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 < March 2013

May 2013 >

Why politics is important
to the Church and souls

4th Sunday of April:
4th Sunday after Easter

On the relation of Church and State, some 19th century thinkers expounded clearly the real problem of doing away with God or the Church in political matters. Firstly, Proudhon, a French socialist revolutionary of the 19th century, and declared enemy of the Church, wrote:

Those who say that the Pope now (after the spoliation of the Papal States) will be better off when he takes care exclusively of the things of heaven, are either politicians of bad faith who are attempting to mask the atrocity of the action under pious words, or they are stupid Catholics, not apt to understand that in the things of life the temporal and the spiritual are united, as the soul and the body.

Cardinal Pie, the champion of the rights of Christ the King and spiritual master of St. Pius X, as the latter confessed, wrote:

One cannot change the essence of things: Jesus Christ is the corner stone of the entire social building. If He is taken away, everything tumbles, everything is divided, everything perishes. [1]

The problem is not so much coming from the outside, from the devil and his followers - it is really from inside, when Christians do not understand what is at stake and what they are fighting for. A vague let-us-all-get-along-and-everything-will-turn-out-all-right is anything but a recipe for disaster. It is toleration at any cost, but liberalism is its real name.

Cardinal Billot defined liberalism as the image of the absolute individual liberty and modernism as the ulterior development of individualism and subjectivism. In other words, modernism is an evolution of liberalism. With liberalism, we have the liberation of man from the idea of God and, with modernism, the triumph of subjectivism and idealism. Thus, it is another step but always the same concept which denies the dependence on God.

The peril of liberalism has been denunciated by all the Pontiffs of the 19th century up to Pius XII. St. Pius X put souls on guard against the peril of man who wishes to substitute himself to God. Nevertheless, liberal Catholicism, until Vatican II, did everything it could to reconcile the irreconcilable, that is, by reconciling the Catholic Faith with the principles of the French Revolution. To obtain this purpose, liberalism hides itself and adapts its principles to the circumstances, not by straight rejection of the supernatural, but in dialoguing with the Catholics, so as to reduce it, and include it in nature. They do not deny God and his Church, but they are both placed at the service of man.

It is very striking to see that Archbishop Lefebvre was always concerned with politics: he was the 20th century champion of Christ the King at a time when the Churchmen had already thrown this doctrine to the wolves. Here is what he had to say on how religion affected politics in his book I Accuse the Council:

The triumph of ecumenical liberalism at the Council was the greatest victory for Communism. Christian civilization forthwith lost its self-confidence and thought it could adopt the principles of its enemies, viz. the rights of man, human dignity and religious liberty. This adoption opened a one-sided dialogue and raised the banner of détente and of pacifism. Consequently, Communism has spread over the world without hindrance… When soldiers have lost the ideal for which they fight their weapons fall from their hands. Since there is no longer a Christian civilization to defend, the field is left open to the Satanic revolution.

Here he was merely echoing the mind of Pope Pius XII. The latter describes the momentous impact which society may have on souls, and therefore concludes that the Church has a say on what the basic principles of a healthy society are.

The competence of the Church is incontestable in this portion of the social order which touches on the moral life to judge whether the bases of a social organization are in conformity with the immutable order of the things which God has manifested by the natural law and Revelation… The good or evil of souls depends and seeps in from the form which is given to society, in conformity or no with the divine laws. [2]

Thus with the advance of gay rights (and now their same-sex marriages around the world, the collaborative coordination of which does not escape a keen eye), with the push for euthanasia and the liberation of all taboos on genetic engineering aping the fiction movie Frankeinstein, the next Catholic generation will find little space left to live, profess and spread its faith in a context which resembles a descent into hell.

Footnotes

1 Cardinal Pie, Oeuvres, T. V. p. 333.

2 Pius XII, radio-message, June 1, 1941.


Cardinal Walter Kasper

Cardinal Kasper reveals intentional ambiguities
at Vatican II

3rd Sunday of April:
3rd Sunday after Easter

Cardinal Walter Kasper made a stunning statement in the pages of L'Osservatore Romano this past Thursday.[1]

Firstly, we need to appreciate his sincerity. Kasper’s statement is contra to the prevailing mantra from Pope Paul VI onwards (and the blind optimism of Cardinal Dolan of New York), and thus undermines that unrealistic vision of a Church in springtime:

For most Catholics, the developments put in motion by the council are part of the church’s daily life. But what they are experiencing is not the great new beginning nor the springtime of the church, which were expected at that time, but rather a church that has a wintery look, and shows clear signs of crisis.

Then, speaking of the challenges facing the Church and the "true implementation of Vatican II", he states:

In many places, [the Council Fathers] had to find compromise formulas, in which, often, the positions of the majority are located immediately next to those of the minority, designed to delimit them. Thus, the conciliar texts themselves have a huge potential for conflict, open the door to a selective reception in either direction. (L'Osservatore Romano, April 12, 2013)

Here Cardinal Kasper is saying that the documents themselves were constructed in such a way as to permit progressive interpretations when put into the hands of progressive theologians or bishops. Here the cardinal agrees that the conflict is inherent to the texts themselves produced by the Council and not due to some later wrong interpretations of it. Contra to the conservative mantra of "perfect documents - imperfect implementation", Kasper affirms the traditionalist critique of "imperfect documents lead to imperfect implementation." In other words, there is an intimate and logical connection between the documents and their implementation.

Yet, he is affirming something even more troublesome about the good faith of the Council progressive party. He clearly indicates that these potential conflicts were part of an intentional program.[2] He does not simply say the texts will bear various interpretations, but that these ambiguous passages were "compromise formulas" brought forth to placate two opposing sides, in such a way that they can be interpreted in an orthodox manner, but just as easily can be twisted by the progressives to lend seeming support to their mischief.

He concludes in saying that, although the story of the past twenty Church councils has sometimes been confusing, he affirms that Vatican II "however, is a special case."

This affirmation needs to be placed in parallel with the letter Archbishop Lefebvre sent to Cardinal Ottaviani on December 20, 1966, just one year after the closing of the Council.

that, [almost universally], when the Council innovated, it shook the certitude of the truths taught by the authentic Magisterium of the Church as belonging definitively to the treasure of Tradition... Whether it be the transmission of the bishops’ jurisdiction, the two sources of Revelation, the inspiration of Scripture, the necessity of grace for justification, the necessity of Catholic baptism, the life of grace among heretics, schismatics and pagans, the ends of marriage, religious liberty, the last things, etc.: on all these fundamental points, the traditional doctrine was clear and unanimously taught in Catholic universities. Now, numerous Conciliar documents on these truths henceforth allow doubts.

It is rather pleasant to hear an arch-enemy of Tradition take our side to stigmatize the undercurrent which produced the studied ambiguities and errors which are pregnant in the very texts of the Council.

Footnotes

1 An English translation of the original Italian article is available from CNS correspondent, John Thavis.

2 Cf. from Angelus Press, The Rhine Flows Into the Tiber, Pope John’s Council and Time Bombs of the Second Vatican Council for details.


Symptoms of breakdown of
Church authority

2nd Sunday of April:
2nd Sunday after Easter

Easter Vigil is traditionally the time when prospective converts are received into the Church.

This is done by making the profession of the faith, and for those who had been baptized in some Protestant sect, receiving conditional baptism and confession. At baptism, they receive a Christian name and are given also a godfather or godmother who is to insure their perseverance, as for any Catholic infant.

In our days, this process can turn into an obstacle course if the convert wants to become a traditional Catholic and be baptized in a chapel of the Society of St. Pius X. One such convert asked his friend to be his godfather, as he had been instrumental in his conversion. However, the friend let him know that his parish priest had declined the authorization because he was joining a group "not in full communion with the Pope." So he went to another close friend whose parish priest judged that there was no such stigma on the SSPX.

For peace of mind, the same convert decided to inquire the status of the church in which he was going to integrate. He went to the chancery office of his diocese, and the vicar general reassured him: you may certainly attend their functions, their Masses. Their sacraments of confession and confirmation are certainly valid… He then had the idea to check with the neighboring diocesan chancery. There the vicar general gave him another sound of music: you may not go there as you would not be fulfilling your Sunday Obligation since they are not "in full communion."

And so, the faithful today who are expecting black and white answers to vital questions touching on the faith, morals and Church discipline are left in the dark.

Here we make some further brief observations on this matter:

  • Yesterday (before the confusion of the crisis, that is), you were either a member of the Mystical Body of Christ or not. Today, hardly anything is clear because now, some people are somewhat in communion, (like arch-heretics and schismatics), while others (because they reject the errors of Vatican II) are deemed "not in full communion."

  • In the past, wherever you went, the Church authorities were dictating the same ‘diagnosis’ to their patients and the same ‘prescription’. But today, it’s pick-and-choose, and it’s becoming like the personal temple of Pastor X as opposed to that of Pastor Y. The Church leaders are having their authority diminished because they have nothing clear to back up their decisions, and therefore there is a cacophony of speech and teaching.

  • A major part in this crisis of authority and magisterium is the language which is prevalent today. Before the ‘pastoral’ era, the Church councils and Canon Law used a juridical and definitive style, which was precise and concise - going to the essence of things. This allowed one to speak clearly and objectively in apologetic terms concerning the qualities of certain persons and doctrines. Some people were called "heretics" (no matter how good was their external behavior) and others were called "Catholics" (no matter how bad they lived their lives).

  • Such language allowed the affirmation of one thing and the condemnation of the other. Now, the modern language - empathetic, descriptive, novel-like - is most unfit for the magisterium. Hence, the lack of clarity and drawing-of-lines within discourse because it is no longer allowed (or, nice) to condemn anyone. If such an approach was used in the courts of justice, it would be the end of justice, judgment and of organized society.

This verbal sickness is symptomatic of the malaise which has struck at the heart of the Church today, and thus why there are contradictory tendencies struggling to lead the Roman Church.



Blessing of Easter foods (baskets)

Old customs
of Easter Week

1st Sunday of April:
Low Sunday (Dominica in albis)

(Extracted from Christian Feast and Customs, by Fr. Francis X. Weiser)

In the early days of Christianity all of Easter Week was one continuous feast. Most people abstained from their usual work and attended church services daily. Priests in France used to celebrate two masses daily during Easter Week. A Spanish missal of the ninth century shows three Mass texts for each day of this week.

Because those who were baptized on Holy Saturday wore new white garments, Easter Week is also called "White Week" in the Western Church and the "Week of New Garments" in the Oriental [Eastern] Church. During the whole week the neophytes, in their linen dress and soft sandals, stood close to the altar at all services as a separate group within the sanctuary of the basilica. Daily the bishop would address them with special instructions after the crowds had dispersed. It was the honeymoon of their new life as Christians, a week in intense happiness and spiritual joy. It was only after mass of the Sunday Octave of Easter that they exchanged the white garments for the ordinary dress.

Easter Monday is still in many countries a day of rest and relaxation. First among them is the "Emmaus walk", inspired by the Gospel of the day (Lk. 24). In Germany and Austria, youngsters would play Easter games and sports (Osterspiele) in the Easter field (Osteranger). In French Canada, the Emmaus walk takes the form of a visit to the grandparents.

In Northern Europeans countries, Monday and Tuesday are the traditional days of "switching" and "drenching", customs based on pre-Christian fertility rites. In good-natured mischief the boys will surprise the girls with buckets of water and douse them thoroughly, often reciting some little rhyme.

Friday of Easter is a favorite day for devout pilgrimages (Osterwallfahrt). Praying and singing hymns, the faithful walk for hours preceded by a cross and church banners. In the Austrian Tyrol, people walk ten hours each way. In some sections of German and Austria, the farmers make their pilgrimage on horseback, accompanied by a band playing Easter hymns.

The Sunday after Easter received diverse names. It was called the "Octave of the Pasch" from the earliest centuries. It acquired later the name of "Sunday in White" (see above), hence the "White Sunday." The English term "Low Sunday" comes from the ancient practice of counting the octave day as belonging to the feast, so that Easter actually would last eight days including two Sundays. The primary (high) one is Easter Sunday, and the secondary (low) one the Sunday after Easter. Low Sunday was in medieval times the day for the first communions of children. Dressed in white, they enter the church in solemn procession, holding lighted candles. In some places, each child receives first communion with father and mother kneeling beside him, also receiving the Blessed Sacrament.


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