift can only be embraced through the deepest prayer and conversion. As we have pointed out, what has occurred over the centuries is a profound alteration of human consciousness and heart. Man’s becoming has replaced substantial being as the fundamental principle of man’s approach to reality, evolution has replaced Revelation, and unending scientific, technological, economic, and political progress have replaced humility and poverty as our fundamental orientation to this world. All this is encapsulated in Pope Francis’ oft-repeated mantra “Time is greater than space, which is integral to the Teilhardian evolutionary theology so on display in his environmental encyclical Laudato Si, and therefore at the heart of the agenda being promoted for the upcoming Amazonian Synod (see our recent articles on this subject)

In the midst of this march towards Antichrist our souls are threatened, especially within the interior of our own minds and hearts, with an immensity of evil which surrounds and threatens to drown us. St. Paul writes: “Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good.” (Rom. 12: 21). From all eternity, God has willed that the space, wherein resides this reservoir of infinite goodness, be available to us (especially in these times of terrible emergency) within the Immaculate Heart of Mary. And all of these graces to overcome evil are available through Her Rosary. As Sister Lucia said in an interview with Father Fuentes in December 26, 1957:

“Look, Father, the Most Holy Virgin in these last times in which we live has given new efficacy in the recitation of the Holy Rosary. She has given this efficacy to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families in the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot solve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary. With the Holy Rosary, we will save ourselves.”

Let us take this not merely as a pious sentiment, but as reality. We beg you to read, and act upon, our Original Proposal.

Please spread the word about the Rosary!
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Pope Francis and Teilhardian Evolution: Program for the Amazonian Synod

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In our article The Amazonian Synod and Teilhardian Evolution: A Journey into the Heart of Antichrist, we analyzed the Teilhardian evolutionary theology (including Teilhard de Chardin’s nightmare embrace of eugenics as integral to this theology) which is the agenda for the upcoming Amazonian Synod. We have been asked to provide more evidence that such Teilhardian evolutionary theology is really the agenda behind Pope Francis program of Integral Ecology for this Synod. Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical Laudato Si was certainly written in preparation, and as the alleged “theological” foundation, for this event. The following analysis, largely employing what is contained within this encyclical, is offered as additional irrefutable testimony that this is the case.

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

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

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

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

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

83. The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, which has already been attained by the risen Christ, the measure of the maturity of all things.[53] Here we can add yet another argument for rejecting every tyrannical and irresponsible domination of human beings over other creatures. The ultimate purpose of other creatures is not to be found in us. Rather, all creatures are moving forward with us and through us towards a common point of arrival, which is God, in that transcendent fullness where the risen Christ embraces and illumines all things. Human beings, endowed with intelligence and love, and drawn by the fullness of Christ, are called to lead all creatures back to their Creator.

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

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

Three more examples:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And, a little further on, he elaborates:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Amazonian Synod and Teilhardian Evolution: A Journey into the Heart of Antichrist

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We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel, between Christ and the Anti-Christ. We must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not-too-distant future; trials that will require us to be ready to give up even our lives, and a total gift of self to Christ and for Christ. Through your prayers and mine, it is possible to alleviate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it. . . .How many times has the renewal of the Church been brought about in blood! It will not be different this time.”( Bicentennial talk given in the United States in 1976 by Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II).

The final confrontation between the Gospel and the anti-Gospel, and between Christ and the Anti-Christ, would now appear to be coming to us with all the force of a demonic blitzkrieg in the form of Teilhardian Evolutionary theology. It is through the Amazonian Synod, to be held in Rome, October 6-27, 2019, that its proponents are seeking to irreversibly incarnate this theology in all the depths of Catholic belief, worship, and praxis.

Before entering into a deeper examination of Teilhardian theology, we offer the following succinct statement regarding its fundamental total inversion of Catholic Truth:

Teilhardian theology completely inverts the Catholic Truth concerning the existence of a Supernatural God, from Whom we receive all Life, Truth, and Grace. It replaces this Supernatural God with a belief in the Ultra-Human which, it alleges, will be the final fulfillment of a series of evolutionary leaps: from the most primitive state of matter – to human consciousness – and finally, to the convergence of all such individual consciousnesses in a final Omega Point of absolute perfection and unity. It is the ultimate expression of supreme Idolatry (literal “worship of self”) by which man “changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator”. (Romans 1: 25).

Teilhard de Chardin’s supreme blasphemy consisted in his total inversion of the Catholic truth about Christ and His Incarnation. St. Paul tells us that Jesus Christ is “yesterday, and today, and the same forever” (Heb. 13:8). As Infinite and Perfect God, He became incarnate, suffered, died and rose again in order that we might be lifted up to perfect Life in Him. On the other hand, Teilhard proposed for our belief a Christ Who is the “Prime Mover of the evolutive movement of complexity-consciousness”, and therefore the fulfillment and end-point of an evolutionary progression in which Christ also must be saved and completed through the evolutionary convergence and merging of all of creation into union and identification with Himself as the Omega Point (or what Teilhard also calls the Christic). Teilhard writes: “It is Christ, in very truth, who saves, – but should we not immediately add that at the same time it is Christ who is saved by Evolution?(The Heart of Matter, p.92). And he further adds: “the Christ of Revelation is none other than the Omega [End Point] of Evolution.” (ibid.).

And, in case we might still possess doubt as to whether all this is in direct denial of the absolute perfection, infinitude, and immutability of the Supreme Godhead, we also have the following from Teilhard’s pen:

Classical metaphysics had accustomed us to seeing in the World – which it regarded as an object of ‘Creation’ – a sort of extrinsic product which had issued from God’s supreme efficient power as the fruit of his overflowing benevolence. I find myself now irresistibly led – and this precisely because it enables me both to act and to love in the fullest degree – to a view that harmonizes with the spirit of St. Paul {this is nonsense]: I see in the World a mysterious product of completion and fulfillment for the Absolute Being himself.” (The Heart of Matter, p.5).

An Infinite, all-perfect God is in no way subject to ‘completion and fulfillment” by His creation. The God of Teilhard de Chardin is not the God of Christianity.

All of this obviously demands an entirely new view of Christ, the Church, Catholic Dogma, Morality, and the sacraments. This is precisely what Cardinal Hummes, relator general for the upcoming Synod, called for in his May 13, 2019 interview with Anthony Spadaro. In describing the purpose and goal of the Amazon Synod, he proclaimed, “All theology and Christology, as well as the theology of the sacraments, are to be reread starting from this great light for which ‘all is interconnected, interrelated’.”

 

The Tower of Babel

Despite his rejection of Thomistic metaphysics (and its absolute necessity for overcoming the spectre which now hovers over the Church), Pope John Paul II (as in our opening quote) displayed at times a very acute sense of the coming of Antichrist. The quote at the beginning of this article is fairly well known, but equally important are the following less-known statements from his 1984 Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on Reconciliation and Penance in the Mission of the Church Today:

Now it can be said that the tragedy of humanity today, as indeed of every period of history, consists precisely in its similarity to the experience of Babel.”

And, in unraveling the nature of this experience, he writes:

If we read the passage in the Bible on the City and Tower of Babel in the new light offered by the Gospel, and if we compare it with the other passage on the fall of our first parents, we can draw from it valuable elements for understanding of the mystery of sin. This expression, which echoes what Saint Paul writes concerning the mystery of evil, helps us to grasp the obscure and intangible element hidden in sin. Clearly, sin is a product of man’s freedom. But deep within its human reality there are factors at work which place it beyond the merely human, in the border-area where man’s conscience, will and sensitivity are in contact with the dark forces which, according to Saint Paul, are active in the world almost to the point of ruling it.”

And, in descending from the intellectual to the practical understanding as to how this mystery of evil plays out on the word’s stage, John Paul II writes:

“Intent on building what was to be at once a symbol and a source of unity [the Tower of Babel], those people found themselves more scattered than before, divided in speech, divided among themselves, incapable of consensus and agreement. Why did the ambitious project fail? Why did “the builders labour in vain”? They failed because they had set up as a sign and guarantee of the unity they desired a work of their own hands alone, and had forgotten the action of the Lord. They had attended only to the horizontal dimension of work and social life, forgetting the vertical dimension by which they would have been rooted in God, their Creator and Lord, and would have been directed towards him as the ultimate goal of happiness.”

Pope John Paul II’s analysis contains much of the depth of the traditional understanding of the working of the mystery of iniquity down through history – of man forgetting the vertical dimension of God’s truth and life, and instead seeking to build the city of man on his own. It is the contention of this article, however, that an entirely new, and largely un-anticipated, dimension has now been added to the “spirit” and work of Antichrist – a depth of demonic activity and iniquity which could have only been dimly envisioned by the earlier centuries of Christianity. It is no longer just a question of man forgetting about God, or of his working in the “horizontal realm” to the exclusion of the vertical dimension of God. Rather, the dimension to which the spirit of Antichrist is now leading man consists of a full plunge of man into his own interior, in adoration and pursuit of the Ultra-Human which is to be attained through man’s conscious evolutionary Becoming. And it especially consists in the belief that man himself is now in possession of the power and obligation (through genetics and social engineering) to take command of his own evolutionary journey towards the Ultra-Human, and to exponentially increase the rate at which this is to be accomplished

Teilhardian theology, which has been fulsomely embraced in the “theology” of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Pope Francis (see our article The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden) and many others in the hierarchy and elsewhere, now seeks total “inculteration” into the Church – this to be accomplished through the Amazonian Synod and its proposed Integral Ecology, and convergence of all that is considered to be “the spirit of this world” in its evolutionary progress. The secular term “integral ecology” has now, in fact, been adopted as a euphemism for this Teilhardian Evolutionary theology. In other words, the Amazonian Synod is effectively being promoted as an interiorized Tower of Babel which will make man’s ascension over God complete.

The Tower of Babel Interiorized

Note: Much of the following analysis is taken from a 1951 essay written by Teilhard de Chardin, titled The Convergence of the Universe, which is to be found on the web here: https://www.organism.earth/library/document/139. Any quotations offered which are not from this document will be referenced to their proper source.

The primary thing that we must understand in regard to Teilhardian Evolution is that it is not properly symbolized or imaged by the conventional “evolutionary tree” which is ever branching upwards and outwards in evolutionary diversification and growth, and of which man is only one branch or leaf – advanced though he may be. Such a view sees evolution as an ever expanding process reaching upwards into a limitless and indeterminate future.

Rather, for Teilhard de Chardin, evolution is a directed process (involving a “cosmic drift”) of increasing complexity and convergence within (which he calls “psychogenic concentration“), in which matter (through the process of molecular complexification) evolves into organic life (the “Biosphere”), which then further evolves into self-awareness and reflection (Hominization).

But this is not at all the end of the process. Individual consciousness and self-awareness are only the beginning of “hominization”, which eventually has led us to the critical threshold of another evolutionary leap within which we now find ourselves.

Man, by nature, is not an isolated individual, but rather a social being. In Teilhard’s view, the internal pressure of human socialization, intercommunion, compression, and convergence (he even includes the concepts of “heat” or “temperature” in regard to the directive “drift” of this evolutionary process) has created a “special envelope” which “now stretches over the old biosphere, and which now “provides its own system of internal connexions and communications”. This “envelope” of interconnected and converging self-awareness and consciousness Teilhard calls the “Noosphere” (from the Greek Nous – “Mind”). He writes:

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

The earth itself, being part of this collective process of evolution from matter into spirit and beyond, plays an enormous part in this process. Teilhard in fact calls the earth a “thinking planet”. In itself, being a finite surface upon which millions of reflective hominids have proliferated, the earth is a primary factor in the cosmogenic “heat” or “pressure” which cause the compression and convergence (through social communication, etc.) which generates the Noosphere. By the very fact that mankind now is being forced by modern science, technology, and communications beyond himself into some sort of super-ego which is an evolutionary precursor to the Ultra-Human, and because this clearly negates any notion that the question of salvation must focus on the individual soul and its relation to God, then it becomes quite clear why the Amazon Basin is so crucial for the implementation of the Teilhardian agenda. The Instrumen Laboris for the Amazonian Synod, describes the Amazonian indigenous people as not only those who live in communion with the earth, but also as those who live in “intercommunication with the entire cosmos”, for whom “the land is a theological place by which the faith is lived”, and a “unique source of God’s revelation”. It therefore provides the perfect venue for promoting a “spirit of this world”, undermining the vertical dimension of Catholic belief and practice, in order to institute this new religion which will come from the evolutionary pressure and “heat” which is now rising and converging from below and within. Teilhard writes:

It is unmistakably apparent (as all of us can see) that at this moment we are irretrievably involved in a rapidly accelerating process of human totalization. Under the combined force of the multiplication (in numbers) and expansion (in radius of influence) of human individuals on the surface of the globe, the noösphere has for the last century shown signs of a sudden organic compression upon itself and compenetration. This is without any doubt the most massive and the most central of the events the earth has experienced in our day.”

Teilhard then proceeds to tell us that all of this places an extraordinary demand upon us to “make up our minds and get down to work, quickly, and immediately”. And he continues:

For, if it is really true that an ultra-human [destiny] can be distinguished ahead of us, to be attained by ultra-evolution, it is equally true that this ultra-evolution, operating henceforth in a reflective medium, can only be (at least in its most seminal and central axis) an auto- or self-evolution: in other words, it must be a consciously and passionately willed deliberate act. If the totalization of the noösphere is to be biologically successful, it cannot be simply instinctive and passive. It looks to us for an active and immediate collaboration, for a vigorous drive, based on conviction and hope. For evolution will not mark time.”

In other words, according to Teilhard, we now must choose for the belief that mankind is evolving into the “Ultra-Human”, and act upon it. Again, Teilhard writes:

“That is the precise point upon which mankind is obliged to divide itself (as, indeed, we can see for ourselves it is actually doing) into two irreconcilably conflicting blocs. And, we can confidently predict, only that portion of mankind which has made the correct choice will survive—and super-live.”

Teilhard here makes an extraordinary proclamation, deserving of our most profound reflection. He flatly states that mankind is dividing itself into “two irreconcilably conflicting blocs”. Clearly, he is here contrasting those who agree to participate in his evolutionary agenda towards the Ultra-Human, with those who refuse. And also, clearly, anyone who believes according to the traditional Catholic Faith in a truly Supernatural God falls under the second category, and must be numbered among those who cannot survive.

Why is this so? It is because traditional Catholicism embodies that “static” and “rigid” presence in this world which clings to the notion that human fulfillment lies not in man’s evolutionary transformation into some future Ultra-human state, but rather in the fundamental act of faith by which he surrenders his mind and will to a God of infinite Truth and Love Who has fully revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. This places all faithful Catholics in the category of those who refuse to “move” and “act” in cooperation with Teilhard’s evolutionary mandate.

The “need to act now”, according to Teilhard, is absolutely imperative because of:

the duty and clearly-defined hope of gaining control (and so making use) of the fundamental driving forces of evolution. And with this, the urgent need for a generalized eugenics (radical no less than individual) directed, beyond all concern with economic or nutritional problems, towards a biological maturing of the human type and of the biosphere. Simultaneously, too, the necessity of drawing up as soon as possible the main lines of a spiritual energetics devoted to the study of the conditions under which the human zest for auto-evolution and ultra-evolution – which at the moment is dissipated in any number of different forms of faith and love – may be in a position to form a compact group [all of whom, we may presume, are One-World Teilhardian evolutionists], to safeguard itself and to intensify – to meet the requirements, and through the influence of, the new regime we have just entered: that of a world in a reflective state of self-transformation.”

As is the case with all such utopian programs (Gnosticism, Communism, etc.) which promote man’s becoming over God’s Being, this new regime will be in the hands of an elite. Teilhard writes:

It is a matter of bringing together a large number of minds that are sufficiently open and in tune with influences of the cosmic order to perceive, record and amplify [through eugenics] a movement of the noosphere in relation to itself. Such an enterprise, it is evident, can profitably be undertaken only after a very considerable preliminary work of discussion and tentative inquiry conducted by physicists and biologists.

But such eugenics will not confine itself merely to those such as traditional Catholics who refuse to cooperate with Teilhard’s evolutionary “vision”. It will also be applied to those peoples and races who are deemed to be “unprogressive”. Again, from Teilhard:

Now eugenics does not confine itself to a simple control of births. All sorts of related questions, scarcely yet raised despite their urgency, are attached to it. What fundamental attitude, for example should the advancing wing of humanity take to fixed or definitely unprogressive ethnical groups? [We do well here to pause, and consider what Teilhard’s view of the “indigenous” peoples of the Amazon would have been]. The earth is a closed and limited surface. To what extent should it tolerate, racially or nationally, areas of lesser activity? More generally still, how should we judge the efforts we lavish in all kinds of hospitals on saving what is so often no more than one of life’s rejects? Something profoundly true and beautiful (I mean faith in the irreplaceable value and unpredictable resources contained in each personal unit) is evidently concealed in persistent sacrifice to save a human existence. But should not this solicitude of man for his individual neighbor be balanced by a higher passion, born of the faith in that other higher personality that is to be expected, as we shall see, from the world-wide achievements of our evolution? To what extent should not the development of the strong (to the extent that we can define this quality) take precedence over the preservation of the weak? How can we reconcile, in a state of maximum efficiency, the care lavished on the wounded with the more urgent necessities of battle? In what does true charity consist?” (Teilhard de Chardin, Human Energy, p.131-132).

We must realize, therefore, that while the coming Synod is being held under the ostensible theme and purpose of an “Integral Ecology” which will be inclusive towards the Amazon peoples (and inculterating many of their beliefs and forms of worship), the ultimate purpose of this “inclusiveness” (from the perspective of a Teilhardian agenda), lies not in any sort of ultimate respect for their traditions and beliefs (or even the value of their personal lives – they will be considered expendable after having performed their role in cosmogenesis). Rather, they and their diversified cultures are being employed in creating that “heat” and “pressure” of convergence of all peoples on the earth which will break down all rigid and static states of consciousness (especially traditional Catholicism), and thus accomplish the liberation of human consciousness necessary for the evolutionary leap by way of “forced convergence” into “human totalization”. It would certainly seem that the indigenous people of the Amazon would have to be considered among the most “unprogressive” peoples in the world, and therefore scheduled ultimately to be among those who will not survive.

In our article The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns, we carefully detailed the extraordinary extent to which Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis have embraced Teilhardian evolutionary theology. This does not at all entail the necessity that they have also embraced the program of eugenics detailed above. It is only necessary that such leaders of the Church have their fingers in the pie, in order for them to become profoundly effective tools in the hands of the enemy. The term “useful idiots” has been attributed to Vladimir Lenin in his characterization of those who, while they would certainly have rejected the hidden viciousness behind Communist idealism, yet became fellow travelers through the seduction of other attractive words and concepts. Such a language of seduction is now being perpetrated for the Amazonian Synod: “inclusiveness”, “mercy”, “integral ecology”, the “sacredness of creation”, etc. And beneath this language, as it is now being used, the jaws of Hell open widely.

In the future lies a new regime, employing every means conceivable towards the furthering of this Tower of Babel now being erected within the interior of modern man. It was Teilhard de Chardin’s greatest frustration that the Catholic Church was so slow to embrace this effort:

Why is it that in Rome, along with a ‘Biblical Commission’, there is no ‘Scientific Commission’ charged with pointing out to authorities the points on which Humanity will take a stand tomorrow – points, I repeat, such as: 1) the question of eugenics (aimed at the optimum rather than the maximum in reproduction, and joined to a gradual separation of sexuality from reproduction); and (2) the absolute right (which, of course, must be regulated in its ‘timing’, and in its conditions! ) to try everything right to the end – even in the matter of human biology….And while all this is going on churchmen really think that they can still satisfy the world by promenading a statue of Fatima across the continent! – This kind of thinking manifests itself here in New York too where Catholic organizations are noisily separating themselves from Trusts or Boards of charitable organizations which have agreed to associate with groups [Planned Parenthood] interested in methods of eugenics (even though these groups are just as interested in fecundity as they are in birth prevention) – O Pharisees!(Letters from My Friend Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 1948-1955, p. 172).

The Church has not embraced such fulsome eugenics, and yet Teilhard would now be deeply pleased. If the Amazon Synod comes to its planned fruition, the Church will have much more than its fingers in the pie. It will be knee-deep in those deceptions necessary for it to be considered inconsequential by the rest of the world, and thus to have been “taken out of the way” (2 Thess. 2: 7).

Finally, we must also note that it is the opinion of many who consider themselves faithful Catholics that the crisis we now face is the temporary fruit of many priests who attended seminaries during the 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s, and who are now in prominent positions in the Church hierarchy. It is their further contention that this situation is changing, and that we now have more “conservative” priests emerging from current seminary training. It is such a view that allows these persons to convince themselves that all of this will pass, and that they can go about their business as usual.

But it is also true that the dialectical spirit of Antichrist always entails a swinging back and forth between “liberal” and “conservative”, and that such “swings” towards conservativism almost always prove deceptive (just as they do in the political realm) in the face of the unrelenting engine of modern progression towards the anti-Gospel and the Antichrist. Most significant is the fact that so many of these new priests have succumbed in one way or another to evolutionary theory in regard to man’s origins. They stand therefore at the very beginning of their priesthood – weak-kneed, and having already capitulated to reductive science – over an abyss of coming seduction and “pressure” (especially as encapsulated in Pope Francis’ oft-repeated mantra that ‘Time is greater than Space’) which it will be almost impossible for them to resist over the coming years of their priesthood. The depths of mind and heart necessary to resist such pressure can only be established upon complete rejection of all evolutionary theory. And the grace of this conviction and fortitude awaits them in the “space” of the Immaculate Heart of their Mother.

All that we have written above has only one purpose: to bring all faithful Catholics to a Nineveh-like awareness of what is about to descend upon us, and therefore to inspire every person to take upon themselves the passion and effort to act upon what is contained in our Original Proposal.

Hidden beneath the broken-wings of Time,

A Mother’s Heart Waits

And Whispers in Triumph

 

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Usury and the Love of Money: The Amazonian Synod, Chastisement for Our Betrayal

Image result for Our Lady of Sorrows

 

It has often been said that “the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians”. This speaks to the fact that being a true “witness” (the Greek meaning for the word “martyr”) to the Truth of Christ generates a light which draws and converts souls.

It may equally be said, however, that the hypocrisies, compromises, duplicities, and infidelities of Catholics generate the darkness of the heresies and apostasies through which the Gospel and Christian civilization are scorned and rejected. This of course can occur without the Church having ever directly contradicted any doctrinal teaching of the infallible Magisterium. And it is also true that at a certain level of such duplicity and compromise, the whole concept of Christian civilization becomes subject to the accusation that it is the traditional Church itself which is the primary villain responsible for the evils which now befall our modern world. This is precisely the claim that is now being made in preparation for the Amazonian Synod, and it now provides the fuel for claiming that all sorts of things must now be inculterated into Catholic belief, worship, and practice (especially among “indigenous peoples such as those living in the Amazonian Basin) which are profoundly in contradiction to traditional Catholic faith, morality, and worship.

There is no one area of such betrayal of Catholic belief and practice which now provides more fuel for this rejection of the teachings of Christ and the Church than does the accelerating prostitution (over a period of many centuries) of individual Catholics, Catholic nations, and the Church as a whole, to all that is in violation of the Gospel-based teaching on Usury and Profit. It is precisely such betrayal of the Church’s teaching which engendered the accumulation of the power of money in the hands of governments and large financial and industrial interests which led in turn to the exploitation of vast parts of the world. Because of this hypocrisy in relation to Christ’s teaching on poverty and simplicity of life, it is extraordinarily easy (especially on the part of “indigenous” peoples) to now justify identifying the institution of the Catholic Church itself with all of the exploitation of Third World countries which was committed by colonial Christian powers. And because this duplicity has necessarily created a deep sense of guilt (even though it be unconscious) among virtually all Catholics in relation to Christ and his teaching concerning the living of the Beatitudes, it should be easy to understand that such betrayal has also had the effect of sapping Catholics of the depth of spirituality and fortitude necessary to defend Christ and His teachings. For Christ’s enemies, both within and without the Church, the Amazonian Synod is now therefore providing the perfect venue for changing the traditional teachings and praxis of not only the local, but also the universal, Church.

 

The Fundamental Self-Deception: “Money is Not What It Used To Be.”

A friend, who is adept in Catholic apologetics, recently remarked that there is one accusation hurled at Catholics for which he had never been able to find an effective reply: namely, that the Church has changed its teaching on usury. The problem is only exasperated by the fact that those who should know how to counter this accusation almost invariably give us answers which seem designed to make us look foolish as Catholics. A very good example of such an “embarrassing argument” was rendered by Father William B. Smith in his “Questions Answered” column in the June, 2003 issue of Homiletic and Pastoral Review. In his reply to the question, “Does the Church still have a teaching on usury?”, he quotes Germain Grisez (Living Christian Life, vol.2, pp.833-34):

Lending money at interest raises a special question due to the historical controversy over usury. Church teaching condemned usury, and a superficial reading of economic history suggests that usury referred in earlier times to what today is called ‘interest’. However, money itself no longer is what it once was. Thus, while the Church’s teaching of earlier times remains true, today it can be just to charge interest on a loan.”

Now if we were to proffer such a reply to our Protestant or liberal Catholic antagonist, I would suspect they might reply: “If money is no longer what it once was”, is it just possible that marriage and the married act are not what they once were. Might it now be just, therefore, under our new understanding of what true love is all about, to permit divorce, re-marriage, sex outside of marriage, and homosexual marriages?” And despite the fact that there are some very real distinctions to be made between the “use” of money and the “use” of human sexuality, we would have difficulty coming out of such a conversation without a great deal of deserved egg all over our faces.

Nor does a wider perusal of writings on this subject necessarily bring much clarity to the subject. We have in our possession seven books on usury (only one being of post-Vatican II vintage), and it might accurately be said that none of them can provide a clear (not even to speak of definitive) judgment on the moral licitness of something even so simple as a car loan taken with interest. This seems truly extraordinary, since any reading of the vehement condemnations which are hurled against the practice of usury by Scripture, the early Church Fathers, and even Church Councils, would seem to indicate that there must exist a very clear doctrinal basis for such judgments and their applications.

As is so frequently the case, the best place to start in our attempt to attain to the truth in this matter is St. Thomas – this so because, in the words of Pope Pius XI, “the Church has adopted his philosophy for her own” (encyclical Studiorum Ducem, 11). “Thomas”, according to Pius XI, “wrote under the inspiration of the supernatural spirit which animated his life; and his writings, which contain the principles of, and the laws governing, all sacred studies, must be said to possess a universal character (Ibid).” And lest we think that such a mundane subject as money and its use do not fall under the category of “sacred studies” over which St. Thomas’s teaching is given dominion, the Pope writes the following:

He also composed a substantial moral theology, capable of directing all human acts in accordance with the supernatural last end of man. And as he is, as We have said, the perfect theologian, so he gave infallible rules and precepts of life not only for individuals, but also for civil and domestic society which is the object also of moral science, both economic and political. Hence those superb chapters in the second part of the Summa Theologica on paternal or domestic government, the lawful power of the State or the nation, natural and international law, peace and war, justice and property [within which are the chapters on unjust profit and usury], laws and the obedience they command, the duty of helping individual citizens in their need and cooperating with all to secure the prosperity of the State, both in the natural and the supernatural order. (Ibid. #20).”

Basic Principles

So, let us carefully look at St. Thomas’ infallible rules in regard to justice and property, usury and the “use” of money. We would ask the reader, while meditating upon the teaching of St. Thomas, to keep in mind Mr. Grisez’s statement that “however, money itself no longer is what it once was”. Over and over again when reading modern (and we use the word loosely to encompass approximately the past 250 years) discussions concerning usury, one encounters this notions that somehow things are now different – money is different, modern economies are different – and that somehow this “difference” makes what now might appear to be usurious and sinful not the same thing as it once was.

St. Thomas tells us that money is simply a medium of exchange for real goods. It is nothing in itself. To love it is therefore quite literally to love nothing of substance (it is, in fact, an all too human attempt to make substance out of nothing – an act which comes perilously close to mimicking God’s act of creating things out of nothing). The following is from the Summa Theologica (II-II, Q. 78, a.1):

To accept usury for the loan of money is in itself unjust; because this is selling what does not exist, and must obviously give rise to inequality, which is contrary to justice. For the better understanding of this point it should be noted that there are some things whose use lies in their consumption: as, for example, wine is consumed when it is used as drink, and wheat is consumed when it is used for food. In such cases the use of the thing and the thing itself cannot be separately taken into account, so that in such cases., the use of the thing must not be reckoned apart from the thing itself, and whoever is granted the use of the thing, is granted the thing itself, and for this reason, to lend things of this kind is to transfer the ownership. If a man were to sell separately both the wine and the use of the wine he would be selling the same thing twice over; that is he would be selling what does not exist: and he would clearly be sinning against justice. For the same reason he commits an injustice who requires two things in return for the loan of wine or wheat, namely the return of an equal quantity of the thing itself and the price of its use. This is what is called usury [and we must add, it is now called “interest”].

There are other things whose use does not lie in the consumption of the thing itself; as for instance the use of a house, which lies in the living in it and not in its destruction [or consumption]. In such cases both the use and the thing itself can be separately granted; as when, for instance, some one passes the ownership of a house to another, but reserves to himself the right to live there for a certain time; or on the other hand when some one grants the use of a house to another, reserving to himself its ownership. For this reason it is permissible for a man to accept a price [rent] for the use of a house, and in addition to sell the freehold of the house itself, as is clear in the sale and leasing of houses. “

Now money, according to the Philosopher [Aristotle], Ethics (V, 5), and Politics (I, 3), is devised mainly to facilitate exchange; and therefore the proper and principal use of money lies in its consumption or expenditure in the business of exchange. For this reason, therefore, it is wrong to accept a price, or money [interest], for the use of a sum of money which is lent.”

To summarize: money is simply a medium of exchange for real goods. It has no intrinsic value in itself. It is among those things which are called “consumptives” whose use cannot be separated from their substance. In other words, they are used by being consumed. With non-consumptive things like houses or horses (used for riding) one may legitimately sell their use separate from their substance; with things like food or money to charge an additional price (and we should make it clear here that we are here speaking of interest – let us not be confused by the attempt to whitewash the word “usury” by calling it “interest”) for their use over and above their substantive value is to engage in usury. In other words, one is basically selling or charging for what does not exist – the use of the thing separate from its consumption – and such a thing amounts to selling the same thing twice, and engaging in usury. By doing so the usurer is making money fruitful in a way which is profoundly against the commandment of God.

It certainly is easy for us to understand that when money is simply a medium of exchange, and its value accords with the real value of real goods, it would be downright foolish to “love money.” But when money is elevated to a thing which can become fruitful (a non-consumptive good) then money takes on a false sort of creative personality, and by “loving money” the person who is a usurer truly does endow himself with a power to mimic God – the ability to create resources of real wealth and power out of nothing. It is interesting that the Greek word for “love of money” is “philarguria” in which we should recognize the root of that love which is called “philos”, and is the love of profound friendship. It is not an accident therefore that St. James lays down the fundamental choice which we are called to make: “Whosoever therefore will be a friend (“philos”) of this world, becometh an enemy of God (James 4:4), and that Our Lord specifies this choice of friendship (and in this case, “service”) even further: “No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (Mt 6:24).” Mammon is, of course, simply personified money, embodying that fruitfulness which is the love affair of the usurer. With the sin of usury, in other words, we enter upon a path that leads to the most profound idolatry.

We see therefore that the problem of usury cannot be fully understood without understanding the much larger problem of money, wealth, and profit in general. It is, in fact, due to their failure to do so that the seven books on usury in our possession profoundly fail in their understanding of this subject. To begin with, it would be very helpful to quote the full passage from 1Timothy:

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world: and certainly we can carry nothing out. But having food, and wherewith to be covered, with these we are content. For they that will become rich, fall into temptation, and into the snare of the devil, and into many unprofitable and hurtful desires, which drown men into destruction and perdition.

For the desire (love) of money is the root of all evils; which some coveting have erred from the faith, and have entangled themselves in many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, fly these things: and pursue justice, godliness, faith, charity, patience, mildness .” (1Tim 6: 6-11).

St. Paul’s language is very powerful. We are to “fly” money and riches. They are a tool of the devil to “snare” us, to “drown” us into destruction and perdition (St. Francis actually called money “flies”). And most interesting, they have the power to draw us away from the faith, which means that they also (just as false philosophy and science) must have the power to draw us away from belief in the Being and existence of God. We shall return to this thought later. For now, let us be convinced that the subject of usury has to do with much more than simply defrauding the poor. It must be seen in the much larger context of profit and trade and their effects both on the individual human soul and upon society at large.

It should not be a surprise, therefore, that the chapter of the Summa which immediately precedes the one on usury deals with the subject of unjust profit-taking and trade. I hope the reader will bear with a fairly extensive quote, since it contains truths which have for the most part been lost to our cultural heritage:

Traders are those who apply themselves to the exchange of goods. But as the Philosopher says (IPolitics, ch.3) there are two reasons for the exchange of things. The first may be called natural and necessary; and obtains when exchange is made either of goods against goods, or of goods against money, to meet the necessities of life…. The other form of exchange, either of money against money or of any sort of goods against money, is carried on not for the necessary business of life, but for the sake of profit. And it is this form of exchange which would seem, strictly speaking, to be the business of traders. Now, according to the Philosopher, the first form of exchange, because it serves natural necessity, is praiseworthy. But the second form is rightly condemned; for of itself it serves only the desire for gain, which knows no limits but tends towards infinity. Therefore trading, considered in itself, always implies a certain baseness, in that it has not of itself any honest or necessary object.

Though profit, which is the object of trading does not of itself imply any honest or necessary aim, neither does it imply anything vicious or contrary to virtue. So there is nothing to prevent its being turned to some honest or necessary object. In this way trading is made lawful. Thus, for instance, a man may intend the moderate gain which he seeks to acquire by trading for the upkeep of his household, or for assisting the poor: or again, a man may take to trade for some public advantage, for instance, lest his country lack the necessaries of life, and seek gain, not as an end, but a payment for his labor” (Q. 78, a.1).

All this is simply a reiteration and clarification of the two main points made by St. Paul in his letter to Timothy: first, all men should be content with the necessities of life; and secondly, the seeking of profit for its own sake is a sin against the virtue of justice, the effects of which “drown men into destruction and perdition” and result in loss of the Christian faith.

Usury, being probably the primary means by which money is made “fruitful”, can be seen as the most effective way which Satan possesses in order to draw men away not only from that charity and justice which is due to the poor and one’s fellow man in general, but also towards God. And this is why usury is so little understood. It is usually considered almost exclusively as a sin which defrauds the poor of his goods; or, in the more modern view, a sin which exacts an unfair amount or percent of interest from a person in need. There have been several disastrous effects of this “narrow” view of usury: its deepest nature as a sin which is a profound affront to God (even to the point of idolatry) has been ignored; its profoundly destructive effect upon individual souls and nations has not been understood; and as a result of this ignorance and loss of vigilance, usury and unjust profit-taking have become institutionalized as the life- blood of the economies of all developed and so-called “prosperous” nations. And finally, this “serving of mammon” has culminated in the massive apostasy which we have with us today. After all, this is the absolutely logical and necessary fruit of such friendship with evil: “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.” The faith simply cannot be “sustained” in a culture devoted to profit and to unlimited material growth.

The Historical Process of Betrayal 

Having gained some understanding of the larger picture into which the sin of usury fits, we need next to come to an understanding of that process by which these truths have been ground out of our hearts and minds – that process by which money and usury have become “no longer what they once were” in the consciences of virtually all peoples, Christians and non-Christians alike. In order to do so, we will have to do some historical reviewing.

In the Old Testament usury is treated predominantly as a defrauding of the poor. In the Book of Exodus, for instance, we read, “If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor, that dwelleth with thee, thou shalt not be hard upon them as an extortioner, nor oppress them with usuries (Ex 22:25).” In the Book of Ezechiel, we meet with what is probably scripture’s harshest condemnation of this practice: “[He] that giveth upon usury, and that taketh an increase: shall such a one live? He shall not live. Seeing he hath done all these detestable things, he shall surely die, his blood shall be upon him (Ez.18:13).” We should note here that this condemnation is rendered not just against “unfair” interest but against any interest whatsoever. We must mention one other thing about the teaching on usury in the Old Testament. Usury is forbidden within the Jewish community itself, and also with the stranger who dwells in the land. It is, however, allowed with the foreigner (Deut 18:20). This permission has led to much debate among moral theologians. St. Ambrose contends, for instance, that the “foreigner” here refers to the enemies of Israel, many of whom God ordered into extinction: “From him [the foreigner], it says there, demand usury, whom you rightly desire to harm, against whom weapons are lawfully carried. Upon him usury is legally imposed… From him exact usury whom it would not be a crime to kill” (De Tobia, xv:51 – quoted from The Idea of Usury, Benjamin N. Nelson, Princeton University Press, 1949).

Needless to say, neither St. Ambrose nor any other traditional moral theologian has justified any such taking of usury from the foreigner under the Christian dispensation. This question has often been compared to the toleration of divorce under the Old Dispensation. Such things can only be understood, at least partially, in terms of the fullness of the Christian dispensation, to which the Jewish covenant was only a foreshadowing. Christ told his hearers that Moses allowed divorce because of the hardness of their hearts. With the full Revelation of God’s mercy through Jesus Christ and the coming of the demand of the fullness of justice to be lived in the grace of the Holy Spirit, such toleration has no justification. The same may be said for usury. The New Testament contains only one specific use of the term “usury”, and that is in the parable of the talents (Mt 25:27, Luke 19:23).” It is virtual universal opinion that this bears no relationship to the Church’s teaching on usury. There is, however, an enormous amount of teaching in the New Testament on money, profit- taking, avarice, justice towards the poor, and the virtue of cultivating poverty in all the facets of our life in this world. Some of these we have already quoted. There is also one specific passage in relation to lending which well deserves emphasis. In the Gospel of Luke Our Lords simply says, “Give mutually, hoping nothing thereby (Luke 6:35).” In commenting on this passage in his epistle Consuluit nos Pope Urban III (1185-87) wrote, “men of this kind [he is speaking to a specific case of usury] must be judged to act wrongly on account of the intention of gain which they have, since every usury and superabundance are prohibited by law, and they must be effectively induced in the judgment of souls to restore those things which have been thus received.”

This condemnation of the profit motive in itself (and separated from the legitimate but very moderate profit which may be sought to maintain the necessities of life) is the definitive teaching of the New Testament and the Church up until the Middle Ages. And since trading was very limited, and lending was virtually never done to the rich, usury was seen primarily to be involved with a defrauding of the poor. Canon 13 of the Second Lateran Council (1139) reads:

Moreover the detestable and shameful, and I say, insatiable rapacity of money lenders, forbidden both by divine and human laws throughout the Scripture in the Old and in the New Testament, we condemn, and we separate them from all ecclesiastical consolation, commanding that no archbishop, no bishop, no abbot of any rank, nor anyone in an order and in the clergy presume to receive moneylenders except with the greatest caution. But during their whole life let them be considered disreputable, and, unless they repent, let them be deprived of Christian burial.”

Around the thirteenth century the issue becomes far more complicated. With the increase of international trade we come increasingly to deal with financial transactions between men of substance. With this complexity comes the notion of extrinsic “titles”, “contracts”, or “entitlements” to a loan. First and foremost is the contract of partnership. Two men might enter into a partnership concerning a sailing venture to purchase spices overseas. The one furnishes his seamanship, etc., and the other furnishes a loan. Pope Gregory IX (1227-1241) issued a Decree on such a case as follows: “He who loans a sum of money to one sailing or going to market, since he has assumed upon himself a risk, is not to be considered a usurer who will receive something beyond his lot.”

Now, there are a couple of things noteworthy in this decision. First, this is not the kind of relatively risk-free loan a bank today would make. If the ship goes down, both the sailor and the lender lose out. For this reason the Church came to consider the additional “something” which the lender might ask not to be usurious because it involved proportionate risk. Such a partnership and arrangement was “extrinsic” to the actual loan, and gain was not considered unlawful interest since it was not taken from the loan itself.

Secondly, however, we must note that the possibility of “superabundance” and immoderate gain and “gain for itself” are nowhere here being addressed. Such a partnership or “extrinsic” contract is obviously wide open to abuse and violation of the Gospel’s condemnation of the desire for gain and profit-taking as ends in themselves. In other words, with the growth of international commerce and finance, the way was now opening up towards massive accumulation of wealth, and the Church appears to be accommodating itself to this situation. For the next few centuries, of course, these merchants and bankers will have to work around the Church’s teaching on usury. Their main weapon will be the multiplication and exploitation of such “extrinsic” contracts and titles.

During the next few centuries the number of extrinsic titles multiplied. Many of them, of course, could make moral sense if (and that is a very bold if) the intentions of the lender were in accord with the just (and very limited and moderate) cases laid out for us by St. Paul and St. Thomas which make trading for profit legitimate. As stated earlier, the determination of such legitimacy must be firmly established upon two principles: first, all men should be content with the necessities of life; and secondly, the seeking of profit for its own sake is a sin against the virtue of justice, the effects of which “drown men into destruction and perdition” and result in loss of the Christian faith.

In the expanding world of the mercantilism, nationalism, and international finance and commerce of the Middle Ages and early Renaissance, however, the Christian life of mandatory simplicity easily became lost. Faced with the expanding horizon of increasing comforts, luxuries, and profits available for trade and increased production, coupled with hypocrisy, duplicity, and subtlety which was the inheritance of the threefold concupiscence of original sin, it was not difficult to invent a whole new language (especially in relation to “extrinsic” titles) devoted to obscuring what was in fact a violation of the two principle formulated above: being content with the necessities of life, and resisting any temptation to seek profit for its own sake. Basically, this “newspeak” was established on two fundamental alterations: 1) the substitution of the word “interest” for usury: 2) the substitution of the word “investment” for loan. We can see the deceit in the following example. If a person were to “loan” money to someone venturing on some enterprise which was expected to yield much profit, and he in return demanded “interest”, then this would be considered by the Church to be usury. But, if he were to “invest” in such a venture expecting such profit, then this would now be considered by the Church to be legitimate. In either case, however, there existed a violation of the fundamental Gospel precept of poverty (firmly rooted in the first Beatitude which demands a “poverty of spirit” –and therefore also a practical living of the virtue of poverty) towards all the goods of this world.

It was also easy for the Church, concerned with not appearing backward in an expanding world of Renaissance culture, finance, and scientific advances (“aggiornamento” is indeed a very ancient vice), to become reluctant in issuing sharp and across-the-board condemnations of such “progress”, and wary of issuing specific condemnations. The Fifth Lateran Council (1515) issued the following teaching on usury: “For this is the proper interpretation of usury; when one seeks to acquire gain from the use of a thing which is not fruitful, with no labor, no expense, and no risk on the part of the lender.” We might well imagine the delight of the moneylenders waiting in the wings, with their minds spinning out extrinsic titles which would enable them to put the concepts of “labor”, “expense’, and “risk” to their advantage in the accumulation of profit and “gain”.

The extrinsic title which would eventually open up the floodgates of universal acceptance of usury as justifiable “interest” is called lucrum cessans. Noonan (John T. Noonan Jr., The Scholastic Analysis of Usury, p. 118) tells us that Cardinal Hostiensis was “the first author to give unmistakable and full approval to a case of lucrum cessans in his work Commentaria super libros decretalium (approximately 1260):

“For, in what is added to the principal, the seeking of interest is not prohibited, but only the seeking of shameful gain or of other illicit increment, as appears in Causa 14, Q.4, Si oblitus. Therefore, I think from the intention of the above laws, that if some merchant, who is accustomed to pursue trade and the commerce of the fairs and there profit much, has, out of charity to me, who needs it badly, lent money with which he would have done business, I remain obliged from this to his interesse [interest], provided that nothing is done in fraud of usury….”

This is a most crucial point in our discussion of usury, and we cannot emphasize too much the following point. The merchant in Cardinal Hostiensis’ example is one who “is accustomed to pursue trade and the commerce of the fairs and there profit much.” His life is therefore devoted to that “shameful gain” and “superabundance” which is condemned by the Gospel and St. Thomas (and, of course, the early Church Fathers). The interesse is being justified on the grounds that during this period of the loan he is being deprived of this money “with which he could have done business” and “profited much.” In other words, not only is there no connection in this case between the charging of interest and legitimate necessity, but the interest itself is being charged precisely on the basis of what St. Thomas calls “the greed for gain, which knows no limit and tends to infinity.” Ominously, and strangely enough, Cardinal Hostiensis no longer considered such “greed for gain” (despite his having used the phrase “shameful gain”) to be shameful in itself, and he denies that such “interest” constitutes usury.

On the other hand, according to Noonan, St. Thomas “rejects completely the claim of compensation for profit lost” [lucrum cessans], and thus places himself in direct opposition to this teaching of Cardinal Hostiensis. Thomas teaches:

One ought not to sell what one does not yet have [St. Thomas is here referring to potential gain] and may be prevented from having in many ways.” (Summa Theologica, II-II:78:2, ad 1).

There is simply no question about who has won this battle. The modern world is awash in a sea of interest justified by both “investment for production” and lucrum cessans. There is now always justification in our capitalistic economies for claiming that any money lent to another, or invested in his ventures for production and profit, could have been turned to profit elsewhere. This is, of course, exactly what is meant when it is said by our theologians and apologists for usury that “money is no longer what it once was” – that modern economics justify the almost universal taking of interest or profit on a loan or investment. The effect of this is to make the profit motive and the desire for “gain” the very air we breathe. And similar to that reductive scientific “ambience” (covered extensively in other writings) which has deprived our intellects of that intuitive apprehension of being which is necessary to divine faith, so this “spirit of gain” (with its roots in usury) has deprived our hearts of that single eye which seeks God above and in all things. These are the two primary legs of secular humanism which have carried us into our present massive apostasy.

It is an extremely important thing to realize that the Church’s teaching office has never given any official sanction to lucrum cessans. This is revealing, since it clearly has given sanction to the legitimacy of some other extrinsic titles. We have already noted Pope Gregory IX’s approval of the title of partnership (which in itself was a violation of the traditional teaching concerning “immoderate gain”). Another is the approval of the so-called “Mountains of Piety” by the Fifth Lateran Council, by which civil authorities charged a certain moderate rate of interest for the maintaining of charitable organizations devoted to the service of the poor. This permission was given, of course, on the basis that there was “no profit” for the same “mountains” or charitable organizations. Such “titles” were truly aimed at insuring moderate compensation where necessary, while preventing all incentive to unjustified or immoderate gain.

We are now prepared to examine the Church’s position in modern times (which we loosely define as the past 250-300 years). And since we believe it will help keep things in perspective, we wish to first give an answer to the question of “Has the Church changed its teaching on usury?” The Church has not changed its teaching on usury, but has retreated from applying its teaching (especially in its full relationship to “unjust gain” or profit) to the situation of modern economies. In other words, it has in principle and practice (and we shall see this very strong statement unequivocally justified as we proceed) prostituted itself to the modern world.

The Modern Descent into the Root of All Evil

Any study of the modern history of the Church’s teaching on usury naturally begins with Pope Benedict XIV’s encyclical Vix Pervenit. The encyclical was addressed only to the bishops of Italy in 1745, but later applied to the whole Church by the Congregation of the Inquisition in 1835. Its definition of usury runs as follows:

The species of sin which is called usury, and which has its roots in the contract of mutuum [the lending of a consumptive, which is, as we have seen, is what money is], consists in this: solely on the ground of the mutuum, the nature of which is to require that only so much be returned as was received, a person demands that more be returned to him than was received; and so maintains that, solely on the ground of the mutuum, some profit is owed to him over and above the principal.”

This is also the same essential definition of usury given in the 1917 Code of Canon Law. Interestingly enough, the new Code of Canon Law does not mention usury, which would seem to indicate that the subject is no longer considered important. The descent into the complete embrace of Mammon would now seem complete.

Vix Pervenit also contains the following passage regarding extrinsic titles or “entitlements”:

By these remarks, however, We do not deny that at times together with the loan contract certain other titles – which are not at all intrinsic to the contract – may run parallel with it. From these other titles, entirely just and legitimate reasons arise to demand something over and above the amount due on the contract.”

The following is also of importance to our discussion:

We exhort you not to listen to those who say that today the issue of usury is present in name only, since gain is almost always obtained from money given to another. How false is this opinion and how far removed from the truth! We can easily understand this if we consider that the nature of one contract differs from the nature of another. By the same token, the things which result from these contracts will differ in accordance with the varying nature of the contracts. Truly an obvious difference exists between gain which arises from money legally, and therefore can be upheld in the courts of both civil and canon law, and gain which is illicitly obtained, and must therefore be returned according to the judgments of both courts [note that there is here no mention of that primary concern of the Gospel, the early Church, and St. Thomas that gain in order to be licit must also not be sought for itself, and must serve very modest and specific purpose for the individual and common good]. Thus, it is clearly invalid to suggest, on the grounds that some gain is usually received from money lent out, that the issue of usury is irrelevant to our times.”

There is nothing new here. The traditional prohibition against interest within a loan contract is restated. The Pope recognizes the existence of legitimate extrinsic titles that can allow something extra to be taken for a loan (but not in a loan). No specific titles are given approval, but only a vague warning against over-application of such titles. And, as we noted, there is no discussion of the strict Gospel and Thomistic limitations on profit and gain. Most strange of all is paragraph 6 of the encyclical:

Concerning the specific contract which caused these new controversies, We decide nothing for the present; We also shall not decide now about the other contracts in which the theologians and canonists lack agreement. Rekindle your zeal for piety and your conscientiousness so that you may execute what we have given.”

There is possibly no paragraph in the history of all of Papal and Church documents which is laced with as much absurdity and tragedy as is this one. There is a refusal on the part of the Pope to give any judgment on any specific case regarding any specific extrinsic contracts regarding this absolutely crucial question. And after this refusal, the bishops are then instructed to “rekindle your zeal for piety and your conscientiousness so that you may execute what we have given.” We might well ask precisely what were these bishops supposed to “execute? As a matter of fact, as we shall see, the policy of the Church would now become that of systematic refusal to “execute” its own traditional teaching on usury, or for that matter, any teaching whatsoever.

According to Rev. Patrick Cleary (The Church and Usury, 1919 – recently re-published and available from Catholic Treasures in Monrovia, Cal.), this refusal to make decisions on individual cases prevailed for the next 77 years. Specific inquiries were, for the most part, referred to Benedict IV’s encyclical, which as we have seen, refused to specify or make judgments on any particular case. The following case documents a change in Church policy which, according to Cleary, “becomes apparent for the first time in the year 1822”: “

A certain woman of Lyons had lent her money demanding in return the rate of payment allowed by the recently enacted civil legislation, and in consequence was denied absolution by her confessor until she should restore her ill-gotten gain. She referred the question to Rome, and the answer ran, “Let the petitioner be informed that a reply will be given to her questions when the proper time arrives; meanwhile, even though she make no restitution, she may receive sacramental absolution from her confessor if she is fully prepared to submit to the instructions of the Holy See.”

This case was only the first in a long list of very similar decisions of the Holy Office. Note that in the above case there was never any consideration given to the question of legitimate titles. The refusal to make a judgment would seem to apply across the board on any case of usury. We may simply say that the Holy Office in these cases, at the very least, quite literally absolved moral indifference and indecision right within the Sacrament of the Confessional. The Teaching Arm of the Church retreated on the subject and was made silent. The Church had not changed its teaching, but it had severely compromised its moral integrity. This is something that God can allow. We must presume that it is a chastisement.

Where We Are Now

“The Church is struck within and so in peace is my peace most sorrowful. But what is peace? There is peace and there is no peace. There is peace from the pagans and peace from the heretics, but no peace from the children.” (Pius VI, 1775).

In the 1970’s and 80’s the Vatican became increasingly embroiled in what has come to be called the Vatican Bank Scandal. At the center of these scandals was Archbishop Paul Marcinkus, the American-born priest who was the president of the Vatican Bank from 1971-1989. Many articles and books have detailed the history of this scandal. It will suffice to say that in the mid 1980’s , according to a report in the Arizona Republic, “Italian civil authorities tried to arrest Marcinkus in connection with a stunning array of crimes, including assassination financing, arms smuggling, and trafficking in stolen gold, counterfeit currencies and radioactive materials. Italian authorities also wanted to talk to Marcinkus regarding what he knew about numerous murders. Through the late 1970s and early 1980s, most every key player involved in schemes with Marcinkus ended up dead.” Again, according to the Republic, “In the past six month, the Marcinkus case has taken on renewed interest around the world. Attorneys for Croatian holocaust victims want Marcinkus deposed in their billion-dollar case. They want to know what Marcinkus knows about hundreds of millions of dollars taken from Croatians by the Nazis during World War II. Authorities have discovered that much of the money passed through the Vatican Bank during Marcinkus’ tenure as bank president (1971-1989). Indeed, a 1998 U.S. State Department report confirmed that at least $47 million of Nazi gold was laundered by Marcinkus’ bank. The money ‘was originally held in the Vatican before being moved to Spain and Argentina,’ the report said.”

All through this process Archbishop Marcinkus remained protected under the umbrella of Vatican diplomatic immunity. After his “retirement,” and until his death in 2006, he resided in Sun City, Arizona. He denied all charges of wrongdoing, and became famous for his reply, “You cannot run the Church on Hail Marys.”

The situation seems to have only gotten worse. A former head of the Vatican Bank (2009-12), Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, was forced by its Board to retire, and recently stated that he almost lost his faith and feared he could be assassinated at the instigation of some members of the Roman Curia, the Church’s administrative body, as he attempted to tackle corruption within the banking organization (from a LSN article). And Cardinal Pell, appointed by Pope Francis to ostensibly clean up the Vatican Finances as the first Prefect for the newly established Secretariat of the Economy, is now in jail under a conviction of sexual abuse (now being appealed) which many believe to the most trumped-up case of injustice in Australian judicial history.

It is not our purpose here to make any judgment on these allegations, nor is any such judgment necessary to our purpose. What is important here is to realize to what extent these events have revealed the Church’s involvement in the financial practices, and pursuit of shameful gain, in prostitution to the economics of the modern secular world. It would seem quite indisputable that, without even considering all sorts of ventures which are illegal under civil law, the Vatican is immersed in the practice of usury and has thoroughly accommodated itself to modern economic policies and pursuits. The Second Lateran Council in 1137 declared that anyone involved in such practices should be deprived of Christian burial. The New Code of Canon Law issued in 1984 did not even consider the subject worth mentioning.

The charism of Infallibility guarantees that the Church will never teach falsely on faith and morals. It does not guarantee, however, that Church hierarchy at all periods of history will reiterate these teachings or put them into practice. The lesson that we must learn from our study of the Church’s policy towards usury and unjust gain over a period of almost 2,000 years is that it is practically possible for Catholics en masse to lose certain moral roots in Christ, with virtually no one, hierarchy included, knowing that it has happened. It is only necessary that we enter into a process of compromise, failing in that fortitude which is necessary in order to confront a world which is in violation of the Gospel. And when that happens to whole nations and civilizations over an extended period of time, then it becomes virtually impossible to find our way back simply because no one can remember, or wants to remember, the Gospel- based answers to the questions we might feel impelled to ask. We may even say, at this point in time, that hardly any one even knows the question which should be asked.

We must remember that St. Paul tells us that the effect of the love of money is loss of faith. We really cannot serve both God and mammon. Therefore, considering the fact that love of money has now become enshrined in the universal acceptance of profit-taking through usury and investment in unending “progress”, and that virtually every cultural institution is in slavery to the power of money, we have every reason to believe that Christ was not being rhetorical when He posed a question as to whether there would be any faith left on earth upon His return.

The spirit of Antichrist now rises before us in a geometrically-expanding Spectre of the power of money, reductive science, and technological control over all our lives. It has been fueled and consolidated in power not by our being poor, but by our increasing desire for and consumption of the goods of this world, which have fed the coffers and power of those seeking the destruction of Christian civilization. Its ascension to power over all of our lives was inevitable once we abandoned the living of the Beatitudes, and when we began believing that the Gospel of Christ was compatible with unending human “progress”. As discussed in our article St. Francis of Assisi, They Pretended to Love You So That They Might Leave You, God presented us with the extraordinary grace of the life and charism of Poverty of St. Francis in the beginning of the 13th Century in order to prevent this rise. It was rejected, and we are now faced with what appears to be the impending total embrace of the Prince of this World.

It is of course impossible to totally erase what has happened. The web is spun, and the whole world is profoundly enmeshed. If usury, and what centuries of Christian betrayal have now firmly established as the seemingly universal thirst and economics for insatiable progress and gain, were abolished tomorrow, the world would be immediately immersed in chaos, anarchy, starvation, etc. But this does not at all mean there is no recourse left for those who truly seek the Hearts of Our Lord and Our Lady.

We must first begin by extracting ourselves from the Great Lie. The Gospel is not compatible with unending human progress in relation to the things of this world. It can only thrive in a poverty practiced towards all of the same. The Teilhardian Evolutionary theology which now threatens to become dominant in the Church through the Amazonian Synod, and which deceptively declares itself open to every sort of inclusiveness and denial of Catholic Doctrine, is in reality a vicious monster in adoration of human progress and evolutionary becoming. It is the precise inversion of the Gospel in the intellectual realm, and therefore of Faith itself. But this aberration in the intellectual realm could only have risen out of the insatiable thirst for progress and gain which blinds the mind and heart of man to the immutable Truth and Being of God, and immerses him in the rivers of his own pride and becoming.

Secondly, despite the obvious horrors that are now occurring in regard to the Church hierarchy, the Amazonian Synod, etc, we must first say “We have sinned”, rather than “They have sinned.” And we must believe it, and be convinced of its truth. Ultimately, the source of the present chastisement is the prostitution of each one of us to the world, in denial of the Cross of Christ. There could not have arisen a Teilhard de Chardin, an Amazonian Synod, the inward dissolution of Christian Civilization, or the spectre of Antichrist if Catholics had been faithful to the image of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in the simplicity of their life at Nazareth.

None of us, of course, can now extract ourselves completely from the world we have built. But we may certainly believe that, in the midst of a perverse generation, Our Lord will immensely bless all of our sincere and creative attempts to divest ourselves of its trappings, and to live much simpler lives. It is of course true that the flesh is weak, and old habits die very hard. But it is even more true that in these times Our Lady has proclaimed Her Heart to be an extraordinary place of Refuge, possessing the graces and powers of the Holy Spirit which will be the Way to God. Surely, foremost among these must be the inward grace and power to live in imitation of Her Son. As those who proclaim to still be Catholic, let us immerse ourselves in the Immaculate Heart of Mary in collective prayer in order to obtain these graces for our own interior purification. The final determinant of our honesty and integrity before God must begin with ourselves and our sincere desire to return to living the Beatitudes – all of which are firmly rooted in the poverty of spirit which strives to serve God with all our heart, rather than Mammon.

Please read our Original Proposal.

 

 

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The War Against the Human Soul: Teilhardian Evolution and the Amazonian Synod

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Please read our Original Proposal

The War Against the Human Soul:

Teilhardian Evolution and the Amazonian Synod

 

“Why is it that in Rome, along with a ‘Biblical Commission’, there is no ‘Scientific Commission’ charged with pointing out to authorities the points on which Humanity will take a stand tomorrow – points, I repeat, such as: 1) the question of eugenics (aimed at the optimum rather than the maximum in reproduction, and joined to a gradual separation of sexuality from reproduction); and (2) the absolute right (which, of course, must be regulated in its ‘timing’, and in its conditions! ) to try everything right to the end – even in the matter of human biology….And while all this is going on churchmen really think that they can still satisfy the world by promenading a statue of Fatima across the continent! – This kind of thinking manifests itself here in New York too where Catholic organizations are noisily separating themselves from Trusts or Boards of charitable organizations which have agreed to associate with groups [Planned Parenthood] interested in methods of eugenics (even though these groups are just as interested in fecundity as they are in birth prevention) – O Pharisees!” (Letters from My Friend Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 1948-1955, p. 172).

 

We advise the reader to read, and re-read, every word of the above quote very carefully while pursuing the analysis which we offer below. The fulsome embrace of eugenics (“to try everything right to the end”) expressed therein does not represent only a momentary, solitary, or immature aberration in Teilhard’s writings, but rather an oft- repeated, integral, and mature conclusion (the above was written in 1953, two years before his death), to the cosmic evolutionary theology which he professed and promoted during his entire adult life. It is this theology, and its corresponding praxis, which is now being promoted for the coming Amazonian synod. As stated by Cardinal Hummes, the relator general for this Synod, it will entail that all theology and Christology, as well as the theology of the sacraments, are to be reread starting from this great light for which “all is interconnected,” interrelated.”

It is especially our intention here to examine what is meant by the notion that the “theology of the sacraments” is scheduled for “rereading”. All Catholic sacramentology is established upon the truth concerning the substantial nature of the human soul (this nature being common to all men at all times), and its relationship with God. The Teilhardian evolutionary agenda is set to deny this truth concerning the substantial, non-evolving nature of the human soul in order to promote an evolutionary view of the soul which necessitates a kind of universal inclusiveness and access to Catholic sacramental life. If there is no fixed nature to the human soul, the traditional question as to whether a particular person is living in that charity and friendship with God – an ontological state of being which is rightly called the possession of sanctifying grace, and which is necessary for the licit and non-sacrilegious reception of the Catholic Sacraments – becomes totally meaningless. Therefore, the necessary consequence of a Teilhardian “rereading” of sacramental theology is that there can no longer exist any basis for excluding anyone from Holy Communion or the other sacraments. Rather, in accordance with this new and revolutionary view of the human soul, re-defined in terms of endless evolutionary becoming, the sacraments (and especially the Eucharist) must now be seen wholly as being “medicine for the weak”, without any consideration for the truth that only a soul living in the state of grace can receive Holy Communion without committing the sin of sacrilege. Such a theology, while deceptively promoting a universal mercy towards all men, is in actuality a denial of the human soul itself, thereby establishing that soil in the minds and hearts of its proponents which is ripe for exercising the sort of eugenics displayed in the quote from Teilhard de Chardin at the beginning of this article. Such a theology, in its deepest spiritual reality, is ultimately rooted in a hatred of the soul of man, and constitutes the culmination of a long-prepared satanic agenda which, from ages past, has “prowled about the world seeking the ruin of souls.”

For those unfamiliar with this theology, we very much recommend first reading our articles: The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns, and Teilhardian Evolution and the Amazonian Synod: The Nest of the Antichrist.

Here, at the beginning of our analysis, we ask the reader to consider one sentence which occurs right in the middle of the quote offered above: “And while all this is going on churchmen really think that they can still satisfy the world by promenading a statue of Fatima across the continent!” Out of all the myriad elements of traditional Catholic doctrines and practices which Teilhard had available to hold up for ridicule, and contrast with his heretical, cosmic-evolutionary agenda, he singled out Fatima and the devotion of millions of faithful Catholics to Our Lady’s Pilgrim Virgin Statue. Our Lady of Fatima proclaimed that Her Immaculate Heart would be our refuge and the way that would lead us to God in the midst of all the demonic errors, deceptions, and terrors which are now descending upon the world. We should therefore in no way be surprised, or forget, that what we are here dealing with concerning the Teilhardian evolutionary agenda, and its enmity towards Catholic orthodoxy, is that same eternal enmity which was originally established between Our Lady and Satan in the Garden of Eden.

It may seem one of the strangest and seemingly contradictory aspects of the history of recent centuries that so many of those who have most vociferously championed the rights, dignity, and evolutionary future of man are, at the same time, the very individuals and groups who prove to embody all that is most destructive to man. Beginning with what appears to be a profound sympathy towards the poor, the workingman, the downtrodden, the liberation of women, etc., they end by instituting murderous regimes and policies towards the same souls whom they claimed to champion. In this respect we can think of such things the French Revolution, all the various forms of Socialist and Communist Revolutions, and of course the incalculable numbers of innocent unborn babies murdered through both contraception and abortion. Recent centuries are strewn with the ruin of countless souls, and hundreds of millions of murdered and tortured bodies, which are the fruits of such idealism in regard to man’s bogus freedom and evolutionary future. And now this duplicitous, inwardly- satanic agenda, has set its hunger upon the poor and indigenous peoples of the Amazonian region in order to institute a theology and anthropology (the science of man) which will accomplish just such a reign of terror within the Church.

The whole world now teeters over a satanic agenda of evil which will make all former holocausts of human destruction be seen as relatively minor precursors of what is to come. The goal of this agenda may be formulated as follows: the complete erasure in the minds and hearts of all men of the truth that every human soul is created in the image of God with a fixed nature common to all men since the beginning of creation, and possessing both the dignity and responsibilities before God inherent in this nature.

The Catholic Church has been the great guardian of this truth for the past 2000 years, and therefore has been the only institution which has protected the world from plummeting back into total barbarism. It is now Satan’s agenda to remove this protection by achieving the victory of Teilhardian evolutionary theology within the Church – this agenda, in the minds of its protagonists, to be irreversibly incarnated within the life-blood of the Church by means of the coming Amazonian Synod in October, 2019. As Cardinal Madariaga, Coordinator of Pope Francis’ Council of Advisors said, “The Pope wants to take this Church renovation to the point where it becomes irreversible.” (Jan 20, 2015, address at Santa Clara University). Bishop Franz-Joseph Overbeck of Essen, Germany (quoted in a May 23, 2019 Life Site News article) was even more blunt. According to Katholische.de, the official website of the German Catholic Bishops, he told reporters that the Amazon Synod will lead to a “break” in the Church and “nothing will be the same as it was”.

 

The Church’s Slide Towards Teilhardian Evolution

The secular media went out of their way in 1996, with headlines such as the New York Times article, “Pope Bolster’s Church’ Support For Scientific View of Evolution”, to print the following words of Pope John Paul II in his Message to the Pontifical Academy of Science: On Evolution:

Today, more than a half-century after the appearance of that encyclical [Pope Pius XII’s Humani Generis], some new findings lead us toward the recognition of evolution as more than an hypothesis.”

But the real surrender to evolutionary thinking by the official Church actually is to be found in Pope Pius XII’s encyclical itself. In order to understand this capitulation, and the real source of this betrayal, we must first do some groundwork.

The infallible teaching of the Church on the nature of the human soul, and its relationship to the human body, is to be found in the following definition of the Council of Vienne (1311- 1312):

Moreover, with the approval of the said council, we reject as erroneous and contrary to the truth of the catholic faith every doctrine or proposition rashly asserting that the substance of the rational or intellectual soul is not of itself and essentially the form of the human body, or casting doubt on this matter. In order that all may know the truth of the faith in its purity and all error may be excluded, we define that anyone who presumes henceforth to assert defend or hold stubbornly that the rational or intellectual soul is not the form of the human body of itself and essentially, is to be considered a heretic.

In thus defining, the Council of Vienne clearly adopted the metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), which teaches that all physical substances come into being through the union of substantial form and primary matter. Neither substantial form nor primary matter are existents in themselves, but rather constitute the most fundamental principles of being involved in God’s creating all things from nothing (creation ex nihilo). God does not take some sort of pre-existing matter and make it into some particular substance by infusion of a form. Rather, the coming into being of a particular substance is the result of a simultaneous creation and union of form with primal matter. This is why the Council of Vienne defined that the soul is actually “of itself and essentially” the form of the body. And this is also why the human soul, while being capable of existing as a substance in itself (as do souls after death and before the Final Judgment) is to be considered an incomplete substance until united to its selfsame body at the Final Judgment.

In his encyclicalHumani Generis(Aug 12, 1950), on the other hand, Pope Pius XII states:

For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter – for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However, this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faith.

Pope Pius XII’s “permission” for discussion and research concerning the derivation of the human body from pre-existing forms of living matter is thus to be seen as being in direct contradiction to the Council of Vienne’s infallible teaching on the human soul as being of itself and essentially the form of the human body. It also represents a total rejection of the most fundamental principles of being (substantial form and primary matter) which are the heart of all Thomistic metaphysics. The slide into Teilhardism had begun.

As we have seen, it took 46 years until Pope John Paul II gave sanction (in non-infallible teaching) to this concept of the evolution of the human body. This of course gave a tremendous boost to the so-called “Theistic Evolutionists” who promoted the ridiculous image of God somehow injecting a soul into the body of an advanced ape. At this stage, we should not have at all been surprised if every secular form of the print media published a cartoon of a Michelangelo-type God hovering over an ape with a large syringe labeled “Human Souls”.

What is often missed in John Paul II’s “Message” to the PCS is the following teaching and instruction:

“As a result [of Pius XII’ teaching that, while the human body might be the product of an evolutionary process, the human soul must be considered an immediate creation of God], the theories of evolution which, because of the philosophies which inspire them, regard the spirit either as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a simple epiphenomenon of that matter, are incompatible with the truth about man. They are therefore unable to serve as the basis for the dignity of the human person.

Here we find John Paul II, while having surrendered man’s body to evolutionary theory, yet holding the line on his soul. But the slide was to continue.

In 1982, Pope John Paul II appointed Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger to the position of Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a position he would retain until being elected Pope in 2005.The fact is that Cardinal Ratzinger had for decades been a proponent of precisely that sort of Teilhardian evolutionary theology and anthropology which John Paul II explicitly condemned (rendered above in bold emphasis) in his Message to the PCS. In other words, Pope John Paul II appointed a man to that exalted position most responsible for the guardianship and integrity of the Faith who repeatedly had embraced in his writings Teilhardian evolutionary errors which were “incompatible with the truth about man”, and “unable to serve as the basis for the dignity of the human person”.

In Credo For Today: What Christians Believe (A collection of essays written by Joseph Ratzinger during the years 1971-2006 and published by Ignatius Press in 2009), Joseph Ratzinger, after quoting a rather dense passage from one of Teilhard de Chardin’s writings, offers the following exposition:

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

Translated into common language, this simply means that matter evolves into spirit. And lest we doubt this to be the case, Joseph Ratzinger applies this “matter evolving into spirit” concept very specifically to the question as to how spirit (soul) arose in man:

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

In our articles The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning With Thorns, and Teilhardian Evolution, The Amazonian Synod: The Nest of the Antichrist, we offer a much more thorough and irrefutable documentation in regard to the slide of recent Popes (including Pope Francis) into a fulsome embrace of Teilhardian theology. For Pope Francis, Teilhardian evolution is most aptly encapsulated in his oft-repeated phrase “Time is Greater than space”. It is an horrendously evil phrase. It entails that everything in the universe, from God to the very lowest created thing, is to be defined in terms of evolutionary becoming, rather than being. It is a succinct duplication of the words of Joseph Ratzinger: “Being is time; it does not merely have time. Only in becoming does it exist and unfold into itself.” (Credo For Today, p. 42). It establishes a world of unending, vicious competition, survival, and advancement. It is the perfect recipe for the manipulation and destruction of the weak by the strong. And ultimately, as is now the case, when the mechanics (genetics, birth control, etc.) of evolution have become accessible to man’s manipulation and control, it is the ultimate formulation in order to justify eugenics and a reign of terror. This is the underbelly of that monster of which now slouches towards the Amazon and its indigenous peoples to be born. It is perfectly expressed in a passage from Teilhard de Chardin’s work Human Energy:

“Now eugenics does not confine itself to a simple control of births. All sorts of related questions, scarcely yet raised despite their urgency, are attached to it. What fundamental attitude, for example should the advancing wing of humanity take to fixed or definitely unprogressive ethnical groups? [We do well here to pause, and consider what Teilhard’s view of the “indigenous” peoples of the Amazon would have been]. The earth is a closed and limited surface. To what extent should it tolerate, racially or nationally, areas of lesser activity? More generally still, how should we judge the efforts we lavish in all kinds of hospitals on saving what is so often no more than one of life’s rejects? Something profoundly true and beautiful ( I mean faith in the irreplaceable value and unpredictable resources contained in each personal unit) is evidently concealed in persistent sacrifice to save a human existence. But should not this solicitude of man for his individual neighbor be balanced by a higher passion, born of the faith in that other higher personality that is to be expected, as we shall see, from the world-wide achievements of our evolution? To what extent should not the development of the strong (to the extent that we can define this quality) take precedence over the preservation of the weak? How can we reconcile, in a state of maximum efficiency, the care lavished on the wounded with the more urgent necessities of battle? In what does true charity consist?” (p. 131-132).

Such is the underbelly of that theological Beast which promotes “time as being greater than space”, and which preaches a universal mercy at the expense of the Truth of Christ.

 

The Immaculate Heart of Mary as Our Refuge

At the very center of all of creation, and all within creation that is truly of and from God, is the Immaculate Conception of Mary. In his Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus (1850), which infallibly defined Mary’s Immaculate Conception, Blessed Pope Pius IX began with the following words:

God Ineffable — whose ways are mercy and truth, whose will is omnipotence itself, and whose wisdom “reaches from end to end mightily, and orders all things sweetly” — having foreseen from all eternity the lamentable wretchedness of the entire human race which would result from the sin of Adam, decreed, by a plan hidden from the centuries, to complete the first work of his goodness by a mystery yet more wondrously sublime through the Incarnation of the Word. This he decreed in order that man who, contrary to the plan of Divine Mercy had been led into sin by the cunning malice of Satan, should not perish; and in order that what had been lost in the first Adam would be gloriously restored in the Second Adam. From the very beginning, and before time began, the eternal Father chose and prepared for his only-begotten Son a Mother in whom the Son of God would become incarnate and from whom, in the blessed fullness of time, he would be born into this world. Above all creatures God so loved her that truly in her was the Father well pleased with singular delight. Therefore, far above all the angels and all the saints so wondrously did God endow her with the abundance of all heavenly gifts poured from the treasury of his divinity that this mother, ever absolutely free of all stain of sin, all fair and perfect, would possess that fullness of holy innocence and sanctity than which, under God, one cannot even imagine anything greater, and which, outside of God, no mind can succeed in comprehending fully.

Just as Mary was pre-redeemed by the Sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, so she has been willed by God for all eternity to be the Heart and Refuge of all those who were destined to be redeemed by Christ. This Mystery is wonderfully depicted in the following passage from Proverbs 8: 22-36, which the Church has unflinchingly applied to Our Blessed Mother:

“The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived. Neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out: 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.”

The above-quoted passage from the Book of Proverbs speaks of a place (a spiritual “space”) within God’s creation wherein lies all the Truth, Love, and Grace of God. It points to the soul of Mary (her Immaculate Heart) created wholly in the image and purity of God. But it also speaks of the soul of man, also created in His image, which finds Truth, Life, and Sanctification only by finding this same place to dwell within: “He that shall find me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord”. The Immaculate Heart of Mary is the most profoundly holy space in this world, safe and secure from what is about to descend upon us. In other words, salvation is defined not in terms of any sort of evolutionary becoming on the part of the human soul, but in terms of surrender to the Heart of Truth and Life which has been prepared for us from all eternity, and which has been accessible to all men at all times.

It is no wonder therefore that Teilhard de Chardin, writing from the depths of evil in a mind which had rejected this substantial reality of the human soul created in the image of God, should single out Our Lady of Fatima, and the devotion of millions of Catholic faithful souls to her Immaculate Heart, as the object of his supreme ridicule and disgust. It is here, against the simple and almost intuitive faith of those who respond to the immutability of God’s Truth, and the substantial, unchanging nature of the human soul, that Satan now rages his final campaign.

 

Conclusion

It is coming.

We now have only one recourse. Short of the Final Victory of Christ over Satan at the End of Time (we might even envision this as a final victory over all Time), there is only one means of now defeating Satan in this war against the souls of all men. Victory has been promised to Our Lady and Her Immaculate Heart alone. And we can only serve her cause through a Nineveh-like, unified recourse to the graces which are stored within Her Heart, and have been reserved for us from all eternity for Her Triumph. This is the entire purpose of the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church. In the face of what has been conceived and planned by the enemies of Christ as an irreversible agenda to be incarnated in the Church through the upcoming Amazonian Synod, we implore all faithful Catholics now to repeatedly beseech their priests and bishops to implement what is detailed in our Original Proposal for the Feast of the Purification and Presentation on February 2, 2020. Appropriately, this is also the Feast of Our Lady of Good Success.

As foretold by Our Lady of Fatima, such a unified effort is the only way by which we can avoid a world-wide chastisement of horrendous proportions; thereby exercising that charity towards all souls, which is a sacred duty incumbent upon all of us who choose to follow Christ.

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

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Please read our Original Proposal

Teilhardian Evolution and the Amazonian Synod:

The Nest of the Antichrist

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

 

Introduction

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

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

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

Cardinal Hummes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What is Gnosticism?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 The Gnostic Dilemma

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

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

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

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

St. Thomas writes:

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

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

Second, since we were created out of nothing, our created being is in no way to be ontologically identified with God, or as being “part” of God, or as an “emanation” of God, or of containing anything in its nature which is divine. It needs to be noted here that St. Thomas does employ the word “emanation” (ST, I, Q.45) in a way which is synonymous with God’s act of creation ex nihilo, but his use of this term does not at all correspond with the pantheistic sense of this word employed by other writers and thinkers (and which would seem its exclusive sense now).Our existence is wholly “by God and in God”, but this “in” God has nothing in it which speaks of us as possessing even one iota of the divine nature, or of our “coming out from” God.  We need be deeply suspicious of the thought and writing of any person who claims to be an orthodox Catholic while at the same time employing any language which speaks of “emanations” from God.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gnosticism Transformed and Accepted

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Transformation of Gnosticism into Mystical Theology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Palamism:

The Culmination of Eastern Christian Gnosticism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Platonism: The Foundation Stone of Western Gnosticism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Neo-Platonism: The Culmination of Non-Christian Platonism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Pseudo-Dionysius and Christian Neo-Platonism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thus is completed the Gnostic circle of emanation and return.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 The Penetration of Dionysian Theology and Spirituality

Into Catholicism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hayes continues his analysis:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Marriage of Gnosticism and Modern Science

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

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

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

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

 

Descartes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Between Descartes and Pius X’s Condemnation of Modernism

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

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

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

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

The above might have been written by Proclus.

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

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

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

We have seen it all before.

 

Modernism

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

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

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

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

The Pope goes on to say:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Dialogue:

The Final Refuge of Western Gnosticism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Possible Union of Gnosticism East and West

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Addendum

The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Teilhard de Chardin

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Teilhard’s Spiritual Journey to the New Age

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was Paleontology which provided the key for Teilhard:

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Evolution of the Noosphere

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

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

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

 

The Christic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A Cosmic Liturgy and Transubstantiation

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

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

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

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

And, a little further on, he elaborates:

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

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

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

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

 

The Teilhardism of Joseph Ratzinger

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

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

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

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

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

We also tend to minimize the evil of evolutionary belief because of all the prominent Catholics who have believed in evolution: “After all, Bishop Sheen was an evolutionist.” Yes, Bishop Sheen was an evolutionist. He also had read Teilhard de Chardin, embraced his central concepts and terminology, and even went so far as to say that in 50 years it would be very likely that Teilhard “will appear like John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, as the spiritual genius of the twentieth century.” (Footprints in a Darkened Forest, Meredith Press, 1967, p. 73). Leaving judgment of Bishop Sheen to others, or to other times, we must yet note that it is now 52 years since Bishop Sheen made this prediction, and with recent Papacies, we do now indeed appear to be on the cusp of its fulfillment.

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

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

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

And, further:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“From this perspective the belief in the second coming of Jesus Christ and in the consummation of the world in that event could be explained as the conviction that our history is advancing to an ‘omega’ point, at which it will become finally and unmistakably clear that the element of stability that seems to us to be the supporting ground of reality, so to speak, is not mere unconscious matter; that, on the contrary, the real, firm ground is mind. Mind holds being together, gives it reality, indeed is reality: it is not from below but from above that being receives its capacity to subsist. That there is such a thing as this process of ‘complexification’ of material being through spirit, and from the latter its concentration into a new kind of unity can already be seen in the remodeling of the world through technology.” (P. 320-321).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

An Evolutionary Christ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Pope Francis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three more examples:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Conclusion: To Seminarians and Priests

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

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

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

So grieve poor cheated hearts and flow salt tears;

So wag the passions, envies, angers, hates;

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Please spread the word about the Rosary!
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Popes Honorius, Liberius, John XXII

Image result for Our Lady of Sorrows

Popes Honorious, Liberius, John XXII

 

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

 

Introduction

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

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

Pope Honorius

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope John IV:

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

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

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

Pope St. Martin:

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

St. Maximus the Confessor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope St. Agatho:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Pope Liberius

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Pope John XXII

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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A Tower of Babel: The Rush to Depose a Pope

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A Tower of Babel

The Rush to Depose a Pope

 

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

We have sinned, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly, and have revolted: and we have gone aside from thy commandments, and thy judgments. O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our princes, and to our fathers that have sinned.” (Daniel 9: 8)

Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Arguments:

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

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

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

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

The first argument is as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But there is more that needs to be said here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Deposition of the Pope:

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

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

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

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

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

1) The Pope can fall into heresy.

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

 3) A General Council can first declare his heresy.

4) A General Council can then declare him deposed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such is the Rock of the Deposers.

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

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

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

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

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

  Please read our Original Proposal.

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