Question: What do you say to Newsmax.com's claim that the Novus Ordo's current scandals are the result of the "Americanism" condemned by Leo XIII.1
Answer: We have written about Pope Leo XIII's apostolic letter Testem benevolentiæ, and the issue of Americanism in the May 1996 Parish Bulletin.2 Pope Leo cautioned the American hierarchy against certain ideas found in the French translation of a biography of the Paulist founder, Fr. Isaac Hecker. Leo was tentative, warning against these ideas only if and where they might actually be found in America. He did not make any broad condemnation of America, the Church in America, or its clergy. The primary concept against which Pope Leo cautioned was Modernism, which had been condemned in the Universal Church by his predecessor, Bd. Pope Pius IX, and which would be condemned again in great detail by his successor, Pope St. Pius X. Father Hecker, or at least so his French interpreters claimed, had urged the evangelization of Americans by downplaying the more difficult Catholic doctrines.
The Concilliar Church has a strong interest in portraying its moral failures as restricted to America and being caused by American ideas. To admit that these failures are world wide and include many aspects of faith, morals, and worship would be an admission that the New Order is thoroughly infected with Modernism. While many Americans are guilty of tolerating the shenanigans of their modernist priests and bishops, today's sex scandals are focused in our country primarily because our affluence and political freedom made us an inviting target for the modernist infiltration of our Church and Nation.
Phil Brennan, in the Newsmax article, is at least partially correct in saying: "Slowly, covertly, the cancer variously identified as Americanization or modernism, or simply as heresy, has eaten away at the vitals of the Catholic Church in America." But the source of the problem was then and is now European -- were Leo XIII alive today -- or Blessed Pius IX, or Saint Pius X -- they would undoubtedly attack the problem in its cause rather than in its effects. The cause is the Modernism adopted by the Concilliar Church, with its denial of God-given truth and morality, and their replacement by the opinions of often sinful men. Were Pope Leo to rewrite his letter with the hindsight of today, he would not send it across the sea to Baltimore, but leave it in the in-box on his own desk to be read by his own successors in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.