Dr. Ralph Martin’s recent article in the theological journal Nova et Vetera, The Post-Christendom Sacramental Crisis: The Wisdom of Thomas Aquinas, has garnered considerable attention for its relatively sober assessment of the current condition of the Catholic Church.

“There is something like an institutional collapse going on, evidenced by the vast numbers of schools closing, parishes merging, clustering and closing and the multiple assignments that many young priests now are asked to manage. Besides the institutional collapse, there is evidence of a widespread repudiation of the teaching of Christ and the Church by vast numbers of Catholics,” Martin observed.

The article, especially noteworthy for having been published in a journal that Archbishop Chaput called “an outstanding resource for the renewal of theology in line with the New Evangelization,” certainly deserves kudos. That said, the main reason it has been so well received among traditionalists is simply because Martin states what so many other “new evangelists” are determined to deny; namely, that the visible structures of the Catholic Church are rapidly deteriorating before our very eyes.

Martin makes a number of important observations, but even as he holds a veritable x-ray up to the light, revealing a nasty ecclesial tumor; ultimately, he leaves the disease undiagnosed.

The article begins with a thesis:

This article argues that, given the collapse of a societal consensus that is supportive of the Judaeo-Christian [sic] moral tradition, the Church is facing a sacramental crisis. The crisis consists in fewer and fewer baptized Catholics participating in the post-baptismal sacraments and fewer and fewer of the Catholics who do participate in further sacraments effectively realizing the fruits of these sacraments. Part of the solution to this crisis is to consider carefully the wisdom of St. Thomas Aquinas on how to identify (and remove) obstacles to sacramental fruitfulness.

Martin goes on to cite statistics from an unnamed Midwestern diocese that reveal a problem that is far more fundamentally important: In just a ten year period (2000 to 2010), Catholic baptisms and marriages are down nearly 50%.

So, while it is certainly true that “fewer baptized Catholics” are living a fully Catholic life, and addressing the matter of sacramental fruitfulness is a noble idea, we would do well to concern ourselves first and foremost with the underlying causes that have led to this time when so few are even approaching the sacraments in the first place.

Yes, the two problems of lower numbers and a lack of sacramental fruitfulness are interrelated, but while some may be tempted to get caught up in a chicken-and-egg debate, Martin comes frustratingly close to putting his finger on the actual disease that lies at the heart of the matter:

With the intellectual currents of the Enlightenment, the subsequent anti-religion rebellion of the French Revolution, and the profound intellectual rejection of the Christian worldview symbolized by Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, forces were unleashed in Western culture that eventually led to not only a repudiation of the church-state relationships that had evolved over many centuries but a repudiation of religion itself as a legitimate shaper of culture.

What Martin leaves unaddressed is the degree to which these “intellectual currents” were unleashed, not only in Western culture at the hands of determined secularists, but in the very heart of Catholicism via the Second Vatican Council at the hands of determined churchmen.

Archliberal Cardinal Leo Jozef Suenens hailed the Council, and with no little accuracy, as “1789 in the Church” for a reason:

  • It was the Fathers of Vatican II who officially (in the document Dignitatis Humanae) repudiated the “church-state relationships that had evolved over many centuries,” effectively dethroning Christ the King in exchange for a solitary folding chair among the many at the political table, as if He aspires to be accepted as nothing more in society than an equal to every heathen, heretic and humanist with an opinion.
  • It was the Fathers of Vatican II who invited religious indifferentism by suggesting that false religions are a means of salvation.
  • It was the Fathers of Vatican II who replaced the Church’s call to conversion with a sentimental plea for religious dialogue and mutual understanding.

I could continue, but presumably the point has been made.

“Of course, it would not be accurate to leave the impression that the ‘secular culture’ is to blame for [the sacramental crisis.] Years of silence about those aspects of the gospel which the contemporary culture is hostile to—the truths about sin, about heaven and hell, about the need for repentance, about the real meaning of discipleship, about the supreme value of knowing Christ—have contributed to the metamorphosis of Catholicism in the minds of many into a comforting religious ritual of indeterminate meaning,” Martin rightly observed, and for this he should be applauded.

He failed to address, however, precisely what gave rise to these decades of virtual silence.

The unvarnished truth is that fewer people are coming to the sacraments simply because the overwhelming majority of our sacred hierarchs, from the 1960’s on forward, have ingested every limp-wristed, weak-kneed, kumbaya-style ambiguity the conciliar text has to offer, only to regurgitate them back to the souls in their care at every opportunity like pelicans feeding their young.

Along the way, an entire generation or more has come of age having been nurtured on little more than the fast food of modernism by pastors who have utterly ceased to proclaim the Social Kingship of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church as the solitary means of salvation, and therefore the paramount importance of the sacraments that the Lord has entrusted to her.

All of this being the case, is it any wonder that the Catholic Church in our day is in the throes of a full-scale institutional collapse?

  1. Alphonsus Jr. August 21, 2013 9:16 pm

    Right again. And it’s not just the ambiguities of Vatican II, but the errors of Vatican II, flowing from its wretched “opening to the world,” that are fount of the poison.

  2. Najib Nasr August 22, 2013 2:37 am

    Why is everybody ignorant of the fact that ignorance abounds everywhere and that Concise Apologetics is the lifeline that God threw our way in these tough times?!

    Is this a new term for you, Concise Apologetics? Well it should be. It just came to me. So as not to criticize and leave it at that, here’s a sampling:


    SINCE GOD IS LOVE (1 John 4:16), then: If the Church was a body composed of different members, it couldn’t lack the noblest of all; it must have a Heart, and a Heart BURNING WITH LOVE. And I realized that this love alone was the true motive force which enabled the other members of the Church to act; if it ceased to function, the Apostles would forget to preach the gospel, the Martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. LOVE, IN FACT, IS THE VOCATION WHICH INCLUDES ALL OTHERS; IT’S A UNIVERSE OF ITS OWN, COMPRISING ALL TIME AND SPACE – IT’S ETERNAL! (Therese of Lisieux – CCC 826)

    We do not believe in formulas, but in those realities they express, which faith allows us to touch. “The believer’s act [of faith] does not terminate in the propositions, but in the realities [which they express]” (St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II, 1, 2, ad 2.). All the same, we do approach these realities with the help of formulations of the faith which permit us to express the faith and to hand it on, to celebrate it in community, to assimilate and live on it more and more. (Catechism of the Catholic Church – CCC 170)

    Important Note: For online access to the whole Deposit of Faith (defined in Cluster #9), go to http://www.vatican.va/archive/index.htm. Also, go to http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/index/a.htm for the Vatican semi-interactive index of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), and the St. Charles Borromeo Church (Picayune, MS) search engine at http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc.htm. Both are needed. Each has its specific application. All scripture verses and footnotes are according to the New American Bible (NAB).

    1. God knew us and chose us before the foundation of the world (Jeremiah 1:5; Ephesians 1:3-4); and He called us (Romans 8:30, 1 Thessalonians 5:24, and CCC 2567). Man was created to know, to love and to serve God (CCC 358, 1721). We are on this earth expressly for the purpose of attaining eternal life (Matthew 4:17; 6:33; John 3:16; CCC 1325, 1326; 1711, 1721), which has already started for us (CCC 163).
    2. Our God is Triune: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:13-14). The Trinity: One God in three persons, consubstantial (of the same substance) (John 10:30, 17:22; CCC 266), inseparable in what they are, inseparable in what they do (CCC 267). Therefore, wherever one person of the Trinity are, there, the Trinity are.
    3. The promise of eternal life: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). God is Love (1 John 4:16). “Nothing seems tiresome or painful when you are working for a Master who pays well; who rewards even a cup of cold water given for love of Him” (St. Dominic Savio 1842-57 A.D.). Love: We live for others (Philippians 2:3-4), not just for ourselves. We are to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). This is where “No man is an island” came from! Yes, I am my brother’s keeper (Ezekiel 3:17-21; Matthew 25:40; Romans 15:1-2; 1 Corinthians 10:24; Galatians 6:2, 10; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; 1 John 3:17; CCC 1397, 2449; Equality/Solidarity: 1934-1942).
    4. God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27; CCC 355). Man is created in the image and likeness of God who is Himself love (Genesis 1:27; 1 John 4:8, 16; CCC 1604). Even after losing, through his sin, his likeness to God, man remains an image of his Creator (CCC 2566).
    5. We love the sinner, but hate the sin (CCC 1933). We all enjoy equal dignity (CCC 1934, 1931).
    6. God gave us free will (Deuteronomy 30:19; Sirach 15:14-20; CCC 1711, and 1730).
    7. Love is a Decision. It is not a feeling. It is a God-graced Decision based on God-graced Knowledge. Knowledge and Love go together (Philippians 1:9; and CCC 1, 3, 158, 356, 2614, and 2715). You love what you know, not what you do not know (Philippians 1:9 + Logic). Since God is Love, then, knowledge is the fuel of spirituality (Logic).
    8. Jesus Christ is the Word of God (John 1:1-14). Jesus Christ is the Whole Truth; there is no truth except from God (John 1:14). Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Those who do not know Christ may be saved (Acts 10:34-35; CCC 847).
    9. Ours is not a religion of the Book; it is the Religion of the Word (CCC 108)! The Holy Bible is all truth, but, is not all the truth. The Oral Word was before the Written Word. The Written Word was extracted from the Oral Word, which is called Sacred Tradition (2 Thessalonians 2:15; 1 Timothy 3:15; CCC 77, 78, 83, 126). The Holy Bible+Sacred Tradition=Deposit of Faith=Divine Revelation=The Whole Truth (CCC 80-82). First Thessalonians was the first book to be written: in 50 A.D. Tradition alone ruled the Church from 33-50 A.D., and for 4 centuries thereafter. Jesus did not denounce tradition, as such. He denounced the manmade traditions that were being upheld at the expense of the Law (Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:5-13). The Sacraments are part of Sacred Tradition. So is the Mass (CCC 1076, 1124).
    10. Jesus Christ instituted one and only one Church and He installed Peter as her chief shepherd (Matthew 16:18-19, is in the singular). Jesus Christ gave the Keys of the Kingdom only to Peter and to no other (Matthew 16:18-19).
    11. Jesus Christ instituted one and only one Church (Matthew 16:18-19), and St. Ignatius of Antioch (d. 107 A.D.) called her the Catholic Church [Letter to the Smyrnians (8:1-2)]. St. Ignatius of Antioch was the disciple of John and was ordained by Peter. He therefore knew what he was talking about and his words are the Gospel Truth; and his writings, the Seven Letters, by God’s providence, survived and are with us (Just Google: seven letters of).
    12. Therefore, the Catholic Church is neither a sect nor a denomination [Letter to the Smyrnians (8:1-2); Matthew 16:18-19; and CCC 817]. All other churches are.
    13. There was no time in A.D. history after the Ascension and Pentecost when the Catholic Church was not [Look up the Catalogue of Bishops of the Catholic Church proving Apostolic Succession up to this day].
    14. The Catholic Church is composed of 23 Churches (Eastern Catholics in the USA – National Conference of Catholic Bishops): 1 Roman Catholic, numbering some 1.1 billion and 22 Eastern Catholic Churches numbering 18.3 million.
    15. The Church is the pillar and foundation of truth (1 Timothy 3:15). There was no other church in existence for a good one thousand years (The Orthodox split away in 1054 A.D.; the Lutheran Church was established in 1517 A.D. – Check history). Therefore, the Catholic Church is the only Church that has all the Truth (Logic).
    16. Listen not to the learned who have not researched enough to discover the simple fact that the Catholic Church is the one and only Church instituted by Jesus Christ, our Lord (YT).
    17. We have many Catholics who are not deep in history, and thus, we can say that the worst enemies of the Catholic Church are the ignorant Catholics and they are not few (YT – Check out the news two days in a row).
    18. Not 100 in the United States hate the Roman Catholic Church, but millions hate what they mistakenly think the Roman Catholic Church is (Bishop Fulton J. Sheen).
    19. We have 3 main prompts working in us: The prompts of the Holy Spirit, who has been given us as a first installment (Romans 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14; CCC 851); those of the flesh; our selfish desires (Matthew 26:41); and, those of the Devil (John 13:2; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9). The Christian life is a matter of learning to distinguish between these three types of prompts, discarding the other two and following the prompts of the Holy Spirit, our Teacher (CCC 2766). “Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation” (CCC 851).
    20. “Salvation is found in the truth,” for those who have knowledge of that fact. Therefore, from among those who have faith, there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church, for those who know that fact (CCC 846).
    21. Those who do not know God’s will and contravene it, are not culpable, but not entirely (Luke 12:47-48). From the parable of the Faithful and Prudent Steward in Luke 12:40-48, we notice that those who know and those who do not, both, get a beating for disobeying, the first a severe beating and the second, a light beating. This is because both categories are supposed to know the good from the bad. God put it in our hearts to know that, through available knowledge. There is no excuse for ignorance! Therefore, get to know God and get to know God’s will and abide by it! [There are 30 Bible verses that specifically mention know God, knowledge, all knowledge, knowledge of God, knowledge of His will, or, knowledge of the truth (Romans 11:33, 12:2, 15:14; 1 Corinthians 1:5, 15:34; 2 Corinthians 2:14, 4:6, 8:7, 10:5; 11:6; Ephesians 1:17, 4:13, 5:17; Philippians 1:9; Colossians 1:9, 10, 2:2; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Timothy 2:25, 3:7; Hebrews 10:26; 2 Peter 1:2, 3, 5, 8, 2:20, 3:18; 1 John 2:3-6+12-17+20+their Footnotes). Best of all is Paul’s: “For some have no knowledge of God; I say this to your shame” (1 Corinthians 15:34)].
    22. Our faith comes from the faith of the (Catholic) Church. The Church believed and so we did. “No one can have God as Father who does not have the Church as Mother” – St. Cyprian (d. 258 A.D.) (CCC 181). “But I would not believe in the Gospel, had not the authority of the Catholic Church already moved me” – St. Augustine (354-430) (CCC 119).
    23. Faith without works is dead (James 2:26). [When we speak in the context of Faith & Works, we are talking about Good Works; not the Works of Darkness (Logic), which stand condemned (Romans 13:12; and, Ephesians 5:11)].
    24. No! There is no contradiction between James and Paul. This is the Holy Bible we are talking about; part of the infallible Word of God! Paul spoke negatively about works three times in one sentence! But, he was referring to the Works of the Law (Galatians 2:15-16). Paul spoke negatively about Works of the Law in four other places (Romans 3:27-28; Galatians 3:2; Galatians 3:5; and, Galatians 3:10).
    25. Paul spoke negatively about works in one other place (Ephesians 2:9). He did not specify ‘works of the Law,’ but, he meant that, because, in the very, very next verse, he says: “For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
    26. Then, Paul spoke positively about works in nine other places (Romans 2:5-8, 14-16; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Timothy 5:9-10, 25, 6:18; Titus 3:8, 3:14; Hebrews 10:24).
    27. The criterion of Faith and Works is specified in Romans 9:32. Some accuse Catholics that they try to gain heaven through works. So, YT asks, “Now, who told you that Catholics do not have faith in Jesus Christ?!”
    28. The only time the two words ‘faith’ and ‘alone’ come together in the Holy Bible (NAB) is in James: “See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone” (James 2:24).
    29. Ours is the God of Life not of Death, Jesus said (Matthew 22:32). A wife does not have authority over her own body, but rather her husband, and similarly a husband does not have authority over his own body, but rather his wife (1 Corinthians 7:4). No sex before marriage – Fornication (1 Corinthians 6:9); no sex outside Marriage (Matthew 5:27; The Sixth Commandment); thus, abortion which is intrinsically evil (CCC 2370) is eradicated. Vote Pro-Life, always, regardless; and trust in God!
    30. I must love God above all things because He is the Ultimate Good (The First Commandment; CCC 2828). Therefore:
    31. I must love God more than my parents (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26) (The First Commandment).
    32. I must love God more than my spouse (Luke 14:26) (The First Commandment).
    33. I must love God more than my children (Matthew 10:37 and Luke 14:26) (The First Commandment).
    34. We must accept all Divine Revelations, Christian and Hebrew. We cannot pick and choose (Otherwise, it would be the Unpardonable Sin: attributing to Satan what is the work of the Holy Spirit – Matthew 12:31-32 + Footnote #22). “You must accept the whole Catholic Doctrine, or reject the whole; reduction does but enfeeble, and amputation mutilate” (Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman).
    35. Jesus reveals Himself to those who love Him (John 14:21); the childlike (Matthew 11:25-27). Who are the childlike? Those who depend completely on Him (Matthew 18:3 + Footnote #3). He who accepts revealed truths, more will be given him; the one who does not, even what he has will be taken away from him (Matthew 13:12 + Footnote #5).
    36. Do not err, my brethren. If any man follows him that makes a schism in the Church, he shall not inherit the kingdom of God (St. Ignatius of Antioch – Letter to the Philadelphians 3:2).
    37. The Bible, rather, the Gospel is the infallible Word of God (CCC 107).
    38. What good is the infallible Word of God if it is transported fallibly – that is, changed in time, as some did? (Logic).
    39. What good is the infallible Word of God if it is transported infallibly, then, taught fallibly, as some did/do? (Logic).
    40. The infallible Word of God must be transported infallibly, then, must be explained infallibly and taught infallibly! (Logic). Therefore, when the Pope speaks out on Faith and Morals, that is, from the Chair of Peter (ex cathedra), he speaks infallibly – that is, he explains and teaches without error (Matthew 23:1-3a, and CCC 891 and 2035).
    41. So, the Pope, and, the Pope and the Magisterium (the College of Bishops), are infallible when they teach on Faith and Morals (Matthew 23:1-3a; CCC 889 and 2051). Therefore, they are the authentic teachers of the Word (CCC 888).
    42. Therefore, the Bible, Sacred Tradition and the Magisterium are interconnected. Not one of these three can ever subsist without the other two! (Logic; CCC 82; and 95). Thus, the bishop is the teacher of the Word in his diocese/eparchy. He guards “this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit” (2 Timothy 1:14). Only those chosen by him as able to teach, and are so trained, may teach the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:2).
    43. The Holy Spirit presides at Church councils (Acts 15:28). This is how the Pope and the bishops do not teach error!!! It is a supernatural phenomenon granted thru Divine Wisdom, not thru earthly wisdom. In 2,000 years, the Church has never been wrong on any Faith and Morals issue! Reflect: Whatever Peter’s successor decrees on earth, God ordains in Heaven (Matthew 16:19). But, God will not let a mortal jeopardize Heaven. Therefore, the Pope is infallible! Thus, the Catholic is the one who does not say ‘No’ to the Pope on matters of Faith and Morals (Matthew 23:1-3a).
    44. Therefore, there is no room for Personal Interpretation (CCC 82, and 85), and the Holy Bible says so (2 Peter 1:20; 3:15-16). Since Peter mentions prophecy, we have to clarify that the whole Bible is prophecy, since, by definition, ‘prophecy’ can mean the foreknowledge of future events, or, it can mean past events of which there is no memory, or, it can mean present hidden things which cannot be known by the natural light of reason (Catholic Encyclopedia).
    45. Why do we go to church on Sunday? It is the only time the Head is joined to the Body! (Colossians 1:18; CCC 1326). That we may be complete. Also, the Bible says so (Acts 20:7; Hebrews 10:25). You are an idolater if you skip Mass and keep your TV and other fleshly appointments. Thus, skipping Mass without a valid reason is a grave sin! (CCC 2181). Also, CCC 2177-2182, and 748-975.
    46. The Eucharist (CCC 1366, 1376, 1407), or, the consecration of the Host at Mass and thereafter, is the Real Presence of Jesus Christ among us until the end of time (Matthew 26:26-28 + 28:20; CCC 1336, 1378), and is His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity (CCC 1374, 1413). He who partakes of communion unworthily (in a state of mortal sin, not internalizing Christ’s sacrifice), sins against Christ Himself (1 Corinthians 11:27-30).
    47. We, as disciples of Jesus Christ, have to depend completely on God, just as little children are completely dependent on their parents (Matthew 18:2-3 and Footnote #3).
    48. Jesus differentiated between the Apostles and the Laity (Luke 12:41). Jesus differentiated between the Apostles themselves (Matthew 16:18-19, 17:1, 26:41; Mark 14:32-33; Luke 8:51). This speaks for hierarchy in the Church at all levels.
    49. Jesus made the Apostles Priests (Luke 22:19-20; John 20:20-23). Jesus established hierarchy in the priesthood (Isaiah 22:15-25; Matthew 16:18-19; Luke 22:19-20; John 20:20-23). Establishing hierarchy in the Church is called organization, and the office is called administration (1 Corinthians 12:8).
    50. The story of God deposing Shebna from his position as head of the House of David and installing Eliakim in his place speaks for Apostolic Succession and for hierarchy in administration (Isaiah 22:15-25).
    51. The Catholic Church is the only Church that has full Apostolic Succession. Apostolic Succession through the ordaining of bishops by the Laying on of Hands (Numbers 27:18-23; Deuteronomy 34:9; Hebrews 6:1-2; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6), has been going on for close to 2,000 years without interruption!!!
    52. The Church, through Peter, employed typology from the Old Testament to indicate the necessity of appointing successors (Acts 1:20). The Church employed typology from the Old Testament so as to portray correctly the significance of the Keys given to Peter by Jesus (Isaiah 22:15-25).
    53. The Church employed typology from the Old Testament to show that the queen mother rules with the king; not his wife (2 Kings 10:13; 2 Chronicles 15:15-16; Jeremiah 13:18; the note on Jeremiah 22:26; 29:1-2).
    54. Thus, the Church employed typology from the Old Testament for portraying the role of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the Mediatrix, the dispenser of all graces for her Son, the King of kings (1 Kings 2:19; CCC 969).
    55. Bad News I: Conversion is a daily, life-long process (2 Corinthians 4:16; Philippians 1:6; CCC 1435; 1436; 1439; 1490; 1888; and 2784). Never fail to remember that! “To live is to change and to be perfect is to have changed often” (Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman). Conversion is renewal (CCC 1989). Time of conversion: NOW! (2 Corinthians 6:2; CCC 1041). End of the world and time of our personal Particular Judgment: At our death (CCC 1021-2; 1051).
    56. Bad News II: If you do not forgive, you will not be forgiven (Matthew 6:14-15; CCC 2862; yet, 982).
    57. Bad News III: God opposes the proud but bestows favor on the humble (Matthew 11:29 + 1 Peter 5:5).
    58. Bad News IV: If we deny Jesus, He will deny us (Matthew 10:33). It goes like this: If we acknowledge Jesus, He will acknowledge us (Matthew 10:32). If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, because He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13). But, if we deny Him, He will deny us (Matthew 10:33).
    59. We are in the world; we are for the world; but, we are not of the world! Our citizenship is in Heaven (John 17:14-18; Philippians 3:20). “Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever” (1 John 2:15-17). Now, REFLECT on this futuristic statement, AND REPENT: “But what profit did you get then from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death” (Romans 6:21). “No earthly pleasures, no kingdoms of this world can benefit me in any way. I prefer death in Christ Jesus to power over the farthest limits of the earth. He who died in place of us is the one object of my quest. He who rose for our sakes is my one desire. Do not talk about Jesus Christ as long as you love this world” (St. Ignatius of Antioch).
    60. Therefore, “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2).
    61. God gives us the appetite for what He wants us to do: “For God is the one who, for his good purpose, works in you both to desire and to work” (Philippians 2:13), if we are open to the prompts of the Holy Spirit in us (CCC 851).
    62. Those who call themselves Christians must imperatively also be disciples of Jesus. If one is not a disciple of Jesus, then that one is not to call himself/herself a Christian (CCC 546; Matthew 28:19).
    63. To us, the end does not justify the means. We do not do wrong in order to make something right (CCC 1753, 1759). Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who change darkness into light, and light into darkness, who change bitter into sweet, and sweet into bitter! (Isaiah 5:20).
    64. “One Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5). Baptism, properly administered, cannot be repeated (CCC 1280). “God has bound salvation to the Sacrament of Baptism, but He Himself is not bound by His sacraments” (CCC 1257). Therefore, Baptism is necessary for salvation: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16; CCC 1257). What about the thief on the cross?! That was the exception to the rule (CCC 1260). We are not supposed to make, of the exception, a rule!! (Logic). These exceptions are called the Desire for Baptism (CCC 1258-1261).
    65. Catholicism is free of idolatry (CCC 2129-2132). The People of God came out of 450 years spent in Egyptian idol territory and were placed under training. They were given a simple rule: make nothing so as to worship it! (Exodus 20:3-6) As priests, Moses and Aaron made images for worship purposes: Shapes of angels of gold were constructed (Exodus 25:18); shapes of Seraphim were embroidered (Exodus 26:31); the Lord told Moses to make a bronze serpent and mount it on a pole (Numbers 21:8-9; Wisdom 16:5-14). “For he who turned toward it was saved, not by what he saw, but by you, the savior of all” (Wisdom 16:7). Like them, we are priests in one sense (1 Peter 2:5+9; Revelation 1:6). God has no body; however, the Son of God now has, thus ushering in a new “economy” of images (CCC 1159).
    66. Additionally, they copied for worship: “They worship in a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary, as Moses was warned when he was about to erect the tabernacle. For he says, “See that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain”” (Hebrews 8:5). “Therefore, it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified by these rites, but the heavenly things themselves by better sacrifices than these” (Hebrews 9:23).
    67. If a concept is there, in the Bible, yet, has no name, we can name that concept and we did; all Christians did: a. The Trinity (Matthew 28:19); b. the word Bible is not in the Bible; c. Catholics and the Orthodox did: Purgatory (2 Maccabees 12:46); other insinuations on Purgatory can be found in Matthew 5:25-26, 12:32; 1 Corinthians 3:12-15.
    68. If you cannot find the 2 Books of the Maccabees where they belong, among the Old Testament Books, then you are not holding in your hands a Catholic Bible. Entities outside the Catholic Church have removed 7 books from their Bibles. The Canon of Books of our Catholic Bibles was fixed at the Councils of Rome (382 A.D.), Hippo (393), and Carthage (397), at 46 Old Testament Books and 27 New Testament Books, exactly as we have them today in our Catholic Bibles. For more info, go to Mark Shea’s: 5 Myths about 7 Books. http://catholiceducation.org/articles/apologetics/ap0120.html. Take my advice and adopt the Catholic New American Bible now at: http://www.vatican.va/archive/index.htm.

    God bless.
    YF Najib Nasr

    Revision #5: 7/25/2013)
    GOD is: The Omnipotent: The Almighty, the only One infinite in power – Romans 1:20; 2 Corinthians 6:18; Revelation 1:8.
    The Omnipresent: The only One present everywhere at the same time – Acts 17:27; Hebrews 4:13; Revelation 2:23.
    The Omniscient: The only One with infinite knowledge – Matthew 12:25; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 2 Timothy 2:7; Revelation 2:23.
    The Omnificent: The only One having all powers of creation – John 1:3; Romans 4:17; Hebrews 11:3; 2 Peter 3:5-7.
    The Searcher of hearts and minds: Matthew 6:18; Luke 16:15; Acts 1:24-25; Romans 8:27; 1 Thessalonians 2:4; 1 John 3:19-20; Revelation 2:23.
    Our Awesome God: Luke 1:36-37; Romans 4:17; 1 Corinthians 1:19 + 27-28; Hebrews 11:3; 2 Peter 3:5-7.
    The Possible/The Impossible: Matthew 19:26; Mark 10:27; Luke 1:37 + 18:27; John 15:5; Hebrews 11:6.
    Doctrinal Slogans is still work-in-progress.
    If it has served you well, then, circulate it and kindly point out any shortcomings.

  3. Samwise August 22, 2013 1:18 pm

    St. Pius X coined the phrase, “Modernism”, as a heresy of the 20th century.
    Today, however, this term is overused by traditionalists as a scapegoat for all of the troubles of the Church. Their answer: Liturgical reform.

    St. Pius’ intention for combatting modernism was moreso to prohibit agnosticism and atheism in the Church (see his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis) than to prevent Vatican II, or any other necessary decisions of the Magisterium. Nor would St. Pius X object to the canonizations of John XXIII or JPII.

    Liturgical reform is just a bandaid for the deeper wound that exists as a result of lay members not knowing Christ. CVII was meant to encourage the coresponsibility of the laity in the ongoing work of Christ, not to surrender them to modernism. JPII’s writings, as well as BXVI’s, reflect such a desire for all men and women to become holy–Fifity+ years after the council, there is much damage that has been done out of a refusal to answer the call to holiness. The fathers of Vatican II are not to blame, the laity is also responsible.

  4. Louie August 22, 2013 1:58 pm

    Thank you, Samwise. I mean that sincerely. I had already planned to post a note of thanks to commenters later today, and also to invite dissenting opinions.

    It would seem from your comment that it’s time for you to revisit the great encyclical that you cited, especially those parts of Pascendi that speak of vital eminence, religious sentiment and the matter of Church-State relations. “Mosderism” is far from just an overused catch-all, it’s a thriving reality in the Church today.

    Speaking of overused phrases, the Council’s “call to holiness,” while some like to think of this some sort of conciliar achievement, is nothing new. The Church has been calling ordinary people to lives of holiness from day one.

    You are correct in that we do have a deficit in holiness on the part of the laity, but let’s not kid ourselves, the disease has, in large measure, spread from the hierarchy on down.

    St. Pis X would have condemned outright a number of the words and deeds of the recent popes. Of that there can be no question whatsoever.

    Thanks again for weighing in. I do sincerely appreciate it.

  5. Rod Larocque August 22, 2013 4:46 pm

    Well at least the Novus Ordo Church is talking about a crisis, it was less than 10 years ago that Pope JPII was still talking about a New Springtime and the Civilization of Love, and the traditionalists were called “prophets of doom” and out of touch with reality.
    Glad to know it only took thousands of departed priests and nuns, millions of departed faithful, thousands of schools, churches and other institutions to close, not to mention the priest sex crisis to make them finally admit that something might not be right in the Temple of God. Hello- does the Holy Spirit need to hit you over the head?
    Yet the paradox in all this devastation is that the world will respond to Christ, if only the clergy would get their heads on straight and purge the Church of modernism.
    If the Holy Father were to make gestures to promote the Traditional Latin Mass, published a new Syllabus of Modern Errors, Consecrate Russia (with the world’s Bishops) to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Excommunicated high profile dissenting Catholics (begining with clergy and bishops, then politicians and then influential lay people) a true restoration would begin.
    Sure the Church would be smaller, hammered by the media, but She would be better positioned to get the job done of saving souls, by ending the huge drain on resources that is the internal bickering over issues like doctrine, liturgy and practice, which have already been decided by the Church years ago.

  6. Samwise August 22, 2013 4:46 pm

    I gave a quick re-read of Pius X’s letter. Note that the products of his time, (NIetzche, Marx, and Freud in particular) are alive and well–indeed, their philosophies drive secular thinking. But how could this be? Since Pius X refuted their ways of thinking, didn’t he? It’s kind of like saying Paul VI should have been more clear with Humanae Vitae, then people may not have disobeyed to such extremes.
    No, the zeitgeist has long been at work on people despite the warnings of Papal letters. The world, the flesh, and the devil are our enemies, not Church leaders or laity.
    I’m tired of speculations about the post-conciliar popes’ motives, bordering on suggestions of sedevacantism, and automatically reverting back to Pius X. Whose to say that the disintegration of the Church would not have occurred if only Vatican II wouldn’t have happened? Marx, Freud, and Nietzche would still have their influence on the world and there would be an even greater divide between non-Catholic Christians and Catholics. We wouldn’t have the likes of Scott Hahn, Taylor Marshal, or any other brilliant convert minds of the last century.

  7. Samwise August 22, 2013 7:19 pm

    I would strongly recommend the writing of Dominican Priest Aidan Nichols on how best to interpret Pius X’s modernism in the light of Vatican II. It is available free here: http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/anichols/modernism.htm
    His essay is entitled “Modernism, a Century On” and draws a straight line between strict traditionalism and Pius’ true intentions for “feeding his flock”


  8. Sam August 22, 2013 8:51 pm

    Surrounding the Liturgical reform redirects the rest. In the traditional Mass, the Priest is once again Christ. Once again an Altar, not a table. A sacrifice, not a commemoration.

  9. Capt. Morgan August 22, 2013 9:57 pm

    Samwise, without looking to pick a fight, to which Catholicism did Scott Hahn, Taylor Marshal, et. al actually convert to? The Catholicism of 1962 years of Saints, Martyrs, and Tradition which saved countless Souls and was a beacon to the world? Or the more recent version of “spirit of V-II” with anthropocentric Masses, psuedo tradition and catechesis that would make a heretic wonder just what happened to the Church? No one, who looks clearly at the state of the Church today can argue honestly that the events enabled by Vatican Council II have not greatly weakened the Church and the Faithful. And as for your premise that this would have happened anyway, I suggest that if we had a mustard seed worth of the Homilies that once rang out from the Ambo on Sundays and Holy Days across the world, many of the societal horrors we now witness would still be anathema, as opposed to tolerated and given a pas just to “get along”.
    I believe Mr. Verrecchio is spot on with His assessment. And actually, he could go much further. This is a war with principalities and powers, and the Church and Her Faithful are ill prepared for battle.

  10. Not a dominican August 23, 2013 2:59 am

    A little historical note: Fr. Adrian, is undoubtedly a very learned Dominican theologian, but I fail to understand why he has entirely omitted the cirtique of Neo Modernism and its definition, discussed at length in the officiam Journal of the Angelicum (Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas: Rome), and the very famous article by the very very famous Dominican Father who taught there, Fr. Reginlal Garrigou-LaGrange… Having read the original debate, I can understand why Fr. Adrian omitted it, as it overthrows some of his hasty assumptions and his final repartee, which is decidedly not unbiased.


  11. Carol August 23, 2013 6:11 am

    It’s not just the secular world, it’s that we as Catholics lost track of our goal, ‘to become saints.’ We also started to apologize for who we are and what we believe. The result is that when you don’t keep your expectations and standards high; all behavior drops to the lowest common denominator.

  12. Samwise August 23, 2013 11:50 am

    @ Capt Morgan,

    I am arguing that there is no disconnect between the ‘two’ Catholicisms. Rather, as BXVI made clear in his pontificate, it is a ‘hermeneutic of continuity’. Yes, CVII was mis-interpreted as a disconnect from the Council of Trent, etc. but that is the fault of the council’s application and not of it’s inspiration.
    Scott Hahn and Taylor Marshal attended the Novus Ordo Masses prior to their conversions. Hahn’s “Lamb’s Supper” is based on his understanding of the book of Revelation in light of the Novus Ordo Mass.
    Let me be clear, I attend Latin Mass from time to time and have newly ordained priest friends who celebrate it. But as for me and my wife and son, we serve the Lord and his Church militant as she is–not the triumphalistic Church of the council of Trent–it’s a real battle we’re fighting against the world and we can’t pretend that Latin Mass is going to save everything.
    Again I argue: communism, human trafficking, war in the middle east, drug abuse, alcoholism, internet pornography, all of these things were threats to the Church regardless of the language, rubrics, or rite of her liturgy.
    The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are solely capable of definitively saving us.

  13. Samwise August 23, 2013 2:36 pm

    @ Not a Domincian,

    I looked over Fr. Reginald’s work. He wrote mainly during WWII, long before the CVII. I fail to see how reference to him is relevant…it’s just further proof that the writing of good Theologians could not prevent the evils of the 20th century, nor could the Latin Mass.

  14. Helmut August 23, 2013 4:16 pm

    Samwise wrote: “St. Pius X coined the phrase, “Modernism”, as a heresy of the 20th century. Today, however, this term is overused by traditionalists as a scapegoat for all of the troubles of the Church. Their answer: Liturgical reform.”

    I submit that returning to the Mass of John XXIII, St. Pius X, St. Pius V, etc. is not liturgical reform. It was VII and Paul VI that supposedly “reformed” the liturgy.

    Most of m y other comments have been addressed by the other commentators.

  15. Samwise August 23, 2013 6:06 pm

    @ Helmut,

    You make a good point–and I don’t want to downplay the beauty of the Latin Mass. But, if you want to go back in time to earliest Liturgical reform (keeping in mind that Jerome’s Latin Vulgate is brilliant, but nevertheless ‘vulgate’) Why not insist on Maronite Liturgy in the language Christ spoke? Or even further back, Hebrew liturgy with the centrality of the Messiah?

    I love Latin, St Jerome is my patron saint. But why insist on it as some kind of a means of salvation?
    It will be interesting to see what direction Francis goes with this–please remember that he himself is bi-ritual (both eastern and western rites of liturgy in multiple languages). I wouldn’t be surprised if he ignores the traditionalist whining and continues to offer the simplicity of Christian discipleship as the answer to the New Evangelization.

  16. Helmut August 23, 2013 6:41 pm

    “Traditionalist whining?” Please. I hope the day never comes that the heart and soul wrenching pain of separation from what you love becomes a daily part of your life.
    Latin is the universal language of the Universal Church. The Latin Vulgate began as the common (vulgar) language of educated peoples (contrary to those who say the Bible wasn’t published in the commonly used language). Since it is not a commonly used language it does not reflect the changing meanings we see in a language in current use (e.g., bad meaning good). As such, Latin is the base against which all translations are compared. You must surely know that St. Jerome was fluent in Hebrew and Aramaic and that in those days language did not change as rapidly as it does today. This makes his translation more valuable than the ones presented by modern linguists. As the universal language of the Church, my wife and I can (and have) fully participated in the Tridentine Latin Mass in various non-English speaking countries. We were home no matter the physical borders we found ourselves within.
    But it is not just the Latin language, but the changes within the Liturgy of the Mass. The law of prayer is that “the way we pray is the way we believe.” At the Consecration Our Lord said “…shed for you and for the many…” not “for all.” Even Martin Luther didn’t change Our Lord’s words for his form of consecration, he abridged the words to “shed for you.” There are numerous places where the New Order Mass changed how we pray.
    Volumes have been written on this subject, and my meager words are inadequate to fully express the desires of my heart and soul. No whining, just a longing.

  17. Samwise August 23, 2013 7:45 pm

    pardon me, ‘whining’ was out of line. I don’t want to in any way prohibit sincere prayers said during the liturgy or elsewhere in whatever language necessary. God deserves integrity of heart.

    I appreciate your attention to the details of the novus ordo prayers. Would that more people would examine the prayers of consecration and find them directed to the Father through Christ and in the Holy Spirit regardless of the translation.

  18. Joan Ellen August 23, 2013 11:38 pm

    Helmut August 23, 2013 6:41 pm
    “As the universal language of the Church, my wife and I can (and have) fully participated in the Tridentine Latin Mass in various non-English speaking countries. We were home no matter the physical borders we found ourselves within.”

    Of all of the reasons for learning Latin, and for encouraging and wanting Latin Masses, the “…universal language of the Church…” should be reason enough.

    Samwise August 23, 2013 7:45 pm
    “Helmut,” “…God deserves integrity of heart.” I love these words. Thanks.

  19. Ziemek August 24, 2013 12:59 am

    I have only one comment and I don’t want any fight about it, just obserwation.
    We have very secular mind set today. In etymological sens of the word, which is ,,thinking only of your age”. I had and still have the same problem, when I look how many great minds convert to the Church after Second Vatican Council and thinking ,,Something like that happend first time in history”. Bad such lack of symmetry bug me, so I start thinking ,,Realy the first time?”.
    And I find it is not true, I just don’t know converts, or don’t think about they in that category, from more than 50 years ago.

    To be clear I am not American, I am from Poland. For that reson I apologized for my bad English.

  20. Ziemek August 24, 2013 1:36 am

    My previous post was sent premature.
    I feel obligated to show some converts from time before 1960. They are varoius people, doing various things, some of them are great, some are very pour, and some were even very bad Catholics. But I think debate about in which period they are important converts is wrong from the begining. I just want give a signal to see how secular we are. It also can be argue that they are anticipators of Council, but it is not a point that I making.
    I start from 19th century, but I try stay in 20th for most part.
    Bl. John Henry Newman, Orestes Brownson, Oscar Wilde, Léon Bloy, Charles de Foucault, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Jacques Maritain and his wife, Roland Knox, G. K. Chesterton, Christopher Dawson, Paul Claudel, Walker Percy, Bruce Marshall, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, G. E. M. Anscombe, Michael Dummett, Peter Benenson, Frederick Copleston, Alfred Döblin, Ronald Firbank, Alec Guinness, Sigrid Undset, Knud Karl Krogh-Tonning, Gabriel Marcel, Thomas Merton, Takashi Nagai, Alfred Noyes, Henri Ghéon, Adrienne von Speyr, St. Edith Stein, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Allen Tate, E. T. Whittaker.
    In some sens you can count to that list J. R. R. Tolkien, but he was a child.

    God bless you!

  21. Najib Nasr August 24, 2013 4:29 am

    II say over gain: All those who criticize the Church in front of all of us have something missing in their Conversion process (and Conversion is a process: CCC 1439; and a daily one: CCC 1435). All those who criticize Vatican II have not read all its documents.

    We are all here to build up and not to tear down. You have no business talking to us about these things. You go to the Vatican through your channels, or, do you not have the patience, or, are you not prepared?

    Do you not realize that the Holy Spirit presides over Church councils? (Acts 15:28).

    Do you know all your Faith? Do you have an overview of the Catholic Christian Faith? Do you not know that we have three main prompts working in us: The prompts of the Holy Spirit, who has been given us as a first installment (Romans 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14; CCC 851); those of the flesh; our selfish desires (Matthew 26:41); and, those of the Devil (John 13:2; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9)?

    Do you not know that the Christian life is a matter of learning to distinguish between these three types of prompts, discarding the other two and following the prompts of the Holy Spirit, our Teacher (CCC 2766)? “Those who obey the prompting of the Spirit of truth are already on the way of salvation” (CCC 851).

    How do you know that in diagnosing Vatican II on your own you are following the promptings of the Holy Spirit? Has this been a constant pattern of your life, distinguishing between these three prompts, or is this something new to you? If it is, then you had better go back into training with the Lord. God bless.

  22. christine September 1, 2013 4:44 pm

    Some souls are captured by truth, others by goodness and still others by beauty. Are we then three churches?

  23. chupa September 3, 2013 4:53 am

    “But, if you want to go back in time to earliest Liturgical reform”

    Please read this. NO ONE wants this, and NO ONE is asking for this. Continuity is the point, not how old something is. I can’t express how frustrating this stuff is.

  24. chupa September 3, 2013 5:04 am

    And I’m sorry if I hurt you; I certainly don’t want to, but some of these things you’re posting are so far off-base that I can’t keep my mouth shut. Filter out the EWTN stuff and listen to what Louie has to say.

  25. I am not Spartacus September 16, 2013 1:18 pm

    I am arguing that there is no disconnect between the ‘two’ Catholicisms. Rather, as BXVI made clear in his pontificate, it is a ‘hermeneutic of continuity’

    Dear Samwise. There is a clear rupture and I have lived it. I was born a catholic in the 1940s and the church of that time was completely different than the church of today and that difference is seen in Ecclesiology, Mass, Sacraments, Papal Praxis etc etc.

    Owing to Ecumenism, the Universal Solvent dissolving Tradition, every aspect of Catholicism was submitted to its baptism with the result being that everything has changed.

    As Prof. Mattei (Second Vatican Council, an unwritten story) has shown, there was a conspiracy that formed prior to V2 being assembled and that conspiracy seized control of the council early on and the conservatives were very late to realise what was happening and their opposition to the modernist conspiracy was way too little and way too late.

    Had but ten Fathers of the Council decided to walk-out of the Council and said why they were abandoning the Council, most of what has been experienced inside the Church would have been avoided.

    As it is now, the Church that I was born into is invisibilium and what has taken its place is a farce and known only to Our Triune God is that time when the Catholic Church will, again become visibilium after Holy Mother Church has completed its Passion which it is now undergoing and which Passion recapitulates the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ.

    When the time comes that Holy Mother Church is to be resurrected, it will happen with such suddenness and surprise that all will have to confess that Jesus is the head of His Church for only He could resurrect it.

    Invisibilium within the Hierarchy is that Prelate who so embodies Catholic Tradition that it could be a force applied against our Inertia Into Indifferentism and so I see the Church headed for a far worse situation that it is in right now.

    I see The Catholic Church processing into Ecclesiological evanesence behind the banner of Ecumenism and all of this is being allowed to happen due to our sins.

    All objective measurements of Catholicism suffered a sudden and precipitous drop after V2 (The revolutionary rocket that destroyed tradition) and that descent from Catholicism, far from being reversed, continues apace and the weirder the Catholic Church becomes the more one hears irrational claims of continuity.

  26. c matt September 26, 2013 2:50 pm

    Yes, CVII was mis-interpreted as a disconnect from the Council of Trent, etc. but that is the fault of the council’s application and not of it’s inspiration.

    Actually, it is the fault of VCII’s documentation, specifically, its intentional vagueness as we have recently learned.

  27. GreatReformer October 22, 2013 10:34 pm

    As others have said in their comments, the Novus Ordo Mass changed the belief of Catholics because it changed the prayers of the centuries old traditional Mass. Not only did it change prayers, but it omitted many of the prayers crucial to our faith. The prayers at the foot of the altar were removed, thus removing the concept of the altar as the place of sacrifice. The offertory prayers were removed thus removing the concept of an offering for sin, which is Jesus Christ. The tearing and puncturing of this prayer and that prayer of the Roman Rite traditional Mass of all time (the form of Mass practiced in Rome in 1571 during the reign of Pius V) seemingly replicates the tearing and puncturing of the body of our Beloved Lord on Calvary. Anyone who says the violence done to the Extraordinary Form Tridentine Latin Mass (at one time the ordinary form) should be greatly ignored!

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