Skip to comments.The St. Pius X - Bl. John XXIII Connection
Posted on 04/12/2013 6:04:40 AM PDT by Te骹ilo
Brethren: Peace and Good to all of you.
Ive continued with my inspirational reading of Blessed John XXIII Journal of a Soul: The Autobiography of Pope John XXIII and among its many beautiful jewels, I found this one:
The connection proves to my mind that Blessed John was a Pope who exercised an hermeneutic of continuity and that his words and acts must be interpreted by this hermeneutic. He didnt set out to reformulate the Church along strange patterns, but to reaffirm her in a dialogue with the modern world and the exercise of a new evangelization.
The Bl. John XXIII St. Pius X connection will probably unsettled those so-called Catholics who believe that the See of Peter has been vacant since 1958, when Bl. John started his pontificate and others who are in or outside of the Catholic Church who belittle Bl. Johns pontificate for a variety of reasons. Blessed Johns firm self-consciousness of who he was as a priest, bishop, and pope flies in the face of those who enjoy concocting false reasons aimed at delegitimizing him. If one were to weigh these reasons against the consciousness of Blessed John and the cardinals who elected him, well see these reasons crumbling before the mere, simple facts. What were these facts? Pretty much the ones that progressives will find quite disagreeable: that Bl. John saw himself pretty much as a Successor of Peter and all the others, specially of the Pope who ordained him a priest, and that he conceive the Church in terms of the Nicene Creed and not in terms of other, modernistic reformulations.
“Moreover, he sees his connection to St. Pius X as a living connection, for Blessed John received ordination from the holy Pope, ...”
Where in the world did you come up with that whopper? Pope John XXIII was ordained a priest by Archbishop Giuseppe Ceppetelli; he was consecrated a bishop by Giovanni Cardinal Tacci Porcelli.
However, I do agree with you: that: “No, Blessed John XXIII was a modernist by any definition”. I see the connection between Pope John XXIII and Pope St. Pius X to be more similar to the connection between Lucifer and St.Michael the Archangel. The latter, in both comparisons, does God’s will; the former does not.
You are reading an autobiography. I hope you realize that autobiographies are usually slanted in favor of the author. Once you finish your book, I recommend you read “Pope, Council and World” by Robert Kaiser and “Pope John and His Revolution” by E.E.Y. Hales. I think the title of the second book is most appropriate for both Lucifer and Pope John XXIII led revolutions.
One more book I recommend to you: “Pope John’s Council, Liturgical Revolution-Volume II” by Michael Davies.
Yes, I stand corrected on Bl. John XXIII ordaining bishop. My bad. I fixed it on the blog. Thank you for bringing the error to my attention.
Thank you also for bringing to my attention my leaving out the word “not” from the statement No, Blessed John XXIII was a modernist by any definition. Man, that was a bad omission.
Like I always say: BLUNDERS TYPOS MINE! In this instances the blunders were egregious.
Now, equating Bl. John to Satan and St. Pius X to St. Michael and “connecting” them in that way is something I disagree with.
I’ve read quite a bit about the discontinuity many Catholics in the Church and schismatics outside want to make between Blessed John XXIII and the Church before his election. Without fear of commiting a blunder I say that position a crock, it’s self-defefeating, incoherent, and destructive of the verities this evil construct was set up to protect.
I don’t have time nor do I wish to engage any people or argument level against Blessed Pope John XXIII and his successors, or the Second Vatican Council. Thank you for your suggestions, but go please go in peace.
“I dont have time nor do I wish to engage any people or argument level against Blessed Pope John XXIII and his successors, or the Second Vatican Council. Thank you for your suggestions, but go please go in peace.”
How convenient! Now you separate “Blessed Pope John XXIII and his successors” from Pope St Pius X! Do I have to remind you who ordered the Oath Against Modernism and who lifted that oath?
I will not “go in peace” as long as you make up fiction to fit your “designer” posts.
Here’s another thought for you:
“After my first Mass over the tomb of St. Peter I found the hands of the Holy Father Pius X laid on my head in a blessing full of good augury for me and for the priestly life I was just entering upon;...”
How could this event have happened, since the discovery of St. Peter’s tomb didn’t occur until the 1940s and wasn’t announced until 1950, long after the good Pope St. Pius X had died?
Sorry TeoFilo, Ebbtide is spot on! Perhaps you feel compelled to be part of the vanguard that carries the water for John XXIII’s future canonization planned by the modernists; but you’ll fool no one who has paid any attention at all to the history (and the horrors) of Vatican IIinitiated by the modernists, I might add, within a few short months after the death of Pius XII. You’ll convince very few people that John was simply an affable dupe that believed strongly in the anti-modernist sentiments of Pius X, and simply unwittingly created the tragedy that persists and grows like a cancer in the Church today. You should retract your support for John and beg forgiveness.
From the link to the book you are reading, here are some reviews:
“There would have been no “Vatican Council II” without his initiative and spirit to set it on its course. The sixties were also a time of “loosening” and “opening windows” everywhere . . . there may not have been a ‘sixties” as we know them had there not come into the fore Pope John XXIII. So much of our open debate and discussion in religious and ecclesial and even “spiritual” matters flows from the open windows this man threw wide to let in “fresh air”. . . and the air still blows in those windows to help keep our own heads clear.”
“Instead of being a caretaker he substantially reformed the Roman Catholic Church. His journal describes how he evolved from a devout religious young man from a peasant background to a leader in the ecumenical movement. We learn how being a bishop for Bulgaria, Turkey and Greece (where there are few Roman Catholics) enlarged his view toward other traditions. Additionally we find how he was surprised when he came up with the idea of the Second Vatican Council.”
“One doesn’t have to be Catholic (I’m a Mormon) to admire his integrity, to learn and profit a great deal from an outstanding man’s honest struggles to discern and carry out what he regarded as divine purpose, and from the manner in which he grew over a long and notable ministry.”
“While I am not a Roman Catholic, I have always been interested in the history and politics of the Holy See and the Popes. It is fascinating that John XXIII, in his short tenure as Pope, appears today to have influenced the world of his faith more than either his predecessor, Pius (Pacelli), or his successor, Paul (Montini).”
And here is a review of one of the books, “Pope John’s Council”, that I had recommended for you to read:
“This is an outstanding account of the events that revolutionized Catholicism. The fruits of the revolution abound around us. Millions of Catholics lost their religion, and the larger society has changed irreversilby since the Council of the mid 1960’s. How did this happen? Why did the traditions of nearly 2000 years get jettisoned in an apparently mindless quest for “relevance”. This book details what may be the most significant event of the twentieth century. It is certainly the most underappreciated event. It is written from an unabashedly traditionalist viewpoint and describes the revolution within the Church and how it was executed.
Pope John’s Council is the second book in Davies’ trilogy and is the most accessible of the three. Anyone curious about what has happened to either Roman Catholicism or Western Civilization over the past 30 years needs to read this book.”
Come on, Teo! Why don’t you open up your windows like good Blessed John did?
Pope John’s Council Excerpt
Printed on the Web with permission of the author:
The 450th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation was celebrated in Wittenberg on 31 October 1967. A number of Catholic representatives joined a thousand Protestant delegates from all over the world to pay tribute to Martin Luther. A personal representative of Cardinal Bea, from his unity Secretariat, found it “difficult to hold a continuous conversation, so frequently must he shake another evangelical hand.” 1 One of the Lutheran observers at the Second Vatican Council, Dr. K. E. Skydsgaard, “spoke of the way in which the Second Vatican Council seemed in many ways to have brought the Catholic Church very close to the Protestant Churches.” 2 Mention has already been made of the extent to which this is clearly the opinion of the Protestants who provided commentaries for the conciliar documents in the Abbott edition. Similar expressions have been made elsewhere. Archdeacon Pawley, an Anglican observer, finds that “the ‘dialogue’ envisaged by the Decree on Ecumenism and encouraged by Pope Paul VI has exceeded the wildest hopes entertained for it.” 3
He remarks, with great satisfaction, “The true picture of the Council was that it represented a powerful victory of the forces of renewal in the Church of Rome over the conservative immobilism of its central government.” 4 Pastor Roger Schutz, the prior and founder of the Protestant community at Taize, also an observer at Vatican II, stated that the council had “exceeded our hopes.” 5
A report in The Tablet in February 1966 included the following:
The Council’s statement on the Catholic Church’s understanding of itself was an answer to Luther’s basic concerns that was late in point of time but close as far as content was concerned, said the German Evangelical theologian Professor Peter Meinhold of Kiel in Stuttgart last week. In the Second Vatican Council, with its fundamental explorations and practical reforms, he saw the honoring of Reformation demands in a way no one would have dared hope up till now. Comparing statements from the Council’s Constitution on the Church with Luther’s theology, he demonstrated that in their basic concerns the two were in surprising agreement over long passages. This showed the extent to which the Churches had overcome their past and come closer to each other without betraying themselves. 6
This final sentence is inaccurate as it is the Catholic Church which has made a unilateral move towards the Protestant denominations. This movement still remains entirely one-sided and consists of what Protestant leaders consider as the Church of Rome “seeing the light” at last. Some Protestant spokesmen have been commendably honest in making their own position clear. Dr. Skydsgaard who had found it unbelievable a few years before that the “Roman Church” would ever change, was full of praise for the Council during its Second Session but warned that it would be an illusion for Catholics to imagine that any number of Protestants “looked upon the Roman Catholic Church with ‘nostalgia’ or desired to ‘return’ pure and simple to the bosom of a Church which they still regarded as defective. The Churches must sit down and talk over their differences as ‘equals’ and as ‘equals’ again to be reunited.” 7
Professor George Lindbeck, of the Yale Divinity School, and Lutheran observer, was happy to note that: “The Council marked the end of the Counter-Reformation.” He expressed his satisfaction at “the rejection of the proposed schema on the sources of revelation as well as the results of the discussion on the liturgy.” 8 Catholic traditionalists must concur, however regretfully, that the Council certainly did mark the end of the Counter-Reformation. The Counter-Reformation initiated what is possibly the greatest era of true renewal in the entire history of the Church. Every true renewal in Church history has a common characteristic, the emergence of great Saints.
Mgr. Philip Flanagan, former Rector of the Pontifical Scots College in Rome, pointed out in a sermon preached in 1972 that God sent an abundant crop of Saints during the Counter-Reformation period.
Church leaders like St. Pius V and Charles Borromeo, apostolic priests like Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Borgia and Philip Neri, mystics like Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross and Peter Alcantara, theologians like Robert Bellarmine and Peter Canisius, young Saints like Aloysius Gonzaga and Stanislaus Kostka and John Berchmans, missioners like Francis Xavier and Francis of Solano, apostles of charity like Vincent de Paul and Peter Claver and John of God and many others engaged in a variety of good works and social reforms-——education, care of the sick or the orphans, care of the slaves, preaching to the poor, care of prisoners and so on. One thing all these saints had in common besides their love God and of their neighbor. This was their devotion to the Church. For them it was only in and through the Church that they could find God and serve their neighbor. 9
“Where are the songs of Spring? Aye, where are they?” asked Keats. Where, one might ask, are the fruits of Vatican II? Aye, where are they?
There are, of course, those who would consider Protestant satisfaction with the Council to be one of its most evident and welcome fruits. Others among us would consider the fact that those who reject Catholic truth find the teaching of the Council far more satisfactory than any previous presentation of the faith is a cause for serious concern. Whichever view is take more than sufficient evidence has already been presented this book to prove that mainstream Protestants found the Council very much to their taste.
Protestant satisfaction with Vatican II is hardly surprising in view of the extent to which they influenced its proceedings. That Protestant influence upon the Council would be considerable was made a certainty when the Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity was established on 5 June 1960. It is now one of the most powerful forces in the Vatican. Its purpose was to establish relations with Christian bodies outside the unity of the Church and invite them to send representatives to the Council. 10 Dr. McAfee Brown emphasizes that:
It is significant that this Secretariat was established independently of the Curia-——the court of officials that helps the pope with the running of the Church-——and that it thus had considerably greater freedom and maneuverability than would otherwise have been the case. It is also significant that, although originally established to work in conjunction with the Council, it was broadly hinted that the Secretariat might remain as a permanent structure of the Roman Catholic Church once the Council was over, a hint which has since become established fact.
. . . That the formation of the Secretariat was not merely a hollow and formal gesture became clear when Pope John indicated those who were to serve within it. As head of the Secretariat he appointed Augustin Cardinal Bea, S.J., a German Biblical scholar, who subsequently became one of the real leaders of the Council, and who made of the Secretariat an exceedingly significant organ of ecumenical exchange as well as a very powerful force within the Council itself . . . For the task of actually running the Secretariat the Pope chose Mgr. (now Cardinal) Jan Willebrands, a leading Dutch ecumenist with much experience in ecumenical affairs . . . As the Council got underway, the very existence of the Secretariat, coupled with its independence of the Curia, proved important ecumenical boons, for most of the conciliar matters dealing with ecumenical affairs were included within the portfolio of the Secretariat. Thus it was the Secretariat that had the task of drafting the crucial schema On Ecumenism; it was the Secretariat that provided the succession of texts for the statements on Religious Liberty and on the Jews; and it was the head of the Secretariat, Cardinal Bea, who was appointed cochairman (with Cardinal Ottaviani) of a special conciliar commission to write a new version of the ecumenically crucial document On Revelation. 11
Sufficient should have been written concerning this document in Chapter VI to indicate which of the co-chairmen was able to make his views predominate.
The very presence of Protestant observers at the Council was bound to have an inhibiting effect upon the debates. No good-mannered host would wish to express opinions which might offend a guest in his house if he could help doing so. It is obvious that the presence of these Protestant observers with whom the Council have resulted in some Fathers minimizing or even passing over in silence aspects of the Faith which might cause offence to their Protestant guests. The testimonies of some Council Fathers that this was definitely happening have already been cited in Chapter VI. Archbishop Lefebvre issued a warning about this tendency as early as March 1963. 12 In October 1964 he complained that: “Thus, on those points of specifically Catholic doctrine, one is forced to compose schemes which attenuate or even completely banish anything which could displease the Orthodox and, above all, the Protestants.” 13 As is so often the case, Mgr. Lefebvre’s judgment is confirmed by someone speaking from the opposite standpoint. Dr. Moorman, leader of the Anglican delegation, noted that the observers “were providing some kind of check on what was being said. Every bishop who has stood up to speak has known that, in the tribune of S. Longinus was a group of intelligent and critical people, their pencils and biros poised to take down what he said and possibly use it in evidence against him and his colleagues on some future occasion . . . Members of the Council tended, therefore, to be very sensitive to what the representatives of those other communions were thinking, and did their best to avoid saying anything which was likely to cause offence. If some Father forgot himself and said things which were bound to cause a flutter in the observers’ tribune, he was sometimes rebuked by some later speaker.” 14 Protestant influence did not consist only in this inhibiting effect upon what the Fathers said; they were sometimes able to have their own views put forward in the debates. Dr. Moorman reveals that: “although the observers were not allowed to speak in the Council, their speeches were sometimes made for them by one or other of the Fathers.” 15 The observers were able to “make their views known at special weekly meetings of the (Unity) Secretariat, and had personal contacts with the Council Fathers, periti, and other leading personalities in Rome.” 16 Professor Oscar Cullmann, a Lutheran delegate, remarked after only six weeks: “I am more and more amazed every morning at the way we really form a part of the Council.” 17
Cardinal Bea testified to the extent of the contribution made by the observers in formulating the Decree on Ecumenism. At a reception organized by his Unity Secretariat he commented: “I do not hesitate to assert that they have contributed in a decisive way to bringing about this result.” 18 Professor B. Mondin, of the Pontifical Propaganda College for the Missions, has testified that such observers as Dr. Cullmann made “a valid contribution” to drawing up the Council documents. 19 Dr. McAfee Brown writes that:
As the sessions of the Council unfolded, the role of the observers became more and more that of informal participants. The observers did not, of course, have either voice or vote, but as rapport and trust were established between the observers and the Council Fathers, there was an increasingly high rate of exchange of opinion. The Secretariat for the Promotion of Christian Unity arranged official weekly meetings of the observers and members of the council, at which the observers were asked to comment frankly on the documents under discussion, and-——particularly when the documents dealt with ecumenical issues-——the opinions of the observers were taken with real seriousness by the leaders of the Council. Frequent changes in the wording or the tone of the final documents can be traced to these briefing sessions. 20
The very close relationship between the observers and the liberal periti was disclosed by Fr. Schillebeeckx when he remarked: “One is astonished to find oneself more in sympathy with the thinking of Christian, non-Catholic ‘observers’ than with the views of one’s own brethren on the other side of the dividing line. The accusation of connivance with the Reformation is therefore not without foundation. What is, in fact, happening then?” 21 What indeed?
“We found ourselves meeting together at the beginning of a road whose end only God knows,” commented Dr. Skydsgaard. 22 The situation which developed during Vatican II, and the inevitable consequences for the Church if the road taken during this council should be followed to its end, were foreseen and described by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis. A policy of appeasement could certainly end in unity, agreed, but added that: “The world may indeed be united, but only in a common ruin.” In this same encyclical he spoke of a danger “all the more formidable because it is disguised under the cloak of good intentions. There are not a few who, grieved at this worldwide disagreement and misunderstanding, have been led astray by an indiscreet zeal for souls. They have an itch, nay they have a burning desire, to break down all the barriers by which men of good will are now separated from one another; they embrace a policy of appeasement which would fain put on one side all the questions that divide us-——not merely to the extent of uniting forces against the common menace of atheism, but actually so as to achieve a compromise of opinion, even where matters of doctrine are concerned. If nothing more were suggested than some readjustment in the ecclesiastical sciences and their methods which would better adapt them to the needs and conditions of our time, there would be no cause for alarm. But the hot-headed supporters of appeasement are not content with that. They see obstacles to the restoration of brotherly unity everywhere, even in claims that are founded upon the very laws and principles which Christ gave us, even in the institutions He Himself founded! Yet what are these but the bulwarks which protect the faith in its entirety? Let those fall, and the world may indeed be united, but only in a common ruin.”
Pope Pius adds that some of those he is criticizing are “inspired by motives praiseworthy in themselves”-——and this is a point upon which it is worth laying some stress. It is legitimate to point out that the Catholic tradition of absolute fidelity to the truth, and its fearless and unambiguous proclamation, was compromised during the Council, and has been even more seriously compromised since, to advance the cause of the spurious form of ecumenism so consistently condemned by Pope Pius XII and his predecessors. This policy is mistaken and its consequences have been disastrous, and it is quite legitimate to point this out. But the cause of orthodoxy is not helped by speculating upon the motives of Catholic ecumenists. Some are certainly sincere and dedicated men whose motives are praiseworthy, and to attempt to label them all as participants in a sinister conspiracy not only weakens the traditionalist case but is an offence against justice. It is possible that some of the decisions of Vatican II were influenced by participants in a malicious conspiracy to destroy the Church-——this possibility will be discussed in Chapter XII-——but nothing but harm can result from attempting to link any individual with such a conspiracy without producing conclusive evidence to substantiate such an allegation.
However sincere the motives behind this misguided policy of appeasement may be, its fruits are now available for all to see. Our Blessed Lord gave one task and one task only to His Church: this was to evangelize the world, to “Go forth and teach all nations.” The most manifest result of the Council has been the replacement of evangelization by dialogue. There is now little effort to convert anyone to Catholicism, be they pagans, members of some non-Christian monotheistic religion, Protestants, or even Marxists. At every level, from the Vatican to the smallest parish, there is an obsessive preoccupation among the progressive elite to dialogue with anyone about anything and for any length of time. The Council was the catalyst which enabled the bishops, in a state of euphoria, to drop the daunting task of evangelizing the mission countries and re-evangelizing the de-Christianised masses in some of their own countries-——let alone presenting Catholicism as the viable and coherent alternative to Marxism. Missionary activity in some non-Christian countries is frowned upon now, in some circles at least. No prelate can speak upon the subject of the missions with greater authority than Archbishop Lefebvre, who has remarked:
Today we are seeing many missionaries who have returned from the field refusing to go back. The idea is drummed into them at all the sessions, all the meetings everywhere. Delegates from France have adjured them: “Beware especially of proselytizing. You should realize that all the religions you may encounter have considerable value and that missionaries should therefore stick to the development of these countries with its resulting progress-——social progress.” No longer true evangelization and sanctification. 23
There are, of course, endless tracts of print in the Council documents explaining how the world is to be evangelized-but on a practical level there is little sign of this being translated into action. In 1974 the bishops of the world held a Synod devoted to the subject of evangelization. Their meeting produced a plethora of words but it is extremely unlikely that a single soul will be won from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light as a result of their very tedious and very expensive deliberations. Much of what they said has been committed to print and distributed at every level throughout the Church so that the faithful can discuss the discussions of their bishops.
After an analysis of the working-paper which the Bishops of England and Wales were to use as the basis of their contribution to the Synod, Fr. Paul Crane, S.J., remarked:
What amazed me, then, as I read and re-read my way through this official working paper was that its author-——whoever he may be-——appeared so utterly unaware of this essential fact: that the Church is so busy tearing herself to pieces, engaged in what the Holy Father himself has sorrowfully described as a process of “auto-destruction,” as to make effective evangelization a near impossibility; that her troubles are from within herself and that she must first get herself right, give herself back the truth before she can give it to others. ..What is this madness which causes those occupying responsible posts in the Church persistently to turn a blind eye to the disease which is gripping its vitals? Do they think you can get rid of an illness by ignoring its existence; that fatuous optimism is any kind of substitute for a cowardly unwillingness to face the truth, however unpleasant that may be? . . . evangelization can no more be carried out in these circumstances than you can expect a sick man to get up from his bed and run a hundred yards in record time. 24
The most obvious result of Vatican II is, as Fr. Bryan Houghton pointed out in the June 1975 issue of Christian Order, that the Catholic Church is now “the talking Church.” Before the Council she devoted her efforts to the serious business of evangelization, now she talks about it. To a very large extent her leaders have substituted ecumenism for evangelization as their first priority, particularly in the western countries. A vast new ecumenical bureaucracy has come into being. There are countless commissions, conferences, publications, and courses concerningecumenism. Those who immerse themselves in it can make it a full-time occupation without the slightest difficulty. In contrast with the daunting task of evangelization, especially among the de-Christianized masses who form the majority in most western countries, the effort put into ecumenism is never without its immediate and tangible reward. Ecumenists claim, and some might even believe it, that no large scale progress can be made in the field of evangelization because the divisions among Christians are such a source of scandal that the Gospel loses its credibility. The priority, they claim, must be unity and then Christians can really make an impact on society.
Where Catholics are concerned, as the previous chapter made clear, the progress in ecumenical dialogue is accompanied by the progressive dilution of Catholic truth. And, as this chapter also showed, the predominant trend in Protestantism is towards rationalism. If present trends continue, should unity ever be achieved the message the new pan-Christian Church would proclaim to the world would be little more than an echo of what the world is already saying. There would, in fact, be nothing to convert the world to as the world would have converted the Church. Ecumenists on the Catholic and Protestant side are infected by an ostrich syndrome. Their endless talks take place with their heads buried deep in ecumenical sand which is guaranteed to insulate them from the truth. Out in the real world the churches of all denomina tions are emptying; the more progress made by ecumenists the fewer the number of Christians offering worship to God each Sunday. But this causes ecumenists no concern. The justification for, and satisfaction in, ecumenical activity derives from the very fact that it is taking place. It is a self-perpetuating organism giving the impression of constant and escala ting progress. One conference leads to another; national committees mutate into international committees; there is now an ecumenical jet-set with privileged members who meet each other in one exotic setting after another. This is particularly true of the joint Catholic/Anglican International Committee responsible for the so-called Agreed Statements on the Eucharist and Ministry (sic). “There is,” wrote Cardinal Heenan as early as 1966, “almost a fraternity of international conference speakers who appear on both sides of the Atlantic at meetings of every theological complexion. There is no little danger that the multiplication of conferences will lead to a neglect of pastoral action. If too much time is spent on speculation, there will be too little spent in preaching the word of God. That, incidentally, is one of the dangers of ecumenism. We can become so engrossed in discussing each other’s theology that the flocks committed to our care, feeling unwanted, may begin to disperse.” 25 These were truly prophetic words-——and as the ecumenical initiatives proliferate the pace of the dispersal accelerates. No one is more reminiscent of the professional ecumenist than Hitler in the last days of the Third Reich, sitting in his bunker and issuing orders to non-existent armies, dreaming of new weapons which would bring him victory. Meanwhile his empire crumbled around him; the victory for which he hoped had long been an impossible dream. But Hitler could not face reality, he preferred to live out his illusion to the end. The professional ecumenist is equally unable to face up to the reality that what has become his one obsessive preoccupation has not only become irrelevant but a hindrance to the preachingofthe Gospel-——but those infected by ecumania show little if any interest in preaching the Gospel; ecumenical dialogue has become an end in itself for them.
Ecumenism-——ecumania, to give it a more accurate name-——is truly the sickness of the Church today. Nothing is too precious or too sacred to be sacrificed in its interests-——not even the traditional Roman liturgy, the most precious heritage of the western Church, indeed, quite possibly the greatest treasure of our entire western civilization. But the traditional Mass was an obstacle to ecumenism-——so the traditional Mass had to go. This will be the subject of the third book in this series.
What might appear to have been a digression on the subject of ecumenism is, in fact, very relevant to the theme of this chapter, Protestant influence upon Vatican II. No reasonable person could deny that the disease of ecumania is spreading throughout the entire organism of the Mystical Body as a direct result of the presence of Protestant observers at the Second Vatican Council even though the symptoms were there long before, lying dormant, waiting for the right conditions to enable the virus to activate itself and then proliferate. The symptoms of the disease were accurately diagnosed in a series of papal documents from Pascendi Gregis, through Mortalium Animos to Humani Generis. Thus, though their influence on the course of the Council and the wording of its documents was considerable, the impact of the Protestant observers was most manifest in the setting into motion of a movement which no group or individual within the Church seems willing or able to stop. “In ten short years the Council has taken on the dimensions of a world revolution,” wrote Archdeacon Pawley in 1974. 26 He finds this a cause for particularly great rejoicing in view of the pessimism felt by Protestant ecumenists during the pontificate of Pope Pius XII. The dogma of the Assumption and the encyclical Humani Generis in particular had given rise to great despondency-——particularly the teaching in Humani Generis that “the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church were equal and co-terminous.” 27 “The outlook for ecumenical understanding was black indeed.” 28 But the Archdeacon is now delighted at detecting signs in the documents of Vatican II that the Mystical Body and the Roman Catholic Church are “no longer being considered as exactly identical.” 29 This question, largely hinging on the use of the word “subsists,” was discussed in Chapter VI.
An assertion by the Archdeacon which no reasonable person could deny is that the movement given such impetus by Vatican II “in its general trend is irreversible.” 30 The most dramatic manifestation for the ordinary Catholic is one which has already been mentioned in this chapter, the Protestantization of our Liturgy. This, too, has won high praise from Archdeacon Pawley who notes that it has, in many places, “outstripped the Liturgy of Cranmer, in spite of the latter’s 400 years start, in its modernity.” 31 It is above all this new liturgy which he considers to have “changed relationships out of all recognition. For the revised Roman Liturgy, so far from being a cause of dissension, now resembles the Anglican Liturgy very closely. It has also demonstrated the value, under certain circumstances, of an authoritarian government. For instead of the pains and agonies of experiments, objections, counter-objections, and a multitude of parallel revisions existing at the same time, the new Roman liturgy came into existence simultaneously all over. the world.” 32 Similar sentiments have been expressed by spokesmen for a number of Protestant denominations, some far more evangelical in character than the Church of England. A detailed examination of the Protestant attitude to the new Mass, and its implications, must be left for the next book. Archdeacon Pawley’s remarks not only highlight the present abject state of the One, Holy, Roman, Catholic, and Apostolic Church but also provide an invaluable insight into the Anglican mentality. The Archdeacon is a typical Anglican minister, very sincere, full of good will, but quite capable of looking upon the Roman Mass as “a ca use of dissension.” When looked upon in their historical perspective his remarks are quite grotesque. In the sixteenth century those exercising effective control over the Church in England broke away from the Catholic Church, with which the English Church had always been in communion, and established the Church of England-——an heretical and schismatic sect. They devised a new Communion Service to give liturgical expression to their heretical doctrines, and, as Fr. Fortescue explains, “broke away utterly from all historical liturgical evolution.” 33 St. Pius V, in opposition to the heretical liturgies which had been devised wherever Protestants gained political power, codified the existing Roman rite, which dated back in all essentials to the time of St. Gregory the Great, and extended its use throughout the Latin Church. It has been celebrated throughout the length and breadth of the entire world, wherever priests of the Roman rite have taken the Gospel. Yet to Archdeacon Pawley it is “a cause of dissension”-and a cause of dissension because it does not conform with the
heresies of the Thirty-nine Articles! The spectacle of an Anglican minister reprimanding the universal Church for not bringing her liturgy into line with that of his sect could once have aroused no reaction but tolerant laughter among Catholics but now they must weep, for those governing the Church today have gone a long way to removing this particular “cause of dissension,” this obstacle to ecumenism, and have gone as far as they dare in bringing the Catholic liturgy into line with his, and received a pat on the back from the Archdeacon for doing so!
As is so often the case, Archbishop Lefebvre has assessed the situation perfectly: “All these changes have but one justification, an aberrant senseless ecumenism that will not attract a single Protestant to the Faith but will cause countless Catholics to lose it, and will instill total confusion in the minds of many more who will no longer know what is true and what is false.” 34
To avoid any possible misunderstanding, it must be made clear that nothing which has been written in this chapter, or in the whole book, for that matter, should be interpreted as being in opposition to true Catholic principles of ecumenism which we all have a duty to implement. What is opposed here is the present ecumenical movement which has deviated from sound Catholic principles to embrace the false irenicism so consistently condemned by the popes. “It is dishonest to dissemble,” wrote Cardinal Heenan, and he insisted that: “The ultimate object of ecumenism is reunion of all Christians under the Vicar of Christ.” 35 Indeed, Catholics motivated by true feelings of charity towards their separated brethren will spare no effort to bring them back to their Father’s house. It is the ecumenist who follows a policy of appeasement who is lacking in charity towards Protestants, for by giving the impression that one religion is as good as another he will encourage Protestants to remain outside the visible unity of the Church where they cannot be secure of their salvation. In his encyclical letter on the Mystical Body of Christ Pope Pius XII issued an invitation to those outside the Church similar in tone and spirit to that issued by Pope Pius XI in Mortalium Animos, and cited at the conclusion of the previous chapter; it is an invitation which shows that there need be, and can be, no conflict between Ventas and Caritas, between the duty towards Truth demanded by the nature of Christ’s divinely founded Church and the duty of Charity towards those deprived of the grace of belonging to that Church.
“These, too, who do not belong to the visible structure of the Catholic Church, We committed at the beginning of Our Pontificate . . . to God’s care and keeping, and We gave them the solemn assurance that, following the Good Shepherd’s example, We desired nothing better than that they should ‘have life and have it more abundantly’ . . . We invite them all, each and every one, to yield their free consent to the inner stirrings of God’s grace and strive to extricate themselves from a state in which they cannot be secure of their own eternal salvation; for though they may be related to the mystical Body of the Redeemer by some unconscious yearning and desire, yet they are deprived of those many great heavenly gifts and aids which can be enjoyed only in the Catholic Church. Let them enter Catholic unity, therefore, and joined with Us in the one organism of the Body of Jesus Christ hasten together to the one Head in the fellowship of most glorious love. We cease not to pray for them to the Spirit of love and truth, and with open arms We await them, not as strangers, but as those who are coming to their own father’s house.”
The full extent of the debacle of Vatican II lies in the fact that, as has already been indicated in this chapter, far from even thinking of entering Catholic unity, Protestant leaders are now confident that the Catholic Church is coming to accept the basic doctrines of the Reformation. Pastor G. Richard-Molard covered Vatican II for the French Protestant journal Réforme. While he regretted that a small number of Catholic bishops still confused truth itself with the teaching of the Catholic Church he was generally optimistic. He affirmed that any Protestant present at the Council who might have felt tempted to modify any of the major axioms of the Reformation (proclamations majeures) would be “lacking in intelligence or deaf for failing to see or hear that for more than two years-——and doubtlessly for even longer-——so many believing Catholics, priests and laymen, had been probing the Scriptures, searching, praying, and suffering to arrive at this moment, and by other ways, at the point where they too accept these very same axioms.” Pastor Richard-Molard is, like Archdeacon Pawley, confident that the process of renovation set in motion by the Council is more or less irreversible (quasi irreversible) and with consequences for the future which will be considerable. 36
1. The Tablet, 11 November 1967, p. 1173.
3. RCFC, p. 353.
4. RCFC, p. 351.
5. The Tablet, 2 March 1963, p. 236.
6. The Tablet, 5 February 1966, p. 171.
7. XR-II, p. 273.
8. The Tablet, 16 February 1963, p. 177.
9. Sermon preached at an Approaches conference, 4 November 1972.
10. RFT, p. 120.
11. ER, pp. 64-6.
12. UEP, p. 26.
13. UEP, p.111.
14. VO, p.26.
15. VO, p.28.
16. RFT, p. 123.
17. RFT, p.124.
18. The Tablet, 31 October 1964.
19. L’Osservatore Romano (English edition), 14 June 1973, p. 8.
20. ER, pp. 66/67.
21. Catholic Gazette, January 1964, p. 6.
22. RFT, p.124.
23. UEP, p. 157.
24. Christian Order, May 1974, p. 296 ff.
25. The Tablet, 20 August 1966, p. 954.
26. RCFC. p. 339.
27. RCFC, p. 313.
29. RCFC. p. 343.
30. RCFC, p. 315.
31. RCFC, p. 349.
32. RCFC, p. 348.
33. The Mass (London, 1917), p. 206.
34. World Trends, May 1974.
35. Catholic Gazette, May 1 965.
36. JC. pp. 510-513.