The Doctrine of Christ
The Magisterium Against the Modern Errors
By Hugh Akins
"Truth … cannot change from day to day,” Pius XII tells us (Humani Generis). And Leo XIII adds this to the discussion: "The history of all past ages is witness that the Apostolic See ... has constantly adhered to the same doctrine... (Testem Benevolentiae).
Conveying a very different message than Vatican II, the First Vatican Council says that “The Holy Ghost was not promised to the successors of Peter for them to make a new doctrine known by revelation, but for them to maintain in a holy way and to expose faithfully by His assistance the revelation transmitted by the apostles, that is, the deposit of Faith."
OF PARAMOUNT IMPORTANCE
Our Holy Redeemer Himself speaks to us of the present day crisis of faith: “I know that, after My departure, ravening wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29). The apostles exhort us therefore to take great care to “…Keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding the profane novelties … and … knowledge falsely so called” (1 Tim. 6:20). “For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine …” (2 Tim. 4:3). “Whosoever revolts and continues not in the doctrine of Christ, has not God. He that continues in the doctrine, the same has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9).
The discerning man will conclude from this that the doctrine of Christ is of paramount importance. An obvious understatement, for certain, and yet, without meaning to insult the reader’s intelligence, a very necessary statement in the light of the vast ignorance of the overwhelming majority of our fellow Catholics.
Kindly permit me to indulge in a few prefatory remarks before forging ahead. First, there will be some repetition in what you’re about
to read. This is somewhat necessary in order to demonstrate how one pope after another has stated and restated the Magisterium’s insistence on rejecting novelty and innovation and clinging to Tradition; and its insistence on the complete impossibility that the Magisterium could ever contradict itself; the utter impossibility that what
the Church has taught in the past can suddenly no longer be held as true in the present.
Second, that the Catholic who holds fast to Church Tradition – that is, Sacred and Divine Tradition as opposed to mere human traditions – has his feet firmly planted on the only solid foundation, will become more and more evident as we call upon the Supreme Pontiffs to speak in their official capacity as Vicars of Christ.
Third, by Magisterial teaching and its condemnation of the modern errors, it will become clear that the Second Vatican Council stood condemned by the popes even before it was convened. As too the subversive reforms of the past four decades that have been perpetuated in the spirit of this now truly infamous Council.
THE MAGISTERIUM AND CATHOLIC DOCTRINE
To start with, a definition is in order. What exactly is this Magisterium of which we speak? Well, the Catholic encyclopedia defines it as the Church's official teaching authority and office. Together with Sacred Scripture and Holy Tradition, the Magisterium is one of three means whereby Divine Revelation is infallibly transmitted to men. In Mathew 16:18 we find the Scriptural basis of the mission assigned to the Church by our Lord – to teach divinely revealed truth and to safeguard, maintain and pass on the whole deposit of faith: “And I say to thee, thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys to the Kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven.” This Biblical reference pertains to the Church's teaching office – its Magisterium, given its commission and authority, as you can see, by Our Lord Himself.
One of the principal expressions of this teaching authority comes to us by way of papal communications and pronouncements, or allocutions. The encyclical letters are one such means of communication of Magisterial teaching. These letters that are mostly intended for the whole Church and only occasionally directed at local churches (that is to say, the Church in one particular country – the Church in Italy, Germany, France, America, etc.), are usually expressions of the Magisterium’s ordinary rather than extraordinary teaching office. Nevertheless they must be believed and adhered to inasmuch as they uphold and do not run counter to that which the apostles, the popes, and the Church have taught continuously and without alteration or interruption down through the centuries. For twenty centuries to be exact.
The First Vatican Council, which was a dogmatic and not a pastoral Council as Vatican II was, states it in these words: "... By divine and Catholic faith, all those things must be believed which are contained in the written word of God and in Tradition, and those which are proposed by the Church, either in a solemn pronouncement, or in her ordinary and universal teaching power, to be believed as divinely revealed."
Pope Leo XIII sheds further light on the subject: “Christ instituted in the Church a living, authoritative and permanent Magisterium, which He strengthened by His own power, taught by the Spirit of Truth and confirmed by miracles. He willed and ordered under the gravest penalties that its teachings should be received as if they were His own. As often therefore as it is declared on the authority of this teaching that this or that is contained in the deposit of divine revelation, it must be believed by everyone as true. If it could in any way be false, an evident contradiction follows; for then God Himself would be the author of error …” (Satis cognitum). And of course for God to be in error or to contradict Himself is a sheer impossibility.
Pope Pius XII was clearer yet: "Nor must it be thought that what is expounded in encyclical letters does not of itself demand consent, since in writing such letters the popes do not exercise the supreme power of their teaching authority. For these matters are taught with the ordinary teaching authority, of which it is true to say: "He who heareth you heareth me" (Luke 10:16), and generally what is expounded and inculcated in encyclical letters already for other reasons appertains to Catholic doctrine" (Humani Generis).
So the Church leaves no room for doubt or uncertainty. In this we plainly see that even ordinary Magisterial teaching carries a great deal of weight when it reiterates or reinforces Catholic doctrine, and hence directs the intellects of men to the truths of the faith. The human intellect was meant not for error but for truth, just as human liberty was meant not for evil but for good.
On the gravity of denying revealed truth, Leo XIII writes: “To reject dogma is simply to deny Christianity … Just as it is height of misfortune to go astray from ‘the Way’, so is it to abandon the ‘Truth.’ Wherefore if the Truth be sought by the human intellect, it must first of all submit it to Jesus Christ and securely rest upon His teaching, since therein Truth itself speaks …” (Tametsi).
Unlike Vatican I, Vatican II left itself extremely vulnerable to error, for one reason because it chose not to assume a dogmatic character and impetus, as most of the other Church councils have done, but instead a pastoral one only, which is not protected by the same divine favor. The Council's additional shortcoming is that it chose to disregard Tradition in its misguided eagerness for the forbidden fruits of novelty, innovation and acceptance by the impious and unbelieving world. The Fathers of this ill-conceived Council chose to appease fallen man rather than please the Lord God.
Pope Paul VI actually admitted that Vatican II was not dogmatic in his discourse at the Council's closing on December 7th 1965: “Although the Magisterium of the Church did not wish to pronounce itself under the form of extraordinary dogmatic pronouncements …”, etc., etc. etc.
Let's consider then what the First Vatican Council put forth, since, being fully dogmatic, it is absolutely binding on all Catholics:
The doctrine of Faith that
God has revealed was not proposed
to the minds of men as a philo-
sophical discovery to be perfected,
but as the divine deposit, entrusted
to the Spouse of Christ that she
might faithfully keep it and
infallibly define it. Consequently,
the meaning of the sacred dogmas
which must always be preserved –
is that which our Holy Mother the
Church has determined. Never
is it permissible to depart from this
in the name of a deeper understand-
ing. (Dogmatic Constitution, De
Ecclesia Dei, Enchiridion
Again Vatican I says:
The Holy Ghost was
not promised to the successors of
Peter for them to make a new
doctrine known by revelation,
but for them to maintain in a
holy way and to expose faithfully
by His assistance the
revelation transmitted by the
apostles, that is, the deposit of
"Truth … cannot change from day to day”, Pius XII tells us (Humani Generis). And Leo XIII adds this to the discussion: "The history of all past ages is witness that the Apostolic See ... has constantly adhered to the same doctrine... (Testem Benevolentiae).
So we see that it's quite impossible for the Magisterium to deviate one iota from its divinely commissioned function of jealously holding fast to and zealously perpetuating Catholic doctrine. To do so would be to betray the very purpose and mission assigned it by God. To do so would be to betray the Blessed Savior Himself.
Alright then, let's move on to the main thrust of our article – the Magisterium against the modern errors – or, against the most cherished of modern-day principles. In presenting the following to you, I would point out that our opinions count for very little. We can criticize the progressives and conservatives in the Church until we're blue in the face; we can denounce the errors of Vatican II all we want. But ultimately, what counts is not what we think, or what we have to say, but the popes. Because obviously, as we’ve seen, they speak in the name of Christ and with the full authority of His one true Church.
And it has always been the Church's unshaken conviction that when the Magisterium speaks on a given matter, either in its extraordinary or ordinary capacity, the debate is over, the matter is settled. We will come back to this point again.
At this time we're going to take a look at what some of the encyclicals have to say and compare them to what we see happening today. I'm not going in any chronological order – but will be jumping around. And we only have the space here to cover a few of the encyclicals.
Pope Saint Puis X rendered a great and invaluable service to the Catholic cause in producing his dynamic encyclical, Pascendi, on the doctrines of the modernists, in 1907. Here we see that hardcore liberals and progressives who've today gained the upper hand in the Church and continue to militate against Catholic Tradition, are not altruistic idealists with sincere and noble aspirations. Rather, their terrible doctrine is, to quote the Holy Father, “a most pernicious doctrine” and which is “made not for edification but for destruction, not for the making of Catholics but for the seduction of those who are Catholics into heresy; and tending to the utter subversion of all religion."
"In hearing these things," the Saint says of the errors of Modernism, "we shudder indeed at so great an audacity of assertion, and so great a sacrilege." In the same papal document Pius X restates the basic duty of the Magisterium: "One of the primary obligations assigned by Christ to the office divinely committed to us of feeding the Lord's flock is that of guarding with the greatest vigilance the deposit of Faith delivered to the saints [and] rejecting the profane novelties ...”
In this papal masterpiece in defense of the faith, St. Pius X launches an all-out offensive against the Modernists who've declared all-out war against Roman Catholicism by seeking to undermine and eradicate its traditional doctrines, by seeking to do away with doctrine altogether. Nor would we be wrong, the pope continues, to regard these modernists "as the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church. For … they put into operation their designs for her undoing, not from without but from within." And that certainly makes them all the more dangerous.
Very briefly, the Saint’s survey of some of the errors of the modernists that have so relentlessly permeated the thinking of left-leaning bishops, theologians, intellectuals and clergymen, have to do with
- Agnosticism – claiming in essence that science and history must be atheistic; that religion over-steps its legitimate bounds if it attempts to impose itself in these fields; that phenomena substitutes for divine revelation;
- Vital Immanence – asserting that only in man and in his life’s experience can we find the explanation of religion. It reduces divine revelation and true religion to an experience or a sentiment. And we certainly see these false ideas as the prevailing attitudes in our day;
- The variability of dogma – Modernists insanely believe in the intrinsic evolution of dogma. Because human experience, consciousness and sentiment are variable wherefrom dogma takes its origin, according to the modernist mentality, dogma too must necessarily evolve.
Here is one conclusion found in the book A Catechism of Modernism, based on St. Pius X’s encyclical Pascendi: "Feeling no horror at treading in the footsteps of Luther, they are wont to display a certain contempt for Catholic doctrines, for the Holy Fathers, for the Ecumenical Councils, for the ecclesiastical Magisterium; and should they be rebuked for this, they complain that they are being deprived of their liberty." It is of course a false liberty that presumes to call into question the very truths revealed by God and taught and passed down by the Church of God.
The Catechism continues: The modernists “pervert the eternal concept of truth." And then quoting Pope Gregory XVI, it says: "They [the modernists] are seen to be under the sway of a blind and unchecked passion for novelty, thinking not at all of finding some solid foundation of truth, but despising the holy and apostolic Traditions, they embrace other vain, futile, uncertain doctrines, condemned by the Church, on which, in the height of their vanity, they think they can rest and maintain truth itself."
CORRUPTING THE LITURGY
Modernism went on to seep its poison into the veins of the liturgical movement, until it eventually succeeded after the death of Pius XII in actually mutilating the Catholic Liturgy. We may nevertheless be grateful that Pius XII had been steadily vigilant during his pontificate, for he left us another invaluable document, this one in defense of the traditional Catholic liturgy, and in repudiation of the prostituted liturgy that has profaned our worship, desecrated our sanctuary, and committed unspeakable sacrileges against the Holy Sacrifice itself.
Through Pius XII’s letter on the Sacred Liturgy of November, 1947, the Magisterium once more exercised its authority in asserting
- That the liturgy includes both divine and human elements;
- That the divine elements – instituted as they have been by God, cannot be changed in any way by men; such as, for example, the sacrificial nature and essence of Holy Mass. (As you know, more recent understandings presume to portray the Divine Sacrifice of the altar as a memorial meal, as a mere commemoration of Our Lord’s Supreme Sacrifice, emphasizing the last Supper while diminishing Calvary and the Cross. This is just one reason why Cardinal Ottaviani, who once held the same high position now held by Cardinal Ratzinger, said that the New Mass was more Protestant than Catholic, which in fact it is. An honest Protestant would recognize this at once. The faithful Catholic must recognize it in order to remain obedient to the First and Third Commandments, assuring that his worship is worthy and acceptable to God. (See the author’s earlier piece on “Sacrilege According to St. Thomas Aquinas – a Critical Look at the New Mass”.)
Continuing with Pius XII's encyclical on the Sacred Liturgy, he points out
- That the human components of the liturgy may, under certain circumstances, be modified and undergo some changes, "as the needs of the age, circumstance and the good of souls may require, and as the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy under guidance of the Holy Spirit may have authorized” (Mediator Dei).
But such changes can be acceptable only insofar as the integrity of Catholic doctrine is maintained. It is quite obvious the integrity of Catholic doctrine has not been maintained in the New Mass. Again, listen to the Pope's own words: "It has pained us grievously to note … that such innovations are actually being introduced, not merely in minor details but in matters of major importance as well. We instance, in point of fact, those who make use of the vernacular in the celebration of the august Eucharistic Sacrifice; those who transfer certain feast days – which have been appointed and established after mature deliberation – to other dates; those finally who delete from the prayer books – approved for public use – the sacred texts of the Old Testament, deeming them little suited and inopportune for modern times."
Pius XII goes on: "The use of the Latin language, customary in a considerable portion of the Church is a manifest and beautiful sign of unity, as well as an effective antidote for any corruption of doctrinal truth.” So Catholics today really prefer Latin not only because it is beautiful and sacred and the official language of the Universal Church, but chiefly because it is a guarantee of doctrinal integrity, a most potent safeguard against doctrinal corruption.
And lastly, the pope comments further on the modern preference for the ancient rites of worship. "Assuredly it is a wise and most laudable thing to return in spirit and affection to the sources of the Sacred Liturgy ... But it is neither wise nor laudable to reduce everything to antiquity by every possible device. Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying form the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive table form; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the divine Redeemer's body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings.”
All theses liturgical initiatives strongly denounced by the Magisterium can of course be easily recognized in the services found in most parishes today. And that’s one reason why good Catholics are severing their ties to the diocesan parishes and more and more flocking to independent traditional Mass centers, just as the faithful did during the time of St. Athanasius, and under his urging.
INDIFFERENTISM, RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
Mirari Vos is another important writing, for it was an early papal warning of some of the errors, like Modernism, that have taken these modern times by storm – specifically, liberalism and religious indifferentism.
Pope Gregory XVI refers to such lethal heresies as "evils" and "calamities" and "scourges." As "so many perils" and "great dangers." "For we can say in all truth, now is the hour granted to the ‘power of darkness’". You will notice the Magisterium always employs strong language to make its teaching as explicitly clear as possible and to have the greatest impact on those the popes would influence and guide. Gregory wrote these things in 1832. Imagine the adjectives he would use today when liberalism and religious indifferentism are not only thriving – but sweeping the planet!
The pope exhorts the bishops of the world, and the clergy and faithful everywhere, "to watch over yourselves and your doctrines, as your office makes it your duty, repeating incessantly to yourselves that every novelty attempts to undermine the Universal Church." Sadly, the bishops did not heed the pontiff's warnings.
Gregory XVI continues: "This should be, then, the aim of your efforts and the object of a continual vigilance, to guard the deposit of faith amid this vast conspiracy of impious men, whom we see, with the liveliest grief, formed to scatter and ruin it …
"As to the bishops in particular, their duty is to remain inviolably attached to the See of Peter, to keep the holy deposit with scrupulous fidelity, and to feed, as far as lies in their power, the flock of God."
Feeding the flock of God, feeding the sheep, always had one and the same meaning – feeding them with the doctrine of truth, with the truths of the Faith. Even as the then mostly conservative and traditional bishops faltered in their chief duty, the popes were ever vigilant and watchful. Says Leo XIII: “The history of all past ages is witness that the Apostolic See … has constantly adhered to the same doctrine, in the same sense and in the same mind.”
St. Cyprian, for one, was appalled at the thought of a human Church – yet a human church is precisely what we see all around us today. No longer one, holy, Catholic and apostolic, but a man-centered, community-centered institution, more democratic than dogmatic, more scattered than unified, stripped of almost everything solemn, sacred and sublime – in a word, stripped of almost everything divine.
Gregory XVI next arrives at the subject of religious indifferentism. "We now come to another and most fruitful cause of the evils which at present afflict the Church and which we so bitterly deplore; we mean indifferentism, or that fatal opinion everywhere diffused by the craft of the wicked [he is referring to Freemasonry], that men can by the profession of any faith obtain the eternal salvation of their souls..."
The pope calls this a pernicious error. And as we've noted earlier, what the Magisterium has deemed pernicious in one generation cannot all of a sudden be noble and true and beneficial in a subsequent generation! As we've stressed, when a pope ponders and then decides on a religious matter, that question is then settled. Along the same lines we have this testimony from Pope St. Boniface I: “It has never been allowed that that be discussed again which has once been decided by the Apostolic See."
Getting back to religious liberty. Concerning Vatican II's Decree on Religious Liberty, Dignitatis Humanae, in addition to the papal condemnations, entire volumes have been written demonstrating how ruinous to the Church and to the nations this one heresy has been. By all means read such important and scholarly studies as Michael Davies’ The Second Vatican Council and Religious Liberty, Archbishop Lefebvre’s They Have Uncrowned Him and Abbe’ Daniel Le Roux's Peter, Lovest Thou Me? Very informative works which show the gravity and destructiveness of the blasphemy of religious liberty, this heresy that effectively strips our Divine Lord of His Kingship – and expels Him from His rightful domain as King of all nations, as King of Kings.
In his encyclical Libertas on true and false liberty, Leo XIII gives us this explanation of religious liberty: "… Such a liberty indeed places on the same level truth and error, faith and heresy, the Church of Jesus Christ and any human institutions whatever; it establishes a deplorable and deadly separation between human society and God it's author; it leads finally to the sad consequences of state indifferentism in religious matters, or, what comes to the same thing, its atheism."
Up until Vatican II the Magisterium was completely unanimous in its condemnation of religious liberty. Here’s a few more excerpts from Rome to prove our point:
Pope Pius VI said in 1791 that religious liberty will "annihilate the Catholic religion." (Quid aliquantulum). Pius VII said in 1814: "It is implicitly the disastrous and forever deplorable heresy ...” (Post tam diuturnitas). Gregory XVI writing in 1832 calls it a "delirium ... for the ruin of the Church and the State" and "the most deadly scourge that ravages the nations" (Mirari vos).
Very strong language traditionally used by the popes; the complete opposite of the latter-day popes that have become infected with the Vatican II virus, the spirit of Liberalism and Modernism.
The Catholic Church is a divine institution, divinely established, divinely commissioned. The mission of this one true Church is summed up in the passage: "Go ye into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature, to all nations, make every man a disciple, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you and baptize them. He that believeth shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned" (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15-16).
The second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism presumes to redefine and redirect the Church's age-old mission. In speaking of the "significance and importance in the mystery of salvation" of the other churches, the Council Fathers have called into question the Catholic doctrines of the Mystical Body, of the Primary of the one Church, and of no salvation outside the Church. Here again the heresies of indifferentism and religious liberty come into play.
It must be understood that the many false religions of the world – all of the religions but the one founded by our Lord Jesus Christ – have not a supernatural origin, but were created by men in rebellion against God. The modernist notion that the Holy Ghost will use other false dominations as a means of salvation indeed borders on heresy. Vatican II, the non-binding pastoral Council, says: "In certain special circumstances, such as in prayer services for unity and during ecumenical gatherings, it is allowable, indeed desirable, that Catholics should join in prayer with their separated brethren."
The Magisterium with the final word on the subject and whose authority is binding, says the very opposite: "... It is clear that the Apostolic See can by no means take part in these assemblies, nor is it in any ways lawful for Catholics to give to such enterprises their encouragement or support. It they did so they would be giving countenance to a false Christianity quite alien to the one Church of Christ." (Pope Pius IX, Quanta Cura).
The Magisterium has spoken – the matter is settled. The Vatican II position quite simply is out of step with the Church. Therefore, all the ecumenical maneuvers of the past four decades – every last one of those put into motion by Pope John Paul II – are condemned by the Magisterium and must therefore be rejected by the people of God – consecrated and faithful alike. The confusion and ignorance of so may of our contemporaries does not lessen this fact one bit, any more than does the negligence, infidelity and outright treason of the shepherds.
Returning to Mirari vos: "Let them tremble then who imagine that every creed leads by an easy path to the port of felicity; and reflect seriously on the testimony of Our Savior Himself, that those are against Christ who are not with Christ, and that they miserably scatter by the fact that they gather not with Him, and that consequently they will perish eternally without any doubt, if they do not hold to the Catholic Faith, and preserve it entire and without alteration."
Since one Pope can only rightly uphold, reiterate or more vigorously expound – but never contradict – the continual, unanimous and universal teachings of his predecessors on the Chair of Peter, Pope Pius IX and Pius XI echoed Gregory XVI's condemnation of religious indifferentism and its heretical offshoot, religious liberty.
In Quanta Cura once more, accompanying his Syllabus of Errors of 1864, Pius IX writes: "They do not fear to foster that erroneous opinion, especially fatal to the Catholic Church and to the salvation of souls ... namely, that liberty of conscience and of worship is a right proper to every man." And in his encyclical Mortalium Animos of 1928 on fostering true religious unity, Pius XI likewise dissected the deadly errors inherent in the modern ecumenical movement, especially indifferentism and religious liberty:
"Now, such efforts can meet with no kind of approval among Catholics. They presuppose the erroneous view that all religions are more or less good and praiseworthy, inasmuch as all give expression, under various forms, to that innate sense which leads men to God and to the obedient acknowledgement of His rule. Those who hold such in view are not only in error; they distort the true idea of religion, and thus reject it, falling gradually into naturalism and atheism. To favor this opinion, therefore, and to encourage such undertakings is tantamount to abandoning the religion revealed by God. Evidently, therefore, no religion can be true save that which rests upon the revelation of God, a revelation begun from the very first, continued under the Old Law, and brought to completion by Jesus Christ Himself under the New."
The Papacy pulls no punches in challenging and admonishing those of today who vigorously advocate interfaith worship, ecumenical assemblies, the various gatherings of the world's religions – as we are clearly seeing.
TRUE CHRISTIAN UNITY BY CONVERSION ALONE
Are we then not to be interested in fostering religious unity among the peoples of earth – among the peoples professing differing creeds? Certainly we are. Scripture has it that "It is His will that all men should be saved and led to recognize the truth (1 Tim 2:4). And Pius IX writes: "As charity demands, let us pray ceaselessly that the entire world may be converted to Christ, and let us labor as hard as we possibly can for the salvation of all men ..." (Singulari Quidem).
How then can such a desired end be achieved, if not by ecumenical and syncretist programs and gatherings? Pius XI explains how in Mortalium Animos. "...It is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics. There is but one way in which the unity of Christians may be fostered, and that is by furthering the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it; for from that one true Church they have in the past fallen away."
Make no mistake about what the Magisterium is telling us. The key word in any ecumenical initiative must be conversion. Christian unity can only mean the conversion of the separated brethren, not mere co-existence with them in some form of endless and aimless dialogue. Dialogue is devoid of charity if its aim is not to re-unite men with God in the doctrine and Church of Christ. "...Let them not think," Pius XII adds, "that the dissident and erring can happily be brought back to the bosom of the Church, if the whole truth found in the Church is not sincerely taught to all without corruption …” (Humani Generis).
And from Leo XIII: "Let them return; nothing indeed is dearer to our heart; let them return, all those who wander away from the fold of Christ" (Testem benevolentiae). However – "Because all these truths which form the whole Christian doctrine have only one Author and Doctor ... Let one beware not to subtract anything from the doctrine received from God or to omit anything for whatever reasons there might be; because he who would do that, would tend more to distance Catholics from the Church rather than to bring back to the Church those who are separated from it" (Ibid).
DEFECTIONS, HERESIES AND SCANDALS
Now, isn't that exactly what has happened? Because the doctrine of Christ was compromised at and since Vatican II, not only have those who've been separated from the Church not been drawn back to her, not only have many of them been driven further away from her, but Catholics themselves have been increasingly distanced from her.
The defections, the heresies, the scandals – those living openly in sin, divorced, remarried, indulging in sensual and material things as ends in themselves – so many who no longer even believe in the divinity of Christ or His Church, in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, in the maternity or Queenship of Mary, in the power of prayer, in the existence of hell – no longer even believe in sin or in the Redemption or in grace or in the Catholic Priesthood, and who are given to every conceivable vice and idolatry. They are no longer oriented to the things of God, no longer outraged by the crimes against God. Their faith, hope and charity have dissipated. The numbers of lost souls are staggering – an outrage that screams to Heaven for vengeance. And it's all because men have turned from God, from His laws, His commandments, His Church, His word – written or spoken, His vicars, His clergy, His liturgy, His Gospel rule of Life, His Sacraments, His Blessed Mother, His Social Kingship.
FALSE NOTIONS OF THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD
If it's not yet perfectly clear that behind all this impiety and upheaval, too many pronouncements of Vatican II have placed themselves against the Magisterium of the Church, let us briefly go over two additional councilor documents and show where they too are at odds with the Church's traditional teaching, made painstakingly clear by the popes.
In the Council's Decree on the Church, Lumen Gentium, it is claimed that "the Church of God subsists" or takes concrete form in the Catholic Church. Now, this is a far cry from the Traditional understanding that declares that the Church of God is the Catholic Church. Not a matter of semantics, the Vatican II definition is automatically invalidated because it is at odds what the precise definition the popes have always maintained of the Bride of Christ. But this fact has not curtailed the untold damage that's been done as a consequence of this scandalous innovation. This error leads directly into religious indifferentism, which the popes called the fatal error that is the ruin of nations. As for the Council's Decree on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, we need look no further than Benedict XVI, when he was still Cardinal Ratzinger, to realize that this document is opposed to the Magisterium. As the cardinal who held the 2nd most important office of the Vatican hierarchy, admitted that this conciliar document is "anti-Syllabus."
The Syllabus of course consists of papal condemnations of a litany of prevailing errors, issued by Pope Pius IX and, once again, binding on everyone, other popes and the highest-ranking cardinals included. By referring to it as anti-Syllabus, Ratzinger is saying, in essence, that Gaudium et Spes is anti-Magisterial. No further comment is necessary.
The Council’s Decree on the Church in the Modern World gives a totally falsified, utopian, fairytale vision of the world we live in. Ours is an age of unbelief, of blatant impiety, of widespread blasphemy, heresy, sacrilege and apostasy; a world that knows not its God and which is therefore in urgent need of conversion. Yet Vatican II would turn our thoughts away from this reality and turn them instead on the absurdity of how modern democracy and technology are now transforming the face of the earth – as if a wonderful new era is dawning, a new world order that will be a paradise on earth. It's just not true.
Such an unrealistic vision clashes head-on with what is seen through he eyes of the Magisterium. For example, Leo XIII’s assessment of the evils afflicting modern society (Inscrutabili Dei), of St. Pius X's utterance that we are "terrified beyond all else by the disastrous state of human society today" (E Supremi), of Pius XI who examined the world situation and found it "seated in wickedness" (Miserentissimus Redemptor), and of Pius XII who spoke of the modern world's "dethronement of God" and of the frightful "darkness descending over the earth" (Summi Pontificatus).
It's obvious why God has allowed such troubles to visit our world and our nation. Many of our ills constitute a punishment from Heaven; a chastisement for all our sins. They serve as well as another wake-up call to all who have up to now been shamefully neglectful in heeding the firm and authoritative voice of the Magisterium – and to the gentle and sweet voice of the Mother of God who warned us over 90 years ago that she could not hold back the terrible wrath of her Divine Son much longer.
The world situation is simply the ugly consequence of the wholesale rejection by men and nations of the Reign of Christ the King. Our real national disaster has been that we've allowed our leaders to dethrone and expel Our Blessed Lord from our public life. We have rendered more to Caesar than what is rightfully his – and less to God than what is rightfully His. Caesaropapism – another word for democracy or Americanism – is the natural outcome. But caesaropapism is leading this country and scores of its people straight into Hell!
What to do at this late Hour? Well, we can fall into despair over the wreckage that man has made of this modern world; we can cowardly retreat before the terrifying reign of terror of the coming New World Order, the Reign of Antichrist – or – we can use the time, energy, talents and resources that God has given us, however humble they may be, to do something constructive, such as helping our true priests restore all things in Christ … the very mission of the true Church and all its loyal members. But we must emphasis the word true priests, for we cannot please God by serving and assisting a clergy or hierarchy that have clearly sold their souls to the Devil. No Catholic should have difficulty recognizing the priests who’ve become the enemies of God and the Church, who’ve allowed Our Lord’s priesthood to become, to use the words of Our Lady herself, as a “cesspool of impurity”! They will have given themselves away by the heretical or immoral things they advocate or condone – whether an illegitimate theology, a sacrilegious liturgy, a blasphemous interfaith gathering, divorce among the laity, gay rights, contraception, sex education in the schools, pro-choice politicians, or a plutocratic, pluralistic, Judaic-Masonic system that rejects the social rights of Christ the King.
THESE MAGNIFICENT ENCYCLICALS
The encyclicals that we’ve discussed in this article provide Catholics with a tremendous insight into the doctrine of Christ. These magnificent documents cover a host of issues and are not limited to matters of theology and devotion but carry over to the social realm as well.
Of the great social encyclicals one has even been called “a standard set up unto the nations” – that is, Leo XIII’s encyclical on the conditions of the working class and on the evils of socialism, Rerum Novarum. Writing in another great letter on the reconstruction of the social order, entitled Quadragesimo Anno, Pius XI even referred to Leo’s earlier letter as the Magna Charta of the social order. In capsulating the teaching of Pope Pius XI on the Kingship of Christ (Quas Primas) in his equally magnificent work, Cross & Crown, Fr. Mader offers this profound line: “Until politics has again found the Cross, all efforts will be in vain. The Crucified One must become King!”
MAGISTERIUM & TRADITION – ONE MIND WITH THE CHURCH
Indeed, there is nothing ambiguous in magisterial teaching. It is always clear, precise, definitive, exact, explicit, unchangeable, authoritative. It is always expounded and perpetuated with the full authority of the Vicars of Christ.
How does the Catholic living in these difficult and confusing times know with absolute certainty that he is on solid ground, that he is being faithful to God? Because he is one mind with what the Church has always and everywhere taught – which is to say, one mind with Catholic Tradition – its beliefs and sacraments, its devotions and rule of life, its worship and world view; its world mission and Catholic Action counterrevolution – as preserved, propagated and passed on to us through the papacy – through the Chair of Peter and its teaching office, the Magisterium. And in order for the Magisterium to be true and binding on the people of God – let us state it here one last time – there can be no departure from the doctrine of Christ, no deviation from the deposit of Faith, no drifting from the Sacred Traditions, no novel or innovative teachings, no new orientation or agenda, no new philosophy or theology according to the deceits of the Father of Lies. The Scriptures exhort all men of good will to “HOLD FAST TO THE TRADITIONS YOU HAVE RECEIVED.”
If we remain one with the Magisterium we remain one with Tradition. The two cannot be separated. Then, rather than be led astray and left groping in the darkness like so many of our contemporaries, we will, instead, remain one with God, in union with Christ, His one doctrine, His one Church, now and forever. +
A study conducted in 1990 by an outstanding newsletter published in Canada, The Ontario Catholic News, featured a chart depicting how the Second Vatican Council stacks up against 20 earlier ecumenical councils of the Church. The article highlighted nine points of dissimilarity between Vatican II and these prior councils. As a supplement that we believe perfectly compliments our article on the Doctrine of Christ, we reproduce the nine points here, with permission from the editor, along with our own comments.
- The earlier councils were convened at a time of grave emergency or crisis in the Church; Vatican II was called at a time of relative peace in the Church. Now it is no doubt true that the spirit of the faithful during the years between, say, World War II and Vatican II was largely contaminated by a growing attachment to materialism and to the easy life of modern suburbia, and to a deepening lukewarmness in the practice of the faith. For all intents and purposes, however, all outward appearances showed the Church to be strong and free of any major crisis insofar as Catholicism during this period was blessed with an extraordinarily holy, orthodox and vigilant pope in the person of Pius XII;
- The purpose of the earlier councils was to address a serious problem and to condemn errors that threatened the Church; Vatican II’s ostensible purpose was to give new life and vigor to the Church that was, again, already flourishing under a great pope;
- The earlier councils were all doctrinal; Vatican II, as we’ve noted, was merely pastoral;
- The Holy Ghost was solemnly invoked to protect the earlier councils from doctrinal error; Vatican II exercised no such invocation;
- In the earlier councils the prevailing errors of the time were strongly condemned; Vatican II not only totally ignored the monstrous menaces of communism, modernism, freemasonry and finance capitalism – all instruments of the secret societies for the overthrow of God – but to a large degree surrendered to their powerful influences;
- The teachings contained in earlier council documents were always built on past tradition and were crystal clear and unambiguous, as they must be. Vatican II’s documents are often ambiguous and frequently out of step with Sacred Tradition. Because ambiguity inevitably opens the door to heresy, the Church has always forbidden anything regarding religion, doctrine and salvation to be in any way unclear, imprecise or non-definitive.
- Earlier council documents and teachings are binding on all Catholics under pain of excommunication; yet Vatican II documents are not binding upon Catholics due to their essentially pastoral nature;
- Earlier council teaching is always infallible; Vatican II’s teachings are mostly not so;
- The final point: Earlier councils were followed by a great renewal and growth after their implementation. Vatican II was followed by a great disaster – a world-wide crisis of faith; a terrible decline that continues four decades later; a growing defection from the one true Church of millions of former Catholics; a grave shortage of priests; rampant homosexuality in the ranks of the clergy; widespread disbelief in the real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament; common disuse of the other sacraments, particularly penance; and perhaps worst of all, innumerable sacrileges committed against the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Holy Eucharist. Nowhere do the fruits of the Second Vatican Council show any real spiritual or social benefit. On the contrary, the Church and the world have been plunged into a new and ever-more frightening darkness, and have been in rapid decline on every continent since – and largely because of – Pope John’s Council.