By WILLIAM MAYER
[Editor's note: Given the controversy within which we are enmeshed - the upcoming January 28th speech by domestic terrorist Bill Ayers at St. Mary's College in Moraga, California - we thought that a reprint of the following piece authored almost exactly four years ago today on the subject of Catholic social teaching and traditionalism, might be of interest to our readers who may be hitting this site for the first time]
January 18, 2005 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - In 1958 the Roman Catholic Church initiated a process of liberalization so widespread and fundamental that today, its repercussions are rocking the aged institution to its very foundation.
The unprecedented changes made in the wake of Pope John XXIII's historic Vatican Council have produced the unintended consequences whose effects we now see splattered across the windshield of American culture, in the form of a torrent of accusations of priestly sexual abuse.
Catholicism is the oldest of the Christian sects and, until relatively recently, its most conservative voice.
Even the spirit of the Reformation was not able to affect the bedrock issues of Catholic orthodoxy - yet in one bloodless coup, manifest changes were promulgated which had the effect of subjecting Catholicism to a toxic dose of Protestantism - not that there is anything wrong with Protestantism, as long as you are Protestant.
While much of the non-Catholic Christian world had spun off into a secular and bizarre experiment with new ageism, the moral compass - the center - of the Catholic Church had, until the 1960s, held firm.
The core of these changes dealt with the perceived relationship between God and man, something which deeply touched every aspect of belief.
Since at least the Twentieth Ecumenical Council in 1869, the Church has been mightily aware of changes in the secular world, which tended to threaten and undermine faith and faith communities.
The new political philosophies celebrated the dual pronged Germanic imperatives; Hegelianism and Marxism. In addition the advent of modern scientific methods and theories pushed the limits of human understanding rapidly forward. All had the effect of establishing rationalism as the dominant mode of interpreting the physical world.
Rationalism seeks to order the world in a scientific manner, to make life understandable through human scrutiny. In such a setting belief and faith are often denigrated as lacking empirical vigor and being merely reliant on myth and legend.
The basic argument goes something as follows:
"The Bible, if taken literally, claims that the earth is only some 6,000 years old, since it has been scientifically proven that the earth is several billion years old the Bible is unreliable and certainly no basis for making the types of decisions that people have to make every day."
Science and rationalism were potentially insidious because the intellectual tools they gave man empowered him in a way never seen before. Freed from myth and given alternative explanations for his place in the universe it redirected his vision away from the afterlife and towards the here and now; thus making man's more base concerns ascendant over the more elevated earlier viewpoint.
As a response to modernism, Pope Leo XIII called the Ecumenical Council to address the issues, out of which came his famous Encyclical, RERUM NOVARUM - Capital and Labor
In this groundbreaking document the Church dealt with the disparity between rich and poor - the dichotomy which Marx and others saw fit to exploit.
The official response to these troubling ideas was a loving reassertion of the idea of a personal God, a real identity who brought forth a universe out of nothing and who observes the unfolding of that creation to its ultimate end.
It also seemed to suggest that rationalism should not be feared because faith and science were not really incompatible. The Church argued that they were differing realms and therefore using the former to tear down the latter was inconsistent.
Against what must have been seen as the direct assault of new ideas, the Church held firm and while holding to tradition it relied on strict Biblical verse to charge the rich with the responsibility of helping and sharing with the poor and employing them in a fair manner. Most importantly it thoroughly and directly rejected socialism and Marxist dogma.
"Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal...It must be first of all recognized that the condition of things inherent in human affairs must be borne with, for it is impossible to reduce civil society to one dead level. Socialists may in that intent do their utmost, but all striving against nature is in vain. There naturally exist among mankind manifold differences of the most important kind; people differ in capacity, skill, health, strength; and unequal fortune is a necessary result of unequal condition. Such inequality is far from being disadvantageous either to individuals or to the community. Social and public life can only be maintained by means of various kinds of capacity for business and the playing of many parts; and each man, as a rule, chooses the part which suits his own peculiar domestic condition."
The entire Encyclical is well reasoned and eloquently written. It is, above all, the high tide mark with regard to a straight and intelligible defense of traditionalism.
It is all the more remarkable given the intense nature of change taking place at that time and serves, therefore, as a testament to the value of eighteen hundred years of rigorously established conservatorship.
But dogma was debased after Vatican II. It was tossed, as ashes to the wind, while forces for "modernization" within the Church began to assert the primacy of the concerns of man over nearly two millennia of established theology.
The cannon shot was issued by John XXIII's successor, Paul VI in the Encyclical - GAUDIUM ET SPES ? The Church in the Modern World.
"...The joys and the hopes, the grief's and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted?That is why this community realizes that it is truly linked with mankind and its history by the deepest of bonds...Hence this Second Vatican Council, having probed more profoundly into the mystery of the Church?but to the whole of humanity. For the council yearns to explain to everyone how it conceives of the presence and activity of the Church in the world of today. Therefore, the council focuses its attention on the world of men, the whole human family along with the sum of those realities in the midst of which it lives; that world which is the theater of man's history..."
Out of this concern over the "grief's and anxieties of the men of this age" Catholicism has come very close to substituting the worship of man for the worship of God. This is not said for purposes of shock, it is said as a statement of fact.
The externally visible changes in form and function since that time, are well known - a wholesales abandonment of tradition. It can perhaps best be demonstrated by the single most far reaching change to come in the wake of Vatican II, the abandonment of the beautiful Tridentine [Latin] Mass, which had been practiced since having been proclaimed by Pope St. Pius V in 1570 at the Council of Trent.
The traditional Mass is a stylized veneration of and recreation of Christ's sacrifice on Good Friday. It involves an altar, a priest and a victim [the host]. The priest performs the ceremony, with consecrated hands, his back to the congregation. The Mass is conducted in Latin, its words an austere supplication for forgiveness and a sincere expression of thankfulness for the saving grace of Christ's ultimate sacrifice.
In this ceremony man's concerns are placed in correct perspective, he is a sinner who has been given a reprieve by the intercession of a merciful God who gave his only Son as a sacrificial Lamb to atone for mankind's offenses.
The new liturgy is without splendour, flattened and undifferentiated. It no longer draws us into the true experience of the liturgical year; we are deprived of this experience through the catastrophic elimination of the hierarchy of feasts, octaves, many great feasts of saints ... Truly, if one of the devils in C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters had been entrusted with the ruin of the liturgy, he could not have done it better." Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand, The Devastated Vineyard.
Gone is the kneeling at the communion rail, the placing of the host on the tongue of the communicant by the priest, the kneeling by the congregation during the communion rite and genuflecting before the blessed sacrament, alien concepts such as frivolous dancing have been also been introduced.
Gone also are clear statements of what it means to follow in the shoes of the fisherman as follows:
"Therefore, we humbly pray and beseech Thee, most merciful Father, through Jesus Christ Thy Son, Our Lord, to receive and to bless these gifts, these presents, these holy unspotted sacrifices, which we offer up to Thee, in the first place, for Thy holy Catholic Church, that it may please Thee to grant her peace, to guard, unite, and guide her, throughout the world: as also for Thy servant N., N. our Pope, and N. our Bishop, and for all who are orthodox in belief and who profess the Catholic and apostolic faith."
This is orthodoxy, this is Catholicism.
It was not written to be politically correct in order to avoid perturbing other Christian sects and it wasn't written in English - it was written in Latin for purposes of precision and if you didn't have the motivation to learn it maybe this faith was not for you.
In the modern Mass even the host and the wine are cheapened, now only merely symbolic of Christ's Body and Blood not the de-facto, real thing.
The changes in the Catholic liturgy almost exactly mirror the political and philosophical changes that have taken place in the secular world since the tumultuous '60s, in fact a timeline of the advance of liberalism within each sphere is almost 100% congruent.
In the United States the job of implementing the vague ecumenism, called for in Vatican II, has largely fallen to the National Council Of Catholic Bishops.
Fueled by a long string of poor appointments, primarily by Pope Paul VI [1963-1978], this group unfortunately came to be dominated by the very revisionist forces who now openly war against Catholic orthodoxy ? that it took place at almost precisely the same time the McGovernites took over the Democrat party is instructive, for it again underlines that the nature of change in the Catholic Church is driven by the same faux homocentric concerns found in the political sphere.
The corruption of what is essentially the supreme governing body of the American Church is reflected throughout. The effects of the drastic changes, forced upon Catholic laity are reflected by the inability of the Church to recruit, train and maintain priests:
From 1965 to 1998, the Catholic population of the United States rose from 47 million to 62 million (32% increase) while the number of active diocesan priests has dropped from 35,925 to 23,857 (33% decrease). During that time, approximately 12,000 priests in the U.S. have abandoned their vocations (out of 50,000 defections worldwide). In 1962, there were 46,189 seminarians in the US but by 1992 the number had fallen to 6,247
The real battleground is the seminaries, for it is here where young men intent on devoting their lives to God and duty to the Church will be trained, but it is becoming increasingly clear that young straight men of conservative beliefs are being turned away, in droves, by an entrenched pro-homosexual minority that is intent on promoting ultra-modernist theology and driving straights away:
"It seems to me that the vocation 'crisis' is precipitated and continued by people who want to change the Church's agenda, by people who do not support orthodox candidates loyal to the magisterial teaching of the pope and Bishops, and by people who actually discourage viable candidates from seeking priesthood and vowed religious life as the Church defines these ministries. ... I am personally aware of certain vocations directors, vocations teams and evaluation boards who turn away candidates who do not support the possibility of ordaining women or who defend the Church's teaching about artificial birth control, or who exhibit a strong piety toward certain devotions, such as the rosary." 1995 - Archbishop Elden Curtiss, former seminary director.
No greater authority than the Catholic Medical Association has issued the following guideline:
"There are numerous reports that mental health professionals who do not support the teachings of the Catholic Church on sexuality have been chosen to evaluate candidates for the priesthood and reject candidates who do accept the Church's teachings on the grounds they are 'rigid'. There are also reports that some mental health professionals do not report homosexual attractions and conflicts in candidates for the priesthood to diocesan officials or religious superiors.
"Mental health professionals chosen to evaluate candidates for the priesthood ... should be Catholics in good standing who support the Church's teaching on sexuality, life, contraception, homosexuality, celibacy of the priesthood, the Ordination on only men, and the hierarchical structure of the Church. ... Non-Catholics and Catholics who do not support the teaching of the Church should not be employed in this task." Catholic Medical Association, "Statement to U.S. Bishops" (11/1999)
The disastrous shortage of priests - artificially created by a relatively few but powerful carriers of heresy - is being used to argue for even more egregious changes - non celibate priests and worse.
Again we see the duality, the parallels between the infiltration of the liberal/progressive/socialist dictum into the secular world - especially into the governing elite within the Democrat party - and the simultaneous assault on the world of faith.
As the political infrastructure must answer for its sins, so must this liberal iteration of Catholicism.
The existence of priestly sexual aberration is a real and serious problem, as we have previously and repeatedly stated here ? we have absolute zero tolerance for it, but its incidence is certainly overstated by a media that literally hates the Church because of its conservatism. At the same time the anti-Catholic press continues to push for additional changes that will only bring more of the same.
Stated plainly, the root cause of the majority of Catholic priestly sex abuse lies in an increasingly gay Catholic priesthood ? it cannot be explained otherwise ? celibate heterosexual men do not desire to have sex with men, let alone boys.
Contemporary liberal philosophy is wrapped in a strong pro homosexual agenda and it is this very same philosophy that has taken over so much of the Catholic agenda.
The time has come to make its supporters accountable for the moral outrage that they have wrought on this most holy of institutions.
©1999-2005 PipeLineNews.org, William Mayer. All rights reserved.