A letter written to a new friend -- then a recent convert -- explaining why we must resist Modernism.
Fr. Charles T. Brusca
30 September, 1995
Thank you for your telephone call last night. You asked me to put together some sort of an explanation of how I relate to Pope John Paul II and the "mainstream" Catholic Church. I hope this won't turn out to be too much of a "magnum opus" -- you are asking me to do something vaguely akin to "define the universe and give three examples" -- but here goes.
Wherever possible, I will try to refer to the literature of the modern church in order to support the claims I am making about their changes in belief. I would strongly suggest reading the actual documents if you have the time. Commentaries on the documents, even those issued by the Vatican, often do not adequately describe the works on which they are based. And the newspaper and magazine accounts of the documents are even worse, often written by incompetents and based on the summaries instead of the source documents. When you read modern church documents be sure to have plenty of strong coffee available. They tend to be considerably longer than similar documents written in the "old days." I am getting ahead of myself, but will tell you that I suspect that this obfuscation is purposeful -- it moves people to accept them without knowing their contents.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that the Modernists (more on Modernism will follow) purposefully combine truth and falsehood in their writings. They do so, first of all, because all believable lies must contain large proportions of truth in order to go undetected. Printing the truth in proximity to the intended falsehoods also allows them to silence those critical of the errors; they can always say, "you misinterpret what I say, and anyone can see that my position is supported by the tradition of the Church" (found in the truthful, red herring, passages). Pope Saint Pius X said of the Modernists: "One page of their works could be signed by a Catholic, turn the page and you think you are reading a rationalist."
I am going to assume that you and I both accept as fact that Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, became a human being in order to redeem us and convey what God wanted man to know about Him and how He wanted man to behave. After spending 33 years, and before He departed this earth, Our Lord established His Church, with St. Peter as its human head. St. Peter, in turn passed on this role of leadership to those who followed him as bishop of Rome or Pope.
The Church enjoys the privilege of "indefectibility"; which is to say that it will be protected against a general failure in achieving its mission of bringing souls to God. "Upon this rock (petra) I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." (Matt. 16) "I will be with you all days, even to the consummation of the world." (Matt. 28) It should be obvious that while the Church will always be available some where in some form, it may not always have the same external appearance, and the rejection of Its message by individuals does not constitute a failure on Its part. To use the modern idiom, our Lord has promised that "the devil will never put the Church completely out of business."
Note that "indefectibility" refers to the Church as an organization, not to any one individual. It does not imply "impeccability," or freedom from sin on the part of its leaders -- no one denies that bad men have, from time to time, ruled the Church. "Indefectibility" does not imply that Church leaders will always make the right strategic decisions, nor that they will be orthodox in their private beliefs and teaching. Indeed, it is sometimes -- not quite jokingly -- said that the continued existence of the Church in spite of its leaders is proof of divine protection.
Peter and his successors enjoy the charism known as "infallibility," a gift that keeps them from giving out a false doctrine or moral teaching when one of them speaks as head of the Church to all Christians. It keeps them from uttering error, but does not cause them to know the truth by any special means other than the careful study of God's revelation as it is contained in the Scriptures and the Tradition of the Church. The Pope (or the bishops together with the Pope) is (are) infallible when "exercising the extraordinary magisterium of the Church; that is when claiming to teach all men with this divine protection from error.
The Pope and bishops are also infallible (together or separately) when "exercising the ordinary magisterium" of the Church; that is when the contents of their teaching are in agreement with each other and with that of the popes and bishops who have gone before them.
Much of what I have just said about the conditions for the authentic teaching of the Church stems from the nature of truth itself. For example, truth must apply to all people; a doctrinal or moral proposition cannot be true for Czechoslovakians and false for Frenchmen. Likewise, such a proposition cannot be false yesterday, true today, and false again tomorrow; for moral and doctrinal truth is the reality of what is in the unchanging mind of God. Thus a proposition that is capable of being defined infallibly, by its very nature, is not capable of being changed by future popes or councils of bishops.
It should also be noted that the things that are the subjects of the Church's magisterium (ordinary or extraordinary) are of the utmost importance. Our Lord became man and died on the Cross so that we might know them. They are the things that our loving God wants us to know about Himself, and to do in the conduct of our lives. Should anyone teach something contrary to what has been authentically defined by the magisterium, we are obligated to resist or ignore them. No one can oblige us to believe what is false about God, or to act in a manner contrary to His commands. "If an angel from heaven should preach a gospel to you other than that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema!" (Galatians 1)
If I might digress for a moment, it is important to distinguish the unchangeable pronouncements of the magisterium on faith and morals from two other kinds of pronouncement; pronouncements on knowledge and pronouncements on discipline:
Defective knowledge might, for example, cause theologians to be misinformed about the sun, earth, and stars -- which, in turn, might cause them to misinterpret biblical passages concerning these things. More certain knowledge might bring about the revision of such (mis)interpretations. Likewise, a mistaken knowledge of reproductive biology might have led medieval theologians to conclude that a child receives a soul only after the passage of time in the womb of the mother (they thought of the child as a seed that took some number of days to sprout) -- the theologians may change their conclusion based on better facts, but they may not change the moral principles by which those facts are evaluated.
The Church also has the power to make binding legislation as to discipline, and to change such disciplinary laws when appropriate. For example, the Church might prescribe abstinence from fish on Fridays at one time, change the abstinence to Wednesdays at another time, and abolish it altogether at another time. (There is, of course, an implied obligation to institute or change such practices only for good reason.)
At the end of the 19th century the Church recognized that there was a growing movement (called "Modernism") which held that all forms of truth were subject to change. In brief, the Modernists held that all truth of a doctrinal or moral nature was based on human feelings or intuitions; that the morality of divorce, for example, depended upon how people felt about divorce. Or, one God might be adequate for an isolated Christian society, but several gods might be necessary for a world society with open boundaries, by way of another example. "Truth," at the moment, is determined by the consensus of the moment. (The Gallop Pollster is infallible, rather than the Pope!) For the Modernist, "truth" is ever evolving.
Modernism was condemned by Pope Pius IX in his "Syllabus of the principal errors of our time," which is a catalog of the mistaken ideas of the Modernists. Its theoretical principles were more carefully explained and condemned again by Pope Saint Pius X in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici gregis, of September 8th 1907. Pius X also authorized a second syllabus of Modernist errors, called Lamentabili sane, and issued by the Holy Office on July 3rd, 1907. Saint Pius referred to Modernism as "the synthesis of all errors," since it is not just one or more errors but an attack on truth itself. An "Oath against Modernism" was to be required of all men ordained to major orders, and of all those holding pastoral or teaching positions.
There are two errors that are related to Modernism, and which figure into the current problem. The first is a sort of pantheism taught by the Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Teilhard's works were placed under a "monitum," or "warning" by the Holy Office in the 1950s (in the 1910s he would have been shot!), but became very popular after Vatican II. They suggest that mankind is collectively evolving into god -- I use the lower case "g" purposefully since Teilhard's god is more of a cosmic consciousness or soul of the universe than the God we know. Teilhard had some impact on the Vatican II document Gaudium et spes on "The Church in the Modern World," but I think his influence has diminished somewhat except in New Age circles.
A second error, related to Modernism (and Marxism) and very much with us is Existentialism. In traditional Catholic teaching, man's purpose for existing is defined in terms of God: "Man was created to show forth God's glory in this world and to share His happiness in the next." Traditionally, man's perfection is likewise measured in terms of God -- how much did he know God, love God, and serve God? Existentialism, on the other hand, measures man in terms of man: Man is "authentic" insofar as he makes proper use of his "freedom." Man's perfection is measured in terms of human industry -- how much did he build for mankind, learn for mankind, love for mankind, etc.? [Traditionally, man is what he is because he has an "essence" or "nature" established by God -- existentialist man defines himself through his activities (see footnote 28).]
If you are with me so far, you will see that I have tried to give a thumbnail sketch of how the teaching authority of the Church is supposed to work, and how it relates to the immutable nature of truth. I am going to "change course" a bit now and list some of the major ways in which the new church has changed or subverted major articles of Catholic faith and morality. This is not an exhaustive list.
Perhaps the primary error -- because it comes so close to taking the heresy of Modernism and making it into a dogma of the new religion -- is that of Religious Liberty. Traditionally, the Church holds that since It alone teaches the truth, all other religions represent a dangerous compromise with error. It forces no one to become a Catholic (you can't control someone's mind), but reserves the right to keep non-believers from spreading their errors and from publicly acting in accord with an incorrect moral code. (The discussion assumes that the Church is in a political position to say or do something about such matters.) To a modern American this sounds like a rerun of the Spanish Inquisition, but a little reflection will remind you that virtually all of the nations of the world functioned in this manner until very recently. Even here in these United States we had laws which regulated immoral acts like contraception, divorce, sodomy, abortion, and suicide -- only in the past fifty years or so have they been eliminated or greatly liberalized.
Now you might, correctly, point out that even today the Church strongly disapproves of the immoral acts listed immediately above. In fact It does, but you will find a contradictory statement in Dignitatis humanae, the Vatican II declaration on Religious Liberty:
This Vatican Synod declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that in matters religious no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs. Nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits. (emphasis added) 
Now, the phrase "within due limits" and other statements that hold that the State may protect itself and its citizens from harm perpetrated in the name of religion might seem to make this statement harmless enough -- but who defines the "due limits" in a society with religious liberty? certainly not the Catholic Church nor any other Christian body. At best the "due limits" might be determined by the Gallop Poll, but in practice such limits are usually determined by politicians, lobbyists, bankers, and lawyers. (e.g. Kennedy, Cuomo, Rockefeller, Earl Warren, etc.) And guess who decides which religions are or are not harmful to the public?
In Sacred Scripture the psalmist teaches that Christ is to be regarded as King in a literal manner:
The Lord said to Me: "Thou art My Son; this day I have begotten Thee. Ask of Me and I will give Thee the nations for an inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Thy possession. Thou shalt rule them with an iron rod; Thou shalt shatter them like an earthen dish." And now, O kings, give heed; take warning, you rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice before Him; with trembling pay homage to Him.
Pope Pius XI in establishing the liturgical feast of Christ the King tells us that:
... it is of the Catholic Faith to believe that Jesus Christ has been given to men as Redeemer in whom we are to believe, and as a Lawgiver whom we are to obey.... Anyone would err gravely, on the other hand, who would take away from Christ as man the rule over civil affairs, since He has been given by the Father such complete power over created things that all are subject to His will.
By the mid 1970s, the few remaining Catholic countries in the world amended their constitutions to conform to Vatican II and ceased being officially Catholic. Even the Vatican concordat with Italy was amended to reflect a change in the spiritual status previously enjoyed by the City of Rome. This must have been particularly difficult in South American countries like Ecuador, previously a republic dedicated in its Constitution to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; or Argentina, where the Blessed Virgin Mary was legally Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. (Guess which formerly Catholic continent is rapidly becoming Protestant, and which Armed Force got "creamed" by Queen Elizabeth's troops after losing their Commander in Chief.)
Closely connected to the error of Religious Liberty is the error of Religious Indifferentism, the idea that all religions are of equal value or that it is permissible to just ignore the differences between them. Traditionally, the Church insisted that "there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church." Grant for the moment that there might have been some minor discussion about just who was "outside the Church," and how much ignorance of the Church might excuse one from membership -- but the adage was taken pretty literally. For example, the Council of Florence (1438-45) declared:
The holy Roman Church believes, professes, and preaches that "no one remaining outside the Catholic Church, not just pagans, but Jews or heretics or schismatics, can become partakers of eternal life; but will go to the 'everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels' (Matt. 25:41) unless before the end of life they are joined to the Church.
An enormous body of Catholic literature exists, mirroring the pronouncement cited above; so large that the Modernists couldn't just ignore it. But Vatican II adopted a truly ingenious way of changing this doctrine -- it simply (!) redefined the Church:
The difference between "subsists in the Catholic Church" and "is the Catholic Church" is considerable. "Subsistence" is an accidental relationship, possibly temporary; as if the Church of Christ might subsist somewhere else in the future or the past. Indeed, the terminology would allow the Church to "subsist" in various places, even simultaneously.
It gets better. I won't bother with the obvious stuff about how we share so much in common with the Orthodox and the Protestants:
To the Jews "belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ"; "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.
I spoke of the Jews as our _elder brothers in the faith._ These words were an expression both of the Council's teaching, and a profound conviction on the part of the Church.
The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day.
Thus in Hinduism men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an unspent fruitfulness of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry.... Buddhism in its multiple forms acknowledges the radical insufficiency of this shifting world. It teaches a path by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, can either reach a state of absolute freedom or attain supreme enlightenment by their own efforts or by higher assistance.
Why should anyone be a Catholic? Wouldn't it make more sense to find the religion one finds easiest or otherwise most appealing? Indeed, doesn't being a Catholic constitute a liability to salvation, requiring the observance of all sorts of difficult rules not required of our separated brethren?
In addition to the theological problems caused by this Religious Indifference, there is a very practical one with regard to the Moslems. Western Civilization has been under siege by Islam for over a thousand years. Early on, they invaded Christian North Africa, whence they proceeded up the Iberian Peninsula as far as Tours and Poitiers in France before being beaten back in 711. They held Spain and Portugal for hundreds of years, not being completely expelled until 1492 after an eight-hundred year occupation. The Holy Lands were conquered, liberated and conquered again in the Middle Ages. By the 1500s Moslems had taken Turkey and represented a long term threat to Austria and Hungary. The fight continues in 1995 in the Balkans.
The Church celebrates Western triumphs over Islam in its feasts of Our Lady of the Rosary, Our Lady of Victories, and the Holy Name of Mary. But today we are told, "the believers in Allah are especially close to us," and we are asked to follow the example of a fictional Poland, "a country of deeply rooted ecumenical traditions." In reality, several hundred years ago, John Sobieski, the Polish general who liberated Vienna from the Moslems, said, "I came, I saw, and God conquered."
Ecumenism flows logically from Religious Indifferentism. For the first nineteen hundred odd years the Church not only disdained the theology of non-Catholics -- it absolutely refused to worship with them. In fact, I should have said for the first three or four thousand years, for the prohibition against worshipping with outsiders is a Divine Commandment given us in the Old Testament. "The gods of the Gentiles are devils." Under the Law of Moses the penalty for enticing God's followers to honor a false god was death. And if the temptation came from among the non-Jews of a certain city, that entire city was to be "doomed"; all of its inhabitants and their livestock were to be killed and the buildings to be burned to the ground. When the Jews grew lenient in this connection, God punished them severely.
In speaking of religious meetings with non-Catholics, Pope Pius XI was as specific as is possible:
It is therefore clear that the Holy See can never take part in their congresses, and it is not permitted at any price that Catholics should join such enterprises or contribute to them; if they did so they would be according to a false Christian religion the authority which belongs to the One Church of Christ.
Yet, the pontificate of Pope John Paul II has been filled with contradictions of this Natural Law prohibition of "hav[ing] strange gods before Me." There are scores of examples.
None is so bad an example as the gathering he sponsored on October 27, 1986 at Assisi. 130 representatives from every conceivable religion on the face of the earth met in the town of Saint Francis. The pictures are quite colorful; medicine men in eagle feathers, half naked animists, Buddhists in saffron or orange, the Dalai-Lama in a wine colored purple almost matching the Archbishop of Canterbury.... But if you are a Catholic who believes in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, one picture will catch your eye and hold your attention more than any other: The Dalai Lama at prayer before a statue of the Buddha -- perched on top of the tabernacle of a Catholic Church!
A return engagement is scheduled for Mount Sinai at the dawn of the millennium -- if the Pope and the world both last that long.
For most of this letter I am going to assume that the Pope is well intentioned; that he believes his innovations will benefit mankind if not the Church. Given this assumption, this seems to be the time to discuss the civil parallel to Ecumenism that is practiced by the Vatican II popes in their urgency to bring about an earthly paradise. Some call this "Globalism" or "One-Worldism"; others who deem the Popes to be ill intentioned refer to it as the "New World Order."
Traditionally, the Church recognizes the right of individuals to band together and form nations. While It holds a monolithic notion of one true doctrine and one correct morality for all the world, it recognizes that the worldly affairs of people may differ from one region of the globe to another. Political rule is best left to the lowest organizational level possible, so that the rulers are personally familiar with the conditions about which they are legislating. Localized rule also gives people who don't like the way things are done in one place the freedom to move somewhere else -- global rule implies a requirement for everyone to think alike. At the end of the First World War, Pope Benedict XV put it this way:
Yet in spite of this, several documents point to the Vatican II popes as globalists. Gaudium et spes, the Vatican II document on the Church in the modern world, is long winded but deserves a reading. It points out a lot of things in the world that "ought to be." Now, it is hard to argue with "ought-to-be"s. Everyone should have a good standard of living, and education, and health insurance, and safety from crime, and the benefits of music and art, and so on - - very few would disagree. However, aa problem arises when, after lots of well publicized discussion, no one has any real world solutions for how the "ought-to-be"s might be made realities. More and bigger government is usually the final answer, despite calls for something called "subsidiarity." In this case, bigger government means world government -- a very frightening prospect for any but those in favor with that government. For those who disagree with its policies, world government means nowhere to hide.
Among the global utopian socialist ideas of the postconciliar church we find: International re-distribution of income, and a world bank; the elimination of nationalism; the desirability of an armed world-force to allow the disarmament of nations, and the government control of privately owned weapons. The inability of any but a world organization to protect the rights of each individual.
In his 1964 speech to the United Nations, Pope Paul VI referred to that body as the "last great hope for mankind." Not the Catholic Church, or the Blessed Virgin, or Christ the King -- but the United Nations.
THE INVERSION OF MARRIAGE
Modern globalism requires not only the one world religion of Assisi and an armed United Nations. Only those obedient to it may be allowed to flourish. Of necessity, it must exclude any "program of irresponsible population growth." The words just quoted come not from Planned Parenthood, but are those of Pope John Paul II.
Before Vatican II the Church taught that the primary end of marriage was the procreation and education of children. A division of labor between husband and wife (sometimes called "mutual aid and assistance") and the legitimate satisfaction of physical attraction were taught to be secondary ends. Sometimes the secondary ends were said to include "fidelity," "indissolubility," and the "sacramental graces" conferred by the Sacrament of Matrimony itself. But the primary end was always said to be "offspring," or "procreation," or some similar expression.
Vatican II, however, gave a new and fuzzy definition:
Through this union they experience the meaning of their oneness and attain to it with growing perfection day by day. As a mutual gift of two persons, this intimate union as well as the good of the children imposes total fidelity on the spouses and argues for an unbreakable oneness between them.
Simultaneously with Vatican II, a committee organized by Pope John XXIII and retained under Pope Paul VI, investigated the morality of birth control. Never mind that birth control had been explicitly condemned for centuries, for change was in the wind. If it did nothing else, the committee convinced many Catholics and others that the issue was open for debate; for the Pope himself had opened it! After years of "investigation" Pope Paul VI issued his famous encyclical Humanae vitae. To his credit, or perhaps because he felt the time unripe for so momentous a change, Humanae vitae continued to forbid birth control as a violation of the natural law. (In practice, if he bothers to go to Confession, the contracepting Catholic has no problem in finding a confessor who dismisses Humanae vitae as "medieval.")
But Humanae vitae was far away from presenting the authentic magisterial teachings of the Church on marriage. The popular outcry when Pope Paul VI "took away the promised birth control" completely masked the more complete inversion of the ends of matrimony. Paul took away some of the fuzziness of Vatican II, making the Modernist teaching more explicit:
That teaching, often set forth by the magisterium, is founded upon the inseparable connection, willed by God and unable to be broken by man on his own initiative, between the two meanings of the conjugal act: the unitive meaning and the procreative meaning. . . . By safeguarding both these essential aspects, the unitive and the procreative, the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love and its ordination towards man's most high calling to parenthood." (emphasis added) 
Pope John Paul II's personal Reflections on Humanae Vitae state the same idea again, throwing in some existentialist jargon about the "acting person" and "fundamental structures":
In this way, the "fundamental structure" (that is, the nature) of the marriage act constitutes the necessary basis for an adequate reading and discovery of the two significances that must be carried over into the conscience and the decisions of the acting parties, and also the necessary basis for establishing these significances, that is, their inseparable connection. Since "the marriage act..."- at the same time - "unites husband and wife in closest intimacy" and, together, "makes them capable of generating new life," and both the one and the other happen "through the fundamental structure," then it follows that the human person (with the necessity proper to reason, logical necessity) "must" read at the same time the "twofold significance of the marriage act" and also the "inseparable connection between the unitive significance and the procreative significance of the marriage act."
If there is any doubt left, we need only compare Pope John Paul II's
new Code of Canon Law with the old Code:
Prior to Vatican II a couple might -- for grave reasons -- purposefully avoid the primary end of Marriage while making use of the secondary ends. In other words they could practice "rhythm," or "natural family planning" as it is known today. They were encouraged to discuss this with their confessor to get an objective analysis of the gravity of their reasons; they were cautioned not to cause infidelity through their abstinence; and they were to do no more than refrain from relations when conception was likely. Today there seems to be the tacit assumption that all married Catholics practice NFP, as though 20th century life itself constitutes a "grave reason."
My personal opinion is that this blanket use of NFP will instill a contraceptive mentality in Catholics. If the primary end of (Modernist) marriage is now unity of the couple, and it is considered universally acceptable to suppress the now secondary end of begetting children, than why not use a method that works reliably? After all, an unforeseen "secondary end" might cause division between the couple, thus impairing the primary end. At a minimum, the inversion brings a selfishness incompatible with the generosity needed in Christian marriage and life.
ABDICATION OF AUTHORITY TO FALSE MYSTICISM
In 1959 there were no great new heresies with which to contend. No doctrines needed to be more carefully defined. A question that ought to be asked is "Why was a Ecumenical Council held at all? John XXIII had an answer to that question when he announced his intention to summon the Council:
When we were recollected in humble prayer, We heard in the intimacy and simplicity of Our spirit a divine invitation for the convocation of an Ecumenical Council.
and in his opening speech to the Council:
As regards the initiative for the great event which gathers us here, it will suffice to repeat as historical documentation Our personal account of the first sudden bringing up in our heart and lips of the simple words "Ecumenical Council." We uttered those words in the presence of the Sacred College of Cardinals on that memorable January 25, 1959 .... It was completely unexpected, like a flash of heavenly light, shedding sweetness in eyes and hearts.
In other words, Pope John heard a "little voice." A voice that directed him to undertake what has been demonstrably the most disastrous course of action the Church has ever chosen to pursue. Pope John chose to ignore what every seminary student used to learn in his first course in Mystical Theology about "discernment of spirits." That is, simply stated: That no one should ever seek guidance through miraculous means; and that instructions that seem to come from God through such means (apparitions, visions, locutions, internal voices, etc.) are to be ignored until they can be carefully investigated and determined to be of divine origin. Otherwise, one might be following instructions from the devil, who can make himself appear as an angel of light. And, of course, this investigation and discernment must be conducted by a disinterested party, someone whose personal pride and fortune will not be affected by the outcome.
John's locution, "Ecumenical Council," was just the beginning of a veritable torrent of questionable mystical phenomena. The Blessed Virgin is now said to be appearing on every street corner, telling the faithful what new exercise God wants in exchange for world peace, and what we should do for salvation. The charismatic movement has turned Catholics into Pentecostals who go about babbling in non- linguistic noises, dabbling in faith healing like Oral Roberts, and "slaying each other in the Spirit" (whatever that means). Quite predictably, these phenomena have strengthened the pride of those who are "in the know," and detracted from the authority of the Pope and bishops who should be the ones telling the faithful what God wants us to do for salvation.
This undermining of his own and the Church's authority seems to be intentional on the part of the Pope. Shortly after Vatican II, Pope Paul VI spoke openly about the "auto-demolition of the Church." And then in 1983, Pope John Paul II issued his new Code of Canon Law, which eliminated all of the controls that the Church formerly exercised over those claiming to have received a supernatural communication. The apparitions at Medjugorje are representative: A multi-million dollar industry publicizes the alleged apparition with books, magazines, tapes, and tours in spite of generally negative findings by the Bishop of Mostar. (Just imagine if there was no war going on over there!)
Pope Paul VI, by the way, is reminiscent of the high priest Caiphas, who prophesied because of his office and not because he was a holy man. He had another phrase that I will mention here, but which could fit in anywhere in this letter: "The smoke of Satan has entered through a crack in the Church."
This letter has gone on at length, but this last item is essential. For nineteen centuries the things connected with the Church's Liturgy were held more sacred than any other human possession. The Mass was the renewal of the one Sacrifice of the Cross, accomplished by His ordained priest acting "in the Person of Christ." From that Mass might be communicated or reserved in a golden vessel the true Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, of Jesus Christ; given to those fasting, and in the state of grace, and wearing their "Sunday best." The Psalms chanted or recited for several hours a week; said without fail by cloistered religious in monasteries and convents, by busy priests in their churches or even on subway trains, were the "work of God." There was a sense of the sacred about Catholic churches and establishments -- perhaps a sense, and a smell, and a taste, and a touch, and a sight -- all unmistakably pointing to something holy. Today, that pointer is missing, and perhaps the something holy is gone as well.
At the time of Vatican II there was a well developed "liturgical movement" comprised of people wanting to return to a greater degree of participation by the congregation in the Mass. The Vatican II declaration on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum concilium, appeared to be a reasonable step in that direction. Attention was paid to participation in the Mass, the Office, and the Gregorian Chant. The less frequently heard parts of the Mass could be read in the vernacular. Even such ideas as adapting the liturgy to the cultures of mission countries did not seem particularly dangerous at that time since no one could even conceive of a priest offering Mass in anything but a holy way. Laymen were enlisted to read the epistle, but that was actually less significant than using laymen as Mass servers, which had been done for centuries. Offertory processions were a novelty to most, as well as some altars that faced the congregation, but not all that traumatic. The abominable translations of the Epistles and Gospels caused some stir, but everyone assumed that they would be corrected. In 1965 various parts of the Mass were removed, and the "bidding prayers" inserted. In my opinion this was the "beginning of the end," as it institutionalized ad lib additions to the Mass (which were often stupid).
To my recollection, the first undeniable damage was done to the Mass around 1967, when the Canon of the Mass was translated into English and other vernacular languages. In sacred Scripture and in every Catholic (and non-Catholic) rite, the words of consecration indicate that the Precious Blood of Christ is "shed for [you and for] many unto the forgiveness of sins." In every language that I know anything about, except Greek, the words of consecration were mis-translated with the identical, heretical phrase! Instead of saying "for many," the phrase was rendered "for all men," "por todos," "fur alle," "per tutti," etc. The Catechism of the Council of Trent, some 400 years ago, specifically stated that we do not use such words in the Consecration, for while Christ did shed His Blood to redeem all mankind, not everyone's sins are forgiven, and it is to forgiveness that our Lord referred at the Last Supper. The idea that all men are forgiven of their sins, or are otherwise saved is the heresy of "Universalism." It is reasonable to suppose that someone who knowingly falsifies the meaning of our Lord's words does not do what He does, and thus at least fails to consecrate the wine and perhaps does not celebrate Mass at all.
1969 brought the complete revision of the Mass known as the Novus Ordo Missae, or New Order of Mass. Composed with the help of six Protestant ministers, the Novus Ordo, and particularly its vernacular versions, minimizes the concept of sin and forgiveness, or that Mass is a sacrifice, or that there is a difference between the priest and the people. There is a great body of literature about its shortcomings, the best, in my opinion, being The Great Sacrilege by Father Wathen. A more "official" critique of the Novus Ordo was issued by Alfredo Cardinal Ottaviani, the former head of the Holy Office (today the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, headed by Cardinal Ratzinger).
The Ottaviani Intervention points out that the New Mass may be invalidly celebrated for another reason, beyond the mis-translations of the essential parts. The new missal refers to the "Narrative of the Institution" instead of the Consecration. Together with St. Thomas, Ottaviani holds that the intention to narrate is not the intention to consecrate. The term "narrative" appears to be intentional as the error is reiterated in the New Catechism.
Gradual developments further reduced belief in the sacrificial nature of the Mass and in the Real Presence. Communion in the hand, lay distributors, altar girls, liturgical dancing, and so forth have combined to strip Catholics of their belief in the Sacred Mysteries. There are few vocations to the Sacred Priesthood because there is nothing Sacred anymore. Man now worships existentialist man, and not the Father of Heaven. Please note that I have cited only those abuses actually sanctioned by the Pope -- there are a myriad of yet crazier practices that go on with at least the tacit approval of those in authority. And there are many more to come.
I have merely "scratched the surface" with my brief analysis of what has gone wrong in the New Mass and in the New Church. You may have noticed that the word "Latin" appears nowhere in these pages apart from this single occurrence. While much could be said about the loss of the traditional and universal language of the Church, I will refrain from doing so in order to put the lie to the Modernist contention that Traditionalists are upset about nothing more significant than the nostalgia associated with the use of an ancient tongue.
"AN ENEMY HAS DONE THIS"
Traditional Catholics are often mocked for holding "the conspiracy theory of history." Well, first of all, having one's many thousand year old religion literally stolen ought to be enough to excuse any form of paranoia.
But, more importantly, we are faced with the fact that the world's formerly most conservative organization has been attempting to destroy itself in a liberal frenzy for the past thirty years or so. Any corporation suffering losses on the scale of the New Church would have fired its directors long ago. There would have been a frantic effort to discover and reverse the changes that so adversely affected a previously prosperous enterprise. Instead we have the spectacle of the Chairman proclaiming that nothing is wrong, that everything is according to plan, and that all we need is a little bit more V2 to lubricate the machinery -- and his directors standing around, congratulating him and each other on their successful administration.
Are they crazy? Or are they criminal? It doesn't matter very much. So many of the things they demand of us are at odds with our Catholic Faith that we are obligated to resist. We are not only talking about crimes against individuals here, but also crimes against God. We may choose to acquiesce to the thief who enters the church to steal our wallets, but not when he demands that we hand over the Blessed Sacrament as well.
Catholics should be intensely loyal to the Pope. But loyalty can be misplaced. When my father gets drunk, it is wrong for me to make believe he is sober; to let him beat my mother, or go for a drive in the family car.
The excuses made for the Pope are amazing. They range all the way from "Everything he does is wonderful" to "He isn't really the Pope." "He is being held captive." "He has been drugged." "He has been replaced by an imposter." "... replaced by a clone." "The real pope is living in Quebec." "... in Majorca." I didn't make up any of these, and I am sure I have overlooked a few. They are all a waste of breath. When he urges us to violate God's law he must be resisted, no matter who, or what, or where he is.
Almost equally useless is the effort to identify the "forces behind all of this." The devil is the obvious culprit. Associated with him, we are told, are: the Mafia, the CIA, the UN, the Freemasons, the Jews, the bankers, the Trilateral Commission, the CFR, the Communists, Janet Reno, Malachi Martin, George Bush, and the ghost of Jacques DeMolay. Some of the speculation gets very interesting, some of it is absurd, some of it may well be true. But you and I are not going to do very much to hurt the powerbrokers of the world.
But what we can do -- what, indeed, we must do -- is to continue the practice of the Catholic Faith. In the final analysis it is up to God to vanquish the devil, not to us. Our part is to pray, to keep the Commandments, to do penance, to band together with others in order to have churches and priests to keep the Mass and Sacraments for ourselves and our children.
Your question to me was, "In order to keep the Faith, may we separate ourselves from the Pope without fear of Judgment day?" Go back over the list of things mentioned in this letter: Modernism, existentialism, religious liberty and indifferentism, ecumenism and globalism, a false theology of marriage, false mysticism and the abdication of authority, the destruction of the Mass and the Sacraments. At this point, I hope the answer is obvious: "He has separated himself from us, and we may not follow him without fear of Judgment day!" Nonetheless, let us be sure to pray for him, and for his return to the Faith.
I hope that this letter didn't come acoss in too much of an angry tone. It wasn't meant to, but it is hard to write about things in which one believes passionately without sounding emotional. In any event, please do keep me in your prayers, and know that you are in mine.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Rev. Fr. Charles T. Brusca
8 December 1998
I've been meaning to add to this letter for some time now -- just a thing or two noticed since my original writing.
HETERODOXY & ORTHOPRAXIS
More than one person has told me that I must be mistaken in evaluating the writings of the Holy Father. He seems, after all, to be such a good and holy man in what he has to say in matters of piety and morality. Several of his Holy Thursday letters urge a renewed devotion to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and call on priests to make efforts in spreading that devotion to all of their people. His devotion to the Blessed Virgin seems exemplary. He is unyielding on the immorality of abortion, or divorce, for example. How can we accuse him of teaching a religion new and different from Catholicism?
The answer is that Pope John Paul's behavior is often disconnected from his theology -- what he does in practice doesn't always agree with what he teaches in theory. The Pope grew up in a Catholic country in a time of persecution, probably the best training ground for making the practice of the Faith an almost automatic way of life. Opportunities for piety were no doubt precious, as they had to be snatched behind the backs of the Nazis or the Communists. Immorality was unthinkable, or at least un-discussable, something even the sinner felt best keeping private. Even though as a theoretician the Pope speaks about achieving perfection through human activities or the liberty of the individual to act on his conscience, his practical behavior is still in great measure directed by a Christ-centered piety and traditional Christian discipline. His influence is only beginning to be seen in those younger people who were raised in societies where his theoretical principles, and not traditional Christianity, have been translated into common practice.
Perhaps the most amazing document issued since Vatican II is Pope John Paul II's encyclical Ut unum sint. Most of it is fluff (Slavic authors are customarily paid by the pound), but its important parts follow Pope Pius X's model of Modernist writing mentioned above. There is a "truth paragraph" (#18) which speaks of unchanging truth. There is a "confusion paragraph" (#28) that could have been written by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin or Jean-Paul Sartre, calling for "dialogue" with those not of the Faith -- "an indispensable step along the path toward human self-realization, the self-realization both of each individual and of every human community." And finally, there comes a Modernist enumeration of the doctrines which are now up for discussion:
1) the relationship between Sacred Scripture, as the highest authority in matters of faith, and Sacred Tradition, as indispensable to the interpretation of the Word of God; 2) the Eucharist, as the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, an offering of praise to the Father, the sacrificial memorial and Real Presence of Christ and the sanctifying outpouring of the Holy Spirit; 3) Ordination as a Sacrament, to the threefold ministry of the episcopate, presbyterate and diaconate; 4) the Magisterium of the Church , entrusted to the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him, understood as a responsibility and an authority exercised in the name of Christ for teaching and safeguarding the faith; 5) the Virgin Mary, as Mother of God and Icon of the Church, the spiritual mother who intercedes for Christ's disciples and all humanity."(#79)
In #95, the Pope calls for dialog about the nature of the Papacy itself!
Dialogue is one of those buzz-words of Vatican II that sound warm and fuzzy until they are reduced to their actual meanings. If Catholics sit down to discuss the issues cited by the Pope, they will have to admit one of the following: a) that they are willing to contradict essential articles of the Faith, or b) that they are disingenuously trying to filibuster their opponents until the latter are worn out sufficiently to give up what they believe, or c) that they just like to hear themselves talk.
ECCLESIA DEI AND "THE INDULT"
For about 15 years after the introduction of the Novus Ordo, the most proscribed liturgy in Christendom was the Roman Mass. The new mass might be offered with just about any "clever" variation, but the 1,400 year old Roman Rite was almost universally prohibited to priests holding a place on the Vatican's "organization chart." It was okay to have masses with hot dog buns and coke, masses in clown vestments, masses with dog's in the sanctuary, childrens' masses with toys on the altar ... "just don't say that terrible old Mass." Actually, this may have been God's way of preserving the Church, since many Catholics who knew nothing of the theological mischief of Vatican II bitterly resented the loss of their Mass. They formed various resistance organizations to fight the Sacramental theft. Much to the chagrin of the Modernists, these small organizations continue to grow.
In the mid 1980s, Pope John Paul II, seeing the comparative success of the Catholic Resistance, authorized his Novus Ordo priests to use our Mass in order keep Catholics in his churches where they could continue to be taught the errors of Vatican II. This authorization, or indult, (often referred to as "the Indult") allowed local bishops to permit occasional Masses under highly controlled conditions. Some bishops required the signing of "loyalty oaths" to the Novus ordo as a condition for obtaining an admission ticket to Tuesday night Mass in small chapel in a bad neighborhood -- a few were more liberal. Needless to say, the Indult made very little impact on the resistance -- it was more of a joke -- the "Insult."
For most of the 80s, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the leader of the largest of the resistance groups, was willing to "dialogue" with the Holy See. Archbishop Lefebvre, himself a Vatican Council II Father, remained optimistic that the Council could eventually "be interpreted in the light of tradition," refrained from consecrating bishops to continue his movement after he passed on, and negotiated with the Vatican for recognition of his group. (This made him the token "Traditionalist" that the press would trot out whenever they needed to acknowledge the existence of Catholic dissatisfaction with the New Order.) But the "dialogue" broke down, and in June of 1988, Lefebvre consecrated four new bishops in defiance of Pope John Paul. The Pope immediately responded by excommunicating all of the bishops concerned, broadening the "Indult," and establishing a religious order to entice Catholics to the "Indult Mass."
Today, ten years later, there are several "Indult" orders and a variety of New Order parishes where the Mass is celebrated on a more or less regular basis. Many faithful Catholics have been drawn to these churches, while ignoring the fact that they are supporting the New Order and subjecting themselves and their families to the errors that must be taught by New Order priests. They delude themselves into thinking that Mass in the Roman Rite will magically drive out the errors of Vatican II. While many of these people and even some "Indult" priests are in good faith, it is hard to hold all of them innocent.
POSTSCRIPT - II
29 June AD 2008
Since the election of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI, I've received a number of questions asking whether or not things have changed for the better. It is immediately clear that Pope Benedict is culturally far more conservative than Pope John Paul II. But preferring Mozart to Dylan does not make one a Catholic. Art and music, gold vestments, smells, and bells contribute to Catholic worship, but they are only peripheral, and can be misleading. Even the use of the Roman Rite Mass in place of the Novus Ordo can be a deception.
In spite of the new liturgical splendor, the high church Novus Ordo and the "motu Mass" (formerly "the Indult") are still subject to a number of possible invalidities. The intention to narrate rather than consecrate has be enshrined in the so-called Catechism of the Catholic Church. Before becoming Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger acknowledged that many New Order priests deny the sacrificial nature of the Mass. Most of the New Order priests and bishops alive today were ordained with the new (1968) rites of ordination -- a particularly dubious affair, particularly the rite for bishops, which does not meet the criteria for validity described by Pope Leo XIII in Apostolicæ curæ and Pope Pius XII in Sacramentum ordinis. (It is thus possible that Cardinal Ratzinger is the validly chosen Pope-elect, who lacks only episcopal consecration to become Bishop of Rome!)
But even if we were free to assume the celebration of Mass both valid and pleasing to God, there remains the problem of moral and doctrinal error taught by the New Order Pope and clergy. Just before entering the conclave which elected him Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger gave a sermon denouncing the cultural relativism of "recent decades." Many of us hoped that now that Ratzinger was "his own man" he would "clean the Augean stables." But he has not. His writing is a bit better than that of Pope John Paul, but no less existentialist. His economics are no less socialist. He apologizes for the actions of his homosexual child molesting clergy, but does nothing to remove them from parishes and dioceses; their enablers continue to receive positions of authority and luxury in Rome. The evil of ecumenism continues. He suggests that the Holy See is a subject of the UN!
1. Pope Saint Pius X, Pascendi Dominici greges, 8 September 1907,#18.
2. The Syllabus of Errors of Pope Pius IX is found in Dogmatic Canons and Decrees (Rockford, IL: TAN Books & Publishers, 1977) pp. 185-209.
3. Pius X, Pascendi Dominici gregis and Lamentabili sane make up a single pamphlet (Boston: Daughters of St. Paul, undated).
4. Jesuit Fathers of St. Marys, The Church Teaches (Rockford: TAN, 1973) nos. 88-90. Hereinafter cited as TCT.
5. Walter Abbott, SJ., The Documents of Vatican II (NY: Guild Press, 1967). Various editions of the V2 documents are in print.
6. Dignitatis humanae #2. Paragraph numbers follow Abbott, op. cit., and presumably follow the Council numbering scheme.
7. Psalm 2.
8. Pope Pius XI, Quas primas, December 11, 1925.
9. Abbe Daniel Le Roux, ibid., 23-27
10. TCT, no. 165 (Council of Florence, decree for the Jacobites).
11. Lumen gentium #8.2.
12. The alleged Catechism of the Catholic Church, #839. Hereinafter referred to as CCC.
13. H.H. John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope (NY: Knopf, 1994) p. 99. Hereinafter referred to as CTTOH.
14. Lumen gentium #16.
15. Nostra aetate #2.
16. CTTOH, pp. 91 & 145.
17. Psalm 45:5. Vulgate version, before ecumenical "surgery" in 1945.
18. Deuteronomy 13.
19. Psalm 105: 34-48.
20. Pope Pius XI, Mortalium animos, #9.
21. Pope Benedict XV, 25 July 1920. Bonum sane http://www.icrsp.org/Calendriers/Mois-St-Joseph/Textes/St-Joseph-Benoit-XV.htm
22. Pope Paul VI; Populorum progressio #49, #51.
23. Populorum progressio #62.
24. CCC #1308, #1316.
25. Pope John XXIII, Pacem in terris #137, #145
26. CTTOH, p. 28.
27. The Council of Florence, 1438-45, included fidelity and indissolubility (TCT #854); Saint Augustine included fidelity and the sacramental grace (De bono conjugali, c. 24, n. 32; cited in Pius XI, Casti conubii #10).
28. Note the existentialist notion that man achieves "perfection" through his human activities; sexuality in this case. Pope John Paul II in his encyclical Veritatis splendor #51, says this even more clearly in a section based on a falsified quote from St. Thomas Aquinas. Paradoxically the title of the encyclical means "the splendor of truth"!
29. Gaudium et spes #48
30. Humanae vitae, 12)
31. Pope John Paul II, Reflections on Humanae vitae, (1984) #6.
32. John XXIII, Humanae salutis, 25 January 1959.
33. Instruction, Sacred Congregation of Rites, 26 September 1964.
34. Matthew 26, Mark 14. Luke 22 says only "for you." John gives no account. 1 Corinthians 11 does not say.
35. Catechism of the Council of Trent for Parish Priests (1563) Part II, Chapter IV, Section 24.
36. Hans Urs von Balthasar, a proponent of Universalism was named Cardinal by Pope John Paul II but was struck dead the night before receiving the Red Hat. There are overtones of it in the CCC, #1058 for example; and in CTTOH, 186-7, where it is suggested that Hell is real but maybe Purgatory is adequate and nobody actually goes to Hell.
37. James F. Wathen, OSJ, The Great Sacrilege (Rockford: TAN Books and Publishers, 1971).
38. Alfredo Card. Ottaviani, Antonio Card. Bacci, and a Group of Roman Theologians, The Ottaviani Intervention (Rockford: TAN Books and Publishers, 1971).
39. Ottaviani, ibid., page 44 and note 29 in the TAN edition; St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica III, Q. 78, A. 5.
40. CCC #1353. (
41. Encyclical Letter of Pope John Paul II, Ut unum sint, 25 May 1995.
42. Pope John Paul II, motu propio "Ecclesia Dei," 2 July 1988, #6.