|What's more effective - hacking at the branches or getting to the "root of the problem?"|
Let's ask some questions relevant to the situation Catholics are facing today?
The First question is fundamental. Is there a crisis in the Church? If you claim there isn't, you need to explain the reason for these and other sad realities:
- the collapse of vocations,
- the collapse of marriages, baptisms, etc.,
- the collapse in belief and acceptance of central doctrines of the faith like the Real Presence.
- The justification by large numbers of Catholics of mortal sins that will send souls to hell: contraception, abortion, sodomy, same sex "marriage," pornography, assisted suicide, euthanasia, infanticide, etc.
- the closing of Catholic churches all over the world
I could go on.
Let's face it. Anyone with eyes to see and an active mind has to come to the conclusion that, yes, indeed, there is a crisis in the Church.
Okay, on to the next question.
Where did today's crisis come from? We need to understand the nature of the crisis in order to have any hope of combatting it and finding a solution.There have, of course, been periods of crisis in the Church throughout history. But many today describe today's crisis as equivalent, and perhaps surpassing, the Arian heresy that engulfed the 4th century when, as St. Jerome says, "The whole world groaned, and was astonished to find itself Arian."Let's consider the source of the crisis; where did it come from....The answer?Today, the whole world groans and is astonished to find itself Modernist!And what is Modernism, what Pope Pius X called "the synthesis of all heresies?" It can't literally be the amalgamation of all heresies since many are in conflict with each other. So what's different about Modernism and how is it the synthesis? Look at the illustration of the tree above. Previous heresies hacked at the branches of the faith. Modernism, on the other hand, attacks faith's roots. And in that way, it is fundamentally different and much more destructive and surpasses all previous heresies enfolding them all in its destructive power.Brother Andre Marie in an essay at Catholicism.org describes it this way quoting from Pius X's encyclical Pascendi:“[the Modernists’] whole system has been born of the alliance between faith and false philosophy,” a philosophy that fundamentally denies knowledge, the supernatural order, the stability of truth, the principle of non-contradiction, and the metaphysics of common sense. It lobotomizes the soul, as it were, between “knowing” on the one hand and “believing” on the other. The manifold results of this evil union between faith and an unworthy handmaid are the fruits of a tree which is corrupt at its very roots.
|Pope St. Pius X|
Brother Andre goes on to describe the three essential points of Modernism explained by St. Pius X:
1) philosophical agnosticism (Kantianism), 2) vital immanence (or immanentism – from Kant and, especially, Schleiermacher), and 3) radical evolutionism.
By the first of these three errors, philosophical agnosticism,... Modernism’s “negative” aspect, the partisans of error... opt to follow Kant, who produced a philosophy that rejects man’s ability to know and reduces all sense impressions to mere “phenomena,” ...[where reality itself is] ever elusive of our intellectual grasp... the faith cannot find understanding because the very criteria for so doing are rejected .... Dogma, which is a divine revelation from God to the intellect of man, is, in the end, rendered meaningless, since the mind cannot really know anything external to itself....If man cannot know truth, it is the end of all revelation and, consequently, of all religion: “By [Agnosticism] every avenue that leads to God is barred.”...
Let's underline this! Man cannot know anything outside himself. Everything becomes completely subjective, making every man a kingdom ruled by his own narrow mind. This leads to the common claim today (which I used to hear frequently when I was sidewalk counseling at abortion facilities) "I have my truth and you have your truth." which is ridiculous on its face! No one actually lives like they believe it, since there are obvious natural laws (gravity for one). People who say this aren't jumping off buildings because they think they can fly. We all accept the law of gravity as outside ourselves and knowable.
On to the second plank of Modernism, belief in “vital immanence” or immanentism which:
... provides the “positive” element of the Modernist platform, filling the void left by agnosticism. Immanentism...reduces all reality to the subject, which is said to be the source, the beginning, and the end of all its creative activity.” It is the final development of the Cartesian “turn to the subject.”
Hmmm...got that? ...a little obscure, eh? Let's see if this clears it up.
After the doubts introduced by agnosticism, the man who calls himself a Christian believer is bound to ask certain questions, such as: If the external criteria for faith are all useless, can man really come to believe? Yes, says the Modernist, because of what is implicit (or immanent) in human nature itself. This is... a “religious sentiment” native to each one of us that places “in human nature a true and rigorous necessity with regard to the supernatural order.” Thus, man is not only ordered to a final end that is supernatural, but he has that end contained in his very nature....which becomes, for the Modernists, a “religious experience.”
What a head scratcher. Where does this come from? The Modernists have already rejected the "natural law," but now seem to acknowledge it. But since man can't know anything outside himself, to then jump to an imminent idea makes little sense. However, it's really quite simple. Modernists just make things up as they go along and use big words to show how smart they are. They are the tailors creating the emperor's new clothes!
The religious sentiment intrinsic to man makes him reach out to the “Unknown” (God), who is also “unknowable” by virtue of Modernist agnosticism. Thus God, the subject of faith cannot be the subject of science (knowledge).... but [Modernism] holds that God can be known by nature. (????)
Really? We can't know nature or anything else outside ourselves, but we can know God by the nature we can't know. This is called the logical fallacy of circular reasoning. Are you laughing yet?
It should be noted that the apriorism of the “religious sentiment” is a logical unfolding of the Protestant divorce of faith and science. It also marks the point of divergence between the Modernists and their allies, the rationalists: “On this head the Modernists differ from the Rationalists only to fall into the opinion of the Protestants and pseudo-mystics.”
Note in the next two paragraphs how Modernism reduces the sacraments to "symbols" which is why you find some of these heretics denying the Real Presence and even the Resurrection of Christ. Man "needs" the supernatural, so he creates symbols. (Think of totem poles, pyramids, labyrinths, idols, charms, crystals, etc.) The Modernist reduces the sacramental signs to mere symbols. Their heresy reduces the faith to what Marx described as the "opium of the people." If the Modernists are right, religion is a human construct to fulfill man's basic need for the supernatural. Revelation is non-existent and God presumably is ultimately little more than a human construct created by man, not to give grace (which no human construct can), but to give comfort and an illusion of salvation by feeling.
The religious sentiment stimulates in man a need for expressing his faith in symbols, a very important concept in the modern study of comparative religions and pragmatism spawned by the same noxious 19th-century movements that produced Modernism. It is this need for symbols that produces an external cult, and even a creed. Thus are blasphemously explained the origin of the sacraments of the Catholic Church, its creed, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the cult of the Blessed Virgin and the saints, etc.
Worst of all, immanence denies the transcendence of God (his being external to and “outside of” man, or the God “out there”). Says St. Pius, “The philosopher has declared: The principle of faith is immanent; the believer has added: This principle is God; and the theologian draws the conclusion: God is immanent in man. Thus we have theological immanence.” These principles ultimately lead to pantheism, as the Holy Father affirms, and therefore deny the very nature of God.
Moving on to the final third plank of the Modernists, Brother Andre writes:
The third plank in the Modernist platform is the radical evolutionism of Hegel....For Hegel, all things evolve in the dialectic of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. History, truth, thought, indeed all reality is explained by this principle. In the history of thought, the Hegelian dialectic gives rise to “Historical Consciousness,” an acute awareness of change as a constant, describing all reality as in continual development. It further produces “Historicism,” the theory in which general laws of historical development are the determinant of events. In this theory, all things are subject to progressive evolutionary processes.
Much of the dissent in the Church today revolves around this concept that everything changes and must, in fact, change. Progress, progress, progress! Sacred Tradition and Unchanging doctrine are anathema to Modernism. And so we see the demand for the Church to "develop" doctrine, not in an organic way like encouraging frequent Confession and Communion, but rather, changing doctrine to meet the feelings and desires of modern man like allowing those in invalid marriages to receive Communion while living in adultery.
|Is this the "change" we expected after Vatican II? Cardinal Joseph Tobin allowed this blasphemous Mass in Hoboken during COVID despite shutting down all other Masses. (Source) Tobin is a member of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops along with fellow U.S. bishop Blase Cupich. The Congregation is responsible for selecting and overseeing bishops as well as suppressing dioceses. Crisis? YOU BET!|
So, yes, there is a crisis and its cause is Modernism which has infected not only the world but the very heart of the Catholic Church. Vatican II was infected by it, so the conciliar Church is infected by it as well. It continues to strike at the roots of the faith endangering the souls of the faithful. That's why Archbishop Lefebvre's determination to defend the integrity of the faith, its Dogma and Sacred Tradition, was so crucial!
I'll explore in another post how Modernism impacted Pope John Paul II's Ecclesia Dei commission which allowed the traditional Latin Mass groups to form, but also led to a problematic situation in the congregations approved under its umbrella.
More to come.