19. November, 2014Blog Post52 comments
Fr. Harrison is a staunch defender of Vatican II, particularly as it relates to the Council’s treatment of religious liberty. In fact, I think it’s fair to say that when it comes to arguments in favor of the alleged doctrinal continuity of Dignitatis Humanae, his are perhaps the best that the so-called “conservatives” have to offer.
Not long ago, Fr. Harrison shared with me his lecture notes for an address that he delivered at an event hosted by Credo St. Louis entitled, “Is Christ still King?” wherein he argues against the allegation put forth by Archbishop Lefebvre, “They have uncrowned Him.”
Upon request, Fr. Harrison has kindly granted me permission to quote one of the central points from his lecture here:
So… the Social Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ hasn’t been formally denied; the doctrine is simply being placed on the “back burner.” That’s it. This is perhaps the most credible defense that the “hermeneutic of continuity” movement can muster on the subject.
Now, that said, let’s be clear… Vatican Council II did not literally uncrown and dethrone Christ; no one can do that. Even so, these figures of speech do adequately describe how our churchmen, including the popes, have been behaving over these last fifty years.
In reality, the Kingship of Christ was never ours to give, nor is it ours to take away. Christ is King. He does have a social reign. It is only for us to avoid preaching the Social Kingship of Christ at our own peril, and that is precisely what we are doing.
As such, I agree with Fr. Harrison; the Council did indeed make a deliberate decision to place the immutable doctrine of Our Lord’s social reign on the back burner. Where Fr. Harrison and I may part company, however, is in our assessment of that decision.
In my view, by placing the Social Kingship of Christ on the back burner, our sacred hierarchs effectively abandoned the mission of the Church.
Scripture itself seems to indicate that it is not truly possible for the Church to carry out her mission apart from proclaiming loudly and clearly that Jesus Christ is King, and that He does indeed reign over society and all of its constituent parts.
In the audio excerpt below, taken from my presentation at the Catholic Identity Conference, I briefly make the case that Sacred Scripture itself attests to the inextricable link between the mission of the Church and the Kingship of Christ, and furthermore, the Church is obligated to preach said Kingship if she has any hope of effectively carrying out that mission.
As something of an excuse (or at least a mitigating factor) in support of those who found it expedient to “back burner” this doctrine, Fr. Harrison suggests that the Church was perhaps blindsided, with the Council Fathers having made this decision “before secularized post-Christian Western nations began rejecting even the natural moral law.”
It is reasonable, however, to consider that it was precisely the Church’s failure to preach the Social Kingship of Christ that brought about the widespread rejection of the natural law in the first place.
In any case, one would be hard pressed to deny that our prelates’ silence on this doctrine, and therefore their failure to proclaim that the empire of Our Lord “includes not only Catholic nations, not only baptized persons, but also all those who are outside the Christian faith; so that truly the whole of mankind is subject to the power of Jesus Christ” (cf Pope Leo XIII, Annum Sacrum), at the very least accelerated society’s decline.
Whatever the cause may be, Fr. Harrison does indeed recognize that secular élites have largely grown hostile in their approach to the Church and even the natural law, and as such, he points out, “the magisterium has begun reaffirming the need for the light of Christian faith in the public square.”
This is all well and good, but it raises an important question: Is it truly possible for the Church “to reaffirm the need for the light of Christian faith in the public square” without once again proclaiming the Social Kingship of Christ?
Clearly, at least in my mind, the answer is no.
And yet, I do not think that Fr. Harrison, or any other reasonable person for that matter, would argue that any of the post-conciliar popes have even tip toed in this water over the last fifty years.
In fact, each and every one of them, from John XXIII all the way up to Francis, have treated the magnificent encyclical of Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas, as if it were a dead letter.
In the book, They Have Uncrowned Him, Archbishop Lefebvre recounts a conversation that took place between himself and Bishop Ambrogio Marchioni (Apostolic Nuncio to Switzerland, 1967 – 1984) as follows:
Archbishop: “But the social Reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ, what are you doing about this?”
Nuncio: “You know, that is impossible now; perhaps in the distant future?… Right now, this Reign is in individuals; we have to open ourselves up to the masses.”
Archbishop: “But the encyclical Quas Primas, what do you do with that?”
Nuncio: “Oh… the Pope would not write that any more, now!”
One may reasonably ask, with the secular world’s hostility to the natural law now plain for all to see, why does the magisterium still steadfastly refuse to proclaim Our Lord’s sovereign rights over society?
The answer, it would seem, is no more complicated than the fact that our popes appear hell bent and determined to sing from the conciliar song sheet no matter how hostile the secular world becomes.
Given the anthropocentric orientation of the Council as a whole, there simply is no room for the Social Kingship of Christ among such men, and even the crumbling visible structures of the Holy Catholic Church, with the numbers of abandoned parishes growing on a near daily basis, isn’t enough to make them reconsider.
In response to my request to quote from his lecture, and having shared with him the excerpt from my Catholic Identity Conference presentation, Fr. Harrison suggested that “in fairness to Vatican Council II,” I should “point out that Dignitatis Humanae #13 … specifically references in footnote 33 those words you appeal to from the end of Matthew’s Gospel (as well as Mark 16: 15 and Pius XII’s 1939 Encyclical Summi Pontificatus), in order to back up the Church’s claim of a unique right granted by Christ vis-a-vis all temporal rulers.”
The Council’s words are strong and forthright here, implicitly asserting the sovereignty of Christ over all nations, but we now seldom hear them quoted:
“In human society and in the face of any public power whatsoever, the Church claims liberty for herself in her capacity as the spiritual authority established by Christ the Lord, charged by divine mandate with the duty of going into all the world and preaching the Gospel to every creature.”
It seems clear that any government recognizing the validity of the above claim would ipso facto be recognizing the Kingship of Christ.
I’m not entirely sure which governments Father has in mind here, but suffice to say that I reject the suggestion that a State that simply affords the Catholic Church the freedom that is hers by divine right is necessarily “recognizing the validity of the above claim.” Much less can one say that a State that also grants the very same right to the Church’s enemies “would ipso facto be recognizing the Kingship of Christ.”
Besides, an “ipso facto” expression of subjugation to the King is a pathetic substitute for the teaching put forth in Quas Primas which states that “not only private individuals but also rulers and princes are bound to give public honor and obedience to Christ.”
Surely, a government that truly recognizes the Kingship of Christ would not grant, as the Council demands, a civil right to religious freedom to those who reject Jesus Christ and oppose His reign. This would be like a government defending the right of rebels to overthrow it!
Sure, a government that recognizes the Kingship of Christ, and therefore the Holy Catholic Church as the one true faith, might find it necessary to tolerate such false religions in order to avoid a greater evil (as the traditional doctrine states), but never would such a government relinquish its right, and at times its duty, to suppress them even beyond simply attempting to maintain a secular notion of “public order.” (In other words, such a State would not relinquish its duty to safeguard its citizens from spiritual threats at the hands of false religionists.)
In any event, pay close attention to the Council’s words above quoted. In claiming that the Church is “charged by divine mandate with the duty of going into all the world and preaching the Gospel to every creature,” the architects of this document are presenting in this place but a truncated version of her mission.
In spite of giving mention to her mission of “teaching” and “baptizing” in other paragraphs, the takeaway from Dignitatis Humanae is evident enough given the witness of the last fifty years.
The conciliar and post-conciliar popes and the bishops in union with them ask for no more of the State than the right to “preach the Gospel” as if she is called to compete in the marketplace of religious ideas as but one among equals with the many false religions of the world. As as result, our prelates have been content to see the voice of Christ the King treated as if His is just another opinion that deserves a fair hearing; the implication being that the doctrines of the Holy Catholic Church are of arguably no more service to the common good than that of any other religion or public interest group.
It is interesting that Fr. Harrison not only acknowledges, but even appears perhaps to lament, that those parts of Dignitatis Humanae that merely hint at the Social Kingship of Christ are now seldom quoted, and this in the face of a secular world that is growing increasingly hostile to the eternal law.
As such, I wonder if I might reasonably hope that Fr. Harrison will join me in calling on the Holy Father to proclaim anew the totality of Quas Primas, reaffirming the Sovereign Rights of Christ the King over society such as they were so eloquently articulated by his esteemed predecessor?
13. November, 2014Blog Post48 comments
For any number of reasons, I’m looking forward to heading to Chicago tomorrow for the Fatima Conference; not the least of which is to spend time with Fr. Gruner and the other speakers who are so knowledgeable about the Fatima message.
I’ve long considered that even a disinterested inquisitor who simply takes the time to review the facts – meaning those not in dispute – examining the public record of comments made by those who read the Third Secret prior to its supposed release in 2000, cannot help but conclude that the truth has not yet been told.
On the Fatima Network’s website, there is a wealth of information for those interested, including a page entitled, The Known Facts. Here’s an excerpt:
This assassination attempt occurred on May 13th – the anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima’s first appearance to the three young visionaries in Portugal.
Pope John Paul II credited his survival to the direct intervention of Our Lady, after which he presented a bullet from that failed attempt to take his life to the Bishop of Fatima; a bullet that has since been enshrined in the crown of her statue there.
Now, some well-meaning folks who are inclined to accept the Holy See’s “official” interpretation of the Third Secret find confirmation in the connection between this shooting happening on the anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima’s appearance and her subsequent intervention in saving the pope’s life, but maybe the exact opposite is true.
Do I believe that Our Lady intervened to save the pope’s life?
I don’t know, but let’s just say that she did.
Even so, the question that remains is why did she save his life?
I suppose it’s just a matter of speculation, but something tells me that it wasn’t so he could live long enough to start World Youth Day and the Assisi abominations!
In any case, the reason may very well have been her desire to undermine the attempts of those who might one day seek to mislead the world into believing that the Third Secret concerns that event. You see, in saving the pope’s life that day, she guaranteed that those with eyes to see would immediately recognize that the “bishop in white” of the Third Secret couldn’t possibly be John Paul II.
Had he actually died, the truth would have been much more difficult for many to recognize.
12. November, 2014Blog Post15 comments
First, I want to ask your forgiveness for not posting lately. Between the birth of a precious new grand baby, some other personal concerns and preparing for conferences on consecutive weekends beginning with the Fatima Conference in Chicago on Friday, I haven’t had much time to post.
Below is my conversion story… more properly, reversion story. It has been around on CD for a while, but a number of people have asked that I make it available here.
I don’t particularly like talking about myself, but … as an old spiritual director admonished, I have an obligation to let others know how incredibly good God has been to me. In fact, this isn’t really so much about me as it is about Our Lord and His mother, and how they refuse to let even one lost sheep go without a fight.
It stops short of my awakening to tradition and my awareness of the heist that took place starting at Vatican II wherein our inheritance was stolen. Maybe I’ll add that some other day…
11. November, 2014Blog Post75 comments
As of yesterday, November 10, 2014, Fr. Michael Rodríguez, is no longer the Administrator of Sacred Heart Mission in Shafter, TX. He has been given a six-month sabbatical in order to discern God’s Will for the future. Fr. Rodríguez remains a priest in good-standing of the Diocese of El Paso. He will most likely be looking at options for priestly ministry beyond the Diocese of El Paso. Fr. Rodríguez has been offering the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively for the past three years, and this has led to increasing difficulties for him with the local hierarchy. Fr. Rodríguez asks for your prayers, and he especially asks you to pray for the small group of faithful (about 50) of the Presidio-Shafter area who are heartbroken over the loss of the Traditional Latin Mass and parish life based on the Traditional Latin Mass.
Admittedly, Fr. Rodríguez is in a very difficult situation. On the one hand, he intends to do his best to be obedient to his bishop. On the other hand, Fr. Rodríguez is convinced that God is calling him – through the Church – to dedicate his priesthood and all his energy and strength to promote the Church’s greatest treasures: her timeless liturgy and doctrine. Both Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have acknowledged that the Church is suffering through a terrible crisis of Faith in the post-Vatican II era, and Fr. Rodríguez, as a loyal priest and son of the Church, cannot stand idly by in the face of such widespread disparagement and abandonment of the Catholic Faith.
In making any decisions for the future, Fr. Rodríguez is begging God to purify his motives, so that he may act, first and foremost, out of love and fidelity to Jesus Christ and His holy Church, and for the salvation of souls. As a loyal son of Holy Mother Church, Fr. Rodríguez is 100% committed to following, teaching, promoting, and defending her Traditional Mass (holy liturgy) and her unchangeable truths (holy doctrine), e.g. the sacredness of marriage, the indissolubility of marriage, the grave sin and intrinsic evil of homosexual acts.
In closing, Fr. Rodríguez asks that efforts be redoubled to pray for the Holy Father so that he will consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as requested by Our Lady of Fatima. May the reign of Christ the King come through the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of His Mother!
In a few days a number of us will begin a continuous series of nine-day novenas imploring the intercession of Our Lady and the saints on Fr. Rodríguez’s behalf. I will email more information on that in a few days. Moreover, we will pray a 54-Day Rosary Novena on his behalf from Dec 10 – Feb 1, that is between the Marian feasts of the Immaculate Conception and the Purification of Our Lady, (also the feast of Our Lady of Good Success). We invite all to join us in offering these prayers. Thank you very much for your prayers and support.
Ad Iesum per Mariam,
ps: His sermon from Sunday is now posted at the St. Vincent Ferrer Foundation’s website. “The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the Name of the Lord.” You can hear it at: www.svfonline.org
5. November, 2014Blog Post108 comments
In the video at the bottom of the post, I’m interviewed by John Vennari on the documents of Vatican Council II.
The interview took place at the Fatima Conference in Ontario last month, on which note, there is another Fatima Conference taking place November 14-16 in Chicago. If you’re able, please join us. Otherwise, please spread the word!
4. November, 2014Blog Post116 comments
As you know, on Saturday I posted a video asking what I think is one of the most important questions of our time; namely, is Mortalium Animos still the faith of the Holy Catholic Church?
In that video I invited a number of prominent apologists / theologians to engage in a conversation on this topic, among them Karl Keating, Jimmy Akin, Michael Voris and Marcellino D’Ambrosio and unnamed others with similar apostolates.
The fact is, no one owed me a response, but I’m happy to say that after posting it to Face Book (which I realize all of you don’t dabble in), Jimmy Akin was kind enough to respond, and I do mean kind.
Obviously, there are some things concerning the state of the Church today that he and I see differently, but having had the opportunity to exchange some private emails with him, I can attest that Jimmy Akin is a true gentleman.
I’ve created a new page on this website, The Ecumenical Question, where I will update my exchange with Mr. Akin as it progresses. (I may add a tab for it above later.) It’s up to date now if you care to take a look.
As you’ll see, I’ve decided to close that page to comments so as to leave it simply as a place where our examination of Mortalium Animos and its relevance in the life of the Church today can be read.
This might be a good opportunity for those of you who are interested in offering feedback and commentary on the conversation to make use of the Forum on this site for that purpose. I’ve already created a topic on the Forum for this purpose.
1. November, 2014Blog Post158 comments
Is Mortalium Animos still the faith of the Holy Catholic Church?
See VIDEO of the Holy Father’s latest ecumenical get together.
1. November, 2014Blog Post18 comments
The interview, which appeared in the Spanish Catholic weekly Vida Nueva on Oct. 30th, includes the following direct quote from Cardinal Burke as reported by Religion News Service (linked above):
You know what’s coming next, don’t you?
At some point in the next few days, Cardinal Burke will likely issue a clarification; something along these lines:
I did not say that I consider the Church under Pope Francis to be a rudderless ship. I very specifically said that there is a strong sense among many that this is the case.
Need I say it again? It’s the Roman game; a chess match of subtlety and nuance…
That said, I hope I’m wrong. I much prefer that Cardinal Burke, at most, simply point to the transcript of the interview and leave it at that. He said what he said, and the quotation marks in every account that I’ve read are exactly where they belong. Enough said.
Furthermore, no need to clarify exists for the simple reason that the Church is indeed like a rudderless ship under Pope Francis. In fact, I wrote a post under that exact title, A Rudderless Ship, almost an entire year ago making the point that the Barque of St. Peter has been adrift, not just since 13 March 2013, but from the time of the Council on forward.
30. October, 2014Blog Post85 comments
On October 23, 2014, Catholic Review – the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Baltimore – published a thoroughly scandalous article undermining Church teaching on homosexuality that even included a sacrilegious image you won’t believe.
Watch the video below, and then join me in urging Archbishop William E. Lori to defend the Holy Catholic Faith.
29. October, 2014Blog Post103 comments
Let’s take a walk down memory lane…
February 20, 2014: Cardinal Walter Kasper delivered his now infamous address to the Extraordinary Consistory of Cardinals.
February 21, 2014: Pope Francis hailed Kasper’s address as “profound and serene theology … theology done on one’s knees.”
As news of the Bishop of Rome’s breathless praise for Kasper’s assault on the Catholic faith spread, so-called “traditionalists” and “conservative” Catholics alike were understandably outraged.
It was in this atmosphere that on that very same day, February 21st, L’Osservatore Romano published a speech given by Cardinal Raymond Burke to the Dignitatis Humanae Institute (the same group involved in the BuzzFeed interview) wherein His Eminence offered reflections on the pontificate of Pope Francis.
National Catholic Register reported on the speech saying, “Cardinal Burke Praises Pope Francis’ Efforts to Re-Christianize the West.”
LifesiteNews stated, “Cardinal Burke has defended the pope.”
Fr. Z applauded Cardinal Burke for “explaining” the pope.
No small number of tradition-minded Catholics, some of whom now have their drawers in a knot over yesterday’s post, lamented their disappointment in Cardinal Burke; some even going so far as to suggest that he was a sell-out and a coward.
My take was entirely different.
On February 25th, I published a post making the case that Cardinal Burke’s speech, if read carefully, reveals some very pointed criticism of the pope, and is more properly understood as an exercise in ecclesial gamesmanship and a bit of Romanità.
Fast forward to the present…
It seems to me that Cardinal Burke, in his BuzzFeed interview, was once again engaging in a similar brand of ecclesial gamesmanship; his words having been carefully chosen so as to criticize the pope for harming the Church without saying so verbatim.
His Eminence’s… ahem… “clarification” left virtually no room for confusion, however; only the pope can provide what is lacking; i.e., he alone is to blame for allowing this crisis to persist. Cardinal Burke said:
While such non-distinctions may be appreciated among some in Rome, in the real world, not so much.
Those who are as yet still able to think clearly realize that one cannot point a finger of blame at another individual’s irresponsible behavior (in this case the pope’s silence as to his position) without also necessarily indicting the individual himself (in this case, the pope).
If you, dear reader, are among those who still can’t manage to grasp this reality, try invoking the Burke defense in a court of law: “I’m innocent, Your Honor, my unwillingness to behave responsibly, however, is guilty as hell,” and let me know how that works out for you.
In any event, Cardinal Burke was perhaps too clever by half.
Unlike L’Osservatore Romano, BuzzFeed didn’t immediately publish a word-for-word transcript of the interview as I suspect he assumed they would. As it is, the nuance he intended, utterly lame though it may be, was lost.
Blaming the media, of course, is low hanging fruit. It has long been the papal apologists’ favorite defense in the face of the preposterous, and some among our traditional brothers and sisters are apparently prepared to join them in defense of Cardinal Burke’s meaningless clarification.
For my money, however, BuzzFeed’s initial report, excerpted below, was entirely appropriate:
The quotation marks in this excerpt are precisely where they belong, and the conclusion is perfectly logical.
All of this said, Cardinal Burke’s excessive Romanità is also plainly revealed in his contention that “the pope has never said openly what his position is on the matter.”
There is a point at which the overuse of nuance threatens to undermine one’s credibility, and in my estimation, Cardinal Burke is unnecessarily walking a tightrope here.
He was among those present when Pope Francis heaped effusive praise upon Cardinal Kasper’s presentation to the Consistory, for crying out loud!
No, Pope Francis didn’t explicitly say, “Kasper’s position is my position” (for he too was indulging in some Romanità), but no one with any sense whatsoever, including Cardinal Burke, has any doubt whatsoever where the pope stands. He has made his position entirely clear for those with ears to hear in any number of ways. (Remember his phone call to the divorcee from Argentina?)
The point is this; Cardinal Burke is way overplaying the Roman game.
While it was perhaps advisable for the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura to craft his words very carefully back in February so as to preserve his position in Rome, where he arguably might do more good than elsewhere; as of today, that ship has all but sailed.
Cardinal Burke has personally confirmed that he about to be transferred to a mere figurehead position (Chaplain of the Knights of Malta), and this after having been stripped of his place on the Congregation for Bishops shortly after speaking critically of Evangelii Gaudium in an interview with EWTN last December.
The only thing left at this point for Cardinal Burke to preserve is the truth, plain and simple.
Look, Rome is on fire; subtle suggestions that there’s a hint of smoke emanating from Domus Santa Marta aren’t useful, and the fact that Cardinal Burke apparently doesn’t recognize as much tells me that he hasn’t been entirely spared the diabolical disorientation that ravages so many in the Church today, even if in lesser degree than most.
The bottom line is simply this: Cardinal Burke’s interview with BuzzFeed received considerable attention for a good reason.
Any time a Curial cardinal publicly calls out the Roman Pontiff for the harm that he is causing the Church, it’s a big deal.
In spite of Cardinal Burke’s attempt to put that toothpaste back in the tube, apparently for no better reason than to preserve the nuance with which he deliberately labored to speak in the first place, the fact remains that he most certainly did point a finger of blame at the pope, and very rightly so as most on these pages would readily agree.
And guess what? The pope knows it, even if some among our friends are unable to recognize as much.
As such, this story remains big news; not because Cardinal Burke can save the day, but because the climate in Rome for the remainder of this dreadful pontificate, especially among the College of Cardinals, is important – not just for the present oment, but as an indication of where we might be headed.
And this brings me back to the conclusion to yesterday’s post; no one in Rome is capable of fixing this mess other than a pope, current or future, who is willing to do as Our Lady of Fatima requested. No one.
Blessed Mother has promised that this will happen; it’s just a matter of when. In the meantime, we’ll pray and fast and keep our eyes wide open.
On which note, while Cardinal Burke’s meaningless distinction, ostensibly ordered toward providing a clarification of his comments, has been enough to cause some otherwise intelligent people to relegate this most newsworthy of events in Rome to just one big misunderstanding, I for one have no such intention.
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