The Thinking 

Vatican II and Vehemence

November 29, 2017

KR writes from Belgium:

I am often a bit surprised by the vehemence you have in attacking the New Order Church. I am sure that some of its members are perfectly good people with good intentions, born in the “wrong ” age.

I do however share some of your concern, especially as I have just now discovered that here in Belgium, the salary of my diocese’s priest is fully covered by the state. It shocked me a bit, especially knowing that Belgium is supposed to be a laic state. But, on the other hand, I now understand why the preaching is so bland in all the churches here. They never mention sin or put forward any Catholic moral teaching. Have you ever considered that, at least in Europe, interference from the state could be a factor in preventing the Church to fulfill its mission?

Laura writes:

Most religious people have good intentions, don’t you think? Whether they be Protestants, Jews, Muslims or Catholics, they are often sincere. I don’t judge the hearts and minds of the ordinary believer of any faith, absent an outward show of bad intentions. His inner state is for God to know. I am interested in their objective state, not their subjective condition, and whether they are following the truth or not. The truth is just reality. I embraced the Vatican II reforms for years and went to mass at my local church; I like to think I was sincere and well-intentioned. Many good people, better than me in many ways, follow the new Church — all the more reason to care about its effects. The fact remains that if the reforms are true then Catholicism is false, absolutely false, because the Vatican II Church contradicts in substantial and significant ways the teachings of the Church for 2,000 years. Many Catholics have not heard or been taught about any of this.

Given the great damage, strong warnings are in order. But I am not the best at it, for sure. I strongly recommend the writings of the pre-Vatican II popes, such as Gregory XVI, Leo XIII, Saint Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII. They were forceful and eloquent in condemning the very errors promoted today. Here is Pope Gregory XVI in his 1832 encyclical Mirari Vos, On Liberalism and Religious Indifferentism:

3. Now We consider another abundant source of the evils with which the Church is afflicted at present: indifferentism. This perverse opinion is spread on all sides by the fraud of the wicked who claim that it is possible to obtain the eternal salvation of the soul by the profession of any kind of religion, as long as morality is maintained. Surely, in so clear a matter, you will drive this deadly error far from the people committed to your care. With the admonition of the apostle that “there is one God, one faith, one baptism”[16] may those fear who contrive the notion that the safe harbor of salvation is open to persons of any religion whatever. They should consider the testimony of Christ Himself that “those who are not with Christ are against Him,”[17] and that they disperse unhappily who do not gather with Him. Therefore “without a doubt, they will perish forever, unless they hold the Catholic faith whole and inviolate.”[18] Let them hear Jerome who, while the Church was torn into three parts by schism, tells us that whenever someone tried to persuade him to join his group he always exclaimed: “He who is for the See of Peter is for me.”[19] A schismatic flatters himself falsely if he asserts that he, too, has been washed in the waters of regeneration. Indeed Augustine would reply to such a man: “The branch has the same form when it has been cut off from the vine; but of what profit for it is the form, if it does not live from the root?”[20]

14. This shameful font of indifferentism gives rise to that absurd and erroneous proposition which claims that liberty of conscience must be maintained for everyone. It spreads ruin in sacred and civil affairs, though some repeat over and over again with the greatest impudence that some advantage accrues to religion from it. “But the death of the soul is worse than freedom of error,” as Augustine was wont to say.[21] When all restraints are removed by which men are kept on the narrow path of truth, their nature, which is already inclined to evil, propels them to ruin. Then truly “the bottomless pit”[22] is open from which John saw smoke ascending which obscured the sun, and out of which locusts flew forth to devastate the earth. Thence comes transformation of minds, corruption of youths, contempt of sacred things and holy laws — in other words, a pestilence more deadly to the state than any other. Experience shows, even from earliest times, that cities renowned for wealth, dominion, and glory perished as a result of this single evil, namely immoderate freedom of opinion, license of free speech, and desire for novelty.

Yikes! This is forceful language, so different from the ambiguity of Modernism. And to think the Vatican II Church fully promotes indifferentism, as was plain in its recent celebration of the Protestant Revolution.

As for state-supported clergy, I’m not prepared to comment much on its role. State-subsidized salaries for priests arose as a form of compensation in some countries for properties that had been seized from the Church. In Germany, those who register civilly as Catholics pay a church tax. Other countries that were highly influential in the reforms — the United States,  France and Italy, to mention a few — do not have state-supported clergy. I agree with you that generally it is not a good idea.

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