While some are deluding themselves into thinking that we are in the "springtime" of the Church, the truth is that we are still in the dead of winter.
This should not discourage us. It should not dishearten us. As Catholics, we know that the Church is divinely founded and that she will last until the end of time, that the jaws of hell will never prevail against her. However, we must be realistic about the situation in which we find ourselves at the very moment that God has known from all eternity we would be alive and during which time He expects us to save and to sanctify our souls by remaining steadfast to the fullness of Catholic Tradition without compromise.
As I noted two months ago now in Catholic Cloning at Its Worst, Pope Benedict XVI is continuing the sordid legacy of his late predecessor, who appointed one bad, doctrinally and morally corrupt bishop after another right up to the point of his death in April of last year (if we are to believe that the late Pope John Paul II actually was alive when seventeen episcopal appointments were made in his name on April 1, 2006, just a little over twenty-four hours before the Vatican announced his death). The new Archbishop of San Francisco, the Most Reverend George Niederauer, who succeeded the notorious protector of perverted priests, Archbishop William Levada (who was chosen personally by Pope Benedict XVI to succeed himself as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith), is continuing his legacy as a defender of perversion as a natural and normal expression of "love." Consider His Excellency's words, found in an article on the LifeSite website, in praise of a motion picture, Brokeback Mountain, that celebrates one of the four sins that cries out to Heaven for vengeance, the sin of Sodom:
Beyond that, Niederauer had this to say when asked what he thought of the film Brokeback Mountain. While the film has been condemned by pro-family groups as a dangerous homosexual propaganda film, Niederauer admitted to seeing the film and remarked on it saying it was "very powerful". He added that "one of the lessons (of the film) is the destructiveness of not being honest with yourself and not honest with other people and not being faithful, trying to live a double life."
This is the sort of shepherd whom the Vicar of Christ sees fit to safeguard the souls of the faithful in the Archdiocese of San Francisco unto their eternal salvation? We know, however, that nothing will happen to Archbishop Niederauer. He will remain in perfectly good standing to deform souls in an area that has been devastated by two previous ordinaries, John Quinn and William Levada. No one who is honest and who cares about the salvation of souls can examine the appointment of a man so bereft of the sensus Catholicus and thus so insensitive to the horror of personal sin as George Niederauer and say that Pope Benedict XVI is concerned about reforming the Church. The true reformation of the Church rests to a very large extent on the quality of the episcopal appointments made by a Pope. The appointment of men who are at war with Our Lord and His Deposit of Faith by reaffirming people in the fallacious belief that human identity can be based in any way on unnatural, perverse inclinations that are detrimental both to their bodies and souls should tell us something about the lack of concern this Holy Father has for the proper stewardship of the flock entrusted to his pastoral care unto eternity.
Remember, the Holy Father is a disciple of the late Father Hans Urs von Balthasar, whom he has never criticized on any point of theology whatsoever. Von Balthasar was the apostle of the erroneous theology of Universal Salvation, believing that all people, baptized and unbaptized alike, go to Heaven. If one believes this, as the Holy Father evidently does, then why be concerned about appointing bishops who are faithful to the entirety of the Deposit of Faith without any dissent whatsoever? Archbishop William Levada, who is busy at work attempting to do away with the traditional teaching on Limbo, once said told Father Eugene Heidt, a traditional priest whom Levada saw fit to "suspend" while he protected and promoted doctrinally and morally corrupt priests in his archdiocese, that Transubstantiation was a "long and difficult term" and "we don't use it any more." This is the man chosen by the Vicar of Christ to head the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Cheer up. It gets worse.
Pope Benedict XVI announced on February 14, 2006, the Catholic Church would work more closely with the pro-abortion, pro-contraception World Council of Churches on various issues, hoping that such a collaboration will be of assistance in the "search for unity." This is what was carried in the Zenit dispatch of February 14, 2006:
"Mindful of our shared baptismal faith in the Triune God," says the Holy Father in his message, written in English, "the Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches seek ways to cooperate ever more effectively in the task of witnessing to God's divine love."
"After forty years of fruitful collaboration," which began in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, "we look forward to continuing this journey of hope and promise, as we intensify our endeavors towards reaching that day when Christians are united in proclaiming the Gospel message of salvation to all," the Pope adds.
The World Council of Churches is no witness to "Gods divine love." It is an organization that promotes the very thing that caused Our Lord to suffer unspeakable horror in His Sacred Humanity during His Passion and Death: sin. There can be no "fruitful collaboration" with the World Council of Churches. There is no such thing as a "journey of hope and promise" as the truths of Our Lord, including the urgent necessity of converting souls to the Catholic Church, are ignored and treated as dispensable commodities that can be finessed in the process of "ecumenical dialogue." Although the words below, taken from Pope Pius XI's Mortalium Animos, have been oft-quoted on this site, they bear repetition yet again in the face of the utter insanity of a "collaboration" with heretics who are committed to the destruction of both bodies and souls:
So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it. To the one true Church of Christ, we say, which is visible to all, and which is to remain, according to the will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it. During the lapse of centuries, the mystical Spouse of Christ has never been contaminated, nor can she ever in the future be contaminated, as Cyprian bears witness: "The Bride of Christ cannot be made false to her Spouse: she is incorrupt and modest. She knows but one dwelling, she guards the sanctity of the nuptial chamber chastely and modestly." The same holy Martyr with good reason marveled exceedingly that anyone could believe that "this unity in the Church which arises from a divine foundation, and which is knit together by heavenly sacraments, could be rent and torn asunder by the force of contrary wills." For since the mystical body of Christ, in the same manner as His physical body, is one, compacted and fitly joined together, it were foolish and out of place to say that the mystical body is made up of members which are disunited and scattered abroad: whosoever therefore is not united with the body is no member of it, neither is he in communion with Christ its head.
Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls? Alas their children left the home of their fathers, but it did not fall to the ground and perish for ever, for it was supported by God. Let them therefore return to their common Father, who, forgetting the insults previously heaped on the Apostolic See, will receive them in the most loving fashion. For if, as they continually state, they long to be united with Us and ours, why do they not hasten to enter the Church, "the Mother and mistress of all Christ's faithful"? Let them hear Lactantius crying out: "The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling. For life and salvation are here concerned, which will be lost and entirely destroyed, unless their interests are carefully and assiduously kept in mind."
Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is "the root and womb whence the Church of God springs," not with the intention and the hope that "the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government. Would that it were Our happy lot to do that which so many of Our predecessors could not, to embrace with fatherly affection those children, whose unhappy separation from Us We now bewail. Would that God our Savior, "Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,"] would hear us when We humbly beg that He would deign to recall all who stray to the unity of the Church! In this most important undertaking We ask and wish that others should ask the prayers of Blessed Mary the Virgin, Mother of divine grace, victorious over all heresies and Help of Christians, that She may implore for Us the speedy coming of the much hoped-for day, when all men shall hear the voice of Her divine Son, and shall be "careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
You, Venerable Brethren, understand how much this question is in Our mind, and We desire that Our children should also know, not only those who belong to the Catholic community, but also those who are separated from Us: if these latter humbly beg light from heaven, there is no doubt but that they will recognize the one true Church of Jesus Christ and will, at last, enter it, being united with us in perfect charity. While awaiting this event, and as a pledge of Our paternal good will, We impart most lovingly to you, Venerable Brethren, and to your clergy and people, the apostolic benediction.
This is Catholicism. This is fidelity to the consistent teaching of Our Lord. This is fidelity to the consistent practice, at least before 1958, of seeking converts to the true Church, outside of which there is no salvation. The error of Universal Salvation that underlies all of the thought of Pope Benedict XVI, who believes that heretics committed to the promotion of sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance are capable of "collaborating" in the work of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The blindness that covers the eyes of the Pope's soul from seeing his own infidelity to Catholic Tradition is part of the Diabolical Disorientation spoken of by Sister Lucia so frequently during her life here on earth. How can any Catholic, no less a Successor of Saint Peter, not see the inconsistencies inherent in praising an organization that works against the fullness of Our Lord's truths that He has entrusted solely to His true Church? No one other than the devil himself is responsible for this blindness.
The blind, slavish attachment to the ecumenism that under girds the ethos of conciliarism is such that the Society of Saint Pius X, which has been steadfast in its resistance to the novelties of ecumenism and religious liberty, is being required to accept "ecumenical dialogue" as the price of the "regularization" of its canonical status. His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior-General of the the Society of Saint Pius X, who has been under savage attack by practitioners of calumny conjured up out of their own fertile imaginations, has stated consistently that the Society can never compromise on the matters of ecumenism and religious liberty. It is necessary to defend the fullness of the work of the Church that was begun on Pentecost Sunday when the very first pope, Saint Peter himself, preached to the Jews in Jerusalem to seek their conversion to Catholicism. Ecumenism has devastated souls. Doubt my word? Sadly, I have more empirical evidence to present on this matter.
Yesterday, February 15, 2006, I addressed a "conservative" group in Edmond, Oklahoma, which was composed largely of Protestants of varying stripes. My address, which centered on the Social Reign of Christ the King and the necessity of all people returning to the Catholic Church, generated a lot of heated questions, each of which was thoughtful and well-considered. I had stressed themes familiar to readers of this site, that the proximate cause of the problems of Modernity are the result of the Protestant Revolt and the rise of Freemasonry (present at the time, I was told after the fact by the host, was the "oldest living past Grand Master of the Siloam Lodge in Oklahoma"), that the revolution wrought by Father Martin Luther had resulted in the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King and of Mary our Immaculate Queen.
Upon hearing this, one man asked why the Catholic Church had not disciplined the likes of Edward Moore Kennedy and John F. Kerrey and other pro-abortion politicians. "Where is your 'true' Church when it will not discipline such men?" A very good question, obviously.
I told the man that the Church had been infected in her human elements with many of the anti-Incarnational errors of Modernity and that most of her shepherds today were wolves in shepherds' clothing. Immediately thereafter, however, I noted that the devil is seeking to dissuade non-Catholics from converting to the true Church because of the bad example--and the lack of zeal for the conversion of souls--being exhibited by Catholic popes and cardinals and bishops and priests. The bad examples, as tragic and as inexcusable as they are, are actually negative proofs of the divine foundation of the Church: nothing humanly organized could survive nearly two millennia despite the bad examples of her baptized and confirmed members. I told him that the Archbishop of Oklahoma City, the Most Reverend Eusebius Beltran, should be addressing them and seeking their conversion, not me. Alas, men steeped in the errors of ecumenism and religious liberty do not see it as their obligation to seek the conversion of non-Catholics, who are the victims of both Protestantism and ecumenism, thereby depriving them of access to the worthy reception of Our Lord in Holy Communion and the sacramental absolution of their mortal sins committed after baptism in the Sacrament of Penance, depriving them also of the fullness of the Deposit of Faith that Our Lord entrusted exclusively to the Catholic Church for their safekeeping and infallible explication.
Another thoughtful question came from a Baptist minister, who wanted to know why Pope John Paul II had said that evolution was "more than a theory." Imagine the scene, will you? I have just given a presentation about how the Catholic Church is the repository of the Deposit of Faith and a Baptist minister wants to know how this can be so when the one we know to be the visible head of the true Church on earth endorses an ideology that even secular science has disproved. I tried to explain that not everything that comes out of the mouth of a pope is the received teaching of Our Lord, that what he says only comes under the ordinary infallibility of the Church if it agrees with that which has been taught always, everywhere and believed by everyone. Clearly, I said, the private opinions of Pope John Paul II are at odds with the truth of the matter, that God did indeed create the world as stated in the Book of Genesis (which creation account is equated to myths in Greek literature by Pope Benedict XVI in Deus Caritas Est). Why should a Baptist minister take seriously the words of a lay Catholic man about the truths of the Catholic Faith when the Supreme Pontiff puts those truths into question repeatedly?
The people I addressed in Edmond, Oklahoma, on February 15, 2006, are loved by Our Lord. He wants them to save their souls as Catholics. However, no one--and I mean no one--in the hierarchy and almost no one in the priesthood is seeking their conversion, content to surrender to the false teachings of ecumenism and to the spirit of religious indifferentism that is at the heart of the pluralism of the modern State. Thus, these good people are left to spend their entire lives searching for something (conservatism, libertarianism, Americanism) to guide their lives and to resolve social problems that can be ameliorated only by a daily cooperation with the graces won for us by the shedding of every single drop of Our Lord's Most Precious Blood and administered to us by the working of the Holy Ghost in the sacraments. The good people in Edmond whom I addresed on February 15, 2006, are the victims of both the Protestant Revolution and of the Second Vatican Council's novelty of ecumenism. It is truly shameful that our shepherds see no need at all to evangelize these people, who are being kept out of the Church by the words and actions of recent popes and bishops and priests.
I noted above that almost no one in the priesthood is seeking the conversion of non-Catholics. There are some in the Ecclesia Dei communities who might want to do so, some who may even do so now and again. However, they are hamstrung by the unjust and illicit conditions under which they offer the Mass of all ages. With some very rare and courageous exceptions, most of these priests cannot oppose openly ecumenism even if they know it to be wrong lest they lose the favor of their local ordinary, who might arbitrarily remove his "permission" for the offering of what is the absolute birthright of all Latin Rite Catholics: the Immemorial Mass of Tradition. This is why the resistance provided by the Society of Saint Pius X and by priests such as Fathers Patrick Perez, Paul Sretenovic, Lawrence Smith, and Ronald Ringrose, among others, is so very important as they give voice to the perennial teaching of the Church without fear of any of the unjust and illicit penalties that might be imposed upon them for doing so.
In the midst of this wreckage of souls, a wreckage that is so widespread as to defy accurate description, we have the spectacle of Francis Cardinal Arinze, the Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Sacraments. once again defending the novelties of the Second Vatican Council and the abuses engendered by the liturgical abuse par excellence, the Novus Ordo Missae. Cardinal Arinze's ossified adherence to the dictates of a revolution that has failed the cause of the sanctification and salvation of souls was discussed at length four months ago in Minds Locked Up. No additional time is needed to discuss His Eminence's refusal to face the facts about the true state of the Church, including the fact that it is malice, not ignorance as he suggests over and over again, that is responsible for the multiplication of liturgical abuses over the past three decades. The terms of the General Instruction to the Roman Missal, such as they are, are not a state secret. Bishops and priests, starting with the longtime papal master of ceremonies, Archbishop Piero Marini, have used the various provisions of the General Instruction to the Roman Missal precisely to introduce one egregious novelty after another in order to establish precedents that would be followed worldwide. There will be no stopping of the abuses in the Novus Ordo Missae until this synthetic concoction is itself suppressed and consigned to the dustbin of history where it rightly belongs.
Once again, therefore, we turn, as always to Our Lady, the Help of Christians. She is our sure refuge in this dead of winter. We must keep close to her, especially as we use this Season of Septuagesima to prepare for the best lived Lent of our lives. We must give to her as her consecrated slaves everything we do and everything that happens to us to be use as she sees fit for the honor and glory of God and for the good of souls, including ours. We must, without looking for results or for one second permitting an moment of discouragement to dissuade us from maintaining the fullness of the Catholic Faith without compromise, fulfill as best we can her Fatima Message in our own lives, praying that some pope will have the love of Our Lady within his heart to fulfill perfectly her Fatima Message by the consecration of Russia to her Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart with all of the world's bishops, thus ushering in the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
One of the most productive things that we can as we pray and fast and make other sacrifices as the totally consecrated slaves of Our Lady is to give Miraculous Medals to fallen away Catholics and to non-Catholics, providing them also with the Green Scapular. We can be, as Saint Maximilian Kolbe himself taught and put into vibrant practice, knights of the Immaculata who help to build the City of Mary Immaculate. We must thus continue to oppose the errors of Modernity in the world and Modernism in the Church as the children of Mary Immaculate, counting it always a privilege and a joy to suffer with her at the foot of her Divine Son's Holy Cross.
Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady, Help of Christians, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint Valentine, pray for us.
Saints Faustinas and Jovita, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Saint Simeon, pray for us.
Pope Saint Gregory the Great, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius V, pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, pray for us.
Saint John Bosco, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Blessed Jacinta, pray for us.
Blessed Francisco, pray for us.
Sister Lucia, pray for us.